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September 19, 2022

Are You a Friend of God?


Who am I that You are mindful of me

Growing up, there was a popular praise and worship song called, “Friend of God” by Israel Houghton. The main chorus goes: “I am a friend of God; I am a friend of God; I am a friend of God, He calls me friend.” I loved singing that because I was like, “Yeah! I’m a friend of God! He knows me!” But the more I read the Bible, the more I’ve come to know that being a friend of God is not an automatic title you get once you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior. Let's dive into this a little further.

In Exodus chapter 33, this passage of scripture is describing how Moses would go into the “Tent of Meeting” which was the presence of God to intercede on behalf of the Israelites. Starting in verse nine it says:

As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” Exodus 33:9-11a (NIV)

Now we’re going to skip down to verse 13. Moses is having a conversation with God. He says:

“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Exodus 33:13-17 (NIV)

I listened to a sermon by John Bevere a few years ago on the fear of the Lord, and it was one of those messages that totally transformed my relationship with God. John Bevere recently wrote this Instagram post that fits so perfectly into what this blog is all about. He writes:

“God is not everyone’s friend. So many talk about God as though He were just a buddy – casually telling me this or that about Him. I know people who can give me all the scoops, facts, and details of a celebrity’s life…but this doesn’t mean they’re friends. It’s the same with God. We can attend church services and prayer meetings, come forward every altar call, and read our Bibles daily, but it doesn’t guarantee friendship with God. God isn’t looking for a celebrity following. He’s looking for an intimate relationship with those who FEAR Him. Psalm 25:14 says: “The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.”

Not everyone is a friend of God – not even all Christians. Being a friend of God is earned through a consistent, intimate, honest, and obedient lifestyle in Christ.

It says in Exodus 33:11 that “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” How did Moses have that kind of privilege to speak to God so intimately?

1. Moses was truly consistent in his walk with the Lord.

Through all that time in the wilderness, 40 years, when he could have given up and given into the Israelites’ complaints, he didn’t waver in his trust in the Lord. He stood on the promises of God and knew that God would be faithful to bring them to the Promised Land. How would you describe your relationship with God? Do you trust Him? Do you stay with Him even when life doesn’t make sense? If God is your friend, you will stick with Him no matter what. And if you’re not quite there yet with your relationship with God but you want to be, here’s how you get there.

2. Moses was honest with the Lord. And honesty leads to intimacy.

In Exodus 33:15-16, Moses is asking God questions. He actually was protesting the Lord because he didn’t want to go anywhere without the presence of God. When you know the Lord as a friend, you won’t want to leave His side. True friends stick together closer than a brother. When Moses protested, God replied with, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Wait a minute, I thought God knew everyone by name? He created all of us, didn’t He? So what does He mean when he says, “I know you by name?” So when I looked this up on Blue Letter Bible, I found that the phrase, “you by name” in this context only occurs five times in the Bible. This isn’t like God saying, “Yeah, I know of him. I’ve heard about him.” God is saying, “I know you. We’ve spent time together. We’ve had deep, honest conversations together. We’ve done life together.”

And when you think about it, this is true with the people in our lives, right? I might know of someone at work or at church, but there’s no emotional attachment to when I hear someone talk about them, necessarily. But when I hear someone say my mom’s name, my ears perk up and I smile just thinking about her because we have history. Do you have history with God? When you think about the Lord, do you smile in adoration or hide in shame? The level of honesty you have with the Lord determines your intimacy and closeness with Him. God also says in that verse, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you.” Why was God pleased with Moses?

3. Moses obeyed God.  

If we go to the New Testament in John chapter 15, Jesus tells us very plainly how we can be friends of God. Ready? He says:

You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:14-17 (NIV)

Jesus will always be our savior, our redeemer, our healer, our Lord. But will He be your friend? Will you allow Him to enter into every part of your life? True friends share secrets with one another. In that passage in John, Jesus said that you’re not just my servants, but my friends – I have told you everything that God the Father has told me. This means Jesus shared revelations that only He knew with His disciples. He trusted them and chose them to take these divine revelations from God and to share them with the world. As a result, they produced long-lasting fruit - the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That’s the kind of relationship I want with the Lord – one that is consistent, intimate, and honest. And I will be obedient to whatever He asks of me because I know and I trust that He knows what’s best for me. Now I can confidently sing the song, “Friend of God” because I know I am His friend, and He is mine.

Will you be a friend to God so you can be a friend of God?
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