Friends of God

Friends of God

Friends of God.

“A friend loves at all times.” (Proverbs 17:17).

Looking at gods that were worshipped down through the ages, one can see that they were not exactly trusted by the believers. The gods were capricious, unpredictable, angry, and usually very unfriendly. Even the believer in the Judeo-Christian God might misunderstand how the mind of God, in all its mystery, works, and assign the same traits to Him. In fact, though, as evidenced in Scripture, the one true God is decidedly different than the ancient gods. The Christian God is undoubtedly the friendliest Person in the universe. That should come as no surprise, since the Trinity has enjoyed an intimate friendship together between the three of them for all eternity. The thrilling fact is that God wants to enlarge His circle of friendship with those creatures He has made. God is always on the lookout for friends, for people like us who might discover the innate friendliness of God. God’s nature is such that He is always poised to develop budding friendships with those who are open to an intimate companionship with Him. God has already provided for this, we just need to discover Him with His arms wide open. He wants to be our close companion, and He yearns for more than a one-sided friendship.

One crucial aspect of a thriving friendship is that the friends trust each other’s motives and instincts. Friends don’t suspect each of ulterior motives, but instead rely on what they know of the other’s character. If we want to respond to God’s friendly overtures, if we want to be friends of God, it is important to know and trust His heart, the essence of His nature, His unchangeable character. We need to trust God’s instincts to become His friend. Yahweh God provided an intimate glimpse of His core divine attributes in Exodus 34:6-7. Moses had asked God to reveal His glory. And so in a thick cloud Yahweh came to Moses, and “stood there with Moses as he called upon the Name of the Lord. Then Yahweh passed by in front of Moses and proclaimed His Name: ‘Yahweh, Yahweh God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth, in mercy and faithfulness, who keeps mercy for a thousand generations, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” Anyone wanting to be God’s friend can trust that profound Self-description. In this proclamation to Moses, it’s as if God opened His chest and showed what His heart is made of. God’s heart pumps with the blood of mercy. God is love, and His friends find that fact trustworthy. One can invest in a friendship with God with faith and trust.

Scripture points to two special friends of God, Abraham and Moses. Both men did with God what friends do… remained loyal to Him; made personal sacrifices for Him; were eager to please Him; remained in communication with Him; walked intimately with Him through all the ups and downs that are common to human life.

Abraham believed in God’s integrity, he took God at His word, and he lived accordingly. “It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named God’s friend.” (James 2:23, MSG). Abraham was specifically called God’s friend in two other Scriptures: 2 Chronicles 20:7 and Isaiah 41:8. These descriptions of Abraham’s relationship with God has stood the test of time in biblical history, and their friendship is an accepted fact in Judeo-Christian tradition. Evidently, God’s friends combine believing and doing in their walk with Him.

Moses also had the profound privilege of walking with God over a long period of time, including his dependence on the Lord through every hour of that 40-year journey through the wilderness with the Israelites. God would descend in a dark cloud and Moses would bravely walk into that cloud to converse with Yahweh. He freely talked with God at the burning bush, on Mt. Sinai during the journey, in the first Tent of Meeting, and then the Tabernacle. At one point, Scripture mentions that “the Lord Yahweh used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to a friend.” (Ex. 33:11). The intimacy between Moses and the Lord suggests the relationship we all will enjoy with God when the New Day dawns. Friendship with God on this side of the pearly gates gives us a foretaste of our heavenly friendship, when we will see God face to face as eternal companions.

One final aspect of an intimate friendship… Good friends don’t coddle each other. They are not the type of friends who hold back and merely pamper the other. Good friends love each other enough to speak the truth, to challenge the other when it is warranted. “Love rejoices in the truth.” (1 Cor. 13:6). Friends trust each other to say what needs to be said. “You can trust a friend who wounds you with his honestyFaithful are the wounds of a friendWounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” (Prov. 27:6). Honesty is an invaluable aspect of a healthy friendship, in which the friends are helping each other to become better people. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Prov. 27:17). If sparks fly during the sharpening, may those sparks keep the holy fires of friendship burning. In our friendship with God, we can trust His willingness to sharpen us like a good friend would. Intimacy in a friendship demands it. “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Prov. 18:24).

What does Jesus mean when He calls us His “friends” in John 15:15? For one thing, it means we have embarked on a  new friendship with God. “For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” (Romans 5:10-11, NLT). When friends are at peace and reconciled, their friendship endures. When they are not at peace, their friendship withers. Because of Jesus, we are peace with God and our friendship is restored.

His statements in John 15 regarding our friendship seems to point back to the friendships between God and Abraham and Moses. Jesus implies that friends are willing to make sacrifices for each; they are loyal to each other; they are eager to please each other. Jesus also suggested that friends are transparent to each other as He states that He revealed to His disciples everything that the Father had revealed to Him. Jesus was transparent and communicated what was important. Friends are all about trusting each other to engage in full-disclosure.


Bible scholar and translator Dr. Brian Simmons noted that the Greek word for friends in John 15 implies intimate friendship, in which the friends treat each other like members of the family, like “those cared for from the womb.” Jesus has indeed been our friend since our moment of conception and done what is needed to become our bosom companion. And now we need to discover that life-long companionship and live into our friendship with God. And finally, isn’t it true that friends simply enjoy being together? May we bask in the friendly presence of God.

One Reply to “Friends of God”

  1. There is a lot to think about here. Being a friend of God is not an easy thing. He seems so far away often, maybe more of a judge and a mystery. But God walked with Adam in the Garden, and He walked with the OT prophets you mentioned. And Jesus walked among us too. It seems like walking with God is what a right relationship with Him is.