by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
James 2:20-23 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"—and he was called a friend of God.
Looking at the relationship between “love and affection” ("chiba" in Hebrew) and “obligation” ("chova" in Hebrew), we find another closely related word, “chaver”, one of the Hebrew words for “friend”. Friends are people with whom we share love and affection and also a sense of obligation. Our God and Father wants us to be His friends, to share love and affection with Him and to carry the sense of responsibility and obligation which friendship requires.
Abraham was a friend to God. He believed and trusted His Friend, but he also came to share the awesome responsibility of that friendship. Abraham's Friend, the Lord Himself, asked Abraham to become a living picture of His relationship with His own Son, Yeshua, (Jesus), by offering his own beloved son Isaac on an altar at Mount Moriah. Abraham's response to his Friend's request expressed a level of commitment to the friendship which was probably unprecedented in all human history since the time of Adam.
As we consider these Hebrew words and their common roots, we begin to see that Biblical language expresses profound realities, and carries meanings which resound through history. And we find that the God of all creation desires an intimate friendship with human beings He created and loves. But that friendship involves degrees of commitment which test the very frontiers of relationship. If you are on one of those frontiers, you may count yourself blessed. Not everyone is called "a friend of God."