Genesis 39; Mark 9; Job 5; Romans 9
How do you define God’s favor? When I think about it, words like success and honor come to mind. Mostly because these are things that make me feel good. Surely that would be Gods favor, right? Today, we read about Joseph, which is one of my favorite stories and Job which is one of the most confounding to me. As I consider why, I can see that both challenge my thinking about God’s favor.
We see in Genesis 20 that “God was with Joseph.” The results are obvious. Joseph was successful, an overseer, and charge of Potifer’s house. Good things were happening to Joseph because of God’s favor. Of course, bad things happen to good people and because of a lie told by Potifer’s wife, Joseph gets fired and thrown in jail. But, according to verse 21, God still favored him. Even in prison, Joseph enjoyed Gods favor. Once again it showed up as being in charge. In fact, the warden gave him complete control over the entire prison. Now, when I consider God’s favor relative to Joseph, I see something I want.
Compare the favor that God shows Joseph with that of Job. We see that God clearly loves and favors Job through the words he uses to describe him. God calls him the finest man in all the earth, blameless, marked with complete integrity, fearful of God and obedient. (Job 2:3). Surely this warrant’s God’s full blessing. Unlike Joseph, the words used to describe Job’s life are destruction, terror and grief. Not only does Job have to endure great loss, he must also suffer the scathing rebuke of his best friends. Do you see why this is confounding to me? Who would want that?!
Here lies my dilemma. I want God in my life because of who I know him to be. He is our creator, eternal father, counselor and guide. Being true to my belief requires that I put all of my hope in him, no matter what. I cannot choose him only if my life looks like Joseph; I must also accept the possibility of Job. Paul brilliantly describes this true faith in Romans 9:20. He says,
who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “why have you made me like this?”” (Romans 9:20)
Far more than I care to admit here, I often reject the favor that God is currently showing me. I do this because my focus is inward, based on my own understanding, rather than the Kingdom.
When we have a kingdom focus, we are able to endure all things, as Job did. Our proper perspective of God allows us to embrace Paul’s description of what God wants for us, which is “to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory.” (Romans 9:23). When I ponder the riches of his glory shining on me, I get goose bumps. As remember that Jesus’ death makes me worthy, I feel God’s favor in a powerful way. I believe that Job must have had similar understanding.
Father, I confess that I want to determine the way you work on my behalf. Today, I again surrender to your will, whatever it is. I trust that your way is higher and better than my own. I accept that you are for me and not against me. I believe; help my unbelief!