(Definition) In its simplest terms, divine favor involves the bestowal of God’s goodness, blessing, spiritual enrichment, or promotion. Favor enhances the welfare of your life whether it involves bestowing something of value or removing something that hinders.
As we begin this lesson on favor I want to note the difference between (1) God’s sovereign grace/favor and (2) the grace/favor that man can entreat from God. Favor is similar to grace but there is a difference. Perhaps the easiest way to differentiate between grace and favor is to recognize that grace is always a free, undeserved gift. Favor, on the other hand, can be deserved or gained. Here’s what we must admit about God’s sovereign grace: No one fully understands it! There is no way to explain why God chooses a less qualified person for an assignment when someone much brighter and “seasoned” is available for the task. It’s impossible to explain why God chooses “the basest of men” (Daniel 4:17) to govern a nation, when a more righteous one is available.
But God doesn’t demand that we comprehend his sovereign selection process. He commands us to trust him! He wants us to understand that He operates from a system of infinite wisdom. Since that’s the case, let’s note that:
Always remember this about God’s sovereign choosing. God’s determinations are perfect and just. He never errs in his judgments. And when Christians appear before God’s throne, every voice will rise in unified acclamation and declare the testimony of Revelation 15:3. “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! (4) Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For all the nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
While God is free to impart his favor apart from human solicitation, God also dispenses favor when men entreat him for it. This is what the main portion of today’s message deals with. It deals with How Christians can entreat God for favor. And there is Biblical support for our responsibility to seek God for his favor. Psalm 119:58 says, “I entreated Your favor with all my heart; Be gracious to me according to Your word.” And Exodus 32:11 says, “Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God.”
Finally, as part of the introduction, I want you to notice what God’s favor can accomplish:
We need God’s favor in all we do. People of every strata need God’s favor. It doesn’t matter if you’re a businessperson, pastor, parent, or grandparent, everyone needs God’s favor! We need that special divine “something” that causes us to rise and thrive.
I cannot overstate the importance of “seeking” God for his favor. It is absolutely necessary!
(Illustration) Some years ago, the Lord began dealing with me to pray for grace and favor. During that time I had a dream about God’s willingness to bestow an increased measure of his grace. During the dream, I found myself in a large sanctuary listening to someone preach. The preacher chose me from the audience and asked me to read a passage of Scripture. I had my Bible open to Exodus but didn’t know what to read. The minister said: “You know what to read!” I said, “No, I don’t.” He replied, “Yes, it’s verse eleven.” When I awoke, I opened my Bible to Exodus and began searching through each chapter in hopes of finding something significant about a verse 11. When I finally arrived at chapter 32, the 11th verse nearly jumped off the page. It said: “But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God…” Instantly, I knew that God wanted me to seek his favor and to intercede for his favor to rest upon the congregation I was pastoring.
Through the years, I have memorized Scriptures that pertain to God’s favor. And during my times of prayer I claim verses of Scripture pertaining to God’s favor. I want to share some Scriptures that can be beneficial to transforming your life:
In Exodus 33:12 Moses prayed: ““See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ (13) Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”
Deuteronomy 33:13 says: “And of Joseph he said, “Blessed by the LORD be his land, with the choicest gifts of heaven above, and of the deep that crouches beneath, (14) with the choicest fruits of the sun and the rich yield of the months, (15) with the finest produce of the ancient mountains and the abundance of the everlasting hills, (16) with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness and the favor of him who dwells in the bush. May these rest on the head of Joseph, on the head of him who is prince among his brothers.”
I have especially enjoyed praying verse 16. “Lord, give me the “favor of him who dwelled in the bush.””
Acts 4:33 says, “With great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” Pray for “great grace” to rest upon you.
Genesis 6:8 says that “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Thus, pray to find favor in God’s eyes!
David said: “Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me” (Psalm 86:17).
Psalm 90:17 “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands.”
Psalm 119:58 says, “I entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.”
Psalm 106:4 says, “Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people; help me when you save them.”
The Bible is replete with verses regarding God’s favor and I encourage you to pray these verses.
Another word for persevere is patience. Thus, when we endure the test of patience it often results in God’s favor resting upon us. Notice several Bible examples:
The perseverance of the Syrophoenician Woman (Matthew 15:21-28).
The undaunted perseverance of Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52).
Notice the most patient of all men in the Bible, Job. James 5:11 says, “Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
Circumstances can baffle the most brilliant of people. That means we need God’s wisdom to answer life’s perplexities. The road to success is always found by walking in the wisdom of God. Notice what Scripture says about wisdom:
Proverbs 13:15 says, “Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.”
Proverbs 8:33-35 says: “Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. (34) Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts. (35) For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD.”
Look again at Moses’ prayer in Exodus 33:12-13 when he asked to know God and his ways: “Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ (13) “Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.”
Faith-filled Obedience is the Master Key to unlocking the door to God’s favor. Jesus said in Luke 11:28, “Blessed are they that hear my Word and obey it.”
(Definition) I love the Beatitudes that are found in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. The word “beatitude” means “supreme blessedness; exalted happiness; privileged.” Imagine that! Supreme, exalted happiness and one who is privileged! What a wonderful way to live! Again, here are some Scriptures attesting to this:
The Lord’s Beatitudes are recording in Matthew 5:3-12. As I read them, remember that it is your obedience to them that elicits God’s favor. (Read Matthew 5:3-12.)
Revelation 1:3 says: “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near” (NIV).
Proverbs 3:3-4 says: “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. (4) So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.”
Proverbs 11:27 says: “He who diligently seeks good seeks favor, but he who seeks evil, evil will come to him.”
Genesis 6:8 says that “Noah found grace/ favor in the eyes of the Lord.” But it doesn’t stop there. The next verse says, Noah “walked with God.” In other words, Noah maintained an obedient, faithful, interactive relationship with the Lord. God was Noah’s chief partner in life. Consequently, God poured forth his favor upon Noah.
Obedience is an integral facet to walking in the favor of God. And there are few people in the Bible that obeyed God like Abraham. One reason he was called the “friend of God” is because he wholeheartedly followed God. Think about it. God asked Abraham to do some incredibly hard things!
God told Abraham to leave his homeland and search for a new one. And without a roadmap or even knowing where he was going, Abraham launched forth.
After that, God told Abraham to send away his young son Ishmael. Ishmael would not be the progenitor of the promised Messiah. While Abraham loved Ishmael greatly, he did not argue with God’s plan. He obediently dismissed Ishmael, and both he and his mother Hagar found favor.
Then came the greatest test of all. God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. This seems like an impossible word to obey! With Ishmael deported now God required Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. But again, the Father of our Faith obeyed God and marched his son up Mount Moriah for the sacrifice. Abraham’s obedience was so steadfast that God had to dispatch an angel to prevent him from following through with his plan.
I want you to notice the perfection of Abraham’s faith here. Genesis 22:5 records it as Abraham speaks to his servant Abimelech. He says: “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you” (22:5). In other words, Abraham so entirely believed God that he knew he would return home with Isaac even after slaying him! And to this point in the Bible no resurrection had occurred! Yet Abraham knew God could do it!
Second, notice that God always has provision when we obey. Once the angel prevented Abraham’s knife from slaying his son, verse thirteen says, “Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. (14) Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”
Yes, obedience brings the favor of God!
Isaiah 66:2 recognizes this when it says, “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Notice what it means to be (a) humble, (b) contrite, and to (c) tremble at God’s Word.
(Definition) Notice the definition of the word humble. Meekness is not weakness. Occasionally we hear the phrase, “Meek as a lamb.” But that does not describe meekness. You see, lambs are not meek; they are weak. Lambs are gentle creatures that possess no power to crush adversaries. The phrase that best defines meekness is: “Strength in reserve.” Meekness is exemplified in a person of great power that refuses to crush a weaker person. It is a ravenous lion standing before a tender lamb but refusing to devour the lamb. This is meekness, and it’s how God wants Christians to live. And according to Isaiah 66:2, it is meekness that turns the face of God’s favor toward a person.
But I want to point out two more words/phrases that Isaiah inserts in this verse that bring God’s blessing to a Believer.
One word is contrite. And this describes someone that has been smitten. But understand the context of this verse. God does not necessarily favor those that have been smitten by their foes. The context of this statement proposes that God looks to those that have been “smitten in spirit.” They have allowed the Word of God to strike their innermost being and they have accepted its omnipotent work. Have you allowed God’s Word to smite your heart, soul, and spirit and bring its transformative blessing of favor?
Then Isaiah says God favors the person that trembles at his Word. In other words, we must always exhibit a reverential respect toward God. This is our conscious recognition that God is the ultimate authority concerning all things; that he is the One holding the power over this life and the life to come; and that we will one day stand before his throne to give account for ourselves. To “tremble at God’s Word” means when we read it, we step back and say: “Wow! It is never profitable for me to stand in the way of the omnipotent God and his purposes! It is my responsibility to fully submit to his ways.”
Seek the favor of God today and then pray for it often. Believe that God wants to endow you with his blessing. As you do this you will discover you have moved from the “survival” mode into the “favored” mode.
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