Four weeks ago or so (within the time of June 8th when I picked up the Bible for the first time after fully realizing that God had saved me,) I was reading and I ran across these verses, Psalm 5:11-12 (NASB) "But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield." It was the last verse in bold that caught my attention although both verses are good.
I started thinking about the fact that the "righteous man (the ones that have been brought to trust in Christ and a personal relationship with Christ---because it is only Christ's righteousness that makes us right before God---NOTHING ELSE!!)is surrounded with favor as a shield." I started thinking about the word, "Favor" and what that really means in relation to God and us, who are known by Him as His children. I might have a few more posts on this as I have more thoughts about this. Since I have already posted once today, this will be more of a brief look (compared to the length that it could be!! :) )
So I was thinking, "Well what IS God's favor to those that are His?" Here are just a few things to answer that question, with verses, some which I may have already quoted before, but I am just pulling them from my head (and heart--truly believing them) as God directs me.
God's FAVOR TOWARDS US MEANS:
THAT HE IS FOR US Romans 8:31-34 says, "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us."
AND GOD'S FAVOR MEANS THAT WE HAVE EXPERIENCED AND CURRENTLY EXPERIENCE AND TRULY KNOW THE FOLLOWING: (yes, there is that word "experience" again...and yes these things are true of you, true believer in Jesus Christ, whether or not you "feel" them at the moment--THEY ARE STILL TRUE OF YOU.
YOU EXPERIENCE HIS LOVE THAT NOTHING CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM...HE WILL LOVE YOU THE SAME EVEN THOUGH YOUR SIN MAY KINK UP YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM AND BRING YOU TO THE PLACE WHERE GUNK IS IN THE WAY AND YOU AREN'T AS AWARE OF HIS LOVE FOR YOU. Romans 8:35-39 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[m] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
YOU HAVE KNOWN HIS KINDNESS Romans 2:4 "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? The bolded part of this verse was my emphasis in this instance of writing. Here is another verse, 2 Corinthians 7:10 "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." We have experienced THE GOD and CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE'S KINDNESS BECAUSE HE HAS DRAWN US TO HIMSELF!!!! wow! wow! wow! That is the BEST THING in the WORLD!!
YOU ARE PROTECTED--and nothing that happens to you will happen unless He allows it first-this does not mean that "bad or hard" things won't happen to us, but they are under His control as a part of His purposes. Here are some verses--I could go on all day!!
FIRST OFF, THE VERSE THAT WE STARTED WITH Psalm 5:11, "But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you."
Psalm 36:7 "How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings."
Psalm 57:1 NOTICE THE Psalm pre-heading notes or whatever you call this stuff [For the director of music. To the tune of "Do Not Destroy." Of David. A miktam. When he had fled from Saul into the cave.] (MY COMMENT in relation to those "pre-heading notes." Please notice the challenging time David was experiencing) Now for Psalm 57:1 itself: "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed."
Psalm 61:4 "I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah"
AND I LOVE THIS LAST ONE!!!!
Psalm 91:4 "He WILL (emphasis mine) cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."
Continuing with how GOD SHOWS HIS FAVOR TO US!.......
YOU KNOW IN THE DEEPEST SENSE THAT GOD IS GOOD--and HAS BEEN GOOD TO YOU! but I'd rather focus on the fact that HE HIMSELF IS GOOD!! And the Psalms are also OVERFLOWING TO THE BRIM, IF YOU WILL, of this too!! GOD'S GOODNESS IS AN AMAZING THING!! So here are two verses.
Psalm 100:5 "For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."
Psalm 34:8 "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." (My comment-I wonder is "see" is sort of like "experience" here. This verse is cool because it really combines both above-mentioned concepts!! 1)God's goodness for who He is, and 2) God's goodness towards us!
THERE ARE MANY OTHER THINGS THAT ARE EXAMPLES OF WHAT GOD'S FAVOR IS TO THOSE THAT ARE HIS, but let me get to the main point!!
BUT WHAT ELSE IS HIS FAVOR? WHAT REALLY IS HIS FAVOR? I FOUND THIS VERSE LAST NIGHT AND IT LITERALLY JUST ABOUT BLEW ME AWAY. I knew the truth of it....but finding the verse was just like wow!!!
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (NIV) "As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." (Need I say that this is another life-verse for me?) GOD'S FAVOR TO US AS I SAID ORIGINALLY IS HIS GIFT OF SALVATION TO US!!!---BEING COUNTED RIGHTEOUS BECAUSE OF CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS ON OUR BEHALF WHEN WE ARE BROUGHT TO THE PLACE OF GIVING HIM OUR COMPLETE TRUST!!!!!
It cross-references us back to Isaiah 49:8 "This is what the LORD says: "In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances," (And,yes, I understand that it is talking about Israel here in this specific moment, but Paul definitely used it in the New Testament to apply in a deeper sense to the Believers of that day.)
My personal thought last night was to cross-reference it back to this (before I ever saw that Isiah 49:8 part): Luke 4:14-19 "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Which of course leads us back to Isaiah 61:1-1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD, for the display of his splendor."
Okay--first time reading THAT being saved too.....wow!!!---Kleenex box, please? There is freedom for the captives to sin and release from the darkness of sin for the prisoners-----(of which I once was!) HE HAS GIVEN ME A GARMENT OF PRAISE INSTEAD OF A SPIRIT OF DESPAIR (which is what I had all these years!) May HE (Emphasis on Him) use me in some small way to DISPLAY HIS SPLENDOR AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!
It was my mentor that brought up the Psalm 5:11 verse to me a little over a week ago, before we got into quite a heavy session, and we talked about it, And then she e-mailed something she had sent out to the other mentors the prior week. I asked her if I could quote part of what she wrote, and she said it was OK. My mentor put it this way:
"But then I went back, after this mental tirade, and looked again. It says that God surrounds the righteous with his favor. What does that look like? To me it looks like God is pleased. He looks at the ones who he loves with favor. Favor means: good will, support, kindness. In my mind it means the smile of, the approval of. This leads me to believe that to be surrounded with God’s favor means he is looking, smiling, guiding and protecting me from that which could ultimately destroy me - his anger...his wrath…his disapproval…his dissatisfaction. This favor is the shield that saves my life. This favor also protects my heart from looking elsewhere for satisfaction. I KNOW God is on my side. I am committed to him, He is committed to me. Like the love in my marriage keeps me from looking to others for love, so God’s love keeps me close to him."---Deane W.