Friend or Acquaintance?

“I am a friend of God”1.  This is a lyric from a popular chorus sung in many churches today.  This is a great claim to be a friend of God so let’s look at this word more closely.   “Friend” – A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection (Oxford Dictionary);  a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard (Dictionary.com); a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another (Merriam Webster).  I would venture to guess after considering these definitions that many of the people that we have categorized as friends are really more like acquaintances.  Because according to these definitions, friendship requires a bond, an attachment and strong trust.  And if we use these three requirements, many of whom we considered friends would no longer qualify.  There is only one person in all of the Old Testament that God called a friend – Abraham.  Why?  Why not Moses, or David or Samuel or Isaiah?  If we used the definitions above, we see that most friends become friends because of common experiences or bonds that attach them together through mutual trust in one another.  The common bond between God and Abraham was the sacrifice of their one and only son.  This was a test that no other was asked to take but Abraham and he passed this test.  It was an unimaginable request.  But Abraham wavered not at God’s promise that through Isaac his descendants would be as numerous as the stars so, if He was asking this of him, somehow God would provide.  Some think it too casual to be considered God’s friend.  But they really have a too casual definition of what a friend really is.  Are you a friend of God or just an acquaintance?

8 “But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from Abraham my friend,  Isaiah 41:8 (NLT)

23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. James 2:23 (NLT)

4 I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Genesis 26:4 (NLT)

20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. Romans 4:20 (NLT)

17 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, 18 even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” 19 Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.  Hebrews 11:17-19 (NLT)

1 Friend of God – written by Israel Houghton and Michael Gungor