May 23, 2011, 1:11 PM
Any favour, from whatever source, is welcome. Rarely would someone refuse favour, for it is supposed to come as a blessing when we least expect it. Favour is special and yet rare, because it is not always that we are visited by it. Those on whose door steps it lands have found favour indeed. It is not something you go running after because you do not know from which direction it will come. It is not something you can buy from a shop or a supermarket. Its unpredictable nature makes one wonder how and when one qualifies.
Many go in search of it and never find it. You may pray for it and it can still elude you. Favour is favour when out of no where, it walks into your life unannounced. No one really knows how it operates, how it selects its beneficiaries. One thing is certain though, favour has to come from somebody or somewhere. It does not just drop from the sky. By all intents and purposes, you can be sure God's hand is in it. When it happens, do not attribute it to chance, for goodness sake! Rather see as God's purpose fulfilled. Every good thing comes from God.
At a time when God was saddened by the wickedness of his creation, and his heart was full with pain, there was one person whom he found acceptable. "But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord." (Genesis 6.9) It was because Noah had certain characteristics that were rare amongst the people of his day that God was able to work with him. He and his family were saved from destruction. Prior to this, God had looked with favour on Abel's offering after the latter had sacrificed "fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock" (Genesis 4:4) as against "some of the fruits of the soil" that his brother Cain had offered.
Nothing could be more spectacular than the favour God showed to the children of Israel. As they made their exit from Egypt after 430 years of hard labour in slavery, God rewarded them. "The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The Lord had made the Egyptians favourably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians." (Exodus 12:36) For the free labour of four and a quarter centuries, God blessed his people with immense riches from their slave masters. It would appear like they had received payment for all the services they had rendered all those years. They received this favour effortlessly.
Joseph, the son of Jacob, was sold into slavery by his brothers and he found himself in Egypt in the home of one of Pharaoh’s officials, named Potiphar who had bought him. The Bible account tells us that "The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master: when his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favour in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned." (Genesis 39:2-4) This is phenomenal! Joseph, a slave boy, from a different cultural and ethnic background rose to such authority simply because his pagan master observed that God was behind all that this young slave did. All that he touched turned to gold, and you just could not miss it.
Joseph was wrongly accused and put in prison for a crime he did not commit, yet even there God was with him. We read: "But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favour in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did." (Genesis 39:21-23) Isn’t it amazing that despite Joseph's status, condition or circumstance, God turned it over for his good. Someone who is highly favoured cannot go unnoticed, all around him glitters and it is gold. Everything Joseph put his hand to succeeded and without much effort. When God is with us, we get all the favours and we become the envy of all. All eyes are set on us. Divine favour is the cause!
Such favour, which seemingly no one can do anything about, comes only from God. It is unlike human favour. Human beings will boast of, and remind you of the things they have done for you. If you do not acknowledge the favour done to you they will withdraw it from you, in broad daylight, in public even. God's favour is irrevocable (cannot be withdrawn), "…for God's gift and his call are irrevocable." (Romans 11:29)
After Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dreams which presaged bad and good times that that great nation of Egypt was going to face, Joseph graduated from a prisoner to a prime minister charged with the implementation of the dreams he had interpreted. "Can we find anyone in whom is the spirit of God?" was Pharaoh's conclusion before he put Joseph in charge of the whole land of Egypt. This was no mere achievement! Joseph had come from afar, he was not Egyptian. Yet God paved his way until he became the second in command in that great nation of Egypt. To crown it all, Pharaoh said to Joseph. "I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt." (Genesis 41:44)
If you are not familiar with the ways God functions, you will attribute the facets in Joseph's life to a matter of chance or luck. Well, let it be known that God does not operate by chance, he operates by design. He has his plans for you and for me - just as it was in the case of Joseph - laid down from the foundation of time. Nothing can change that.
Has there been a trait of divine favour in your family, in your life? Have you been so busy glorifying your personal efforts at your achievements and have failed to see the hand of God in it? Look closely at the doors God has opened in your life, that have remained opened and count them as divine favour. Look again at the passage of life that you have trod and give due merit to God from whom all good things come.
Your life may look like a struggle all through because you have failed to recognise the hand of God in the path that you have waded through. Begin to attribute your condition, your status and your prosperity to God however little it may seem in your eyes and all will be well with your soul. Divine favour can come in packets that you have overlooked because your want God to impact your life in a bigger way. Begin by acknowledging God as the giver of all good things (however insignificant) in your life.