Monday, June 12, 2017

What Is Favor?

What does it means to have favor from God?   We examine the story of the Israelites creating the golden calf and God's desire to kill them.  


  • Job 1:8-9
  • Ephesians 1:3-6
  • Exodus 33:12
  • Exodus 32:7-14
  • Exodus 32:35
  • Exodus 20:1-5
  • John 20:23
  • Exodus 32:32

God's Love
  • Have you ever seen a child in the grocery store or mall who was running wild and the parents don't say anything?
  • How did you feel about that?
  • Who loves their children more the parent who disciplines their kid when they do something wrong or the one who doesn't?
  • Who should determine the consequences of the behavior?


God’s Character

If we don’t understand God’s character then we can lose faith if we think God is acting outside of His nature
  • If we think God caused our trials
  • Or God didn’t heal a loved one or deliver them from a tragedy
  • We lose faith when things happen contrary to our belief in how God operates


We have heard some doctrines taught that don’t match the reality of our lives
  • Example: if you are a Christian God has to make you: healthy and prosperous
  • If you're not rich it's because of your lack of faith

We have been  challenging various doctrines by comparing them with scripture.


To favor means to give special regard to; to treat with goodwill; to show exceptional kindness to someone. Sometimes, it means to show extra kindness in comparison to the treatment of others; in other words, preferential treatment.

What Is God’s Favor?

Job 1:8-9
8Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.
  • Job had a hedge of protection around him and his household
    • His family was blessed because of his favor
  • He was prosperous because of his favor

Example: when I got my job

That's living with favor.

3 Levels of Living

  1. Favor
    1. Blessing or inheritance
    2. You get what someone else work for.
  2. Sowing and reaping.
    1. You get what was planted.
  3. You live with the curse.
    1. You work for something and you don't get it.

Can be different in different areas of your life:
  • Relationships
  • Finances
  • Health

Faith and Favor

Faith is like optimism
  • An underlying belief that nothing bad will ever happen
  • Faith is a firm conviction that God is in control

Is there a correlation between faith and favor?
  • Does God give you faith because he favors you?
  • Does God give favor to those who have faith?   
  • In the bible, was favor the result of faith, or was faith the result of favor
  • Many people had both:
    • Abraham
    • Moses
    • David
    • Joseph

Did they have faith because they had favor or favor because they had faith?

Salvation: Faith or Favor

Is salvation the result of favor?

Did we choose God or did God choose us?

Unconditional Election

The doctrine of unconditional election is based on the belief that God chooses (or elects) to do everything that He does in whatever way He best sees fit. When He acts, He does so only because He willfully and independently chooses to act. According to His own nature, predetermined plan, and good pleasure, He decides to do whatever He desires, without pressure or constraint from any outside influence.

The doctrine of unconditional salvation assumes that Christians are chosen by God and not vice versa.
  • Faith is a result of God choosing us
  • We don't choose God by having faith
  • We aren't saved by faith
  • Those who don’t get saved it’s because God didn’t choose (elect) them
  • This is favor
  • Therefore you are a Christian because you are favored

Ephesians 1:3-6
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
  • God chose us before the creation of the earth

No external influences determine God’s actions
  • Acts actions are solely determined by His will
  • No constraints are put on Him based on His creatures
  • He has ordained any influences that exist
  • If He bowed to man He would no longer be God

Evangelical Christianity

Evangelicalism is a worldwide, transdenominational movement within Protestant Christianity which maintains the belief that the essence of the gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ's atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or the "born again" experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message.
  • You become saved because of your faith
  • You should have had a “born again” experience where you chose God

We hear teaching supporting both of these ideas in church, even though these doctrines are diametrically opposed.  Both can’t be fully true.

Our church doesn’t take a side on this issue. ^
  • That’s what makes non-denominationalism is supposed to be.
  • Individual preachers/teachers can take a position, but not the “church”.

God Wants to Kill the Israelites

The Favor of Moses

Exodus 33: 12
12Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’
  • God told Moses that he had favor in His sight
  • Moses had favor

  • Moses freed the Israelites from Egypt
  • Moses had given the Israelites the 10 commandments
  • Moses went to the mountain top to talk to God
  • While he was gone, the Israelites convinced Aaron to make a golden calf
  • They built an altar to the golden calf and worshipped it
  • They accredited the calf with rescuing them from Egypt
  • The Egyptians worshipped a golden calf that represented their God Osiris
    • Thought to also represent Nimrod of Babylon who built the Tower of Babel
  • Their worship of the false god included a festival where they were said to “play”

Exodus 32:7-14
  7Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.
  • God calls them “your people”
8“They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’”
  • We saw that worshipping this golden calf was part of the Mystery Religion of Babylon and this practice had been done in Egypt
  • They credited the calf God as rescuing them out of Egypt
  • Some say they used an image of the deity they saw in Egypt to depict YAHWEH
9The LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. 10“Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.”
  • “Let me alone, that My anger may burn”
    • Don’t talk to me about it
    • I may lose my anger if we talk about it
    • * This is a reason to talk to God about your sins
  • God was going to kill them
  • God had made a promise to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob that they would be a great nation
  • God was going to fulfill that through Moses
     11Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, “O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
  • Moses calls,them “your people”
12“Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people.
  • The Egyptians will talk bad about you
  • One of the reason of the miracles in Egypt was so they would revere God
13“Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’”
  • Not sure if Moses understood what God said earlier.
14So the LORD changed His mind [nacham - to be sorry; console oneself] about the harm which He said He would do to His people.
  • Moses apparently influenced God to change His will

After this:
  • After Moses returned and actually saw what was happening he got angry too
    • There was a “wild” party going on
  • He broke the 10 commandments
  • He made the people grind the golden calf, mix it with water, and drink it
  • He said “whoever is for YHWH come with me”
  • Only the Levites went with Moses
  • Moses directed the Levites to kill 3,000 of the Israelites as an atonement
  • Moses went back up to the mountain to plead on behalf of the Israelites
  • Moses tells God that if He is going to kill the people then He should kill him too

This story contradicts the doctrine that God does whatever He does with no outside influence.
  • They would say “no but God ordained the act of Moses changing His mind”

Was God Going to Kill the Israelites?

Thoughts include:
  1. God was going to kill all the Israelites and Moses changed His mind
  2. God was just saying this to turn Moses’ heart towards the people
  3. God couldn’t kill them because
    1. He made a promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
    2. Christ was prophesied to come from the tribe of Judah.  
      1. Moses is from the tribe of Levi.
    3. That would make Him less merciful than Moses
  4. God wasn’t going to kill all of the Israelites [M.L.]
    1. Only the ones who sinned

Exodus 32:35
35 Then the LORD smote the people, because of what they did with the calf which Aaron had made.
  • Looks like it’s the latter one...

God’s Judgment

10 Commandments

Exodus 20:1-5
1 Then God spoke all these words, saying,
2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 "You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
5 "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

In Deuteronomy God commanded that anyone who worshipped another god should be put to death.

Israel was wrong
  • Their offense was to be penalized by death
  • The just thing to do was to kill them
  • They deserved to die

We have a death penalty right now here in America.
If a judge sentences a convicted murderer to death is he being unmerciful, or is he being just?

Modern Day Idolatry

What are you choosing to worship?
  • Your job, your car, your relationship, your children, your sports idols

The Real Analogy

But let’s not stretch the worship and idolatry application too far.

  • It’s not about how much time you spend at work or what kind of car you drive
  • That isn’t really modern day idolatry
  • Just like unequal pay isn’t modern day rape
    • It’s not comparable

  • The punishment of death was about literally worshipping other gods
  • We don’t have that punishment today because of Jesus’s sacrifice, but we still have the exact same sin (literally the same)
  • Contrary to what you hear about worshipping other gods is very pervasive today
  • Just because someone worships a single God doesn't mean it's the same God we worship
  • There are groups that claim to be Christian to the public, but in reality are worshipping the same gods that the Israelites fell to

Moses's Favor

The question isn't why was God going to kill them.   The question is why didn't He kill them initially.
  • Because Moses asked God to change His will

God said ok because of Moses’ favor

It was God’s favor in Moses that saved them not His favor on Israel
  • Even though Israel was His chosen people
  • All of God’s chosen people didn’t have the same measure of favor
  • God gave His favored people a more favored mediator
  • The other Israelites couldn’t have pleaded for God to save their own lives
    • Let alone hundreds of thousands of people who offended God

One of the traits of favor is that you have God’s ear
  • God listens to you
  • God considers your opinion

How would this play into prayer requests such as healing?
  • Are prayers more effective with faith or favor?


God is compelled to show justice. But if those with favor intercede and request mercy, God may be less obligated to do so.

God won't exact judgment on people who don't deserve it but He can show mercy upon whom He shows mercy

God is compelled to exact justice, but He is not obligated to.

Example: Judge

  • A judge who won’t put you in jail if you don’t deserve it
  • But he may lessen your sentence if the arresting officer pleads your case
  • You won’t ever get a punishment that you don’t deserve
  • You might receive a lesser punishment than you do deserve
    • Or no punishment at all

This sheds light on this difficult verse...

John 20:23
"If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."
  • Jesus speaking to the disciples

God will show mercy upon whom He shows mercy.
God will show favor upon whom He will show favor.


What is favor

We see that not all who are God’s elect have the same level of favor.

There is a level of favor from God which allows you:
  • To get preferential treatment from God
  • To have a hedge of protection around you and around those who are around you
  • To have God’s ear
    • He hears your prayers and responds
  • To have the ability to  influence God's will

We saw this level of favor exemplified in Moses.

But some can only focus on obtaining favor to get a new house or job.
  • That’s why they won’t get the favor of Moses.

Our High Priest

Moses acted as an intermediary between God and the Israelites
  • Moses was the mediator
  • He was acting as their High Priest

He interceded so that the Israelites wouldn’t get what they deserved.

Why Moses?

Exodus 32:32
32“But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!”
  • Moses was willing to sacrifice his in hopes to save the Israelites who sinned against God
  • He was willing to sacrifice his life even though he didn’t take part in the offense

Moses left His home to travel with Israelites for the rest of his life until he died.   
  • Moses was never a slave.  
  • Moses didn’t doubt God when they first arrived in Canaan and saw the giants.  
  • Yet he had to travel 40 years in the desert with the Israelites.   
  • Moses gave up the life he had to lead the Israelites.

We too have a mediator  that was willing to die for our sins.   

Jesus temporarily gave up His position in Heaven, and sacrificed His life so that we might be saved for the offenses we commit against God every day.

 Presenter: Michael Leadon


  • Favor means to give special regard to someone
    • to treat with goodwill
    • to show exceptional kindness to someone
  • Favor can be considered preferential treatment
  • We discussed the correlation between faith and favor
  • We saw that prior to Satan’s intervention, Job had a “hedge of protection” around himself and his household
  • This is what allowed him to be so prosperous
  • Job had favor prior to the incident with Satan
  • So much that Satan had to get permission to mess with Job
  • We looked at the story where the Israelites made a calf out of gold and worshipped it
  • God was going to kill the Israelites because of their idolatry but Moses convinced Him not to
  • Moses’ favor allowed Him to intercede in the lives of others
  • This showed that the highly favored can plead for mercy on behalf of others
  • This showed that even though the Jews were God’s chosen people some [Moses] were more highly favored than others
  • Moses never used his favor to request anything for himself
  • Moses never received material gains due to his favor
  • Moses had a heart for the things of God’s heart
  • Moses  chose to suffer along with the Other Israelites rather than to enjoy a pleasurable life
  • Can the same be said about us?

Clarification from the Last Lesson


  • There are other non-catholic Christian denominations other than Protestant
  • The Orthodox churches are not Roman Catholic or Protestant
    • Greek Orthodox
    • Eastern Orthodox
    • Ethiopian Orthodox
    • Oriental Orthodox
    • All claim to be the original church as founded by the apostles
  • Similarity to Catholicism
    • The Eastern Orthodox Churches are hierarchical, generally going up from priest, through bishops, archbishops & metropolitans, with a patriarch at the head
    • They pray to/seek the intercession of Mary and the saints, and pray using icons
    • They believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
  • Some differences include:
    • Bishops have more freedom to make their own judgements in their jurisdictions
    • There is no inherited guilt of original sin. Because of this, Mary was not immaculately conceived.
    • They believe the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, not the Father and the Son.


I Will Be Gracious On Whom I Will Be Gracious

Bible Study Exodus 32

Did Moses Prayer Change God's Mind?" Reflections on Exodus 32:11-14, Pt.1

Why does God resort to genocide and destruction?

What's the difference between Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism and different branches of Protestant Christianity (i.e. Evangelical Christian)?


Faith of Favor


An inheritance is something that you don’t work for.   You get it because of your relationship with the father.

1 Peter 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
  • You have an inheritance waiting in Heaven
  • Children get an inheritance from their parents
  • We get an inheritance from our Father
  • It’s not a reward
  • It’s not something you earn

What does it mean that our inheritance is “through faith”?
  • Is the faith the vehicle of our salvation or the action that gives us salvation?


Unconditional Election

John 10:26-27
26“But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me
  • They don't believe because they aren't Jesus’ sheep
  • You don't become sheep by believing
  • You are enabled to believe because you are His sheep

God’s Judgment

Deuteronomy 17:2-5
2“If there is found in your midst, in any of your towns, which the LORD your God is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, by transgressing His covenant, 3and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, which I have not commanded, 4and if it is told you and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire thoroughly. Behold, if it is true and the thing certain that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, 5then you shall bring out that man or that woman who has done this evil deed to your gates, that is, the man or the woman, and you shall stone them to death.

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