ABRAHAM MY FRIEND
Isaiah 41:1 Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment. 2 Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow. 3 He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet. 4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he. 5 The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came. 6 They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage. 7 So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved. 8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. 9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
2 Chronicles 20:7 Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
The Lord speaks of raising up two men in this 41st chapter of Isaiah. In verse two he speaks of raising up Abraham his friend to begin the world of faith. Then in verse twenty-five he speaks of raising up Cyrus from the north in order to bring Israel back to obedience. But Cyrus, unlike Abraham, is God’s servant-shepherd and not his friend. For all men are God’s servants, but not all men are his friends. Isaiah 44:28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; 5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
The Lord Jesus defines for us the difference between God’s friends and God’s servants. John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. God’s friend is one governed by the inner love of God. He will interrupt his own life for God’s purposes. For God’s love is kind, and seeketh not her own. (1 Corin 13:4,5) And God’s friends are those who yield absolute submission to His command-ments. John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
And in that John 15:15 verse we learn that the result of obeying God’s commandments is to receive all that the Father reveals to the Son. John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Abraham did so and received the awareness of God’s Son as Saviour. John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. For he obeyed God when he was commanded to take Isaac up on a mount to be revealed by God and offer him there. Father Abraham took his son Isaac up on Mount Moriah, which is Mount Calvary in the New Testament. Isaac had the wood for the fire on his back, the only begotten Son had the cross on his. Both father and son went together. Both Fathers and sons went up on the same mount and in the same order.
And both received their sons back in a resurrection. Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;
Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. He instructed his young servants that he and Isaac would both be coming back, believing that God would raise Isaac up again.
Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
And even intense Bible study alone will not provide one with the spiritual revelations of Jesus Christ. For those who had been raised under the law of Moses could actually walk down the road with him and not know who he was! Luke 24:16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
For religious faith is vain without spiritual insight of the resurrection! 1 Corinthians 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. For as Abraham had the day of Christ revealed to him by his obedience and willingness to offer up Isaac, so only those with obedient spirits are given to see into the spirituality of the word. John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
And that spiritual insight comes from the experience of a present, spiritual resurrection. For regeneration is but a resurrection from the deadness in trespasses and sin! John 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
One only has faith in the physical resurrection of his body from the earth in the last day as he has already experienced his own spiritual resurrection in having been born again! For in that spiritual resurrection he was raised to the new life in Christ. Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Be careful that these matters are not just historical Bible lessons for our heads, but that they are a matter of present faith in our hearts! Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his (Abraham’s) sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
This is the exclusive manner in which the Holy Spirit grants to Christ’s true friends more abundant revelations, while those without submissive obedience, even sitting next to them in hearing the gospel preached, only receive the letter of the law, which killeth. 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. John 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
The gospel is only effectually passed on from faith to faith! Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God.
In verses one through four of our above listed Isaiah 41 passage the Lord reveals his sovereign work in choosing an idolater (Abram), from the Ur of the Chaldees to begin his family of faith. He was, as it were, digged from a pit, buried in sin and idolatry. Isaiah 51:1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. 2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.
Then in verses five through seven of our Isaiah 41 chapter we see the opposite effect upon unbelievers, turning them into more hardened idolaters. For they band together, (the carpenter with the goldsmith), in order to fashion a lovely idol, overlaid with gold. For that revelation of life to Abram also brought light to those around him. And that was their condemnation. John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
For the revelation of God is a double edged sword! – life to one and death to another! 2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For God’s one gospel will fill both heaven and Hell.
For it is the rejected revelation of God that bring all unbelievers to the lowest realm of sin and debauchery! Those levels of corruption are only reached as one denies the revelation of God as absolutely sovereign! Consider this passage:
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Then in our Isaiah 41 passage God points believers to his friend Abraham, assuring them that as he has sovereignly chosen him from the masses of Ur, (It is recorded that there were as many os 300,000 living in the city known then as ‘the capital of the earth’), so he had chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
Remember dear Reader what the Lord Jesus said about being his friend in our John fifteen passage listed above. For even though we, like Abram, were without hope being without God, He is faithful to all those who will obey him in coming forth out of the world’s influences, laying down our former lives to follow him. And even though Abram was led even by the way that he had not gone with his feet (Isaiah 41:3), so we can walk by faith in following the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.
Hebrews 11:8 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. Revelation 14:4 These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.
Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. Luke 17:32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
Can you be a friend of God?
Pastor Gene Breed
June 20, 2019