The Favor of God (12/26/2021) – John Whiddon
December 26, 2021
OPENING SCRIPTURE: “May the Lord bless you and protect you; may the Lord smile upon you (make His face shine on you) and be gracious to you; may the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.” Numbers 6:24 NIV.
- This is a priestly blessing that was given to Moses by the Lord for the Israelites. It was God’s idea to bless his covenant people.
- It is often given at the end of a service.
- The Lord gave this blessing to Moses, it was His idea. He desire is to bless His covenant people as a manifestation of His love and so that His ways may be known on the earth and His salvation among all nations.
- This blessing is a reminder that we are set apart from the rest of the world. Each line in this blessing begins with “the Lord”.
- It is the Lord who blesses – not the person giving the blessing. The Lord is the focus of this blessing.
The blessing has three parts:
- The Lord “keep you”. Similar to the Lord’s prayer -keep you from evil – protection;
- The Lord “shine upon you” turn His face towards you. Implies acceptance from the Lord and His blessing and favor;
- The Lord turn His turn His face toward you “in peace”. Shalom – meaning being complete, lacking nothing. It is about the wholeness of life and well being that combines spiritual and physical soundness and a right relationship with God.
- To bless means to bestow special favor, gifts or endowments from God. Opposite of a “curse”.
- Deeper meaning of bless – To impart some aspect of God’s goodness that contributes to our well being. Hebrew word Barak used in Numbers 6:24. It means “kneeling before someone”. We kneel before God and God leans toward us – which illustrates a special presence and relationship with God. The blessing imparts some aspect of God’s goodness that contributes to our well-being.
Are blessing and favor the same?
- The blessing is the empowerment of God.
- Favor produces opportunities to serve God -sometimes at a personal cost.
“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit and who tremble at My word.” Isaiah 66:2 N
God’s promise: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Psalm 84:11 NIV
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him”. 2 Chronicles 16:9
- God doesn’t have favorites but ordinary people are called or chosen to have a special relationship with God. These people were always used in a powerful way to achieve God’s purpose – they had His anointing, protection and blessing.
“Peter said, “Now I know for certain that God doesn’t show favoritism with people but treats everyone on the same basis. It makes no difference what race of people one belongs to. If they show deep reverence for God, and are committed to doing what is right, the are acceptable before him.” Acts 10:34-35 (Passion Translation)
What is the common denominator of all these biblical characters? Divine favor is not the result of luck, hard work, punching a ticket, being religious but obedience.
6 Bible characters and how they walked in the favor of the Lord.
- Walk with God intimately – Enoch
How do we become someone that God wants to walk with? Enoch preached against the ungodliness of his time. “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him”.
- Be His friend – Abraham
God asked Abraham to leave his country, his people and everything familiar and to the land that God would show him. (Genesis 12:1)
- Strive for obedience – even in difficult circumstances Joseph
Joseph was abandoned, sold into slavery, falsely accused and imprisoned. Yet he rose above all the challenges because he had faith and saw the hand of God in his circumstance.
Joseph was obedient in the most dire circumstances; the Lord was “with” Joseph and he prospered in the house of Potiphar. He remained faithful when presented with sinful choices and through the depths, he rose to heights that were only possible through the favor of God. “And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus”. 1 Thesalonians 5:18
- Desire to do His will – David
David poured out his heart to God in songs and devotions. He cultivated the faith and loyalty necessary to take down a giant. Even after a season of sin and chaos in his palace, God gave David a lasting legacy as “a man who always pursues my heart and will accomplish all that I have destined for him to do.” Acts 13:22 Passion
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:37-39 NIV
- Surrender to the will of God – Mary
Angel Gabriel referred to Mary as “highly favored by God”. How did she obtain the favor of God?
“Oh how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is Holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. His mighty arm has done tremendous things! “Luke 1:47-51
- Become like Jesus
God clearly favored Jesus, “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”. Mat 3:17
Jesus was the model/template that we should strive to follow:
“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8;28-29
I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:23 NIV
“May the Lord bless you and protect you; may the Lord smile upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.” Numbers 6:24 NIV.
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