One of the various definitions of the word ”favour” that is so striking is ”to prefer someone or something to other things or other people, especially when there are several to choose from” (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, New Edition). Another definition says favour is to treat someone better than someone else in an unfair manner. Favour is to place someone as an advantage over other persons. It means to be chosen among equals. It gives you a place that you are not qualify for. It is what makes men to seek to help you without knowing why. This understanding is necessary in order to put this discourse in a proper perspective.
Let’s start by looking at Angel Gabriel’s message to Mary the mother of Jesus Christ, ”… and having come in, the angel of the Lord said to her, Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women… Then the angel said to her do not be afraid, Mary for you have found favour with God. And behold you shall conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the son of the highest;and the Lord will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:26-32).
Mary was described as one ”highly favoured”, what is the implication of this statement. There were many virgins in Israel in the days of Mary, but to none was he sent than Mary. Certainly she might not be the richest, or the most influential, we can infer from the background of the report. Jesus can only be borne by one Virgin woman even if there were millions of women who qualified. Mary was preferred above all, why? It was because she ”found favour with God.”
Let’s take one more instance in the days of Jesus. ”So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asks him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multititudes from the boat” ( Luke 5:1-3). Take note, there were two boats but Jesus sat in peter’s boat to teach the people. Off course at the end of this encounter we saw what ensued.
There is no life endeavour that does not require the concept of favour. If every event in a man’s life is allowed to take the natural course, life journey to destiny may become frustrating. We live in a very competitive world. Sometimes we are faced with the saga of the survival of the fittest. It takes God’s divine favour to bring a man from obscurity to limelight. It is divine favour that put food on a man’s table against all odds. Imagine Peter’s report, we ”toiled all night but caught nothing”. What is your report? The need that makes a man labour burning the midnight oil and ”caught nothing” is a life devoid of favour. Listen, one day of God Divine favour, will give you what one thousand days of labour cannot give you. Favour takes you beyond the general level of God’s benevolence to mankind.
By profession, Peter was an expert, haven’t you see how intelligent most people were; how hard working they were, and yet nothing to show for it. Jesus said, ”others have laboured and you are entering their labour” (you are harvesting the fruit of their labour). There is a place for diligence and dignity of labour. God forbids laziness and redundancy. But most importantly, there is a place for divine favour. You must seek to get connected to it. Favour could amount to God linking you with the right source of ideas and information that will change your life forever.
There are three key factors that attract God’s divine favour. I would like to discus each briefly.
Obedience: This is simply doing God’s will and obeying all His commandments. Any child fond of his or her parents must be an obedient child. I mean total obedience. The Bible said ”thou have loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God has anointed thee with the oil of gladness above your fellows” (Heb 1:9KJV). The oil of gladness is what attracts divine favour. That oil doesn’t run dry. Wherever you go, you are preferred. That is what made Aaron’s rod to bud; and that settles the controversy (Num 17:1-13). It was the same perception that single out Daniel in the land of Babylon.
Sacrifice: sacrifice is giving beyond your means. For every sacrifice you made there is a day of remembrance; ”May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble, may the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary and strengthen you out of Zion; May He remember all your offerings and accept your burnt sacrifice” Psalm(20:1-3). The ”seed faith”, offering, Tithe, first fruit, you’ve been giving will speak in the day of God’s Divine Favour. The amount of Favour you receive is tied to sacrifices you make in life. It is just like the law of ”seed time and harvest”. Plant a Maize seed for instance;get it well nurtured,at harvest what is the ratio of returns? Evidently, the harvest of a man of sacrifice will surpass normal or the natural order and open greater doors.
Prayer and Fasting: Whatever we desire from God, by divine order we need to ask Him. He said He will not withhold anything good from those who diligently seek Him. We can take example from Esther in the Bible. She lived at a time when the destiny of her nation was under threat. A threat of complete annihilation, a test of divine purpose. It took God’s Divine Favour to breakthrough, if not the risk involved does not worth it. Check how she got it. ”Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: Go gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night nor day. My Maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the King, which is against the law; and if I perish I perish (Esther 4:15-16NKJV).
This proposed line of action in the absence of Divine Favour was suicidal, because no one including the king’s wives were permitted to see the king without being summoned; violation attracts death sentence. But with the weapon of Prayer and Fasting let see the outcome: ”So it was when the King saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favour in His sight, and the King held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in His hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the sceptre. And the King said to her, what do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you up to half of the Kingdom” (Esther 5:2-3NKJV). Can you see the power of fasting and prayer? King Ahasuerous was the most powerful king on the earth in his days and in those days it was not easy to see the king. Imagine, a slave girl turning to become a queen,first among her equals.