Friday, July 3, 2015

Favor with God and Man

You have with Your arm redeemed Your people,
The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah” – Psalms 77: 15

 Jacob and Joseph.  For months now I’ve been praying for God to grant favor to someone close to me as He did for Jacob and Joseph.  Today, finding this verse, my heart is full!
You see, Jacob was favored even before He was born.  In Romans 9:10-13 we are told that even before the twins, Jacob and Esau, were born, before they had opportunity to sin or do good, God said “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”  Yes, God can show partiality.  He doesn’t show it based on the flesh and earthly qualities, but on the qualities only He can see. He does it from His great wisdom and ability to see the future as history (Isaiah 46:10).  God is partial to those who love and obey Him, plain and simple.  If you don’t believe that, read Deuteronomy 28.  Even before Jacob was born, God knew that he would become the father of the 12 tribes of Israel, and that Esau would not turn to Him.

But God is more than just a rewarder of those that love Him.  He also knew the flaws in Jacob, that He would be a cheater, and cheat Esau out of his inheritance.  He knew he would be a liar, a deceiver.  Yet, he still loved him because he was able to see past the period of rebellion into the time of Jacob’s life when he would walk with God.

Joseph’s life is another filled with favor, the favor of God and man.  Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son, the firstborn from his beloved wife Rachel.  Jacob didn’t even try to hide the fact that he loved Jacob more than his 11 brothers.  He made him a coat of many colors, a very special garment that was given only to him.  Because Jacob showed him favor, yes, he was hated by his brothers to the point that they secretly sold him into slavery.  He found no favor with his brothers – at least not during that time.
But God’s favor rested on Joseph, and in every turn of his life, Joseph found favor with man.  He found favor with Potiphar, an Egyptian officer.  When Potiphar’s wife lied and had Joseph thrown into jail, God was with him.  God gave Joseph the ability to interpret dreams.  When the King of Egypt needed a dream interpreted, God had already made the connections for Joseph to have him placed before the King to do the interpretation.  In reward for that act, and for the favor he found with the King, Joseph became “Vice” King in Egypt – second in charge. 

Joseph’s favor with man lived on long after he died. Hundreds of years later when Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, they took the remains of Joseph with them as he had requested. 
Why is this encouraging for us today? Because as God’s children, we can find favor with God and He can grant us favor with man.  Psalm 77 compares His redeemed, those who have confessed Jesus as their savior, with Joseph and Jacob, two who had great favor shown on their lives.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Psalms 33:12 says we are a BLESSED nation, a people he has CHOSEN as His own inheritance.  1 Peter 2:9 says we are a holy nation, His own SPECIAL people, a CHOSEN generation. 

Jesus was found being “about My Father’s business”, and He “increased in wisdom and statue, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).  So did the first church, the first believers.  In Acts 2:47 we are told that the early believers were daily “praising God and having favor with all the people”. 
Should we pray that God grant people favor with Himself and man?  There’s no harm in it, but perhaps the real prayer should be that He would grant them the strength of faith to be obedient to His will in their lives.  In following Him, favor is given. 

Walk in that divine favor.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’  “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.  “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”” – Jesus, Matthew 7:21-27

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