Psalm 5:12 (NKJV)
12 For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor, You will surround him as with a shield.
There is an aspect of our Christian walk that we don’t often recognise and yet it is a very important part of our heritage as believers. I’m referring to the favour of God. When we think about characters in the Bible who enjoyed God’s favour on their lives three come to mind immediately, Joseph, Ruth and Esther. When we look forward into the New Testament the idea becomes something that we are possibly more familiar with, the word is grace. The favour of God on the lives of believers to enable them to grow and prosper in their Christian walk, to become more like Jesus.
First, let us look at Joseph. As a young man, he probably was not quite as diplomatic as he should have been in sharing the interpretations of his dreams with his family. It brought him a lot of grief. Sold into slavery by his own brothers. Purchased as a slave and serving his master faithfully, the household prospered under his care. Nevertheless, he was betrayed by a powerful woman and unjustly thrown in jail. In jail again he proved trustworthy and pretty much ran the jail for the jailer. The scriptures tell us that the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.
Joseph ended up second only to Pharaoh in the land of Egypt. He governed the country through seven years of plenty and made sure that there was plenty of grain to tide them through the next seven years of drought. Finally, Joseph was restored to his family. His dreams in fact came true, and his brothers did all bow down to Him in his majesty as ruler in Egypt. The favour of God was so strong on Joseph that he prospered no matter what dreadful circumstances he found himself in. The end result of this favour was the survival of his family, the dynasty that would become the founding fathers of the nation of Israel.
Ruth was a young woman from Moab. When you stand on the Israeli side of the Dead Sea you can see the sunrise over the mountains of Moab on what is now the Jordanian shore of the eastern side of the Dead Sea. It was not far from Bethlehem in distance, but Moab was an alien and often hostile neighbour to Israel. Following a series of family tragedies in Moab, all the menfolk had died leaving only Naomi and her two daughters in law. One, left her to return to her family. The other, Ruth, in one of the most beautiful passages of faith and devotion, chose to stay with Naomi and return with her to their hometown of Bethlehem. The journey back to Bethlehem would have involved a walk South to get around the Dead Sea, then a long and difficult trek North through the Judean wilderness to Bethlehem. The favour of God was on Ruth and she married Boaz, their descendants became the royal family line of the house of Judah. Ruth was the great Grandmother of the future king David and an honored ancestor in the genealogy of Jesus himself.
Lastly, we probably all know the story of Esther, a beautiful orphan girl, raised in exile, by her cousin Mordecai who subsequently adopted her. The scripture tells us that…”Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her”. She alone is in a position to save her people from a plot to have them wiped out and when she hesitated to speak to the king Mordecai uttered the famous words: –
Esther 4:14 (NKJV)
14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
It was the favour of God that enabled Queen Esther to speak to the king about the plot. It was the favour of God on her that persuaded the king to act to save the Jewish exiles. The favour of God in Esther’s life once again served to preserve the line of the tribe of Judah that would later produce a son to Mary and Joseph who was named Jesus.
The three characters that I have described would have remained unknown to history without the favour of God that rested on them so powerfully. Their lives were not easy, in fact they all faced life-threatening incidents, but they chose not to give in to fear but to face their challenges secure in the knowledge that the favour of God was like a shield around them. It is no accident that when I pray for people about to face a new circumstance that I always include prayer for the favour of God to go with them and give them success in whatever they are about to face.
A final word from Bob Gass: –
“Favor is not an accident or “a lucky break.” Listen: “All these blessings shall come on thee and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God” (Deuteronomy 28:2). Obedience brings the favor of God! Ask Him today to help you see the areas where His favor is already at work in your life. As you acknowledge it in small things, it will increase. Who is God using to bless you right now? Stop building walls to keep them out. Open your arms to them. If there is known sin in your life today, get rid of it!”
Release all your fears and get ready to receive His favor—He longs to show it to you today!
 The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Ge 39:23.
 Ibid, Es 2:15.
 Bob Gass, A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998), 164.