GOD’S FAVOUR MISUNDERSTOOD!
David – ‘the man after God’s own heart’ – roamed the wilderness, running for his life, while Saul – the man who turned his back on God – reigned over Israel with grandeur. Jezebel enjoyed the abundance of her palace, while Elijah was left scorching at the brink of a brook. Haman stood as an ambassador to the king, while Mordecai was at the doorstep of the king’s house. Lazarus was a sore-stricken beggar, while the rich man enjoyed the finest of wine and delicacies. These absurd realities of life leave us with a nerve-wrecking contemplation: whom does God favour?
The psalmist struggled to unravel this mystery (Psa.37). “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity” (v.1). Centuries of history bear testimony to the fact that God permits painful situations in the lives of His redeemed children to prove His faithfulness and to break and mould them into vessels that honour Him. How, then, do we reconcile with God’s ‘approval’ of the wicked who float in the vanities of this world, to whom life is beautiful, ‘God is gracious’, wealth is surplus, health is a resource, victory is luck and their hard work has earned them their honour?
This raises another question: what is God’s favour?
I am reminded of a beautiful song by Natalie Grant, titled To Be Held, which says, “We ask: why worst things happen to us? Isn’t it unfair, while being told by God we are loved, the sacred gets torn from our lives; we are just left to survive. This is what it means to be loved and to know, that the promise is to be held when everything fell.” Reality is usually bitter. True. But the beauty of God’s favour reflects on His beloved who know that, amidst the dangers and storms of life, “we are being held.” One favoured by God can be bent but not broken, because God bestows His favour by upholding him/her. The wicked might flourish and all adulation might flock him, but he shall be cut off like the grass (Psa.37:2,9,10,20).
The Bible says that the omniscient God permits crises in our lives for our benefit (Heb.12:10,11). This text reveals God’s steadfastness towards the well-being of our souls. He values our limitless, eternal glory more than the finiteness of the earthly honour. Our adversary might sport a haughty look and feel absolutely satisfied with the offerings of the earth, but as the wise man Solomon exclaims in Ecclesiastes, it’s all vanity and vexation of spirit. The transient earthly life can never be matched with the endless eternal life in God’s kingdom. King Solomon wraps up the book with these words, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
All who read, love, meditate and live by God’s word, all who love God sincerely, shall dwell at peace with God, despite the insecurities that choke their path. Rain pours down on both the just and the unjust, but the loving hand of God holds the just in the rain.
May we not be as a mule that cannot discern between the left and the right. May we never accuse God saying, “I was faithful to God, but God is unfair to me.” Our righteousness is like dirty rags and filth in the sight of God. It is His mercy and grace that we are not consumed. We can always ask God with humility for His divine wisdom to know the reason for our adversities. We may or may not get an answer from Him this side of eternity. But we have God’s written assurance: “In all things God works together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” If you trust God’s promise in Christ, you have earned His divine favour, and you can be sure of His consistent grace as you seek Him with pure and sincere heart. The psalmist proclaims, “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.”
It requires divine wisdom to understand the favour of God. Worldly wisdom views the temporal, but the wisdom that comes from God views the eternal treasures that await the faithful.