Man was created for community. All of us need good friends whom we may trust and count on. Probably each one of us can see in his mind’s eye someone whose friendship you hold near and dear. The Bible says “a friend loves at all times but a brother is born for adversity” (Pro. 17:17). If there is any being about whom we can truly say He loves us at all times in both good times and bad it would be the God of heaven. There is no better blessing than to be able to say I am God’s friend and He is mine.
But how do we demonstrate that we are really friends of God? Perhaps if we can find someone in Scripture who was God’s friend we will be able to ascertain better what it means to partner with Him. Three times in Scripture the patriarch Abraham is referred to as the friend of God (2 Chron. 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; Jas. 2:21-23). Thus, a perusal of Abraham’s life can help us to better understand what it means to be God’s associate. From the grand old patriarch’s life we learn that being a friend of God means to…
1. Trust Him Completely. Abraham was called from the Ur of the Chaldees, his homeland, to an unknown place. He left behind comfort, security and familiarity for somewhere he didn’t know (Gen. 12:1-3). The Hebrews writer put it this way: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:8-10). When God said “go” Abraham went and showed himself to be God’s friend.
2. Value Him Supremely. After the battle of the kings (Gen. 14), God appeared to Abraham and said, “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (Gen. 15:1). Abraham enjoyed perhaps his finest hour in his rescue of Lot and meeting with Melchizedech yet the Lord said it was not earthly success or things that are to be valued but rather Him. Abraham agreed and later in his life he would show how much he really valued Jehovah (cf. Gen. 22).
3. Obey Him Fully. In Genesis 17 the Lord reaffirmed his covenant with Abraham and commanded circumcision as a sign of the agreement made between the two. As gruesome as it may sound, and uncomfortable, Abraham circumcised every male in his house (17:23). He obeyed God. We shouldn’t be surprised because that is what we see of Abraham from his introduction. As we mentioned earlier, such obedience is seen at its height later. This we will cover in the following point.
4. Sacrifice For Him Completely. God commanded Abraham to take his son, the son of promise, and sacrifice him on Mount Moriah (Gen. 22:1-2). God wanted to see if Abraham had the faith even to give up his prize possession – his only son. Abraham was willing and God rescued Isaac before any violence took place; providing a substitute, a ram, as the proper sacrifice (Gen. 22:11-14). Some wonder how Abraham could do such a thing. He could because he believed that should Isaac be sacrificed God would raise him from the dead that His promises might be fulfilled (Heb. 11:17-19).