The Bible explicitly tells us that God blesses the righteous and surrounds them with “favor as with a shield” (Ps. 5:12).1 During this strange and surreal time in history, can you testify that you’re experiencing God’s grace or favor? If so, you’re in good scriptural company. If not, you can choose to realign and get in the flow of God’s favor.
Favor Recipients: It helps to keep in mind that the Bible speaks of God’s grace, often translated “favor,” His energizing approbation and approval, as something that’s within the realm of all diligent, seeking believers. Biblical examples of “favor recipients” are numerous: Noah (Gen. 6:8); Joseph (Gen. 39:2-4); David (Acts 7:45-47); Daniel (Dan. 1:9; 6:1-3); Esther (Esther 2:17; 5:2); Mary (Luke 1:28); Paul (2 Tim. 4:7, 8).
In each case the favor recipient had a vital connection with God, a passion to be used, was responding to a need, and was courageous to take the initiative with God to do something that needed to be done. It wasn’t about glory, politics, or fame: it was about service. And they were willing to experience God’s favor even if it meant pain, suffering, ostracism, or even death.
Favor Opportunity: God’s grace has saved us, but He always has more blessing awaiting us as we choose to go deeper with Him. This happens when in love and intimacy we (1) pray and partner with God, (2) assess a situational need (minor or major) in light of Scriptural principles, (3) courageously step out in obedience to meet that need, and (4) unselfishly serve and do good. God’s favor may result in peace and contentment, or alternately it may involve sacrifice, pain, and possibly even death (Job 13:15). The beauty is that by this favor pathway we enter into the fellowship of His suffering and have the promise of eternal reward (Phil. 3:10-14).
Favor Illustration: There’s an ancient story of a king who placed a huge boulder to block a thoroughfare. He then hid himself to see which of his citizens would exercise initiative to remove the stone. Many merchants and public leaders simply walked around it; others loudly complained and blamed the king for not keeping the road clear, but they did nothing to move the stone out of the way. Then a peasant loaded with vegetables came along. He determined to try to solve the problem. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded in moving the stone. After picking up his vegetables to leave, the peasant noticed a purse filled with gold coins under where the stone previously had been. It had a note from the king stating his thanks and that it was for whoever invested the effort to remove this obstacle to progress.
Favor Lesson: This story illustrates favor. Receiving favor happens in a relationship and is a cooperative divine-human partnership. As Ellen White reminds us, God gives opportunity; success depends upon the use we make of it.2 While God extends His grace to all His children, He always has more blessings for those who initiate personal effort, faithful obedience, Scriptural fidelity, and unselfish service to place themselves in the center of His will. “Let love and faith- fulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man” (Prov. 3:3, 4; also see verses 1, 2).
1All Bible texts are from the New International Version.
2See Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1917), pp. 486, 487.
Delbert W. Baker, Ph.D., is the director of research and development for the Office of Regional Conference Ministries/Retirement Plan based in Huntsville, Alabama.