Lesson 22—I Accept God’s Favor
I love people who open their hearts to a child not born of their own genes. I love that God can put families together even from different lineages around the globe.
How God must grieve for a child abandoned or left alone in life. How that fact must suffer their hearts. But how it must heal their hearts to know that they are loved enough to be adopted by someone who had no legal, moral, ethical or familial obligation to do so. Just simply because they were loved.
That must be how God feels about us.
When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people” (Luke 1:23-25).
In our last lesson, we acknowledged what God has done, is doing and will keep doing great things in the lives of humanity. Today we take that a step further.
This verse tells us that God showed Elizabeth His favor. This was something personal. God singled Elizabeth out. By granting her favor, God let everyone know that Elizabeth was special in His eyes. He reminded them—and us—that He sees each of us as special.
How loved Elizabeth must have felt. The God of the universe, the One who created it all, kept the world spinning and made sure the stars stayed in the sky, took the time and effort to show Elizabeth His favor. She had spent her whole life loving and worshipping God. Now God was reaching out to her, showing her His great and personal love.
Loving someone makes us happy. When we know that someone loves us back, we grin. We laugh. We bounce. We sing. We dance.
God adopts us into His family when we accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. We become His children. That makes us special in His eyes. God loves all people. But His children are His favored. And He desires to lavish His unending love on us.
The Old Testament tells the story of the Hebrew people. They were God’s chosen people. Jesus was born into a Jewish family and was the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy. Jesus came first to save the Jews and then to save the Gentiles. My favorite reminder of this truth is when Jesus was talking with the Canaanite woman. She reminds us that the Jews were the invited guests at the table. Those dogs sitting underneath the table though still get the scraps being dropped (Mark 7:27-28).
In other words, even though Jesus came to the Jews first, us dogs under the table get to share the good fortune. We also get to become part of God’s chosen people when we receive Jesus’ gift and favor. We get grace and mercy; we get forgiveness; we get to be purified and made righteous through Jesus’ blood; we get to go to Heaven and spend eternity in God’s presence.
People who do not accept Jesus’ gift of salvation, do not receive grace and mercy. They are not forgiven. They are not purified or made righteous in His eyes. They do not get to go to Heaven or spend eternity in God’s presence. Those are mighty big favors. They are worthy of celebration and also worthy of sharing.
There’s still room in Heaven for more favored children though. When Jesus walked the earth, He said, “Come.” His invitation is ongoing—an echo that never ends. He’s still saying “come.”
Jesus also tells us to “go” into the world. Our job is to tell others how to accept God’s favor. So we should never stop telling people about how they too can accept God’s favor.
But this favor, while it is a universal invitation meant for all mankind, is also a deeply personal invitation. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to live within each person who claims salvation through Him. Live within; commune with daily; be led and loved by; a personal counselor and friend. The Holy Spirit is a personal gift of personal favor from a personal Savior. Jesus is inviting you to come and receive His favor. Personally.
If Elizabeth were here she would say this was her story. She accepted God’s favor and she knew His favor was personal to her.
When we recognize that accepting Christ as our savior means accepting God’s personal favor and when we help other people accept Him too, we understand how God might see His women of faith. We can respond:
I am like Elizabeth.
For Thought and Discussion
- What does God’s favor to mankind mean to you?
- What does God’s favor to you personally mean?
- Who do you know who needs to hear about God’s favor? How might you approach that person today?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for including us among your chosen. We know you desire that none of your creations be lost. Please place people in our lives who need to hear about and accept your favor. Give us boldness to share your good news with others. Amen.