Read Psalm 86. As we continue to mediate on Psalm 86 this month, today we look at verse 3, particularly the favor of God. Now when we see the word “favor” in the Bible, there are numerous words used with similar meanings.
The Psalmist makes this request: “Show me Your favor.” The Hebrew word “chanan” means “to show favor” or to “be gracious.” When I think of grace, I am always picturing stooping down and picking up a person to bring up to your level. That’s grace. Some translations translate this word as “have mercy.” Remember, mercy is not receiving the punishment you deserve; grace is receiving something you do not deserve. Other translations translate this word as “be kind.” When we think on this kindness, we are reminded of how God goes above and beyond with his grace and mercy, giving us what is not deserved and not giving us what is deserve.
The Psalmist writes in 5:2, “For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield” (NASB). The word “favor” here means “acceptance.” It references the acceptance we receive from God. What a blessing to be accepted by God! Remember, this righteousness is not something we have on our own— Christ is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30, 2 Corinthians 5:21). We have this acceptance because of His mercy and grace. Why? Because we are not given the rejection we deserve as sinners (mercy), and we are given the righteousness of Christ which we do not earn (grace).
Another time we see the word “favor” is in Psalm 90:17a, when the Psalmist writes: “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us” (ESV). What is interesting about this word “favor” in this verse is that it means “beauty.” I cannot help but look at these different verses in the Book of Psalms, and see the beauty of God. God offers us the free gift of grace. God extends to us mercy rather than punishment. God accepts us because of His Son. Despite our sin and transgressions, we are His children by faith in Jesus— sons and daughters.
Today, thank God for His amazing grace and His mercy which is new each day. Pray for God to reveal to you a fresh outpouring of His beauty. “I have asked one thing from the LORD; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the LORD and seeing Him in His temple” (Psalm 27:4 CSB). Amen.