I’ve just started reading the first few chapters in the book Knowing God by J.L. Packer and have come across a theme that he keeps referring to in chapter 3 in regards to God as our friend. Packard states, “There is a great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, he wants me as his friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given his Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose.” How awesome that even through all the mess I’ve made of my life and the unpleasant sins I’ve racked up thus far, he still loves me and wants to be my friend. What great news for those who believe in Christ!
Proverbs 18:21 states: “A man with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.” In other words, an acquaintance or casual friend cannot be trusted but a true friend, a true brother, will be there in the good times and the bad. God is that ultimate true friend of ours because He is the only one who knows who we truly are in our hearts. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Christ paid the ultimate price a friend could ever pay when he went to the cross on behalf of all mankind in that they would be made right in the sight of the Father. He sacrificed his life for ours, “His friends!”
Of course being the Worship Pastor/Music nerd that I am, my mind naturally goes to some of my favorite Christian songs to ponder more on this topic of God being our friend. The original text for the popular Isaac Watts hymn originally began “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”. Somehow its been changed to “O God, Our Help in Ages past”. I like the original lyrics using “Our” instead of “O” because it makes more relational sense in respect to God as friend. The “O” makes God seem so distant! He loves us and wants to have that close personal relationship with us - like that best friend that you can trust with everything.
In reading the the book Knowing God the text describing God as friend brought to mind several song lyrics. I love the song entitled “Friend of God” written by Israel Houghton. Not only is It upbeat but its also fun to sing. I love the the lyrics in the bridge of the song that state “God Almighty, Lord of Glory, You have called me friend.” There is so much I don’t know about Him but I can take comfort that the God of all things created, the God of all Power, the God of Holiness, the God of Justice, the God of Goodness, and the God of Truth has called me his friend. He has called me, “Grant”, his friend. He longs for a relationship a friendship with all mankind. Are we not all looking for that one friend who gets us and and wants to be there for us always and will never let us down?
Another hymn that comes to mind is “Jesus is All the World to Me” written by Will Thompson. What a powerful statement in the title in that Jesus, my friend, is everything, even the world to me. Nothing else this world has to offer comes anywhere close. Nothing satisfies what my longing heart needs but my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I especially like the fourth verse of the song that states: “Jesus is all the world to me, I want no better friend; I trust him now, I'll trust him when life's fleeting days shall end. Beautiful life with such a friend, beautiful life that has no end; eternal life, eternal joy, he's my friend”.
Are we building a close relationship with the best friend anyone could ever have? Are we seeking the Savior daily in word and prayer? He has done so much for us and longs for our worship and friendship. Can you say I am a friend of God, and He calls me friend. One can have all the friends in the world but a life without Jesus is unimaginable to me and truly he is the only relationship that will quench what our hearts truly desire.