“Moses had one of the most intimate relationships with God in all of Scripture. He experienced God face-to-face, even mouth-to-mouth, some say. How did that relationship work? One time God said to Moses:
Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a moulded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, “This is your god, O Israel that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”…I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation (Exodus 32:7–10).
Moses responded, Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, “He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever” (Exodus 32:11–13).
So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people (Exodus 32:14).
That’s a breath-taking interaction. God wasn’t playing some psychological game. He wasn’t using reverse psychology to steer Moses to the right conclusion. He was interacting with Moses as a friend. This was a conversation between intimates, not servant and master. Jesus affirmed that we have this kind of relationship with God throughout John 14, 15, and 16:
No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you (John 15:15).
If you ask anything in My name, I will do it (John 14:14).
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you (John 15:7).
Servants aren’t co-labourers; friends are. There are major differences between the mentalities of each. A servant is task oriented, wanting to know exactly what is required so he or she can do it. But a servant doesn’t know the master’s business from the inside. We don’t have servants today, so it’s hard for us to understand, but imagine that you did have people living in your household who served you and carried out your will. A servant would know certain things about you, like your hobbies, whether you liked going to baseball games or out fishing, what you liked for dinner, what time you wanted coffee in the morning. But a servant would not share personal times with you. He wouldn’t comfort you in your down times; you wouldn’t invite the servants in to discuss family problems or major business decisions, or even minor ones. But God has elevated us from servants to friends. He invites us into a relationship that goes beyond employer-employee interactions. He is willing for us to engage Him…to change His mind, to direct His ideas, to share in His unfolding creative work.
He doesn’t lack for ideas. He just enjoys our participation. When you become a friend of God, you don’t lose the humility and obedience of a servant, but your relational perspective shifts. There is a point in our relationship with God where obedience is no longer the primary issue. That may also sound blasphemous, but it’s a deep truth God wants to reveal more widely in the Church. There are levels of relationship with God that many of us have not conceived or experienced, and until we do, our co-labouring with Him will be more limited than it needs to be.”
This is the second extract from Bill Johnson, ch10