To favor means to give special regard to; to treat with goodwill; to show exceptional kindness to someone. Sometimes, it means to show extra kindness in comparison to the treatment of others; that is, preferential treatment. Deuteronomy 28:50 warns of judgment by a "nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young." Though it is natural for us to favor the young in times of affliction or judgment, this nation will not give such favor. Esther received royal favor above all the other virgins (Esther 2:17). It is from this use of favor that we get the word, favorite. The greatest favors are shown to the favorite.
However, favor is not always used in a comparative way toward others. It sometimes simply means that the one favored is shown kindness and treated with a generosity and goodwill far beyond what would normally be expected. This is generally the favor that we receive from the Lord. We are treated much better than we could expect. Of course, every believer is favored to some degree. Therefore, we must understand God's favor in degrees. The more we please God, the more we will be favored by Him. Also, it is important not to think of this favor in material or worldly terms. God's favor most likely will be given in spiritual blessings more than in material blessings. Here are some of the ways by which we obtain the favor of the Lord:
- By praying unto the Lord (Job 33:26).
- By keeping the commandments of the Lord (Proverbs 3:1-4).
- By seeking and finding God's wisdom (Proverbs 8:35).
- By diligently seeking good (Proverbs 11:27; 12:2).
- By living righteously (Proverbs 14:9).
There are many benefits of being in the favor of the Lord. Here are some of them:
- Our petitions are more likely to be granted (Esther 7:3).
- God will compass us with a shield (Psalm 5:12).
- We will receive life (Psalm 30:5).
- Our enemies will not triumph over us (Psalm 41:11).
- God will show mercy (Psalm 119:58).
We can grow in favor both with God and with man-as did the child Samuel (1 Samuel 2:26) and the child Jesus (Luke 2:52). The phrase, to find favor in the eyes of, or, in the sight of, came from the Old Testament. Every saint of God should desire and seek to have favor in the eyes of the Lord. We grow in that favor as we faithfully live for the Lord.
However, this should not be looked upon as some sort of secret formula for getting everything we want. For purposes of His own, God sometimes takes those He loves through special trials. Job is the primary example but similar instances happen in the lives of many. However, if we continually draw closer to the Lord, we will come to dwell in His favor and in His favor is life (Psalm 30:5).