Living in Favor
Living in Favor
For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me live death.
Proverbs 8:35-36 (ESV)
It is possible that the eighth chapter of Proverbs is the apex of wisdom literature. Wisdom is personified as one who has the keys to meaningful life and is eager to give them to those who recognize the value of wisdom. It points to a time in Solomon’s future when ultimate wisdom is fully demonstrated in the person of Jesus the Christ. In this chapter, wisdom rehearses the role she plays in creation and the delight she has in the all of creation—especially the children of man. She declares that those who find her find life and favor from the Lord, and those who neglect her actually love death.
There is good news here. Wisdom is seeking us. She calls in the streets. She advertises. Those who don’t find her don’t want to. Those who have concluded that there is no divine order to life will not have eyes to see wisdom. Those who have been convinced that wisdom’s order is too restrictive will run away. Those who acknowledge what every human knows down deep—there is someone bigger and wiser than me—will have a driving thirst for that which only God can quench. In the end, the one person who embodies all wisdom will capture them: Jesus, the Lord.
Sadly, many religious people still believe that they can find life on their own by following the principles and precepts in creation. They believe that favor from the Lord can be gained by something we do that qualifies us. That can easily be the conclusion of those who want to relate to God without total faith in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of all. They try hard to gain favor by their obedience to the commandments in sacred scripture. When something they consider good happens they conclude that it is a direct result of their obedience. It is a trap. Actually, all our obedience is partial. Who among us has no mixed motives? It may be true that we have successfully applied a creation principle such as sowing and reaping. We have a harvest of corn because we planted corn kernels in good soil and waited the proper time before harvest. That kind blessing is on the just and unjust. It is not special favor. It is simply the results of aligning with this principle that God established in creation and promised to the descendants of Noah (Genesis 8:22).
What about the special favor God offers to those who honor wisdom? It is for those who fully obey the laws of divine order. There is only one who has done that. He came as Adam’s representative and fully obeyed the divine order for mankind. In addition, he paid the penalty of humans who had not. He gets all the favor. All blessings that flow from obedience are his. There is good news here. When we see him as ultimate wisdom and embrace him fully as our representative, we are seen by God as “in Christ" and have the blessings he has earned. When we have found Jesus, we have found the treasure. We are favored in the favored one.