A bit dry this morning. My brain’s in more of a “take it in” mode than a “type it out.” So, as I often do on these types of morning, went back through previous meals from this day in my reading plan. This one, from 10 years ago, was good to chew on again. Hmmm . . . a decade since I started reading the ESV . . . who knew? Hmmm . . . a friend of God since the day I believed . . . who could have imagined?
This year I switched Bible translations for my morning devo’s. I’ve been a New King James (NKJV) guy for quite a few years. This year though, I decided to use the English Standard Version (ESV) as I work through my reading plan. Not a big departure really from what I’m used to, but I do find myself coming across phrases or ideas that I’d never “discovered” before in my reading . . . little “surprises” . . . “ah-hahs” . . . and in the case of this morning’s “unexpected finding”, a bit of a “Thanks be to God!” blessing.
The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant.
(Psalm 25:14 ESV)
Friendship with the Lord. Now how’s that for a phrase to noodle on? In the NKJV and NASB it’s rendered “The secret of the LORD” . . . in the NIV it’s “The LORD confides”.
The idea behind the word is that of being part of an inner circle . . . a council of familiar conversation . . . an assembly of familiar friends . . . those who are confided in . . . those who are privileged to be “brought into the know”.
You can see where both translations are accurate, though each emphasizes something a bit different. The NKJV emphasizes the evidence of the relationship, the “secret” . . . the ESV emphasizes the relationship itself . . . the secret is for the inner council, those who know “friendship” with the Lord.
A friend of God. Friendship with the Lord . . . friendship with Jehovah . . . friendship with “the existing One”. That is the intimate relationship available for those who fear Him . . . for those whose sins are remembered no more (25:7) because of redeeming grace . . . for those who have been pardoned of their guilt (25:11), having been justified by faith. These are brought into intimate relationship with God.
To them He makes known His promises (25:14) . . . to them He makes known His ways, teaches them His paths, leads them in truth (25:4-5). “Who has understood the mind of the Lord?” asks Paul. “We have the mind of the Christ,” comes the response (1Cor. 2:16).
Brought near through the blood of Christ, we have entered the inner council . . . and the inner counsel . . . of Jehovah . . . of I AM . . . of the Creator of all things. His secrets, to the degree He has chosen to reveal them to men, have been made available to those who believe. And not to be left to ourselves to “decipher” the high and holy ways of a God who is beyond fully understanding, we have been given the very Spirit of God as a permanent, resident instructor concerning the things of the secrets of the kingdom of God. Yeah . . . that’s a good indicator of friendship.
And while “the secrets” are evidence of “the friendship”, the friendship goes so far beyond Revealer / receiver . . . more than Teacher / student . . . deeper than Master / disciple . . . but within this inner council there is fellowship . . . communion . . . a heart of God to heart of man connection . . . as He knows our frame (Ps. 103:14) and is familiar with our frailty and weakness (Heb. 4:15) . . . and as we come to know His heart and the full dimensions of His love for us (Eph. 3:18-19). And so, the relationship grows, as do all healthy relationships. “The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows!”
Oh, to be a friend of God. Not to presume on the relationship . . . but to ponder the privilege . . . to respond with a holy determination to remain faithful by His power and grace . . . to bow down and worship with a thankful heart. Thanks be to God!