The obvious relationship that most will think of in reference to God is as our Father. Father God is the best Dad you could have in the whole wide universe! He is awesome! He is fantastic. He is absolutely wonderful. He always answers our cries for help speedily and positively. He's a good dad!
But, that's not all. He's also the best friend you could ever have on your side in times of trouble. They say that a friend in need is a friend indeed. In other words, the friend you can count on in your time of need is the friend to stick to! Our God is that kind of friend. A very good friend indeed.
Being a friend is something that Jesus said was most important. He even spoke of the self-sacrificing attitude of love in terms of friendship when He said, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends". So seeing ways that this attribute of friendship applies to our God could well be useful.
When we look at how God treated those who had a close relationship with Him we see what a great friend He was to them. Of course friendship is only one small area of the total relationship that God has with us and is only a small part of God's overall character, but it could be interesting to look at a few examples that illustrate this facet of God's relationship with us.
Abraham was called a friend of God and when we look at Abraham's life we see how God often had to pull Abraham's chestnuts out of the fire or else they would have been very badly burnt indeed! Twice God had to rescue Sarah, Abraham's wife, from being taken in a king's hareem! Yet, even though in both cases it was Abraham's fault, God did not hold him responsible and instead used the incidents to bless Abraham while showing the ruler involved that Abraham was his special covenant friend.
Take the case of king Abimelech. Abraham told the king that Sarah was his sister. Believing this Abimelech took Sarah to be another of his wives! After he had taken Sarah into his hareem, but before he had any relations with her, God appeared to the king in a dream and told him he was a dead man for taking Sarah. And Abimelech said to God, "But I did this in the integrity of my heart, and the innocence of my hands!" (Gen 20:4)
And God reply's, "Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart. That is why you are still alive!"
Then God told Abimelech to return Sarah to Abraham and have Abraham pray for him and all would be well with him and his household.
So even though Abraham was in the wrong and Abimelech was the man with integrity in his heart, God did not impute any sin against His friend Abraham, because He was in a grace covenant relationship with him!
We as christians are also in this same type of covenant relationship with God and are His friends and are similarly treated. God is not imputing any sins to our account.
Rom 4:5-8 But to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, to whom God imputes righteousness without works, saying, 'Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin'.
As friends of God that is how good God is to us! In fact He is so good that sometimes Jesus used human examples to give a stark contrast with God. This was to show what He is NOT like, so that we would realise how far above us humans our heavenly Father is in love and character.
I trust you realised that God is NOT like the people Jesus contrasted him with in some of his parables. Not all parables say what God is like; some tell you what he is NOT like. One example we could point to is in the book of Luke, Chapter 11, shown below.
Luk 11:5-13 And He said to them, "Which of you shall have a friend,
and go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three
loaves; for a friend has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing
to set before him'; and he will answer from within and say, 'Do not
trouble me; the door has already been shut, and my children are with
me in bed; I cannot get up and give to you'? I say to you, even if
he will not get up and give to him because he is his friend, yet on
account of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he
That is the passage - Now, first of all please answer Jesus' question for yourself. Which of you has a friend like that? Which of you would keep a friend like that? You may know people like that but would you have them as your close buddy? Is that the person you would turn to first in a time of need? You'd have to be very desperate and then persistent with a 'friend' like that, if he was all you had to turn to, to get what you needed. If you were really desperate you'd do it; that's certainly true, but it's surely not the best! That's surely not God!
Can you really think that's the kind of friend our Heavenly Father is to you? If you wouldn't want to have a human friend that was like that, how do you think Father God feels when some people suggest that's what He is like?
No, Jesus tells us to 'Ask', 'Seek' and 'Knock' for anything that we need from our Heavenly Father because we WILL get them! We'll get what we ask for, not bad things like sickness. You won't ask for fish in other words and have God give you a snake!
God is orders of magnitude better than that kind of friend! So the last three verses up to verse 13 tell you in plain words what God is really like. He is the friend that you can put your faith in!
There is, in other words, no comparison! How much more than that 'friend' will your Heavenly Father help you? God will always think in terms of giving us 'much more' than we ask and as we'll see next He'll give you His good answer speedily!
Holy Spirit is the greatest gift that God can give us. He's giving us of Himself and so you should understand how easily he will give you lesser gifts, when He freely gives Himself to those who ask!
As a friend, God is a bountiful giver and He's also quick to help, as this following parable shows. This is taken from Chapter 18 of the same book of Luke.
Luk 18:2-8 ... "A certain judge was in a certain city, who did not fear
God nor have regard for men. Now there was a widow in that city; and she
kept coming to him, saying, 'Give justice to me against my adversary.'
And he did not want to for a time; but afterward he said within himself,
'although I do not fear God, nor have regard for man,
yet because this widow bothers me I will give justice to her, lest she
wear me out by forever coming to me.' "
In this example Jesus shows how even with an unjust Judge you can get justice if you keep after him. Eventually you will wear him down and to get you off his back he'll look at your case!
Then Jesus concludes that God will execute justice for his own elect, who cry out day and night to him - but in contrast He will execute justice speedily!
Notice it's the elect that Jesus says who cry out to Him day and night not just one person. There are 'many cries from many people' coming up to God, not 'many cries from the same person'! This is confirmed by the fact that Jesus says God will execute justice to "them" speedily.
God is not like an unjust judge whom you have to badger to get justice. He will answer you speedily and also all the rest of the elect who cry out to Him by day and night! That's the kind of quick acting faithful friend we have in our God. Our God is a GOOD God!
And, God answers us immediately! Like the comparison with the 'so-called' friend, our God is shown to be a 'much more' God. He will answer you speedily and with abundant provision!
God doesn't have one rule for Himself and another rule for others!
When Elijah in 1st Kings, Chapter 18, verses 22-27 dared the prophets of Baal to compare their god with our God in a 'supernatural sacrifice burning contest', the prophets of Baal spent the whole of the morning running around and praying to Baal in their attempt to get their god to ignite the wood to burn the sacrifice.
As the morning wore on Elijah ridiculed the prophets regarding their god. To paraphrase, he told them to shout louder because Baal may have gone for a walk, or he may be contemplating what to do in his sovereign will, or taking a morning nap, or he may have gone to the toilet!
Now if God allows Elijah to mock the prophets of Baal because their god does not answer them after four to six hours, what could possibly make us think He would take weeks and months and years before answering our prayers? What kind of friend would that be? That could not be God!
Not at all! God sends an answer immediately. There can be problem in reception though and so we should not blame God if we do not see the solution to our problem manifest immediately.
Isa 65:24 Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.
God answers us immediately, but although God answers speedily, not all answers manifest in the physical realm immediately. This is the same as it was in Jesus' day.
Now, as then, it's sometimes a doubt and unbelief problem not a grace problem! The answer is sent immediately, but the reception is sometimes faulty!
But we don't give up there. We thank God for His immediate answer and ask for the faith without doubt and unbelief, to receive what God gave us when we first requested it (Mar 11:22-24).
Mar 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Our God is a good God whom we need to get to know better. As we do, it would appear that if we recognize and believe that God always answers us speedily, then as the faith we exhibit increases and the doubt recedes we will come to receive those answers also speedily.
Matt 18:19 If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
There should be no doubt in our minds about the outcome of our praying, as you can see by Matthew's quotation from Jesus.
We have a 'good' friend in Father God. A wonderful friend who hears and answers our cries, immediately. A true friend indeed AND He's a good Dad!
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