Intimacy vs Familiarity
By: Apostle Skhumbuzo Sangweni
Yesterday we discussed Amos 3:7 where the Lord said that He would not do anything without first revealing His “secret counsel” to His servants the prophets. We also see in Psalm 25:14 that “The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant.” It is those who fear Him that He can trust with divine knowledge.
We may wonder how we can really be friends with Him if we fear Him, but it is the understanding of these divine paradoxes that the path of life is found on. The Hebrew word that is translated “fear” in Psalm 25:14 is yare’ (yaw-ray’), which is literally translated fear. Some translations have rendered this word “respect,” which of course it is, but it is respect to the tenth power. Even if we are His best friends, He is still God and we are still men.
John was the intimate friend of Jesus. Judas was familiar. There is an unholy familiarity with God that can be the foundation of the most tragic falls from grace. John, on the other hand, when he was old and the only one of the original apostles left, was caught up into the vision that is recorded as the Book of Revelation. He would still repeatedly fall prostrate in the presence of the Lord. The one who was arguably the man with the greatest revelation of Christ, and the most intimate friend of God, never lost his fear of the Lord. This is probably the main reason why he was trusted with such revelations.
In one of Paul’s first epistles, he claims that he is not inferior to even the most eminent apostles. Later he writes that he is “the least of the apostles” (see I Corinthians 15:9). Then a few years later he writes that he is “the very least of all saints” (see Ephesians 3:8). In one of his last letters he writes that he is the greatest of sinners (I Timothy 1:15). Do you see a progression in this? The greater the spiritual maturity, the greater the humility.
What king or president would allow someone who was not discreet to get near their throne, or anywhere close to where sensitive discussions were taking place? If we want to be those friends the Lord shares His “secret counsel” with, we must understand both the honour and responsibility that it is. If we are going to be trusted with prophetic revelation, we need to have as much wisdom to know when not to share something as when to share. This wisdom is rooted in the fear of the Lord. We can be His best friends, but we must never forget who He is. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and it is the foundation of all true prophetic ministry.