eanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people. 1 Samuel 2:26 (NLT)
Favor is not something I hear commonly discussed in today’s world. And yet, I’m aware that throughout my life I have enjoyed the favor of others. Thinking about my social circles, I can pick out certain individuals who seem to enjoy an unexplainable amount of favor. They are held in generally high regard by all who know them. You go out of your way to help them in need and joyfully to what they asked of you without question and without quite knowing why.
Since my girls were young, I have prayed that they might be granted favor with God and with others just as Samuel is described having in today’s chapter. I still pray this prayer when I pray for them. When in school I prayed that they might enjoy the favor of their teachers. I pray that they might have the favor of their employers and their community.
I am well aware that, to a great degree, favor is generated by one’s own life and character. The way we treat others, the attitude we generally display in life, and the words we use all contribute to how others react and respond to us. In today’s chapter, the sons of Eli earned the lack of favor with their destructive intentions, words, and actions. Nevertheless, I am equally aware that there is an intangible quality to favor that goes beyond what is easily defined and explained in the natural realm and simple consequences. There is a spiritual favor, like that which is described in young Samuel, which I have seen in others I have known. It is far deeper than the simple consequences of being a generally nice person. It is hard to quantify, and yet I see it and feel it.
I regularly pray for favor with God and with others, for my family members, friends and for myself. As I do so, I am motivated to live in such a way that favor will be a natural social consequence. But beyond that I pray that I might know God’s spiritual favor which God alone has the power to bestow, to know favor like that which Samuel experienced, to be one “on whom God’s favor rests.”