Posted by: dhkrause | December 31, 2017

Friends, and More than Friends

Jeremiah 31_3

God’s goodness to us is shown in so many ways!  He creates, protects, sustains and guides us, and invites us into an eternal friendship with Him.  With undying passion He is calling to those who have hearts to hear, to be friends, and more than friends.

Jeremiah 31 speaks of God’s restoration of Israel, and describes how He draws His people with an everlasting love:

Jeremiah 31 (NKJV)
The Remnant of Israel Saved
“At the same time,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”
Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
Found grace in the wilderness—
Israel, when I went to give him rest.”
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you
.
Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt,
O virgin of Israel!
You shall again be adorned with your tambourines,
And shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.”

Psalm 3_3

In a time of great trouble, David prayed, “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” (Psalm 3:3)

Psalm 3 (KJV)
Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine headI cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.

God is our friend and protector, and He gives Himself fully to those who give themselves to Him.  This was described elegantly in a recent devotion on Genesis 15:1 by Dr. Erez Soref, President of “One For Israel”.  He writes in a newsletter dated 12/26/2017:

“Shalom!
The word of Adonai came to Abram in a vision saying,
“Do not fear, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
God had promised Abram (later to be called Abraham) a son, a land, and a blessing that would go to all nations. All wonderful gifts! It’s hard to imagine how much each of those things would have meant to a wandering, childless, aging couple. Yet God states that more than all of these things, He Himself is the real prize. He is our very great reward. It’s good to stop and drink in the fact God has given us the most incredible gift of all: Himself.”

Psalm 23

David exemplifies a close personal relationship with God in Psalm 23, describing how the Lord protects him, leads him, restores him, and brings him into His eternal presence.

Psalm 23 (NKJV)
The Lord is my shepherd;
   I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Jesus declares in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” He explains in verse 18, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

John 10_10-11

John 10 (NKJV)
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.  …
14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

In Matthew 11, He invites us to come to him, to partner with him, to learn from him, and to find rest for our souls.

Matthew 11 (NKJV)
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

We will be His friends, and more than friends if we abide in His love, keeping His commandments:

John 15 (NKJV)
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. … 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

In his book, “Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority” (p. 223), Pastor John Eldredge describes what it means to be friends, and more than friends with God:

“The goal of human existence is union with God, an absolute union of heart, soul, mind, and strength, the union Jesus knew with his Father: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). God is weaning us to the place we will be able to say like David, “Your love is better than life” (Psalm 63:3), to truly and actually believe in the marrow of our bones that God’s love surpasses anything this world has to offer.”

Psalm 63_3-4

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 12/30/2017, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
https://www.amazingfacts.org/news-and-features/scripture-pictures/scripture-pictures-by-verse/verse/e/19695/t/jeremiah-31-3
https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Psalms-3-3_Inspirational_Image/
http://dustoffthebible.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Psalm-23.jpg/
http://faithhopeandheartwarming.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/life-more-abundantly.jpeg/
https://www.bereaproject.org/verse-of-the-day/2016/3/11/psalm-6334/

 


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