Introduction: My prayer thought message and emphasis for this last Sunday in 2019 has to be with seek and obtaining God’s favor.
What is favor? What does it look like? How is it attained? Can it be substituted/manufactured or imitated? Can it be lost if once had?
I. What is Favor?
Defined: something done or granted out of goodwill, rather than from justice or for remuneration; a kind act:to ask a favor;friendly or well-disposed regard; goodwill:to win the favor of the king;the state of being approved or held in regard:to be in favor at court; styles that are now in favor;excessive kindness or unfair partiality; preferential treatment:to treat some people with favor and others with neglect.
Biblically – Favor basically equals grace, acceptance, charm.
In the most practical of ways we relate it to being blessed! Having God on our side and as a result not just having and finding all that we need but even more than that.
II. What does it look like?
- Doors open?
- Bounty in provision?
- Possibly even Excess?
Story/Illustration: So Pastor kind of the Midas Touch?’ The son of Gordias and Cybele – or at least their adopted child – Midas was the not-so-smart king of Phrygia who is today popularly remembered as the man with the golden touch. Supposedly, until he realized its disadvantages and renounced it, Midas possessed the capacity to turn everything he touched into gold, a gift given to him by Dionysus after the king had helped the god’s most beloved companion, Silenus. Midas is also famous for another divine gift: the asses’ ears, which he got from Apollo as a reward for his resolution to decide in favor of Pan at the Apollo vs. Pan musical contest.
The Golden Touch of King Midas
Midas was the king of Phrygia, who ruled over his people from a lavish castle encircled by a beauteous garden, in which – to quote history’s first historian, Herodotus – “roses grow of themselves, each bearing sixty blossoms and of surpassing fragrance.”
One day, some Phrygian peasants found a drunken old man in the garden’s vicinity and, after capturing him effortlessly, brought him to their king. Midas recognized him almost immediately: it was Dionysus’ oldest, wisest, and merriest reveler, the satyr Silenus!
So, instead of punishing him, Midas welcomed him in his palace, where his servants fed and entertained him for no less than ten nights. On the eleventh, Midas personally took Silenus back to his master, Dionysus, who, in gratitude for Midas’ hospitality, granted Midas one wish.
Now, Midas could have asked for almost anything, but he opted for a somewhat strange (though, at first sight, also imaginative) thing: he asked Dionysus that he should be able to turn into gold everything he touched.
His wish granted, Midas went away trying it out. He first turned some twigs into gold and then some stones. Afterward, he did the same to an ear of corn and some apples. There was no end to his rejoicing.
Well, at least not until he got home and felt some hunger and some thirst. He suddenly realized that it was all but impossible to satisfy them: both his food and his drinks turned into gold as well, the minute they touched his mouth, his teeth, or his tongue.
So, Midas had no option but to go back to Dionysus and ask the god to take away his gift. “No problem,” said Dionysus, “you just need to wash yourself in the River Pactolus.” Midas went to Sardis, ancient-day Lydia – where Pactolus still flows today (near the Aegean coast of Turkey) – and did exactly that, passing on his gift to the river. In fact, this is why the sands of Pactolus are golden-colored to this very day.
III. How is Gods Favor attained?
Charles Stanley ‘In Touch Ministries’ points to three things. https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/daily-devotions/finding-favor-with-god-and-man
First, we should value the Lord’s teaching. God blessed us by giving us His Word, but not everyone makes it a priority. We should recognize Scripture as our most valuable earthly possession because it is God’s revelation of Himself and His instructions for us.
Second, we should make obedience to God a matter of the heart. Following His commands is about far more than just external rule keeping; it involves not only our actions but our attitudes and thoughts as well.
Third, we are to let kindness and truth characterize our life. When we are wholeheartedly living in obedience to God’s commands, the effect will spill over into our relationships, as kindness and truth become the guardians of our words and actions.
Proverbs 3 (Our Text) also provided lots of direction:
- Don’t forget God’s law.
- Let not mercy and truth forsake you.
- Trust in the Lord will all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
- In all your ways acknowledge Him
- Do not be wise (arrogant) in your own eyes.
- Depart from evil.
- Honor the Lord with your possessions.
- Do not despise His chastening
IV. Can it be substituted, manufactured or imitated?
My position? The answer is yes, of course! Hard work does pay off!
- But it can’t bring peace.
- It can’t bring happiness / contentment.
- It is temporary / fleeting.
As opposed to this 1 Corinthians speaks of how we build, what elements we use to build and the advantage and disadvantage of our building.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15
V. Can I have God’s Favor but Loose it and can’t I have lost God’s favor and find it again?
I believe yes and yes.
Salvation is by grace….always and only. Can it be lost? Great debate between Calvinists and Armenians.
But God’s favor…..I believe so!
More in the spiritual laws of sowing and reaping.
Conclusions: So, God’s favor? To whom? How much? What for? Many a question with not so any cross-the-board; always the same answer but… God’s favor… definitely what we seek!
Seek / Pursue