Did you know that the Bible contains the word friend 139 times... at least according to this online concordance search.
Many famous friendships are described within the pages of our holy book...
|Abraham e Isaac. Salterio de San Luis, siglo XIII (Biblioteca Nacional, París)|
- Ruth and Naomi
- Jonathan and David
- David and Hushai
- Elijah and Elisha
- Paul and Timothy
- Jesus and His disciples
- Moses spoke face to face with God, as with a friend
But I think my favorite has to be Abraham... for Abraham was called the friend of God.
"The" particularly when used directly before a noun - "friend, in this case - specifies and identifies, particularly. It becomes part of a title and can mark a noun for the purpose of indicating the best-known, most approved, most important, most satisfying, etc. (Dictionary.com). Arabs and other Muslims, who consider Abraham to be one of their key ancestors, rarely use his name. Rather, they use the expression Khalil Allah, which means “Friend of God,” or El Khalil, “the Friend.”
Thus, there was something about Abraham that first distinguished him from all the others. Look at the verbs that describe Abraham's responses to God:
- went forth, built an alter, pitched his tent, journeyed on... but then he went down to Egypt;
- went up, called on the name of the Lord, sought unity with Lot, gave preference to Lot, separated from one who lifted his eyes-saw-then chose for himself, settled in the land, lifted his eyes and saw what was given to him, rose up, walked the length, moved his tent, came and dwelt, built an altar;
- lived in peace with his neighbors, listened to relevant information, heard that his nephew was taken captive, went in pursuit of his nephew, defeated his nephew's captor, returned him, received Melchizadek's blessing, honored God over the King of Sodom;
- questioned God, reminded God of His promise, believed in the Lord, asked for confirmation, brought and prepared animals for sacrifice, received God's covenant - even through terrifying and dreadful moments;
- gave Ishmael the name that means "God hears;"
- fell on his face before God, allowed the Lord to change his name, allowed the Lord to change his wife's name, laughed when belief was hard, pleaded for Ishmael to live under God's blessing, believed and obeyed - Abraham, Ishmael and all males 13 and over were circumcised as a sign of God's covenant;
- hospitable and honoring to holy guests, pleads for Sodom, returned home;**
- returned to the place where he'd stood before the Lord and saw the smoke;
- admitted responsibility to Abimelek and prayed for him and his family;
- named son Isaac, circumcised his son on the eighth day, listened to God in regards to Ishmael, planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, called upon the name of the Lord;
- was tested by God, answered "Here I am" when God called, obeyed, willing to sacrifice his beloved son, took the knife to slay his son, answered "Here I am" when God called a second time, looked-saw-took-sacrificed the caught ram instead of his son, returned to servants, stayed in Beersheba;
- mourned and wept for his wife, purchased land for Sarah's tomb;
- secured a wife for his son from his family; shared his trust in God wit those who worked with him - looking at Elimelech;
- left everything he owned to his son, sent away the sons not of promise, left God to bless his son.
So many of these are powerful, but the one that jumps out: he "believed in the Lord." It doesn't say Abraham just believed the word of the Lord, or trusted what He said or hoped that He'd follow through on promises made.
It doesn't say that Abraham believed the promise.
He believed in the Promiser.
And God called Abraham, "Friend..."
"Friend" is, as Spurgeon said:
- "...a title to be wondered at... Friendship cannot be all on one side. In this particular instance, it is intended that we should know that while God was Abraham’s friend, this was not all, but Abraham was God’s friend. He received and returned the friendship of God! From one point of view, Abraham was always the object of God’s pity and mercy, but, by His Grace, the Lord also lifted him into another condition in which he became the object of the Lord’s complacency and delight..."
- ...a title "vindicated [because]... Abraham’s trust in God was implicit... joined [with] a practical confidence as to the accomplishment of everything that God had promised... unquestioning... [his] desire for God’s glory was uppermost at all times... [his] communion with God was constant."
- "...THE title to be sought after" after full reconciliation to God, including the "mutual exercise of choice - in that the God who has chosen [me] must be chosen by [me]..." characterized by a "conformity of heart" and "continual communion... that breeds mutual delight" as I "copartner with Him."
- "...THE title to be utilized for practical purposes... as a great encouragement to the people of God..." and as a warning to "delight in the responsibility... thirst[ing] to be well-pleasing... aspir[ing] to dwell in Him... willing to bear anything which will make [me] one with God!" (A sermon titled The Friend of God, #1962 - delivered on Sunday, May 8, 1887 by CH Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.)
Abram believed in the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.
2 Chronicles 20:7
Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?
"But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend...
You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works,
faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says,
"AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED IN GOD,
AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,"
and he was called the friend of God.
You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works
when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
For just as the body without the spirit is dead,
so also faith without works is dead.
Technically, ** (in the text above) is where 5MF stopped, so this wasn't a genuine 5MF... Once I started looking at the topic,
I wanted to study further than five short minutes would allow.
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