A Friend of God
“The Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?’” (Gen. 18:17–18).- Genesis 18:16–19
Now that Sarah knows of the Lord’s plan for her, Abraham’s visitors depart his home. Looking toward Sodom, Abraham walks with his guests to set them on their way (Gen. 18:16).
Many of us already know what comes next: the judgment and destruction of Sodom (19:23–29). But even if we had never read Genesis before, there are clues in the narrative that divine judgment is about to fall. In 18:17, God thinks about whether or not to tell Abraham of His intentions. This is strikingly similar to the Creator’s internal dialogue in Genesis 6:7, before He judged and destroyed the earth in a flood.
In the end, God tells the patriarch His plans for that wicked city (18:22–33). In showing His thoughts to us, Moses sets up the intercession Abraham will offer in his forthcoming discussion between himself and the Lord (vv. 22–33). It also portrays the intimacy of their relationship, evidenced earlier in the meal they shared (18:1–8). Abraham is more than just the Lord’s servant. He is also God’s friend.
Friendship with God is not a privilege just for Abraham; it belongs to all who follow Jesus (John 15:12–17). If we trust in Christ, we are His friends and can know His thoughts more deeply the longer we walk with Him. As Matthew Henry reminds us, “Those who by faith live a life of communion with God cannot but know more of his mind than other people. They have a better insight than others into what is present, and a better foresight of what is to come.”
Divine grace establishes and completes this friendship. But as today’s passage indicates, our responsibility to that friendship is not thereby abolished. The Lord chose Abraham, but divine benefits will not come to his children unless they act in righteousness and justice (Gen. 18:19). We are declared just through faith alone, but the sign that our faith is real is our devotion to Christ (James 2:14–26). John Calvin comments, “For although the grace of God alone begins and completes our salvation; yet, since by obeying the call of God, we fulfill our course, we are said, also in this manner, to obtain the salvation promised by God.”
Hear the words of Jesus in John 15:14–15: “You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” If you are in Christ, God is your friend, and, like any friend, He desires fellowship with you. Reflect on this truth and talk with Him as you go about your day’s work.
Passages for Further Study
1 John 1:1–7