Friendships14 December, 2018
If there was a lesson I had to learn this year, it’s that life is about relationships. If we fail in our relationships, then, in essence, we fail in life. Relating to others is one of the most important things to learn and it’s a key to success in life.
If you think about it, the Bible is basically a record of men and women who walked with God and one another. The Garden of Eden was created as a meeting place between God and the man He had made in His own image. The Lord God would come in the cool of the evening to commune with Adam and there was unbroken fellowship and uninterrupted communion between them.
It was for this purpose that man was created. But when sin inhabited the human race, the first thing it did was to sever man’s communion with God. Adam became alienated from the Lord. God then set into motion His plan for salvation, which really is to restore us to that original place of intimacy and fellowship we had with Him before the fall. But the second thing that sin did was to sever man’s fellowship with his neighbour.
It wasn’t too long after the fall that Cain murdered Abel and man’s relationship with others became fractured. Sin not only separates us from God, it also separates us from one another. God then gave us the 10 Commandments to point us back to Him. In essence, the first four commandments help us understand how He wants us to relate to Him, and the next six tell us how we’re to relate to our neighbours. Then Jesus came; and it was He who restored our broken relationship with the Lord, and the Cross broke the enmity and restored us to God and to man.
When David was king over Israel, he had many people serving him. 1 Chronicles gives an account of tens of thousands. From 1 Chron 23-27, we find the family of Levites, the family of priests, the musicians and their families, gatekeepers, treasurers, military leaders, generals, captains, cabinet ministers and the elders of Israel. All came to serve David in Jerusalem.
But in 1 Chron 27: 32-34, we read of another group of people. ‘Also, Jehonathan, David’s uncle, was a counsellor, a wise man, and a scribe; and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni was with the king’s sons. Ahithophel was the king’s counsellor, and Hushai the Archite was the king’s companion. After Ahithophel was Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, then Abiathar. And the general of the king’s army was Joab.’
This was David’s inner circle. This was the nerve centre of his kingdom. We’re introduced to Jehonathan, a counsellor to David. Then we’re introduced to Jehiel, who most likely was a tutor to the king’s sons; and lastly, a very important person called Ahithophel, referred to as the king’s counsellor. He would go on to betray David. But there’s another man mentioned in the same verse – it’s Hushai, whom the Bible describes as the king’s companion.
If I could say this, these two men were the right and left hand of David. I’ve often wondered what it must’ve been like for someone to be the king’s companion, to be someone whom the king can confide in, like a confidante. David had all these people, thousands upon thousands, serving him. When David spoke, his wishes were carried out immediately. When someone serves you, you call that person a ‘servant’; but when someone is your companion, you call that person a ‘friend’. And that was what Hushai was to David. David had thousands and thousands of servants, but he only had one whom he called ‘companion’. There were others like Barzillai, Zadok and Jehoiada, who were his close friends; but Hushai was special – he was David’s companion.
To put this into a bigger perspective: God has millions upon millions of servants who do His bidding. His Word is law and when His Word leaves His mouth, it’s done immediately by His servants. But as you look in the Old Testament, you’ll discover that God has not many He calls ‘friend’. I can think of only a few; Abraham was called ‘friend of God’; Moses was a man who spoke to God face-to-face, as a man would speak to His friend. Elijah the prophet was the man who stood in the Presence of God. Enoch was someone who walked with God. In other words, they were men whom God could confide in. He’d speak to them as He would with His companions. And the marvellous thing about this is: they’d be His companions for all eternity.
So, this must be our quest as well, to become a friend of God. Jesus said to His disciples, “No longer do I call you servants but friends.” Then He added, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” John 15:14. Seek this with all your heart.
Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong