Lenten Devotion: Friends of God

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you”, and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” ’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” ’ (Luke 4:9-12)

Friends of God

I’m not quite sure what it means to test God. Our best explanation comes from stories in Hebrew Scripture, our Old Testament, in which people refused to trust God’s provision for their needs.

They demanded a sign from God, something clear, even spectacular that proved God is God and would do what they needed God to do for them.

Doesn’t sound like much of relationship. Most of us would back away from a “friend” who always wants something from us and who pouts if we don’t produce.

At other times, the people of God took God’s blessing for granted: Blessing and divine protection are ours because we are favored, even if we ignore God’s call to be just and merciful, welcoming the stranger and caring for those in need.

Such presumption is not the relationship the Holy One desires with us.

We are invited into a relationship of mutual love and trust in which we do not take God’s presence and blessing for granted, but live in joyful gratitude for every blessing in our lives.

We are invited to be partners in God’s loving mission to the world, caring for the goodness of creation and extending loving care to those who suffer or struggle.

It is incredible but true: God seeks our friendship … your friendship. Friends don’t presuppose on each other. They share their hearts, their hopes, their joys, their needs, wants and goals.

So we do not take God’s blessing for granted or demand that God better do what we want or we will turn away. We trust the Love who wants to walk day-by-day with us.

Pr. David L. Miller