God’s Favor on Joseph! 

The first story on favor that I want to study is in the book of Genesis and it covers several chapters. It’s about a young man named Joseph, one of Jacob’s sons by his wife, Rachel, whom he loved very much. The part of Joseph’s story we will look at starts in chapter 37 and goes through chapter 42. Joseph was a young man of seventeen. You know how young men of seventeen can be, a little cocky and quite proud of themselves. Everything can be wrapped up in their looks and their abilities. When I read this story of Joseph and how his father favored him over all his brothers I can just see this young man strutting around taking full advantage of the favoritism shown him. And that is pretty much what he did when he told his brothers about this dream he had where they would bow down to him one day. His father rebuked him for the dream but he still kept it in mind, maybe because he saw something in Joseph that behind the facade Joseph’s brothers couldn’t see. (Genesis 37:10-11)

But this is where the story in my opinion really begins. God gave Joseph the dream that would one day come true but I wonder if it ever crossed Joseph’s mind the path he would have to take to get there. I am often astounded at how even cocky little Joseph kept his integrity while all the wrong things were happening to him. First his brothers sold him into slavery. But, Joseph became a slave in Potiphar’s house and he rose in the ranks among the slaves and Potiphar put him in charge of his entire household. 

“Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.” Genesis 39:4

Then Joseph was accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife and he was thrown in prison. 

“But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success at whatever he did.” Genesis 39:20-23

While in prison Joseph interpreted a couple of dreams for a cupbearer and a baker of Pharaoh. Joseph interpreted in these dreams that the cupbearer would be restored to his position and that things wouldn’t go quite as well for the baker. Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him when he was restored to his position. Well, as people will sometimes do, the cupbearer forgot all about Joseph when he got out of prison for another 2 years, until Pharaoh had a dream and needed someone to interpret it. So the timing was right for Joseph and he was brought before Pharaoh to interpret his dreams and when he did, Pharaoh elevated him to be in charge of the land of Egypt. And eventually, Joseph’s own brothers have to come to Joseph to buy grain. And look at this verse. 

“Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.” Genesis 42:6

Remember the original dream? I bet it’s the first thing Joseph thought of when he saw his brothers and they were bowing down to him. You can also keep reading and see how Joseph wasn’t bitter with his brothers, but he wept at the sight of them and hearing them talk about him. 

Now I have given a brief synopsis of this story but it’s definitely worth a full read. The encouraging thing in this story is how the Lord was with Joseph even in harsh circumstances. I am sure when Joseph had his original dream he had no idea of his path. What path do you find yourself on right now that doesn’t feel right? I know I have found myself on some pathways that I did not think would be where I would end up. But I know that even when I find myself on those paths that the Lord is with me. And I pray that His favor will be with me even on those paths. I can look back and see where He has been.

I love this story of Joseph because it is definitely one that even while things were falling apart they were really falling into place. Joseph was sold into slavery, accused of rape, thrown into prison and yet you can see all through it, the Lord’s hand on his life, yes even in slavery and even in false accusations and even in prison. To me it’s very encouraging if when you read it you see how Joseph found favor with God, and kept his integrity even when things were falling apart only to be brought full circle to his original dream that God had given him of his brothers bowing down to him. Oh Lord help us to see that even when things seem to be falling apart around us, they just might be falling into place.

May His favor be upon you as it was with Joseph! 

God’s Favor

We have talked about the promises of God for the last four weeks. We talked about some unconditional promises of God and some conditional promises of God. God gave us some promises that require nothing from us and He gave us some promises that require something from us. But for the next couple of weeks I want to explore favor. What is favor from God and how do we get it? 

First let’s look at the definition of favor. Webster defines it as 1. a kind or helpful act that you do for someone, 2. approval, support or popularity, 3. preference for one person, group over another. 

So if this is the secular definition of favor what does it mean to have God’s favor and is it even possible? Should we seek God’s favor? Should we even think we are worthy of it? There are people in the Bible that God showed favor to and I do think we can seek HIs favor and even ask Him for it. And sometimes I think it is ok to pray for a favor from God. To ask His favor to be upon you in certain circumstances and circles. But like the conditional promises of God, we also have a responsibility when it comes to favor. When we ask God for favor in a situation or if we are asking for a specific request we can come boldly to His thrown to ask but we also need to look at our hearts and our spirit. 

“These are the ones I look on with favor; those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Isaiah 66:2 (NIV)

I have been that person who wanted God to give me what I wanted and to allow me to serve Him how I wanted to serve Him and to be the person I wanted to be. And I have been that person, who knew that the grace He has upon my life is underserving and that I could not get out of bed every morning if not for Him. This verse is real to me and it gives me hope that maybe I can find favor with God. I want to be that person who comes boldly to His throne but all the while knowing I don’t deserve to. That’s what I think this verse is saying that God will look on with favor the person who knows they don’t deserve what He has already given us. I believe that God wants to give us favor. I love the way the Message puts it. 

“But there is something I’m looking for: a person simple and plain reverently responsive to what I say.” Isaiah 66:2 (MSG) 

That’s who I want to be and who I want others to see me as. I am just a simple and plain woman who loves God with all her heart and I pray that His favor will be upon me and my family, but I want to reverently respond to what He has to say. 

How do we find that balance? Well first I think it is attitude of the heart. I think we come boldly to Him because of what He did for us not because of who we are. We accept His grace and we seek to live a righteous life because of Him. We realize who we were before we were covered by His blood. And then we know the difference between praying for the promises of God to be upon our lives and His favor on our lives. There are things that He has promised us like direction, wisdom, provision and there are things that we can pray for in favor that, when it comes down to it, God knows the big picture and we may or may not get those things. We have to know at the end of the day He knows and He wants what is best and we trust Him to know best. In the next couple of weeks I will be studying people who God showed favor to as well as people who asked God for something and they didn’t get it and how they responded to that. If you so desire, I hope you will join me. 

May His favor be upon us as we study!