Too often we take note of outward appearance, circumstances, and giftings to judge God’s blessing or favor (or the lack thereof). But in reality, this system is a flawed form of judgement. And further, the focus is off because really we should be focusing on our own standing with God. Are we being obedient and faithful in our walk? Are we cultivating a relationship with Him?
Let me step back for a moment to show why that thinking is flawed. You may remember in my post Tender Eyes (Genesis 29:17), I make a case for why Leah was likely God’s choice and yet Jacob favored Rachel. And Isaac favored Esau over Jacob (Genesis 25:28). Isaiah 53:2 tells us that Jesus, “he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
Now I’m not making a case that God will never use the favor of man, because Genesis 39 makes clear that initially Potiphar gave Joseph favor, as did the jailor, as did Pharaoh. There are times when God definitely uses the favor of man to accomplish His end. But it’s clear the favor of man does NOT necessarily mean the favor of God. In fact Jesus warns us in John 15:18 (VOICE), “If you find that the world despises you, remember that before it despised you, it first despised Me.”
The thought I want to emphasize at this point is: having man’s favor isn’t necessarily a sign you have God’s. Ultimately, having or not having man’s favor is just a thing – like being able to play an instrument, having been birthed with a beautiful face, being a gifted artist, being of extreme intelligence – these attributes are just things God has given, raw materials that He’s equipped you with which can be used for good or evil (e.g. someone with a prophetic gifting becoming a psychic).
This is why it’s absurd when we judge people based on these! Giving someone favor because they’re attractive or smart. Or even judging yourself as better because you’re gifted in a particular area. Yes, you have a choice what you do with what you’re given (cultivating a talent, educating yourself, maintaining your appearance), but even that isn’t something that warrants getting a puffed up sense of pride about because the only reason you have something to cultivate is because He gave it to you!
So judging based on attributes, or thinking you can determine God’s favor or love based on them is flawed thinking. Having a beautiful face or a gift of teaching, writing, even leadership, doesn’t mean God loves someone more; it also doesn’t mean He doesn’t. It is just an attribute.
The same hold true for circumstances. God doesn’t love you more or less if you grew up in a single parent home or one with both parents, if the parents were loving or abusive, if you were born in a rich country or a poor one – none of these things are an indication of God’s love or lack thereof, or His favor or lack thereof. It almost makes one wonder why He doesn’t do it that way to make it clear…
It’s All About Relationship
The reason God doesn’t always have the same things mean the same thing (e.g. man’s favor equaling God’s favor) is because His ultimate goal is relationship. He WANTS you to talk with Him, to ask Him things. He STRONGLY desires to commune with you. So I believe He intentionally leaves some ambiguity so that you will have to talk to Him. He creates this need on purpose because he DESIRES relationship with you above all else.
We even see this with His Torah – it isn’t wholly black and white (though some like to believe it is because it’s simpler that way) – there are times of exception. For example, Jesus makes the case in Luke 14 that it is ok to break the sabbath (by “working”) if a child or an ox falls into a pit. Another example would be if a woman goes into labor. It’s not like you can tell her to stop! So she will be “working” as will the midwife or doctor who is assisting the birth.
I think of it like this: if you have a curfew for your child, you might make an exception on a special occasion – the key is that the child would ASK YOU for the exception. So the principle here is: if you aren’t sure or simply want to know, ASK GOD. This holds true for anything! That’s the kind of relationship He wants with you.
If you don’t know how to hear from God, I have a couple of posts that can get you started: Hearing God’s Voice and How-to Receive What God Shares with You (Genesis 37). But remember NO ONE will hear perfectly all the time. They key is having a desire to hear Him and stepping out in faith trusting that He will find a way to help you get it right and correct you if you don’t.
Father, first and foremost I thank You that You desire a relationship with us. What an honor that the Creator of heaven and earth longs to commune with us! Father, help us to learn/remember not to judge by attributes like the world does, but to see in the spirit, to judge by fruit, to recognize a reflection of Your countenance, and for those things to be apparent in our own lives. Let us love that we might be known by our love. Let us reflect You and bring You glory, blessing, and honor. Help us to see things the way You see things. Align our hearts and minds with You. May we stay singularly focused on Your favor, obedience to You, and relationship with You. Help us to hear You more clearly and accurately each day. Thank You that Your grace covers us when we blow it. We love You, Lord.