God’s Favor: Eligibility vs. Availability

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Sometimes we get so focused on trying to understand God’s favor that we forget our part in the process. The only thing God asks of us is that we make ourselves candidates for His favor.

Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me ‘bring up this people.’ But you yourself have not let me know whom you will send with me.” – Exodus 33:12 (NASB)

Pause for a second and consider the context of what Moses has been asked to do. God pushed a reluctant Moses into leading the Israelites out of Pharaoh’s hand and taking them on a journey was going to take a while. “You’re going to do this form me,” God tells Moses. “In fact, Moses, my favor is on you.” So Moses has a sense that God wants to use him in a great way, but Moses is leading a group of two million rebellious, stiff-necked people who are constantly questioning God’s plan. “Why are we out here? What is this about?”

Furthermore, Moses is leading the people who have grown up all their lives as the nation of Israel. While Moses was an Israelite, he did not grow up with them, which is a story for another time. But Moses is leading the nation of Israel as an outsider of sorts. He’s supposed to lead this group of people, but he’s not sure under whose authority. He has talked with God, heard God’s voice, but he doesn’t even know God’s name. And so Moses pushes back to God. “You know, you tell me to do all these things, and I’m willing to do them, but give me something more to work with. Give me your name. Give me some understanding of who you are so that I can share that with the people.”

Now therefore I pray that you, if I have found favor in your sight, let me know your ways that I may know you, so that I may find favor in your sight. Consider, too, that this nation is your people. – Exodus 33:13 (NASB)

When you talk to someone who owns their own company, or a CEO of a company, or even many pastors, you will often hear them say, “My company. My workers. My church. My people.” There’s this sense of ownership that comes over someone in leadership roles. They may say, “Well, my people are doing this.” A sense of possession or ownership is there.

But Moses says, “Consider too that this nation is your people.” You could take that a couple of different ways. On the one hand, Moses could be saying, “This gaggle of two million rebellious, stiff-necked people, these are your people, God.” Moses could be complaining because God stuck him with a nation of rebellious people. But maybe we should hear Moses another way. Maybe Moses is saying to God, “God, this is your people. This is your nation to do with as you please.”

When we want to experience God’s favor—to get to that place where we can say, “God will you show me your favor?”—then we need to become a candidate for God’s favor.

If you’re like me, you’re a problem solver. I like to take things apart. I like to see what the problems are. I like to dissect them, analyze them. I like to identify what’s wrong, what’s good, what should be taken out, what not to do again. I’m constantly thinking of what to do, what to add, whom to involve. I like to make things happen. And God regularly says to me, “I don’t always want to do it your way. Sometimes I just want you to give it back to me.”

I think in this instance Moses is saying, “God, this is your people. This is the thing you want to do. We give it back to you.”

When we say, “This problem that I’ve been sweating on, this problem that I’ve been stressing over, God, this thing that has been weighing me down, I give it back to you,” that makes us a candidate for God’s favor. When I say, “God, I do what you want. I go forward as you direct.” That makes me a candidate for God’s favor.  I am available for His Work to advance.

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