Posts Tagged favor

Blessed Refuge

Psalm 5: 11 – 12

Let all who take refuge in you rejoice. Let them sing with joy forever. Protect them, and let those who love your name triumph in you. You bless righteous people, O Lord. Like a large shield, you surround them with your favor.

I hope you are enjoying this sojourn through the psalms. David reminds us, today, that there is blessing, success, victory, protection, joy and favor for those who take refuge in the Lord.

David found his respite in the Lord.  He had a way of intertwining his existence with that of God and that was an uncommon space for the Old Testament believer. I love reading David for this reason. He had an enviable relationship with the Lord. We get to peer into this relationship through the songs written by David. Can’t you almost hear his heart soar as he sings, “Let them sing with joy forever.” As he wrote these words, I believe he was basking in the presence of the Lord. You can hear the praise and reverence in David’s lyrics but you also sense the deep intimacy he had with Yahweh.

As you read this psalm, you hear about the favor of God surrounding you. You may even rejoice at the simple acceptance that God blesses us, His righteousness. Most of all, though, today I hope that you will not only hear the substance of David’s song but even more so the tone of his conversation with the Lord. I hope that through these words, you will glimpse the heart and passion of David seeing the inspiration of his affection for the Lord. I think if we will take our time with these words, we will find our own hearts stirred. Maybe we will raise our voices or pen a beautiful lyric of our own. Maybe you can write a love song to the Lord. If you do, I hope you will share it with the rest of us.

Have a blessed day in the Lord. Rejoice in Him.

Names

Isaiah 45: 3

And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth of secret places, in order that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.

There is an economy message in this verse and it should give you great comfort for your finances. You should ponder what God is saying about the hidden wealth and buried treasures. That, however, is not what I want to bring out from this scripture today. I wish for us to look just at the last phrase, “who calls you by your name.”

Yahweh is He who has called you by your name. He is the only God. There is none before Him, nor have any come after Him. It is He who has called you. “What, me?,” I can hear some of you saying. Yes, you. If you are a Christian it is because God called you and you had the intelligence to answer. Yea!

You are important in the Kingdom. God knows your name and has called YOU! That one fact ought to stir some joy within you. In an earlier chapter of Isaiah God said, “I have called you by name; you are Mine,” (Isaiah 43: 1). So, by the time we get to chapter 45, He is just reminding you. But wait, these are not the only places either. Way back in Exodus God said, “I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight,” (Exodus 33: 12). Look at the similarities between these verses and I think you will be blessed.

You may say, though, “Well, God wasn’t speaking to me in those verses.” Wasn’t He? If He wasn’t, then why did He have them included in the Bible? This is that dynamic again of a historical record and a living Word. God is still ministering His Word to us today. Have you ever read a scripture and heard it bigger and louder than the surrounding verses? That is God personalizing that verse to you. He is trying to get your attention so that you read it as a personal note to you. That is the way you should read your Bible, as a personal letter from Yahweh God to you.

Before the beginning of time, God saw you and planned for you. He wrote your name down and waited for your day to come. Then He rejoiced when you were born. Thousands of years He waited for this day, the day when He could voice your name it be uniquely yours regardless of the number of people who share it. One other thing though, don’t be surprised if God has another name for you. He has shown a propensity to changing people’s names. Because you are precious in His sight, He calls you names which edify you. You can ask Him what your heavenly name is if you want. One thing I know about it, it will put a smile on your face.

You are His beloved and called to Him. He has called you by name. He has showered you with favor and with His love. The creator of the universe knows your name and has called you to Himself. I think that is a pretty big deal.

Emulate

Ezra 7: 6, 9, 10

. . . the king granted him all he requested because the hand of the Lord his God was upon him. [T]he good hand of his God was upon him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to practice it….

Some years ago I heard a speaker tell his audience that if they wanted to be successful to observe successful people, find out what they did and then emulate them. That sounds like pretty good advice. Here we have an example of a very successful man. He had great favor with the king. Because of that favor he was able to be successful in what he did. But it was the favor of the Lord that brought him favor with the king. King Artaxerxes saw that the hand of the Lord was upon Ezra and because of that he granted all of Ezra’s requests. It all began when Ezra turned his face towards his God. Ezra set himself to studying and practicing the word of God. The rest followed from that. So, do you want a formula for success? Pick up your Bible and start studying it. Then do what you find in there. Let the Lord speak to you through those pages. You will have favor with the Lord and good success in whatever you set your hand to.

Wisdom’s Fruit

Proverb 8: 32 – 36

Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, for blessed are they who keep my ways. Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, “but he who sins against me injures himself; all those who hate me love death.”

The speaker in this passage is wisdom. Wisdom was in the beginning with God and by her He founded the earth. “Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor” (Proverb 3: 16). In her are blessing and life, so if we want either those or riches, we should seek wisdom. She promised that those who diligently seek her will find her (Proverb 8: 17). This book of the proverbs is her book. She discloses herself here and the fruit of seeking her.

One of the first things I noticed from this excerpt from the eighth proverb is that we must heed instruction. That, I believe, creates a rather large stumbling block. To receive instruction requires humility and we are loathe to humble ourselves before anyone, even sometimes God. God gives wisdom to people on earth and they are meant to share it with others. However, one cannot share what others will not receive. However, wisdom teaches us that it is in our own self-interest to seek and receive the offerings of wisdom.

Another fruit of receiving wisdom is favor from the Lord. I like to think of God’s favor as the grease on the wheels of life. As you enjoy the Lord’s favor, life simply goes more smoothly. All sorts of things, both small and large, just seem to go your way. From getting a good parking place to securing a major contract for your business, God’s favor greases the way and we obtain that favor when we seek wisdom and heed her lessons.

Wisdom is calling out in the streets. She wants to be your ally. If you seek her, you will find her and one great way to seek her is in this book of wisdom , the Proverbs. Honor is with her; success is in her hand. She wants to bless you. Call upon her and receive, of the Lord, all His goodness.

Kindness and Truth

Proverb 3: 3 – 4

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, so you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.

If we were to have a Word of the Day on every verse in Proverbs which is highlighted in my Bible we would be here for a while. Today’s verse is one of the more well known proverbs. It is typical of the Proverbs. It shows a cause and effect, a result and the means by which to attain that result. The result we gain today is favor and a good reputation with God and man.

The thing I particularly like about today’s verse is the translation of truth into “Jesus”. In John 14: 6 Jesus calls himself the truth. So then I read this verse as, “Do not let kindness and Jesus leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” I think when people read proverbs like the one for today, there is an immediate acceptance of the ideas contained within. This verse sounds like a good idea but how do you apply it? How do you bind kindness and truth around your neck?

One of our responses may be, “be people of kindness and truth” and that seems to make sense. Thinking about Jesus as the truth creates a more dynamic model. Because we also know that Jesus is the Word, we can actually write this truth on our hearts. That makes today’s proverb less of an esoteric idea and more of an applied model. That is good for us.
What a pleasant idea it is thinking about binding Jesus around our necks and writing him on the tablet of our hearts. He is our Bible partner. As we seek him through the Word, meditating on Biblical precepts as we do, Jesus becomes more and more ingrained into every part of us. He is his word and he is truth and when we make kindness and truth a part of us then God’s favor becomes part of as well. In addition the favor of man and a good reputation with God and man become ours. All of that makes life here on this earth better and easier.

Abundant Grace

1 Timothy 1: 14                   (Amplified Version)

And the grace (unmerited favor and blessing) of our Lord actually flowed out superabundantly and beyond measure for me, accompanied by faith and love that are to be realized in Christ Jesus.

This passage was written by the Apostle Paul. He was recounting how he blasphemed the Lord and persecuted the church. Yet nonetheless, Christ, through grace, showed him mercy. How is it that the Lord was willing and able to show such kindness to this man even while he was torturing and murdering Christians? The mercy of the Lord and of our Father is beyond comprehension. Jesus poured out on Paul superabundant favor and blessing. It certainly was not because Paul earned it. It comes just from the Father’s deep love.

Paul, unlike so many modern Christians, was able to receive God’s abundance. Why? I believe the answer is two-fold. I think that one of the reasons Paul was able to receive God’s abundant, beyond measure grace is that he, first, completely knew that he was unworthy and undeserving. This freed him to just receive by grace. He did not try to earn God’s favor because he knew that he was way beyond that.

Secondly, I think that Paul was so humble and grateful that his heart was wide open before the Lord of grace. I deeply desire for the church to draw close to God just as Paul was intimate with him. We see the abundant love and grace that the Father has for us. Now if we can sincerely open ourselves to him the way Paul did, we might also walk in the kind of grace that was afforded Paul. Let us not wait for God to knock us off our donkeys though. Let us all, with blind faith, reach out to the source of all and invite him into the deepest part of our beings.

Divine Favor

Psalm 5: 12

Thou dost surround him with favor as with a shield.

All of your protection is in the Lord. We claim it every day according to Psalm 91. In the same way, you are surrounded by the goodwill of the Lord. You are to receive favor and walk in it. It is intended for you to have favor with both God and man (Proverb 3: 4) and that favor surrounds you. It encompasses you on every side. No one nor anything can come to you except through the favor of God. Favor is the unmerited (you didn’t have to earn it) blessing of the Lord. People and God see you and receive you with goodwill and a kind heart. They are willing to be gracious to you because you have an abundance of favor. You can expect the best, not in an arrogant way because you did nothing to earn or deserve it. You can receive it, though, in the graciousness of God. Just because He loves you, He gives you favor. Receive His favor and watch it bless your life daily.