Imagine being known in heaven as God’s friend. That’s what God called Abraham. Abraham didn’t have a Bible or a church, but he sought to know God intimately. God tested his faith over and over throughout his entire life, and Abraham continued to believe that God had his best interest at heart.
Not many people even know about Enoch because the Bible doesn’t record much about him. But it does tell us something very interesting: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” God enjoyed his time of fellowship with Enoch. Most don’t see God as a person who desires conversation with a close friend. But God enjoyed Enoch’s presence so much that he just raptured him to heaven. Enoch is one of only two men—so far—who got out of this life without dying.
David is known as the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). Oh, that we would all have a heart that wants what God wants. Oddly enough, we remember David for being an adulterer, but God sees the heart of a person. David loved God and was/is God’s friend. David will have a special place in days to come because God knows he can trust David as a genuine friend.
One of my favorite Bible characters is Daniel. It would seem Daniel didn’t have a lot of protection from the evil that came his way. As a youth he was kidnapped, was made a eunuch, and then became a slave to heathen kings his entire life. Yet Daniel’s life story is quite fascinating. It is certainly not one of victimhood. He was a man of integrity.
The book of Daniel explains last-days events (along with the book of Revelation). He had several visits from heavenly beings. He was falsely accused of evil by jealous political leaders and brought up on charges that could have led to his death. You know the stories of the lions and the fiery furnace. I love the story of how Daniel prayed faithfully but no answer came for twenty-one days. Finally the angel shows up and tells Daniel, “O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.”
Did you notice how the angel addressed Daniel? He calls him “greatly beloved,” and in other places it says he was loved by heaven. Who in heaven loved Daniel and why?
All these characters—Daniel, David, Abraham, and Enoch—have one thing in common: they were/are friends of God. When God finds someone who really loves him, he values them as special friends. God is looking for genuine souls to be his friends. A friend is someone who has your best interest at heart, believes good of you, and would go out of their way to help. A friend doesn’t talk bad about you. They don’t use the relationship to gain something. Rather, a friend wants to pour into your life with no thought of return. We all want real friends. God does too.
Sadly, more often than not, even people who seemed to be friends of God are not walking in truth; their relationship with God is just to get something or further their agenda. The Bible gives us a perfect example: Imagine being taught by Jesus for three and half years. Every day walking, talking, and seeing one miracle after another: people healed of all kinds of diseases, others raised from the dead, Jesus feeding thousands of people with just a few fish and pieces of bread, and so many more amazing things. Anyone would be so wowed with wonder at Jesus’ kindness, his forgiveness, his wonderful teachings, and the very glory of his presence. And then, incredibly, Jesus gives his friends the ability to cast out devils, heal the sick, and feed the poor. Such an astounding opportunity to be given a part of what God in the flesh is doing on earth—things that no man in history has ever been capable of doing. Can you imagine being a part of that? Yet, in all this, the one trusted to hold the money bag felt the liberty to take a little here and there, because, after all, it was given to him to spend as needed, so, he reasoned, it was not stealing.
How could he think that Jesus, the one who could calm a storm at his command, wouldn’t know? Oddly, Judas was blinded to his own heart. Clearly he thought he was wiser in worldly matters than Jesus and the disciples. They were so caught up in the wonder of it all, just naïve and not noticing that the things around them were beginning to turn against them. Judas knew that the adoring crowd could and would quickly turn. They were just people caught up in the glory of the moment. Judas didn’t want the crowd to turn on him. He wanted to be on the winning side when things hit the fan. Thus his plan of making a little money on the side while distancing himself by his betrayal. He never really was a friend of Jesus.
Today Jesus is searching for those who truly love him and want his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. He is looking for folks who are genuine and who are walking in truth, people who glory in honoring God. God wants friends.
In coming days our faith and trust in Jesus will be tested as was Abraham's . Bad things might come our way through government like they did for Daniel, and the difficulties might last a while. Will we jump on the victimhood bandwagon, or will be like Daniel and maintain our confidence in God regardless of what may come? Today many are being swayed by new doctrines, by exhilarating meetings with stirring music and well-known celebrities preaching a form of faith.
We stand on the edge of life as we know it. All the forces of heaven and earth are now colliding as evidenced by both stupidity and godlessness abounding. That which is good is said to be evil and that which is godless is adored. Satan is the god of this world, and for a while it will seem that he is winning.
But we have read the final chapter and we know how it all ends. Don’t lose faith. Trust in God, walk in truth, be filled with thanksgiving and rejoicing for we know that our redemption draweth nigh. Walk with Jesus like Enoch did and expect a sudden trip up. For those friends of God that love his appearing, I’ll see you here, there, or in the air!