This verse is one of my favorites. I love the image of God’s favor spread over us like a piece of armor. But, like so many verses, it raises the question: what is God’s favor? What does Scripture mean when it says God’s favor is for a lifetime (Psa. 30:5), or when God tells us “In my favor I have had mercy on you” (Isaiah 60:10)?
Rather than a dictionary definition, let me give an illustration. A few weeks ago my wife and I became new parents when our son Elliot was born. Now when I’m away from home during the day, my wife sends me pictures of Elliot’s facial expressions. One of the pictures had the caption: “It’s official. He’s the cutest little boy ever.”
Now I can’t honestly or logically say Elliot is the cutest boy in the history of humankind. I haven’t seen every child ever born, nor is there any way to actually compare “cuteness.” But it doesn’t matter. Because he’s ours, everything about him delights us. That’s the way family love works. Parents don’t put on their art critic hat when their children bring them a scribbled picture of the family, even if a four year-old’s sense of perspective makes Mom and Dad look like the Goodyear blimp. You delight in it simply because they’re your children drawing the picture.
And that’s a picture of the favor of the Lord.
If you’re a Christian, you belong to God as a child belongs to parents. Actually, that’s getting things backwards. A parent’s delight in their child simply because they belong to the family is a faint reflection of the love that has eternally existed in the heart of God the Father for his adopted children in Jesus Christ. Yes, you’re a sinner. Yes, you have weaknesses. Yes, you blow it regularly. But you’re still his child. When God looks at you, he smiles. Not because of your performance and certainly not because of all the good things you do for him. Simply because you’re his.
Zechariah 2:8: “For thus said the LORD of hosts….he who touches you touches the apple of his eye.”
Zephaniah 3:17: “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Photo by Eric Lanning