I’d been doing a job I loved, but didn’t pay well. We managed, until circumstances beyond our choice or control suddenly meant I needed to earn more. It became evident it was time for me to return to teaching in state education. Just needed to find a job! I got an interview for the first post I applied for. But then came the disappointment – someone else got called in to be offered the job. And then came the surprise – the head teacher asked me to wait, and then a little later I too was invited back into the interview room. The post I’d applied for had indeed been offered to another, but they had decided to create a new post just for me! And when the term began, it became very evident indeed that I had the far pleasanter job. That was the favour of the Lord. He knew my need and he supplied richly.
God supplied the Israelites too, for their journey out of Egypt (Exodus 12:33-36). They just had to ask the Egyptian people, and silver, gold and clothing was poured into their laps. They gave them all they asked for. Probably some time later, those Egyptians scratched their heads and wondered why they’d donated so much stuff to their one-time slaves. But it was the favour of the Lord. He put a smile on the faces of those Egyptians as they emptied out their piggy-banks and handed it gleefully over. Perhaps they felt a bit guilty about their exploitation, and this was an opportunity to salve their consciences; perhaps they felt that the more they gave, the quicker the country could be rid of the blight that had come upon it. But it was the favour of the Lord that moved their hands to give, and to give generously.
I don’t know about you, but I find it incredibly difficult to ask someone for a favour. I’d sooner go hungry than ask for food or money. It’s probably a pride thing, and maybe not always wise. But there again, inviting someone to a church event, or starting a conversation about God. That is likewise incredibly hard. But what about the favour of God? Why are these things so difficult if I have that?
Well firstly, I think we need to notice when we are receiving the favour of God. Think of the times you’ve had to ask for something, and the person has happily granted it. Happens more than we realise, we just need to recognise it. Then we need to be courageous in our request or invitation. If we don’t ask, how will we ever know if the other person would be delighted to say yes? And then we need to be confident, and expect the favour of God. Of course, we must be courteous in face of a refusal. But remember, God always wants to bless us. We HAVE the favour of God!
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.