Intro: According to Merriam-Webster, favor involves gracious kindness. However, the biblical definition of favor is a bit different: a “demonstrated delight” which reveals the faithful outpouring of love and blessing from the Lord. God’s favor is connected to grace and we are encouraged to seek the Lord’s favor, because it ushers us into his glorious presence. In God’s presence we can enjoy security, wisdom, righteousness, and the fullness of joy (Ps 16:11). For this reason, God commands us to love him wholeheartedly; he wants to shower us with favor. What do you think your day-to-day experience would be like if you positioned everything in your life around loving God wholeheartedly?
Today, we continue our passage from Psalm 86. David finally shares about how he is affected by negative, hateful, and arrogant people. We can probably all testify to the influence of negativity; it’s all around if we look closely. However, believers are not to focus on negativity because God does not inhabit it. Instead, we are to seek the Kingdom of God and his way of being favored and righteous, then everything else we need to enjoy more of life in God’s presence will be given to us.
It sounds to me like wisdom is leading us to a new way of handling negativity. We are to focus on the glorious character of God: his compassion, mercy, patience, love, and loyalty. These are the ways God demonstrates his delight for us. Believers are to be looking for God’s character in action as a sign of his presence with us. That means we should actually be looking for God’s character on display through the support of our families, friends, and fellow worshipers, because we are focused on growing in righteousness. Ponder this thought, today: What if God allows us to experience negativity in others, so instead of participating in that darkness we choose to release righteousness as a sign of God’s favor operating in our lives?
Psalm 86:14-17 NLT
O God, insolent people rise up against me; a violent gang is trying to kill me. You mean nothing to them.
But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
Look down and have mercy on me. Give your strength to your servant; save me, the son of your servant.
Send me a sign of your favor. Then those who hate me will be put to shame, for you, O Lord, help and comfort me.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for sending us signs every day of your beautiful favor and character. If we look carefully, we will see your demonstration of delight for us as your children. Not every person we meet will understand the joy we experience; but maybe our joy will positively influence the negativity others are tempted to unleash. In Jesus’ name. Amen.