Giving and Favor
The Holy Spirit has had me focusing on “the favor of God” recently. It’s something that I used to focus on a lot but had let “slip” (Heb 2:1). This morning He told me that my favor has been increasing because of my giving. I knew it to be true; I had been keeping a record of it. I also made a list of things that I am believing God to have favor for, and those things are starting to get checked off. I knew it was not a coincidence that I had also been led by the Holy Spirit to increase my giving. The two went together. I knew it, but before I shared the testimony, I wanted to have scripture to back it up.
So, I started praying, and Holy Spirit reminded me of Proverbs 18:16 (KJV) “A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” I used to always equate gift to talent, like singing. But many years ago, I read a book by Bishop Keith Butler that said that the “gift” in this scripture was more related to monetary gifts vs. talents.
I heard Bishop Butler’s explanation, and I agreed with it to some extent, but I didn’t really embrace it in part because I wanted to see the Scripture the way I wanted to see it, namely, related to my talents! But today, I asked the Holy Spirit to give me another scripture to back up what Bishop Butler said.
The Bible says in the mouth of two or three witnesses let everything be established (2 Cor 13:1). So today, I did a word study, and the first thing I found was a different translation of the scripture Bishop Butler used: Proverbs 18:16 (NLT) “Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people!” This made it clear to me that giving and favor were connected because the Scripture put “giving” and “opening doors” together.
But it was still only one scripture, so I did a cross-reference and found Proverbs 19:6 (ESV) “Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.” And another version of Proverbs 19:6: (NIV) “Many curry favor with a ruler, and everyone is the friend of one who gives gifts.” So now I had two scriptures that connected giving gifts and favor, but the Holy Spirit had more for me. He put the story of the widow and Elijah of 1 Kings 17 on my heart.
In that story, God tells Elijah I have commanded a widow to sustain you. Later in the story, Elijah asks her for the gift of a cake. It was a valuable gift because the flour needed to make it was part of what she believed to be her last meal. She gave it and received favor from one of the most powerful men on earth, the prophet Elijah.
Not only did Elijah bless her with a miracle of provision (a vase of oil that kept refilling, so she could keep selling it), but he also brought her son back to life when he died “many days” later.
In 2 Kings 4, a woman in Shunem decided to give Elisha food every time he came to town and then eventually built a room in her house for him. Her giving gave her favor with Elisha, who gave her the miracle of a son (she’d been barren), and then Elisha brought that son back from death when he died.
I like the following Scripture: 2 Kings 4:14 (KJV) “And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, “verily she hath no child, and her husband is old.” Her giving triggered Elisha to say what should be done for her. It was a reminder for Elisha to show her favor in some way.
The Holy Spirit then led me to Acts 10:4 (NLT) “Cornelius stared at him in terror. “What is it, sir?” he asked the angel. And the angel replied, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering!” “Acts 10:4 (NIV) Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”
We don’t have to give to a powerful prophet or a rich person. When we give to the poor, the Bible says it’s the same as giving to God. When we give, we are setting up a reminder for God to show us favor.
Here’s what the Strong’s concordance and Blueletterbible.com say about the word “memorial” in Acts 10:4 “mnēmósynon, mnay-mos'-oo-non; from G3421; a reminder (memorandum), i.e. record:—memorial. a memorial (that by which the memory of any person or thing is preserved), a remembrance”. (Blue Letter Bible, n.d.)
In summary, the Holy Spirit led me to all this when I asked Him to help confirm by Scripture that giving and favor were connected. Glory to God! Give and expect favor!
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