*An audio version of today's devotional is available on Leading The Way's MY Devotional podcast.

There is a saying in the Middle East. Roughly translated, it goes like this: "Your enemy will count to you every one of your faults, but a friend will even swallow gravel for you." Who wouldn't like to have a friend like that? Who wouldn't want a true friend who will stick with you through thick and thin? The Bible tells us that Abraham was God's friend (see 2 Chronicles 20:7; James 2:23). In fact, God Himself called Abraham a friend (see Isaiah 41:8). But it's in our passage for today that we get to see this friendship between Abraham and the Lord on display.

Read Genesis 18. When God appeared to Abraham, He came in the appearance of a man, but Abraham recognized that it was the Lord. That's why Abraham bowed low to the ground in a posture of worship. Abraham invited God into his hospitality and had his servants prepare “a choice, tender calf” (v. 7). Abraham’s friendship with God was not lip service. It involved action. It involved a sacrifice.

And this friendship was mutual. When the Lord rose to leave Abraham's tent, He said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?" (v. 17). Friends share secrets, so God did not want to hide what He was about to do from His good friend. What God was about to do was no small thing: He was going to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their incredible wickedness.

Abraham remembered that his nephew Lot was living near Sodom. So as his conversation with the Lord continued, Abraham asked Him to spare the city for 50, then 45, and all the way down to 10 righteous people. And God agreed because Abraham was His friend.

On the authority of God’s Word, I can tell you that God is eager to renew His friendship with you. God is longing for you to be in close communion with Him. But friends need to spend time together, talking with one another and sharing secrets, so open your heart to the Lord today. 

Prayer: Lord, You are a true friend who has endured so much for me. I praise You for Your unfailing faithfulness. I long to know You as my intimate friend. Help me set aside time to know You more by spending time in Your Word and in Your presence. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Counting Stars in an Empty Sky, Part 8: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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