Abraham - The Man Who was God's Friend.
“But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham, my friend.”-Isaiah 41:8
Text: Isaiah 41:1-16
Help me to have empathy for others by listening deeply,
feeling what they feel, and actively loving as God loves me.
The dictionary says that a friend is one who is attached to another by affection or esteem. Attachment implies that there is a relationship and experience has proven that one-sided friendships don’t last. There has to be giving and receiving, teaching and learning, believing and doubting. Friendship is hard work. We might have many acquaintances but only a consider a few of them as friends.
God considered Abraham his friend. The book of Genesis chronicles the dialogue between them and the relationship they shared. God gave a blessing-Abraham received it. Abraham learned the lesson of patience, taught by an Eternal God as he waited for the promised land of Canaan. Abraham believed; his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness. Doubt? What mortal can climb a mountain fully intending to slay his one and only son without doubting the affection of the person who asked him to do it?
The affection and esteem Abraham and God had for another were by-products of a mutual relationship permeated by respect, trustworthiness, responsibility, justice, fairness, integrity, and caring. All of these attributes emerge as central themes of Abraham’s testing in Genesis, Chapter 22. However, one of Abraham’s major character traits as revealed Genesis is empathy.
To be empathetic requires appreciating the perspectives and feelings of another. Compassion for those destined for destruction in Sodom precipitated Abraham’s intercessory plea for their lives. During the visit of the three men (Chapter 18) Abraham connected with them. He asked that water be brought to wash their feet, he prepared a meal for them, and he treated them as superiors by addressing one of them as “my lord.” In Genesis Chapter 21, Abraham showed concern for his son, Ishmael, and the boy’s mother when they were dismissed by Sarah. In fact, “The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son.” (v. 11).
Empathy has the capacity to transform the way we live, love, work, and connect across differences. It transformed Abraham’s life and resulted in a deeper relationship with God – it can do the same for you.
Lay Minister of Administration