Who in your life do you aim to find favor with? It is usually our close friends, spouse, or our parents. We try as much as we can to make them smile, to please them, and to find favor in their sight. We strive to do this because we care about their opinion, we know they love us and we try our best to reflect that back towards them. In the same way we care for relationships and interactions with our friends and family, we need to seek the favor of God in our lives.
Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes.
So how is it that we can please God and have Him find favor in us? One good example in the Scriptures is the life of Abraham. Abraham sought to please God in everything he did and we see it in so many ways throughout his life. God blessed Abraham and made a nation out of his generations because of the way he strived to please God. Let’s take a look at five distinct ways we can please God in our lives.
- God smiles when we love him supremely
We know from the life of Abraham, that he loved God and sought to please Him above everything else. How do we know this? Because he is named as one of the “heroes of faith” in Hebrews 11. This is what God has to say about Abraham:
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
The key verse that stands out among the rest is verse 10 where it reads, “for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” The phrasing of this verse is interesting. It mentions that Abraham sought God as his architect and builder. Most of us are familiar with how houses and buildings come about. You need an architect to design the structure based on the given specs but you also need a builder who can fabricate that structure according to those specs. Abraham recognized God as the architect AND builder of his life and he knew that he would have a solid foundation if he loved and sought the Lord. Abraham did not care about worldly wealth, riches, status, or fame. All that he wanted to do was live a life which focused on pleasing God. He desired this because he saw this awesome, mighty, powerful God show such compassion in guiding, directing, and loving him – an insignificant person!
- God smiles when we trust him completely
There are many examples in Genesis of the way Abraham trusts in God; one of the most significant is the motivation for the journey Abraham takes in the duration of his life. Shown below is the journey Abraham takes throughout his life and the different locations he lived:
All these places Abraham journeyed to except one was in response to the instruction of God and not according to his own desires. We know that because we find in Scripture his motivation to travel from one place to the other:
Genesis 12: 1-5
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” 4 So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan.
Let’s consider the time and place where Abraham was when he was asked to move to these locations. Abraham lived before modern transportation, in a time when it would take weeks and even months to travel these distances. Since he lived in a dessert, he couldn’t even travel straight through it but rather had to travel where there was civilization and resources. It wasn’t in any way how we travel today when we can just pack our bags and go. He had to un-pitch his tents, round up all his livestock, gather his family, servants, and their belongings and then travel with them while keeping track of all of this. If you or I were asked to do this, it would be a daunting task and we would most likely be reluctant to obey. Not so for Abraham. As soon as he was asked to pack his things up and move, he didn’t hesitate but did it immediately. Abraham trusted God completely and knew God’s instruction was not for his harm but only for his good.
So we learned from the example of Abraham’s life that we bring pleasure to God by loving him supremely and trusting him completely. Let’s look for opportunities this week where we can specifically practice finding favor with God through our love and trust. Make sure to read parts two and three of this series of finding favor with God to learn about three other ways Abraham’s life pleased God!