Devotional Readings

The Friend of God

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Hebrews 11:8.

Many people question the God of the Old Testament versus the God of the New Testament. One person says, “The God of the Old Testament was a God of judgment, a God who put to death men, women, and children.” This is what man has done to God in the Old Testament. Let’s look again at one Old Testament example of what God is like.

You see a man who has left his country, his kindred, and his father’s house. He has gone out, not knowing where he was going, believing God’s promise to make of him a great nation. He is called the friend of God.

Even after he reaches the Promised Land, the story has just begun. A famine comes, and Abraham is forced temporarily to seek refuge in the land of Egypt. There his faith fails. He fears that God isn’t big enough to protect Sarah, his wife, who is fair to look upon. So he decides to help God out. He tells a half-truth, which is really a falsehood, that Sarah is his sister. When the king of Egypt hears of her great beauty, he has her brought to his palace, intending to have her for his wife.

How did God handle this? Did He rain fire down from heaven to destroy Abraham? Did He withdraw His protection from him, from Sarah? Did He say to Abraham, “Some friend you turned out to be–forget you”?

“And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues, because of Sarai Abram’s wife” (Genesis 12:17). “Pharaoh saw in this stranger a man whom the God of heaven honored, and he feared to have in his kingdom one who was so evidently under divine favor.”–Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 131.

A man who lied is under divine favor? How can that be? Abraham had sinned, he had failed, but he was still God’s child, still His friend. This did not mean that God approved of Abraham’s deception. But it must mean that God approved of Abraham.

Apparently Abraham’s friendship with God was based on something other than the occasional good deed or misdeed. What a picture of the God of the Old Testament–His mercy, His justice, and His love.

from Faith that Works
Morris Venden | Review & Herald (2000)
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