Weekly Devotional 11-27-17 Abraham; The Friend of God
In the record of Second Chronicles, Abraham is said to be Godís friend (2nd Chronicles 20:7). God Himself spoke of Abraham being His friend in Isaiah 41:8. James, the Lordís half-brother, having these two passages in mind, referred to Abraham as being Godís friend (James 2:23). What a wonder! However, wasnít this the same Abraham who served other godís when he dwelt with his father on the other side of the River before he was called of God (Joshua 24:2)? Yes, it is. So, what happened? What moved Abraham from being an idolater to being the friend of God?
Scripture does not give us a direct answer to the above question, but it does imply that God, in sovereignty and purpose, had chosen Abraham to be His friend before He was that friend and eventually caused him to be such. We read from Genesis 12:1-3; ď1Now the Lord had said to Abram: ĎGet out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (NKJV). This calling came at the time when Abraham was an idolater (Joshua 24:2). In the exercise of his idolatry he would have been in spiritual darkness and, alienated from true God. There was nothing in him at the time of his calling that qualified him as being the friend of God. Thus, his becoming the friend of God followed that efficacious call.
Now we ask the question, what would have convinced Abram (Abraham) to leave his father, his siblings, his acquaintances and the land where he had established himself, to journey into a strange unknown land in obedience to Godís call? A God that he was not convinced was any different than the many godís he served. It can only be attributed to the unseen hand of God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity.
Certainly, God began communicating with Abraham while he was still an idolater. Whether He appeared to Abraham by an epiphany or by spiritual communication by the Holy Spirit, it was still a work of God. It would not have been the natural inclination of Abraham to seek out and communicate with true God. He was alienated from Him because of sin. Nevertheless, Abraham was brought into friendship with God, and it originated outside of himself. This is true of all humanity, in the ages gone by and in the present. Any and all persons who are deemed as a friend of God, by God, have been so made by Him; not by oneís self-desire or effort. Scripture speaks explicitly of man being dead toward God until the Holy Spirit regenerates in him newness of spiritual life. Jesus for instance, in conversation with Nicodemus, said that a man must be reborn spiritually before he can see (understand) or enter the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3-5 NKJV). He then went on to explain how this is accomplished. Jesus said, ď6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:6-8 NKJV). The apostle Paul writing to the Ephesian Church by inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote; ď1And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in themĒ (Ephesians 2:1-10 NKJV).
Abraham was dead toward true God and was worshipping false gods. God the Holy Spirit regenerated Abraham to spiritual life in order than he could and would be the friend of God. What followed is almost beyond comprehension. A nation issued from him who were to be a nation of priests unto mankind. All of humanity was to be and will be blessed by that friendship. The wonder of it all is, we are also friends of God. That is, if we have answered His call and have trusted Him to lead us.
Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man