Therapeutic Tuesday: Favor

One of the “Christianese” sayings that I have come to utterly detest is this; Favor ain’t fair. I don’t hear it as much as I used to since I moved, but usually you’d be likely to hear it if someone got a new job, purchased a new car or a new house, or in some other material way. This saying never really sat right with me for this reason: If God lavishes favor upon us, shouldn’t there be some direct correlation between that favor and the furtherance of the building of the Kingdom of God? Shouldn’t it be apparent that something in the outpouring of that favor would point back to God, that he might receive the glory? Something about applying only a superficial meaning to favor rubs me the wrong way. I believe that God does grant favor to those whom He favors, but in those instances, the favor is for a reason that goes far beyond a physical manifestation that God has blessed us. That favor is bestowed in such a fashion that it points back to God. When God moves, He moves not only for the sake of one person. His vision is so expansive that He sees the ripples that one blessing creates in the life of a person that has reverberations throughout the building of His kingdom. He knows which things in one person’s life will trigger salvation in another person or group of people. I guess that’s why that statement irks me. To me, it shows no regard for God’s omnipotence. That He would get caught up in what’s fair or not fair. He is so far above that petty way of thinking. God is not a fair God. He’s a good God.
The theme of God’s favor/ faithfulness is written all across the lines of the book of Ezra. King Cyrus decrees that they may leave Persia and head back to Jerusalem. Later, after enemies of the exiles get King Xerxes to order that the rebuilding of the Temple be stopped, King Darius , through the order of King Cyrus, issues an order that the building continue. It doesn’t stop there. King Darius also sends an edict with Ezra as he returns to Jerusalem with more exiles, that the neighboring countries and their Kings are to pay tributes to the Israelites in order to help them complete the building of the temple. Now, if you can grasp how far the Israelites had fallen, then you’ll see that God’s hand was upon them in a most mighty way. Not only had God cast them out of His presence, but He had allowed them to be utterly destroyed. They had nothing, no land, no homes, nothing to connect them to their former lives. All they had were memories, which after a while became dreams. For God to move upon the heart of King Cyrus, that he would even think to allow them to return to their homes is a majestic stroke of providence. But as is God’s ilk, He went so far as send valuables from the vault with Ezra, and he also instructed him to make requisitions from the royal treasuries if they ran out of resources. All of this was so the God is Israel might be honored throughout the land. For some reason, these Persian Kings understood how revered the God of Israel was, and they acted as such.

For some reason, I don’t see Ezra going home to Jerusalem shouting “Favor ain’t fair!!” As he praised God for His provision and faithfulness, I believe Ezra knew in his heart that these blessings, and the favor that God had caused the King Darius to bestow was so that God might once again dwell among the people of Israel. Ezra felt unworthy, but he also saw the big picture. God doesn’t bless us so that we might be happy. God blesses us so that through us, He might be seen in the world. So that favor that people boast about so often, is self serving. If we saw God’s favor for what it is, we would humbled beyond measure, and would seek above all else to proclaim the greatness of God. The Israelites had waited 70 years to come back to the land that they had been promised. I’m sure most of them believed that they would never see it again, so when it happened, their hearts were overflowing with thanksgiving because of God once again looking upon them with love and mercy.

Yes, it is unequivocally true that I d favors us because He loves us. Not because of anything that we physically do. He chooses to let His goodness and bounty go before us. Yes, we will have favor with Kings and Queens. He will put us in the pathways of people to help us accomplish what we could never dream of accomplishing on our own. When we follow God, His favor will follow us, but my desire for myself and all of you reading this blog, is that we will first know Him because we spend so much time in His presence. If we can get a foundational relationship with God going strong, when He pours out His favor in our lives, we will find no room to boast, because we will see the greater reason for the favor is not that we might be exalted. We will see that the reason for His favor is so that He can be glorified among men, and that men might be drawn to Him through what He has done, and what He can do in their lives as well. More than that though, family, it’s not about us. It’s not about what we receive, what we can do, who we know, or anything else like that. It’s all about knowing God, and understanding what a privilege it is to be asked to come into His presence.

Our God is amazing, but the only way that we can ever truly know that is to go beyond the blessings, favor, and everything else, and choose to meet Him on top of the mountain where the full measure of His glory dwells. The base of the mountain is not nearly far enough for all that He has in store for you. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, once you know Him…really know Him…you’ll be too caught up in Him to even take full notice of the favor and blessings that He will pour out for you. So, in the end, favor is not fair…its good. Its result of a good God, full of grace and truth.

Be blessed, fam. Until next time!

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