Favor with God and Men
by Edmond Ng
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And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52 NAS)Juggling between pleasing God and men is no easy task, and in some situations we may have to choose one or the other.
Ever since the prophet Samuel anointed David to be the next king of Israel, David has been watched and observed by man, not for his physical appearance, but for his actions and reactions. It is clear that David was selected not for his physical strength or stature, but for his heart towards God (1 Samuel 16:5-13).
In many occasions, Saul sought to kill David, but each time David spared the life of Saul instead, refusing to kill God's anointed (1 Samuel 24, 26). His covenant with Jonathan concerning the preservation of Saul's family line was closely observed without fail (1 Samuel 18, 20). David consulted God each time before he goes to battle (1 Samuel 23:2; 2 Samuel 2:1, 5:19, 23) and he treated his henchmen fairly (1 Samuel 30). He dealt fairly with the people who accommodated him and his men while running from Saul (1 Samuel 25).
When the servant of David, Joab, killed the commander of Ish-bosheth's army, Abner, David made it clear to all Israel that it was never his intent to kill Abner who had made a prior covenant with David (2 Samuel 3:13-39), and through action, David mourned and made restitution by fasting. The people observed David and "all Israel understood that day that it had not been the will of the king to put Abner the son of Ner to death" (2 Samuel 3:37 NAS).
Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, just as everything the king did pleased all the people. (2 Samuel 3:36 NAS)It is clear that David was a man of integrity, pleasing in the eyes of God and men. To the men, David's action, mannerism, behavior and fair dealings won him the respect of the people who observed him (2 Samuel 3:36). To God, the LORD said to Samuel concerning David's brother, Eliab when he was looking at the sons of Jesse to anoint the next king:
"Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7 NAS)David was therefore chosen to be king because of his heart towards God, not for his physical strength or ability, but because he was pleasing in the eyes of God.
Like David, Jesus, as the Son of God, went through the same lessons while He was a lad. He grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52). No doubt, there were occasions when Jesus had to choose between God and men, to please the Pharisees and other people or to please God His Father. In situations such as these, Jesus chose to please God the Father, who for this reason said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased" and "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him" (Matthew 3:17; Luke 9:35 NAS).
Two things we can learn from the life of Jesus and David. First, our actions speak louder than words. Second, our actions must come from the heart. As believers in the Lord, it is important for our hearts to be constantly in tune with God to follow His commands in every of our action. There is nothing wrong with being pleasing in the eyes of God and men, because it is by our actions and behavior that men will see God in us, so they may believe and give glory to God.
Dear God, thank You for giving us Your Son to set for us an example of what it means to increase in favor with God and men. Thank you also for the example of King David, who You have chosen because of his heart towards You. Help us dear Lord to live our lives pleasing in the sight of God and men, that by the way we live, the world may see You in us. Stir our hearts Lord that we may always consciously choose to please You first rather than men. We praise and worship You Lord for You alone are worthy to sit on the throne of our lives and our hearts.
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