In Isaiah 41:8, God speaks to Israel, calling them “descendants of Abraham my friend.” Abraham’s friendship with God is also mentioned by King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:7 and by the apostle James in James 2:23. Thus Abraham was accorded the high honor of being called a “friend of God.”
Literally, Isaiah 41:8 could be translated as “Abraham, who loved Me.” Abraham showed his love for God through his faith accompanied by obedience (Genesis 12:1, 4; 15:6). He was more than an acquaintance of God and more than a companion. He was a friend of God.
A friendship is a reciprocal relationship between two people who share a bond of mutual affection. Friends can be described as those who:
– know and understand each other
– like each other
– have shared interests
– want to spend time together
– help and protect each other
Friendship is not fickle. Scripture says that “a friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17), bad times included.
Abraham’s friendship with God was based on God’s everlasting covenant with Abraham and Abraham’s faith in accepting it:
“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2–3; cf. Genesis 15:1–21).
As the physical descendants of Abraham, the people of Israel were assured of God’s continued protection. After reminding Israel that their ancestor Abraham was His friend, God said,
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish” (Isaiah 41:10–11).
As the spiritual descendants of Abraham (Galatians 3:7), believers in Jesus Christ can also be assured of God’s presence and protection. We are also God’s friends through the One who loved us and died for us (John 15:13). As friends of God, we know Him and are known by Him. We trust Him. We share His interests. We want to spend time with Him in Bible reading and prayer. When God asks us to do or not do something, we try our best to please Him.
The beautiful thing is that those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior are already more than friends of God. They are adopted into the family of God and are children of God: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:3–5, ESV).
That is how special we are to God. We are part of His family, and we cannot be taken out. He will never disown us or abandon us. Jesus is the “friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). More than servants and more than friends, we are part of God’s family and will live with Him in His house for eternity (John 14:2).