The friend of God

Abraham Friend of God2James 2:23: and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God.

To be called a friend or a servant depends kind the information made available to you.

The former knows why and how and what would be done, while the servant knows only “what” should be done. The servant only knows the specific item he is supposed to attend to, while the friend gets the general picture of things. The servant’s identity is tied to work done while the identity of the friend is tied to unity of purpose with the friend. Jesus told the disciples that he does not call them servants, because a servant does not know what the master is doing, and he (Jesus) tells them what he is doing, which he has received from the father (John 15:14-15).

John the Baptist refers to himself as the friend of the bridegroom (John 3:29-36), who rejoices on hearing the voice of the bridegroom, and is willing to be reduced so that he will increase.

As the friend of the bridegroom, John expresses unity of purpose with Jesus (the bridegroom). He says he is the voice of one crying in the wilderness: make a way for the Lord (John 1:20-29). A friend of the bridegroom has an understanding of the bridegroom and is busy telling the bride to be (the church) about the groom, generating affection her. But when a servant-minister speaks to the church, she learns about tasks to be done.

A friend of the bridegroom wants to draw you into relationship with groom, while the servant wants to teach you about obligations. There is nothing wrong with obligation, but if that is all there is then we would be missing out of a lot of what it means to relate with the groom, as the bride to be. The bride also needs to know how much he is loved and how rich the groom (Christ) is, that he has what it takes to take care of her forever. She is told of his glory, his splendour,  the beauty of his house, where  they will live together forever..

While on the way to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-33), God stopped over at the house of Abraham, his friend and subsequently said to himself, that seeing how trustworthy Abraham, is , how can he not intimate him on the  matters at had concerning Sodom and Gomorrah. That is the thinking of a friend. As a friend God wanted Abraham to understand him.

Are you a friend of God? How much of God do you understand? Not classroom understanding but experiential? What unique angle to God do you see that might even be difficult for you to relate to others? Paul was taken to heaven to heaven and heard amazing things which were not lawful for him to utter (2Corinthians 12:1-7). He has an angle to God that others were not privy to.

Moses falls into that category; God showed him part of his glory (that was a rear of occurrence at that time) (Exodus 33:7-34:8), because of the closeness of relationship that has developed between them. Without that, Moses could not have made such a request. It comes from a level of familiarity with God.  Moses, the bible says, knows the ways of God, while the general populace only knew his acts. Moses was a man apart.

When Aaron and Miriam confronted Moses disrespectfully and were indirectly attacking his authority to be the leader in Israel, they wanted some form of democracy (Numbers 12), and wondered why Moses should always have the first and the last word in things, being so prestigious.

God stood literally in defense of Moses, and severely punished Miriam, and merely sparing Aaron because of his position as the High Priest. Miriam was struck with leprosy. And God affirmed that Moses was not your run off the mill prophet; he (God) speaks to him face to face as a man speaks to his friend. So in a way Moses attained to the status of friend of God.

However, there was a twist in the tale. The sweet tale of friendship between God and Moses, hit a snag when Moses, fell into the trap those who are the friends of God should avoid.

Moses, for just a moment, refused to honour God as he should; fell short of giving the highest regard to the word of God. The result was a single act of disobedience that cost him fulfilling his destiny with God (Numbers 20:1-13, Deuteronomy 3:23-29, 4:21-22, Psalm 106:32-33). God demands the highest respect from those who draw close to him.

Abraham did not fall into that trap of over-familiarity. Even when God decided to inform him of his plans for Sodom and Gomorrah, his approach of intercession for them with God, reflects the highest of regard, even though God was standing there and was speaking to him directly, he approached God with utmost regard for His person.

You might complain that Abraham  did not push further than he did in his intercession for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, but don’t lose the example he sets forth for those who wants to pursue friendship with God. His choice of words and manner of approach showed he held God in awe. That was what went wrong with Moses. He allowed his anger at the children of Israel to momentarily becloud him for dealing with God with utmost regard.

While Moses disobeyed, a direct command, Abraham did not fall into the delusion of presumption but obeyed when God asked him to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-18).

It seems God makes the highest demands of his friends (Luke 11:5-8). So sure of what you are getting into when you say you want to be a friend of God.

I am not trying to scare you, but even Jesus said that before you follow him you must count the cost (Luke 14:26-35). He said a man planning to build a tower must count the cost, if he doesn’t want to be disgraced that he doesn’t have what it takes to complete it.

He also compares it with going to war, saying you have to know if you have the number of soldiers required to combat an enemy. He therefore likened a relationship with him as a building and as a warfare; a building because it is a process, and it needs the commitment of resources. And it is warfare because there are oppositions that need to be dealt with before you get the price in your relationship with God. Paul called that the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:7-14).

 

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