The original Greek word for friend in this verse does not mean a casual acquaintance but a close, trusted relationship. The same word is used to refer to the best man at a wedding (John 3:29) and a king’s inner circle of intimate, trusted friends. In royal courts, servants must keep their distance from the king, but the inner circle of trusted friends enjoy close contact, direct access, and confidential information.
That God would want me for a close friend is hard to understand. But the Bible says, “He is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you” (Exodus 34:14 NLT).
God deeply desires that we know him intimately. In fact, he planned the universe and orchestrated history, including the details of our lives, so that we could become his friends. The Bible says, “He made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him” (Acts 17:26-27 The Message).
Knowing and loving God is our greatest privilege, and being known and loved is God’s greatest pleasure. God says, “If any want to boast, they should boast that they know and understand me . . . These are the things that please me” (Jeremiah 9:24 GNT).
It’s difficult to imagine how an intimate friendship is possible between an omnipotent, invisible, perfect God and a finite, sinful human being. It’s easier to understand a Master-servant relationship or a Creator-creation relationship or even Father-child. Yet God wants us as his friends, and that’s an incredible honor.