I’ve had a few good friends over the years. Well, let me clarify, I’ve had many friends – people I can hang out with, talk over dinner, that kind of friend. But I have only had a few really deep friendships. These were godly men who I could open up to; share my struggles and fears without feeling condemned; men with whom I could be totally myself and be accepted. It was much more than conversation over dinner, it was sharing lives and becoming a better person, more encouraged, more inspired or more grateful. I’ve only had a few of those kinds of friends. So as I was reading Psalms I was deeply moved by this verse.
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!” It is so exciting to think that I can have that kind of relationship with God Himself, a relationship that leaves me a better person, more encouraged, more inspired and more grateful every time I spend time with Him. That phrase – friendship of the Lord – evokes affection, closeness, familiarity and acceptance. It is a relationship that is not only possible, but real – today.
But also note one very important phrase in that verse. The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him. We cannot approach God as just another one of our casual friends. He’s not our Facebook friend. We must approach Him with the reverence and respect that is rightfully His. Our friendship with Him is not based on impulse or whim but on His character. He will not be toyed with. He will not be disregarded or marginalized. We can’t treat Him as our BFF-du-jour. There’s a difference between being afraid of Him and fear of Him. Being afraid implies a capricious, demanding, condemning deity, ready to strike us down if we step out of line. That is not who He is. But the “fear of the Lord” is having a healthy respect that He is the sovereign creator, near to us, but also high and lifted up. We can sit on His lap, but also fall down in worship.
I think that it possible to have a deep and rewarding friendship with the Lord, a relationship our souls longs for and one He wants to have with us. It’s possible as long as we remember who He is and treat Him accordingly. You see, as we cultivate this friendship with the Lord He will tell us marvelous things. And as we speak to Him about our struggles and fears we will hear His words of fondness towards us. He will talk to us about the promises and commitments He is making to us – “his covenant.” This is a friendship that starts today and lasts forever. This is a Best Friend Forever in the truest meaning of that phrase.