Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain. Psalm 127:1 (NKJV)
For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield. Psalm 5:12 (NKJV)
Sometimes there is a temptation to rely on ourselves, our skills, or our knowledge as a means to get us through when we are faced with challenges or hard times. In other instances, we find ourselves completely lacking, and we know there is nothing we can do.
Whatever situation we find ourselves in, we need the blessing and favor of the Lord. We should seek Him first and make all of our decisions with the priority of doing what is right before the Lord first and foremost. We should make sure that there is nothing that will interfere with our relationship with God. We should listen to Him and obey what He tells us to do. Nothing else is more important. There is nothing God cannot do, but apart from Him we can do nothing.
Examples of the Lord’s Favor
To illustrate the importance of God’s favor, here are a few examples of His favor and blessing and the impact it had in each situation.
In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold and commanded all to worship it when they heard the music played. Anyone who did not was to be cast into a burning fiery furnace. Three Hebrews in captivity faced a very difficult situation as they were among those commanded to bow down and worship this false god or die. They, however, gave a bold testimony before the king and even in the face of death stayed true to God. This resulted in God rescuing them from the furnace, after which the king blessed God. Then the king made an edict that no one should speak against God, and he promoted the three Hebrew men.
In 2 Kings 6:8-23, a Syrian king sent an army to capture Elisha. When Elisha’s servant saw the army, he was afraid, but Elisha said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16 ESV) After God blinded the army, Israel treated them well and sent home, and Syria stopped raiding the land of Israel.
In 2 Chronicles 20:20-22, Jehoshaphat sought God’s favor and after taking counsel with the people, he sent singers out in front of the army, saying, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 20:21 ESV) As they sang praises to the Lord, He set an ambush and their enemies destroyed each other.
These are just a handful of examples—we haven’t talked about David, or Esther, or Abraham, or every other person mentioned in Scripture that God blessed!
Don’t Try It Without the Lord’s Favor
In contrast, here is an example of what happens when we forget and go our own way.
In Joshua 7, right after defeating the city of Jericho through obedience and witnessing an awesome display of God’s power, the Israelites followed up with disobedience, lying in the ranks, and pride. They went out on their own and were defeated at the hands of Ai. They lost sight of their greatest asset, their greatest need. Joshua cried out to God, and God showed him why this happened and how to correct it.
When we lose sight of this principle and start doing things in a way that is not pleasing to God, when we let sin in, when we don’t listen to and obey God, we open ourselves up to the attacks of the enemy and set ourselves up for failure and defeat. If we find that we are experiencing these things, it is in our best interest to stop and assess what we are doing and cry out to God and ask for forgiveness and help—just like Joshua did in the last example.
As believers, we are also cautioned to not grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:29-31). Scripture warns us against corrupt talk and instructs us to put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, slander, and malice. These cause God’s favor to be absent in our lives, and we must guard against them.
Who Is God?
God is love. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the beginning and the end. He is infinite in power and wisdom. There is nothing that He is not aware of and nothing He cannot do. He is our salvation. He is a shield and stronghold in the day of trouble. He is all that we need, and apart from Him we can do nothing. Let us be diligent in our pursuit of Him and be obedient to His Word. If you recognize that you don’t know Him as your Lord, submitting to Him and seeking His face and favor is a good place to start.
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:1-6 (ESV)