8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. This is the account of Noah.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. Gen 6:8-9
Scott Prindle – is a pastor is Driggs, Idaho, a small community right next to the Tetons close to some great skiing. He struggled through the support issues of full-time vs. part-time in a small church and finally landed on a business angle that compliments his pastoral ministry. He found an avenue of God’s favor that took him into the marketplace via network marketing and actually expanded his contact with the community. At the same time he became an example of Kingdom building. We’re not presenting his choice as a pattern for all pastors; it’s more Kingly than priestly. But I think you’ll enjoy Scott’s story on our interview page.
Finding Favor – Finding God’s favor is not a great mystery available only to a few. It’s for you too. Noah had three ingredients that brought the favor of God (Gen 6:8-9)
1.He was righteous – right standing with God. Maybe not perfect, but forgiven
2.Blameless among the people – He was honest, likable, productive… a good citizen
3.He walked with God – not “for God”; not “followed God”; but “with God”
Walking “With” God – Most of us have a vague sense that God is far to busy to go for a walk with us. We also think of “His ways as far above our ways” so that he wouldn’t be interested in any of our inputs – we’re just supposed to hear, trust, and obey. Our obedience language is couched in the priority of “following he leading of the Holy Spirit.” Folks like Noah and Moses did serve and obey, but their relationship went a lot farther.
Walking with God implies a knowledge of what He’s doing and engaging our initiative in co-laboring with Him to make it happen. The reason most people miss out on this level is because they are passive… they assume they should wait until God tells them what to do.
I often hear the phrase, “I don’t know what God’s doing?” The answer is nothing! He’s waiting for you to do something. He does have a plan and he moves to empower us as soon as we get on board and implement the details for our area of responsibility. Walking with God is a lot different than waiting on God. One works and sees fruit; the other sits and wonders why God doesn’t move.
Presumption – Until recently, I’ve carried a large concern over getting ahead of God and falling into presumptuous sin. The classic sermon illustration is: Abraham and Sarah don’t see the promise of Abraham’s offspring multiplying like the stars of heaven so Sarah volunteers Hagar and they make something happen. Now I’ve always heard that this was one of the onerous sins of presumption committed in scripture. But listen to what God has to say about it. Although it was God’s plan to extend the covenant through Isaac, he also blesses Ishmael (the product of their initiative). I’m not saying Sarah had a great idea; I’m only suggesting that God didn’t categorize it as sin. In fact, he seems to expand the tent of covenant blessing to include Ishmael.
Then the angel of the LORD told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.” Gen 16:9-10 NIV
And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. Gen 17:19-20 NIV
Bottom line – God loves your initiative and willingness to co-labor with his vision so much that a few mistakes don’t really bother Him. On the other hand, doing nothing does bother Him… he doesn’t put his favor on passive people.
Jacob’s Initiative – Jacob and his mother push initiative to ethical outer limits in contending for the favor of God. However, God’s judgment ends up more on Esau than Jacob. Again, God loves those that cooperate with his plan even in their imperfections.
Jacob was also the one that wrestled all night seeking the favor of God (Genesis 32:26-30). We’re a little fuzzy on who it was, but Jacob clearly thinks it was God himself. Here’s the crux of the question, “Do you want God’s favor enough to wrestle Him for it?” The answer is what separates those that have God’s favor from those that are waiting for it.
Moses – Moses takes this amazing initiative even farther. In Exodus 32-34 God is so mad at the Israelites he’s ready to start over again with just Moses. However, Moses took the liberty to “seek the favor of God” and… reasoned Him out of it. That’s a pretty high level of partnership in walking with God. It didn’t happen once either; it happened several times. Intercession can change certain aspects of God’s intent.
Kings Walk with God – Here’s what people that have a significant level of God’s favor on their lives look like. They don’t subscribe to “God helps those who help themselves.” What they really believe is “God helps those that help Him build the Kingdom.” Once they understand the big picture of what God is doing, they jump in with both feet and try everything at their disposal to make it happen.
Moses’ mother didn’t just throw him in the river. She put him in a water-proof basket where pharaoh’s wife would find him under the watchful eye of his sister… who recommend mom for wet nurse duty. Hi level of initiative and it worked!
Joseph didn’t just wait for God’s deliverance. He used every natural and spiritual gift at his disposal to work his way up to effect the plan of God. It wasn’t an accident of God’s providence; it was everything Joseph could do plus God’s anointing.
Hezekiah became ill and Isaiah prophesied his death in no uncertain terms (thus saith the Lord). Amazingly, however, Hezekiah still appeals to God for 15 more years and before Isaiah has left the court he returns to reverse his prophecy (2Kgs 20).
David prayed that Bathsheba’s child would not die because he knew there was a possibility God might extend mercy. The Lord didn’t answer David’s prayer but that didn’t keep a man after God’s own heart from asking.
Our initiative has far more influence over circumstances and God than we’ve realized. You already know what God is doing… building his Church, the great commission, releasing Kings, etc. The next question is, “What are you doing?” and God is the one asking.
Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.