Every so often I come across a song that I think needs to be tweaked a bit. Not very often, but once in awhile. The reason? I don’t think the lyrics are quite right, or, someone else has pointed out to me the lyrics may not be as theologically correct as they could be. Case in point–As the Deer (more a case in point for us boomers, you gen-whatevers and millennials may need to check out a Christian music museum).
There’s a line in the song that says, “You’re my friend, and You are my brother, even though You are a King.” I modified that lyric on my acetate overhead (again, check out the museum) so that we sung, “You call me friend, and You call me brother, even though You are a King.” The crowd I hung with back then thought that saying Jesus was our friend was not only perhaps in danger of becoming too familiar with the King of Glory but also wasn’t quite what the Scriptures said. They pointed out that nowhere does Jesus say He is our friend and that we should refer to Him as such. Instead He is the Master who has determined to relate to us as friends.
“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.”
(John 15:14-15 ESV)
So technically it’s true, Jesus said “I have called you friends.” He doesn’t say, “You can call me friend.”
But I ran across this same idea of friendship with God in my reading in Psalm 25 this morning. And it’s got me thinking . . .
The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant.
(Psalm 25:14 ESV)
The friendship of the LORD. That’s what I’m chewing on this morning.
Not all translations render it that way. Other translations say that “the secret counsel” of the LORD is for those who fear Him (CSB, NASB, NKJV). The NIV renders it, “The LORD confides in the those who fear Him.” Both make sense, don’t they? For isn’t a sign of friendship the sharing of secrets?
The idea is that of such familiarity and intimacy that the heart is opened between a circle of people and their innermost thoughts are exchanged.
Isn’t that friendship? And isn’t that what God has done? Revealed His heart? Shared His ways which are above our ways, and His thoughts which are above our thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9), concerning us, our sin, and His longing for redemption and reconciliation? Made known His promises? Brought us into the secret counsels of His unfathomable grace? I’m thinkin’ . . .
Each morning when I open my bible it should be a reminder of the friendship of God. Every time the Spirit brings to mind something from His word that puts something in my life into context, it should again bring to remembrance that, though I am blessed to be but His bondservant, Jesus treats me as a friend, making known to me what His Father has made known to Him. Whether I know a little or a lot of the counsel of God through His word, it’s all a reminder of the friendship of God. That though He inhabits eternity, He chooses also to hang with those who are lowly and of contrite heart (Isa. 57:15).
Still not sure I’m comfortable with calling Him my friend. Don’t think I’m gonna go and change back the lyrics on my overhead. But blessed this morning by God’s sovereign determination to bring His people into His holy counsel as part of making way for us to enter into His holy presence. Blessed by this sign of friendship.
Blessed by His amazing grace. Blessed for His everlasting glory.