Friends: Vol. 3: Friendship of God/ with God
Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to a friend. (Exodus 33:11)
II Chronicles 20:7 & James 2:23 both refer to Abraham as God’s friend.
Friendship with the Lord is reserved for those who fear him. With them he shares the secret of the covenant. (Psalm 25:14)
God offers his friendship to the Godly. (Proverbs 3:32)
I no longer call you servants, because a master doesn’t confide in his servants. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. (John 15:15)
However, in Matthew 11:19, Jesus is called “a friend of the worst of sinners.”
What is wrong with Jesus? Only the good are supposed to be allowed the privilege of hanging with the G.O.D. Peep this: Sociologists and writers have looked at the patterns of friendship-building in high schools in America and have found three basic friendship groups. They call these “Alphas”, “Betas”, and “Gammas” – the first three letters of the Greek alphabet. Gammas are the social groups that are neither popular nor want to be popular. They pretty much exist on their own. Betas, on the other hand, are not popular but would die to be popular. They are also known, sadly, as wannabees. Betas practically worship the Alphas. Alphas are the popular ones – the jocks, cheerleaders, the talented and beautiful. And God is The Alpha. He’s the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and the Alpha of alphas. And look, he’s not fratting around with the alphas or even the so-badly-wanna-get-to-know-the-Son-of-God-I’m-gonna-wizz-my-pants betas, the spiritual and political leaders of the day. He’s hanging with the lowly, despicable, fashion-less, ugly gammas. He’s even hanging with those that don’t have any friends, like that scum bag Nicodemus.
“Here he is,” the good folks, the alphas and betas say, “Jesus walks with the hustlas, killers, murderers, drug dealers even the strippers. Jesus walks with them?” And they mention it as an accusation, as something shameful. “Oh, there’s our savior, cavorting around with the worst of sinners in all the public places. Oh, Lordie, Lordie.”
What has changed? In the Old Testament, God was friends with Abraham and Moses, giants of the faith, right? The founders of Judaism and thus Christianity. And the disciples, now there’s a godly group, right? They started the church. And God’s saying that he reserves his friendship for those who fear him; he reserves his friendship for the Godly. You would think that only the alphas and the betas can be his friends, right?
So what has changed? God? What… is he running for president? He can’t make up his mind? He read popularity polls? [He’s got some dude in a vest and tie saying, “Um, God, see here, your popularity is slipping in the middle class 16-24 year old female demographic with that latest earthquake. I really think we need an image over-haul, God. You need to be seen as friendly.”] God’s not a man that he should change his mind! Eternity is in the palm of his hand. You see, not only is he the Alpha, he’s also the Omega. God don’t change because he don’t need to, because he is all-powerful, all-knowledgeable, and all-true. His promises are true and they never change. So, what has changed? Us? Have we become better and more worthy of God’s friendship? (Look entreating for a genuine answer.) Nooo. The same stupidity and selfishness that was there when Adam & Eve took the advice of a talking snake with legs and ate some “magical” fruit to become gods is still infecting us – only now it’s compounded exponentially. [The best and the brightest people in the whole world get together in large, important rooms and say stuff like: “If we make bombs that can destroy entire cities, we’ll finally have peace on earth.” Or: “I get it: we can make veal for lonely, lazy people with little taste who like to watch tv yet don’t have enough patience to actually wait or cook.” Who in the world is buying these tv dinners? I fit all of those categories, and I can’t stand that stuff.] Ladies and gentlemen, we haven’t changed a bit; we’re just more stupid.
What has changed is our understanding of God and his approachability – his friendliness. You see, when Jesus came, he set the prisoners free. God had always been a friend of the selfish and the stupid [otherwise known as “Us”]. When Abraham was called to follow God, he was a common pagan worshipping common gods. I tend to think he had some family issues. Unfortunately, these pagan gods and issues followed his family around wherever they went. Moses was reckless. He murdered a man and then buried him in the sand. [Buried him in the sand? “No one will ever find this body in the sand.” C’mon—even serial killers have enough sense to bury people under their houses – or at least in the fridge. Houses don’t move!] Moses then has the audacity to run from God for forty years, breaks stone tablets with God’s own commandments on them, strikes a rock twice when God tells him to hit it only once. The disciples ran, fled, hid, chopped off a guy’s ear, were filled with unbelief and fear even after Jesus called them his friends.
Again, God didn’t change but our understanding of God’s approachability did, especially as God came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus. Jesus merely said, “Follow me.” That is the same initial command that he gave to Abraham. Following God really has gotten no easier, but Jesus comes alongside us to help us to die to the world and live for God. It is not an easy friendship that God offers us, but it is a complete friendship, one that is true offered from the one who is true. And in trying to get our attention to make us understand the severity of the command of following him, Jesus went to the dregs of society, to the ones who were far from him, to the sick and imprisoned and became their friend, their real friend, offering himself with every bit of himself that he can offer. Notice that after Jesus calls the disciples his friends, he says that they did not choose him, but that he chose them. He pursued them; he wooed them. That is love, the true backbone of genuine friendship.
It is here that we realize that God desires to come and fill the empty spaces in our lives left by our friends. He fills them with love. He fills them with himself.