For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. … But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Messiah also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
Abraham was called a ‘friend’ of God. Did Abraham click the ‘like’ digital button on God’s Facebook? Or did God click on ‘like’ digital button on Abraham’s Facebook? In ancient Semitic societies the word ‘friend’ meant something much deeper than a digital click or a casual acquaintance. The bond of friendship was as strong as a marriage. David and Jonathan had such a bond (1 Samuel 18:1-4)!
In a ‘friend’ covenant, two parties merged their assets and liabilities and pledged each other military support. The covenant could only be annulled by the death of one of the parties. To break the terms of the ‘friend’ covenant was a serious issue that could even lead to war between the two factions. Here is question: whereas I may find benefits in making such a covenant/merger with God, what would God gain in making one with me? Do I have anything to give Him? Will I protect God in His day of trouble? Indeed God needed a man to help Him bridge between His holy realm and the human sinful realm; a man with integrity who would show himself unconditionally loyal towards that covenant; a man who would initiate a family line to carry the seed of Messiah.
That man whom God would entrust needed to have a certain amount of ‘chesed’. This word is usually translated as ‘mercy’, lovingkindness’. It also means ‘devotion’. Ten times Hashem tested Abraham’s ‘chesed’ towards the covenant even to the point of requiring the life of his only begotten son, and ten times Abraham proved himself worthy of the Father’s investment.
Covenants are passed from fathers to sons. When we accept Yeshua as our Messiah, the abrahamic covenant falls on us. Should we also be tested? Life seems to be a series of tests where we each are faced with decisions pertaining to the terms of the covenant. The Torah given on Mount Horeb is the terms of our covenant with the heavenly Father.
Most of us have trials and tests in our lives. Some are our faults, while some seem totally random. Sages taught that when the sinner suffers it is for his own sake, but when the righteous suffers, it is for the sake of others. Whereas some of our trials may be the results of our own foolishness, some things do fall on us that we feel are random. Yeshua did say that as the Father sent Him, so He sent us. Could it be that our ‘random’ trials operate ‘virtue credit’ for others who need it? This principle is why prophets who interceded for Israel always reminded God of someone else’s virtue like Abraham or King David in whose name to save Israel. We are ourselves are redeemed not by our own virtues but by that of Messiah.
This is just something to think about. If anything, it may give purpose to those bad things we feel happened to us for seemingly no reason at all!