I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts (Psalm 119:63).
The common term is “Christian fellowship.” But those words are hard to grab hold of and stick into the picture of our life. On the other hand, the phrase “The friend of my friend is my friend” captures our imagination. It has a mathematical quality to it. It is a way of stating, “Equals equal equals.”
There is another way to express the same thought: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Both phrases point out that if a certain relationship exists, another relationship must follow. The writer of Psalm 119 agrees.
“I am a friend to all who fear you,” the psalmist writes. There is no question about whom he is addressing. The first verse of the psalm states: “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.” A little later he calls out, “Praise be to you, LORD; teach me your decrees.”
It is the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, that is to be praised, obeyed—and feared. But he is not—not by most to whom he has granted life. Instead, his commands are regularly ignored; his will scorned; and his name abused. It reminds us of the fabled three little pigs that chanted, “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?”
From the human race comes the taunt, “Who’s afraid of the big bad God?” The psalmist raised his hand to say, “I am.” Then he looked around to see if any others said the same. To those he then announced, “You are my friends.” This is not a dreadful, paralyzing fear. The writer of Psalm 130 puts it this way, “But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.”
We agree. This is what we know and believe. This is the God we love and serve. We raise our hand with the psalmist. We say, “Me, too!” Sometimes we call out, “Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good—and his mercy endures forever.” We listen for others who echo that sentiment. We watch for others who also try to carry out his precepts, that is, his teachings. We are astounded to learn that the Savior God tells us he is our friend—the Friend of sinners.
We rejoice to learn of others who share this same friendship. We are tied to those people by a common faith. We are united with them in common service. With them we enjoy a common state of holiness granted by the sacrifice of Jesus for us. We have a common union with them. It is a type of communion. It is called the communion of saints. It is also known as the holy Christian Church.
The friend of my Friend is my friend.
In a common hymn, we lift up our voices to declare the fellowship we have with him. We sing out:
“What a friend we have in Jesus!” And from around the world and the vault of heaven, our friends call back: “Amen.”
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida-Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military