Most friendships are conditional. Most marriages are conditional. Most of us approach relationships with an “if” and a “then.” “If you do this, then I will respond by doing that.” Yet God’s friendship with Abram went beyond “if and then.” God’s friendship with Abram was based simply upon- “I will.”
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen 12:1-3 NLT)
Some might say, “But wasn’t God’s promise to Abram based upon Abram’s obedience? Didn’t Abram have to leave in order to receive?” That’s true. Abram had to choose to accept God’s gift; yet I maintain that the offer was based solely upon God’s willingness to be gracious.
So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him. After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord. Then Abram continued traveling south by stages toward the Negev. (Gen 12:4, 7-9 NLT)
As Abram journeyed throughout the land, he stopped along the way and built various altars in order to thank God for being so gracious to him. I’m sure that each time he did, his new-found relationship with the Lord became a little more real and a little more meaningful. In my mind I can see the two friends spending each day together, exploring God’s gift to His friend.
Perhaps you think that I am being a little too simplistic in my explanation of Abram’s relationship with God; but before you write me off, consider another man who knew God as his Friend. His name is Enoch and his story is found in Genesis 5. “Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.” (Gen 5:24 NLT) Years ago I heard an elderly preacher say that every evening Enoch went out to take a walk with God. One evening the Lord said to him, “We’ve come a long ways dear friend, and since we’re now closer to My home than to yours, why don’t you come and stay with Me.”
Please don’t think that I am in anyway trying to downplay God as the Creator and myself as the creation. God is God and I am not and I will never be on His level nor worthy of His love and care. Yet I don’t want to miss God’s purpose for my life in becoming His friend and He becoming mine. When I think of God’s willingness to be a Friend to me, it causes me to praise Him even more.