Three weeks ago (on the eve of Shavuot) our subject of discussion was the deliverance of Yahweh. On that occasion the statement was made that our biggest accomplishment in this world is NOT being able to say “I am saved!”, but rather: “I have found favour in Yahweh’s eyes!” But are the two not the same? If I can honestly say “I am saved”, does that not automatically imply that I have found favour in Yahweh’s eyes? In my understanding the answer to this question is NO. The one does not necessarily imply the other. There are many people who tend to look at deliverance in a very superficial way and think of salvation merely in terms of the question: Are you (or: Am I) going to heaven or not? So, for many people deliverance is only important because, for them, it provides certain benefits for life after death. And salvation is only relevant in this life because it offers some degree of peace of mind to us, human beings, who all need to cope with the uncertainty of death and the unknown realm of life after death.
This is not the way salvation and deliverance are pictured in Scriptures. Of course we have to embrace the truth that life does not end at the point of death and that Y’shua came to offer a gift becoming within every true believer “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). But we need salvation and deliverance in THIS life, first of all. This life is the first and foremost gift we have received out of Yahweh’s hand. This life is where we need to cope and to overcome. This is where we are exposed to all kinds of difficulties and suffering and things not going the way we have hoped, together with the emotions triggered by these things – like fear, anxiety, uncertainty, doubts, depression, anger, loneliness, bitterness, disillusionment, betrayal, grief, humiliation, powerlessness, restlessness, suspicion, irritation, emptiness, despair, and many more. And more than anything else, THIS life is where we as believers need to make Yahweh part of our lives and where we need to find favour in Yahweh’s eyes.
Noach (or Noah) found favour in Yahweh’s eyes within a crooked generation that is described in Gen 6:5 in the following way; “And Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Why did Noach find favour in Yahweh’s eyes? Gen 6:9 reveals that it was because he was a righteous man, perfect in his generations and someone who walked with Elohim. While others around him followed the inclinations of their own hearts and allowed their lives to be ruined by wickedness (the basic meaning of the Hebrew word is to spoil or to break something precious into pieces), Noach chose to walk with Elohim. He chose to align Himself with Yahweh and the ways of Yahweh and to distance himself from the destructive practices of this world. And for this reason, we are told in Gen 6:8, Noach found favour in Yahweh’s eyes.
Avraham found favour in Yahweh’s eyes because he believed against all odds that Yahweh’s words were true and that his promises were trustworthy. Romans 4:16 clearly says that the belief of Avraham (“the father of us all”) was according to favour and based upon the promises made by Yahweh. Was the favour bestowed upon Avraham different from the favour bestowed upon Noach? Is it better to find favour in Yahweh’s eyes because of your belief (like Avraham) than to find favour in Yahweh’s eyes because of your lifestyle (like Noach)? There is no such distinction in Scriptures. Noach was not inferior to Avraham in belief and Avraham was not inferior to Noach in lifestyle. Both in belief and in the kind of lifestyle that befits someone who has come to know Yahweh the Almighty, Noach and Avraham found favour in Yahweh’s eyes!
Looking at Yoseph, one would never say that he was one of those who found favour in Yahweh’s eyes. He was rejected by his brothers and went through a whole series of sufferings and set-backs before finding favour in the eyes of the Pharaoh of Egypt and being appointed in a key position in a nation other than his own. But Scriptures reveal that he not only found favour in the eyes of the Pharaoh, he also found favour in the eyes of Yahweh. “And it came to be that Yahweh was with Yoseph” we read in Gen 39:2 and, later in the same chapter (Gen 39:21): “But Yahweh was with Yoseph and extended loving-commitment to him”. From the chapters covering the story of Yoseph, it becomes clear that Yoseph found favour in the eyes of Pharaoh the “master of Mitzrayim” EXACTLY BECAUSE he found favour in the eyes of Yahweh, the Master of the entire world. For Yoseph the favour of Yahweh was the same as the salvation or the deliverance of Yahweh. And this deliverance had a huge impact on his own life and the lives of others, during his own lifetime. Finding favour in the eyes of Yahweh, for Yoseph and for us, is something that will not only bring meaning to our own lives, but through us, it will also bring meaning and change for the better, to the lives of others.
We learn from Exodus 33 that Mosheh also found favour in the eyes of Yahweh, despite the fact that eventually he did not enter into the promised land. At first, Mosheh only had a limited understanding of what it means to find favour in Yahweh’s eyes. In his understanding he only needed to receive some kind of assurance (even a sign!) that Yahweh is on his side and on the side of the people of Israel. Ex 33:12 And Mosheh said to Yahweh, “See, You are saying to me to lead the people, but You have not made known to me whom You would send with me, although You have said … that I have found favour in Your eyes.” Also Exo 33:16 “For how then shall it be known that I have found favour in Your eyes … except if You go with us?” But Yahweh gave him much more than just a sign or a promise. First, Yahweh said to Mosheh: “You have (indeed) found favour in My eyes, and I know you by name” (Ex 33:17) but then He also said: “I shall cause all My goodness to pass before you, and I shall proclaim the Name of Yahweh before you”. In the next chapter (Ex 34) Yahweh literally revealed Himself in a visible way to Mosheh and also literally called out his own Name before the ears of Mosheh (not once, but twice), so that Mosheh would never doubt and never forget the power and the significance of the Name of this One who showed favour to him. And, together with the assurance of his own Name, Yahweh also gave Mosheh renewed assurance of his favour, his compassion, and his eternal covenant with his people. Those who have found favour in the eyes of Yahweh, will always discover that what Yahweh has to offer is so much more than what they have bargained for!
When Y’shua of Nazareth was baptized by John the Baptist, there was an audible voice from heaven announcing Him as the Son of the Almighty and the One in whom Yahweh was well pleased – the One who has found favour in Yahweh’s eyes. This was completely in line with the prophesy of YeshaYahu (Isaiah) 42:1 “See, My Servant whom I uphold, My Chosen One in whom My soul has delighted! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He brings forth right-ruling to the nations.” Y’shua is also mentioned among those who have found favour in the eyes of Yahweh. What was the result of this? Yahweh called Him his Servant, the One whom He (Yahweh) will always uphold, his Chosen One upon whom He pours out his Spirit. For what purpose? To be an instrument to impart the same kind of favour to other people: To bring right-ruling to the nations (verse 1); to ensure that the bruised reeds are not broken and the smoking flaxes are not quenched (Afr. “dowwe lamppitte nie uitgedoof” – verse 3); to bring forth judgment unto truth (verse 3); to be a light to the nations (verse 6); to open blind eyes and to bring out prisoners from the prison (verse 7) and to bring esteem to the Name of Yahweh (verse 8).
If it is true about Y’shua, the firstborn Son of Yahweh, it is also true about us, the ones who have been granted favour to be called the sons and daughters of Elohim. We should extend the favour we have received from the hand of Yahweh to those around us. We have truly found favour in the eyes of Yahweh. We are also his chosen ones. We have also received the Spirit of Yahweh. We are also called to be his servants. To us He has also given the promise that He will uphold us. Let us resolve today that we will be passers on – mediators and agents – of his favour. Never faltering, never holding back, never be discouraged, never be ashamed and never forgetting a single one of his promises. And always encouraged by the purity of his words, the greatness of his Name and the far-reaching effects of his favour!