Saturday, November 7, 2009

This thing called "Favor"

How can we work together with God to see things change in our lives? How can we know that He is hearing our prayers and seeing our needs? How can we get God's attention? Let's look at Mary, the Mother of Jesus, before she received the news of his forthcoming arrival.

(If you have not read the previous post, please do. It introduces our look at Jesus' Mother, Mary)

Version: NAS
Luke 1:26-38

26. Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth, 27. to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28. And coming in, he said to her, "Hail, favored one! The Lord [is] with you." 29. But she was greatly troubled at [this] statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be. 30. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32. "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33. and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end." 34. And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" 35. And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. 36. "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37. "For nothing will be impossible with God." 38. And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:28
"...the angel went to her and said, 'Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.'"

I want to talk about favor today, because it is a crucial element of Mary being chosen by God for His mighty work, to be accomplished. 

Favor in the Oxford Dictionary says: esteem, liking, approval, goodwill, friendly regard, partiality, support, promote, prefer, courtesy, consideration, preference, to help, and benefit.

Looking at this scripture we need to see it for what it was, Mary had found a soft spot in God's heart. He hears us all and regards us as His children. We are all loved. He is our Father. A lot has been said of the scripture concerning our standing in His eyes.

Romans 2:11 says specifically that ..."God does not show favoritism." So there must be a difference between "favor" and "favoritism". Subtle?...yes, but a difference. This is what Oxford defines as favoritism:  unfair partiality, bias.
Because the Word of God does not contradict itself, we need to look further into how we perceive what is being said. Sometimes what we think a word means in the Bible, really is not how it should be translated. This is something I've run into many times. What in today's context means one thing, in Bible times, meant something else. It's our "frame of reference", that is different.

When I think of "favoritism". I think of special treatment. Of one person getting something that the others do not receive. It brings to mind images of a bunch of people wanting the same thing or treatment, but one "lucky" person who receives it without merit, simply because they are considered better on a whim by the "giver". Whereas "favor" is more of a heartfelt emotion that comes with strong relationship and bonding. Yes, the concepts are similar and subtle. But one is random, without relationship, while the other is genuine connection due to past relationship and experience.

So we find that Mary had "favor" with God. He had preference, support, esteem, liking, benefits, etc. toward her.
Haven't we all said or at least felt toward our children at some time or another that ,"I love you, but right now I do not like what you are doing."? Our love has not changed, but we do not like what they are involved in, or an act that they have committed, or an attitude that they are exhibiting. Our relationship is suffering. I know I have, and unless your children are perfect, which mine were not, you have most likely felt that also. That is how God is sometimes. He loves us so much He sent Jesus to die for us, but He doesn't always approve of what we are up to, how we act, or our attitudes toward Him or others.

So for Mary to have had favor with God, she must have been doing some things that were looked upon by God with approval. That's what I want. I want to be the kind of person God looks at and says, "We have good relationship, we communicate, I see that she is trying to make me happy. She has favor in my eyes."

That's where Mary was, she desired relationship with God and her attitude and actions supported that. So the angel said to her "Mary, don't be afraid, you have found favor with God."

Today I'm seeking the Lord in a more ardent way and attitude. I'm asking for His favor on me and my life. I want and need Him to be with me. And He says to me. "Don't be afraid you have my favor."

Be Blessed


  1. Dearest Debra,
    What a wonderful surprise to see a newcomer to my blog today, and especially of Christian faith! Thank you for taking the time to find me, and comment. Both of your blogs are so beautiful; what a wonderful tool we have to meet people and lift other people's spirits. Thank you for the lovely comments and for your beautiful post! Anita

  2. Oh Debra- this is wonderful. What an amazing feeling available to all of us to have God's favor.
    Why do we (I) so often think we do not?
    That is really a childish attitude that limits God.

    In Spanish, when one says please, they say por favor. Though it may translate as please, it is asking for one's favor.

    I too want to be more ardent in my desire for relationship with God.


  3. Okay, small then. {re: I love your comments. Please leave one, big or small.}

    Thank you, very kindly for your faithful Bible study.


  4. Debra, I enjoyed this so much. I love studies that explain certain words within Scripture. Once you understand what the word really means in its context it changes your understanding of Scripture. Good job!

  5. Hi Gals, so good to hear from each one of you. I just loved doing this post. This was a really new insight for me. I heard someone say once that God loves each one of us like we are his "favorite". That's some kind of sweet love.
    Word study is something I'm very interested in. I don't have a lot of "resources", ie books, and or tons of Biblical References because, I've found that since they are written by "humans" they are often not entirely accurate. I try to follow God's leading, then go after the explanation. He's such a good teacher, and not hard to understand!

  6. Hi Debra. Every new study you post I print out and take it to bed with me. That way when everything as quieted down I can read and actually comprehend what I'm reading. I really enjoy this.

    I agree often I feel so unworthy of his favor and it's so hard to understand how much he wants to have us lean on him, come to him and count on him and how much he wants to have favor with us. This is a wonderful reminder. I can read these scriptures by myself but to have someone like yourself break it down gives it so much more meaning than I would find on my own.

    BTW - does anyone else have this problem. When I lay down at night usually wide awake and decide it's time to have prayer or read the bible I find myself quickly drifting off to sleep. If I'm holding the bible or an angel magazine or whatever it will fall out of my hands five times before I give up. I just want so much to finish. I often wonder, since I'm a high strung person, who's mind won't slow down, if God is giving me the relaxation and peace I'm praying for or if the devil is trying his best to keep me from my time with God. Just a thought. LOL

    I enjoy this bible study so much.
    Hugs and love....Tracy :)

  7. Hi Tracy, I love that you are faithfully following this study. I didn't know what it would be when I started, I just prayed for God to bring the people that He wanted, and the people that He could speak to thru it.
    Regarding your night time prayer and reading time, there could be several reasons as you mentioned. There have been times that I would read a paragraph and not remember what I had just read. I noticed that it was becoming a real problem. I began to pray before I started reading that God would keep me awake and focused. And that He would make it come alive to me, helping me to remember and make it relevant. Things started to change and I found as I prayed those things started to come to pass. I DO feel like the enemy can and will do what he can to keep us out of the Bible and away from prayer and study.
    Thank you all for taking the time to be a part of this. You bless me on a daily basis.

  8. Thanks again Debra for your teaching. I leave with a new insight each time I have finished reading what you have written and what everyone else has commented on. Keep it coming!

  9. Debra, Great thoughts on God's favor that we all desire so much as women of God! So many times when I try to reason something out about a verse or story in the Bible, I think of my father and how I so much love him and want to gain his trust and love. I was so blessed to have an awesome father... It helps me understand God's love for me so much better!
    Hugs, Yvette

  10. You have very good insight, and clearly you have been gifted of God to write. Lovely blog! Come see me sometime at 'heavenly humor.'



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