HOW would you feel if the Creator of heaven and earth said of you, “This is my friend”? To many, that might sound farfetched. After all, how could a mere human ever enter into a friendship with Jehovah God? Yet, the Bible assures us that we really can be close to God.
Abraham of old was one who enjoyed such closeness. Jehovah identified that patriarch as “my friend.” (Isaiah 41:8) Yes, Jehovah considered Abraham to be a personal friend. Abraham was granted that close relationship because he “put faith in Jehovah.” (James 2:23) Today, too, Jehovah looks for opportunities to “get attached” to those who serve him out of love. (Deuteronomy 10:15) His Word urges: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (James 4:8) In these words we find both an invitation and a promise.
Jehovah invites us to draw near to him. He is ready and willing to receive us into his favor as friends. At the same time, he promises that if we take steps to draw close to him, he will take corresponding action. He will draw close to us. Thus we may enter into something truly precious—“intimacy with Jehovah.” (Psalm 25:14) “Intimacy” conveys the idea of confidential talk with a special friend.
Do you have an intimate friend in whom you can confide? Such a friend is one who cares about you. You trust him, for he has proved to be loyal. Your joys are heightened when you share them with him. His sympathetic ear lightens the burden of your sorrows. Even when no one else seems to understand you, he does. Similarly, when you draw close to God, you come to have a special Friend who truly values you, deeply cares about you, and fully understands you. (Psalm 103:14; 1 Peter 5:7) You trust him with your inmost feelings, for you know that he is loyal to those who are loyal to him. (Psalm 18:25) However, this privileged intimacy with God is within our reach only because he has made it possible.
Jehovah Has Opened the Way
Left on our own, we as sinners could never be close to God. (Psalm 5:4) “But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” wrote the apostle Paul. (Romans 5:8) Yes, Jehovah arranged for Jesus “to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Our faith in that ransom sacrifice makes it possible for us to be close to God. Since God “first loved us,” he laid the foundation for us to enter into friendship with him.
Jehovah has taken another step: He has revealed himself to us. In any friendship, closeness is based on truly knowing a person, valuing his qualities and ways. So if Jehovah were a hidden, unknowable God, we could never be close to him. Yet, far from concealing himself, he wants us to know him. (Isaiah 45:19) Furthermore, what he reveals about himself is available to all, even to those of us who may be considered lowly by the world’s standards.—
How has Jehovah revealed himself to us? His creative works make known certain aspects of his personality—the vastness of his power, the richness of his wisdom, the abundance of his love. (Romans 1:20) But Jehovah’s revelation of himself does not stop with the things he created. Ever the Great Communicator, he provided a written revelation of himself in his Word, the Bible.
Beholding “the Pleasantness of Jehovah”
The Bible itself is evidence of Jehovah’s love for us. In his Word, he reveals himself in terms we can comprehend—proof not only that he loves us but that he wants us to know and love him. What we read in this precious book enables us to behold “the pleasantness of Jehovah” and moves us to want to be close to him. (Psalm 90:17) Let us discuss some of the heartwarming ways in which Jehovah reveals himself in his Word.
The Scriptures contain many direct statements identifying God’s qualities. Note some examples. “Jehovah is a lover of justice.” (Psalm 37:28) God is “exalted in power.” (Job 37:23) “‘I am loyal,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.” (Jeremiah 3:12) “He is wise in heart.” (Job 9:4) He is “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth.” (Exodus 34:6) “You, O Jehovah, are good and ready to forgive.” (Psalm 86:5) And, as mentioned in the preceding chapter, one quality is predominant: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) As you reflect on these pleasing attributes, are you not drawn to this incomparable God?
In addition to telling us what his qualities are, Jehovah has lovingly included in his Word concrete examples of these qualities in action. Such accounts paint vivid mental pictures that help us see the various facets of his personality more clearly. That, in turn, helps us draw close to him. Consider an example.
The Son Is Willing to Reveal Him”
Notice the description of Jehovah found at Isaiah 40:11: “Like a shepherd he will shepherd his own drove. With his arm he will collect together the lambs; and in his bosom he will carry them.” Jehovah is here compared to a shepherd who picks up lambs with “his arm.” This denotes God’s ability to protect and support his people, even the more vulnerable ones. We can feel safe in his strong arms, for if we are loyal to him, he will never forsake us. (Romans 8:38, 39) The Great Shepherd carries the lambs “in his bosom”—an expression referring to the loose folds of the upper garment, in which a shepherd would at times carry a newborn lamb. We are thus assured that Jehovah cherishes and tenderly cares for us. It is only natural to want to be close to him.
In his Word, Jehovah provides the most intimate revelation of himself through his beloved Son, Jesus. No one could reflect God’s thinking and feelings more closely or explain Him more vividly than Jesus did. After all, that firstborn Son existed alongside his Father before other spirit creatures and the physical universe were created. (Colossians 1:15) Jesus was intimately acquainted with Jehovah. That is why he could say: “Who the Son is no one knows but the Father; and who the Father is, no one knows but the Son, and he to whom the Son is willing to reveal him.” (Luke 10:22) When on earth as a man, Jesus revealed his Father in two important ways.