The Blessing and the Challenge of Favor (Part III)

While God’s gifts are irrevocable, His favor is revocable as we see in the story of Joshua and his people entering the Promised Land.

But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.

Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.” So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water. Joshua 7:1-5

The Jewish people had a history of discontentment and disobedience while they were in the desert for forty years. However, once the older generation died and Joshua took over the leadership of God’s people, God led them to take over the Promised Land.

The Lord gave Joshua the strategy of walking around Jericho for seven days and blowing their trumpets; at the end of this time, the walls fell without the Jewish people needing to tear down the walls.  The Lord gave them favor, and they didn’t have to fight for their success. However, this did not last as they chose to disobey the Lord.

Some of the people decided that having God’s amazing favor was not enough, so they decided to gather unlawful items for themselves. They stole some accursed items and included them with their own possessions.  God’s anger rose against them, and this time He decided that they were not going to have success when they went to attack Ai. They ended up being chased back and their hearts began to melt.

God’s favor is a great blessing, and it is not something that we should play around with or take for granted. The Israelites became overconfident by their success at Jericho, and they assumed that God’s favor will continue to be with them regardless of their behavior or disobedience.

We also need to humbly be thankful for God’s favor and not assume that His favor is irrevocable. Praise God that He is merciful, but this does not mean that He will continue to endorse things that He is not pleased with.

The Jewish people had forgotten that they were part and parcel of God’s plan in fulfilling what He had promised to Abraham centuries prior. They failed to understand that God’s favor had a purpose in their lives and that He wants to accomplish something on the earth through His people.

Similarly, God’s favor upon our lives is not just for us. Instead of taking it for granted or assuming it will always be there. We need to continue to walk with Him and stay in close relationship with Him. We also need to be mindful of His favor to further His kingdom on the earth and not just use it for a personal advantage. 


Knowing God’s Will (Part I)

Do you want to know God’s will in your life? Many Christians desire to know God’s will but struggle to find it. Searching the word of God and prayer is the foundation of knowing the will of God. The question is, what do we do when we need to know God’s will about something specific such as relocation, choosing the right job, or picking the right mate!? …

Jonah, a Reluctant Prophet (Part I)

The book of Jonah tells us a story of an unwilling prophet who attempted to run from the presence of the Lord and disobey God’s assignment. However, Jonah was not successful in his effort, and as a matter of fact, he put others’ lives in danger because of his disobedience! Jonah had to face the fact that it was God’s will for him to go to a people group he didn’t like and warn them about the upcoming judgment. We can have similar attitude to Jonah when it comes to some people. …

Being a Just Person (Part I)

The Lord is a God of Justice and he desires for His people to be just people. If you are a believer, being a just person is not optional; It is our calling and mandate from the Lord!

In Hebrews, many times the same word is used for “justice” as it is for “righteousness”.

Justice defined in Hebrew (H6664 & H6666): what is right or just or normal, rightness, justness (of weights and measures), of judges, rulers, kings, of God’s attribute, righteousness, justice (in case or cause), rightness (in speech), righteousness (as ethically right).

That tells us that we can’t be righteous apart from being just. Jesus ultimately fulfilled and completed the righteousness and the justice of God on the cross. As His followers, we are called to pursue righteousness and justice and set His standard on the earth.

To be a just person requires the following:

 Accept what God calls true and just

We have to be rightly aligned with God and His truth. We need to see Him as the ultimate judge of the earth. He declares what is right and wrong in His word, and we need to be willing to lay down our values, fears, and preferences to accept His judgment on everything.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face. Psalm 89:14

The above scripture clearly tells us that His authority is established on justice and righteousness. God is a God of justice. He abhors injustice and false scales. Since God is patient, we may not necessarily see His justice exercised right away because He is also a redeeming God. His mercy balances His justice in that He gives man the opportunity to change His ways, to repent, and to accept His son as atonement for his condition.

We see in the case of Jesus, while he was brutally crucified, God did not judge those who put Him on the cross at that moment. To this day, many question Jesus’ authority and Him being the savior of the world. Someday, it will become clear to humanity that He was, [the way, the truth, and the life], [no one comes to the Father except through Him], and [every knee shall bow before Him]. In the meantime, God is giving opportunity for each person to make that decision before the Day of Judgment comes.

Rightly relate to people

To do righteousness and justice. Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3

The Lord cares very much about being a just person. We may love Him and do very many things for Him, but He is looking for those who are living and operating in justice and fairness towards others.

One of the most challenging things about being a just person is that we can develop opinions about someone for the better or for worse based on our perception or limited experience with them. If they are our friends/family, we can quickly jump to defend them. If they are someone that we don’t like or feel close to, we may assume that they are in the wrong. As people of God to be just people and to evaluate a situation justly, we have to lay aside our prejudices and preferences, so can relate to people as Jesus did and represent Him accurately to people!

I was on jury duty a couple of months ago. It was my first time, and I was really impressed by the painstaking process that they went through to pick the jury.

They were looking for people who

  1. Didn’t know either party involved
  2. Didn’t have a prejudice towards their ethnicity or them not being able to speak English
  3. Had not heard about this case through other sources such as online or newspaper
  4. Since the case involved property management, tenant, and ownership, they made sure none of us had any negative feelings towards bad tenants or bad property management.
  5. In the case of jurists with spouses in law enforcement, they asked if they had heard of any rental incidents that their spouse might have told them to skew their perception of the situation.

They actually dismissed quite a few people before they finalized the twelve jurists. While it was about a day process to pick the jury, I really appreciated the process. I understood that they were trying to create an environment that gives each person a fair chance for their side to be heard. They were trying to pick a jury to be impartial enough to ensure they are evaluating the case based on its merit and not their knowledge of the person/situation.

According to Wikipedia, “Since the 15th century, Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold. The blindfold represents objectivity, in that justice is or should be meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness; blind justice and impartiality.”

All of the above descriptions should be even truer about the people of God. However, I’m sorry to say that as believers we have a lot of room to grow in this area. We can be very sloppy with our judgment of a situation or a person. People have a tendency to show favoritism to those they know and become partial in their actions or words. On the other hand, out of the fear of reprisal some don’t say or do anything to stand for righteousness when they need to speak, especially when justice is not meted out for the underdog.

Does the Lord consider you a just person?

When people think of you, do they see you as a fair and objective person, or do they think of you as a partial person who takes the sides with those you know/like?