“God has favorites,” she said, “I have seen them.” This just went against everything in my heart at the moment as I have been considering God’s love for me. But then, I know what she means. I have also had that thought. Others seem to get blessed more, have their prayers answered, are financially more blessed, more successful, everything goes well for them etc.
Most often, when we identify “fruit” in another person’s life, we conclude that they are loved and favored. Take Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37), they saw and recognized the “fruit” of a colorful coat Joseph wore and knew from observation that he was loved by Jacob their father. Jacob actually did show favoritism and the more evident the “fruit” was in Joseph’s life, the more it bothered his brothers. This eventually caused them to take action.
Seeing “fruit” or “love” in the life of others on a regular basis and noticing the absence of said “fruit” and “love” in our lives, leads to the conclusion that there must be favoritism. However, scripture is very clear that God does not show favoritism. (Romans 2:11) There is no favor in His judgement and there is no favor in His love. God does not differentiate on the basis of any characteristic, all of us qualify for His love.
However, even the best of us suspect favoritism:
“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realise how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” Acts 10:34-35
In our world and for the disciples in Jesus time, it appears that blessing and success usually came as a result of being loved. When someone was rich, it was assumed they were loved by God and when someone was poor or sick, it was assumed they, or their parents had done something wrong.
Even, the disciples competed for the favored position. James and John allowed their mother to ask Jesus for special positions in the kingdom. Peter, when Jesus told him about his future death, automatically looked at John who called himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” and assuming favor asked: “What about Him Jesus?” (John 21:21) It is natural for us to seek the favored position.
We want fair and equal from God on all things. But if one reads the story in Matt 20:13-15, God does not do fair and equal when it comes to blessing. The workers hired last received their blessing. Based on this, the workers hired earlier in the day determined for the landowner what their blessing should be. Much like we determine our blessing based on what other people are blessed with.
But in this story, each got what he agreed to work for. That was fair trade for services. When it came to blessing however, each got his unique and specific blessing as the landowner determined. It was the landowner’s right to be generous and generosity is determined by the giver of gifts and not the receiver.
When Peter asked Jesus in John 21, “what about him Jesus?” Jesus replied that what happened to John was His decision, Peter was to follow Him and be obedient to Him.
God’s generosity to us and the blessings given to us are determined by His generosity to us and NOT favoritism. His blessings come uniquely and specifically to us, God’s intention being to bless us and not to harm us (Jer 29:11).
However, from my own study of scripture, I have come to understand that blessing comes:
- Because we are the children of God whom He loves. (Psalm 112)
- Some blessing comes as a result of obedience to the law. Since living God’s way brings with it a consequential blessing. (Psalm 119:1; Prov 20:7)
- Some blessing comes as a reward for blessing others. (Luke 6:38)
- Some blessing comes from seeking the kingdom first, and making it a priority. (Matt 6:33)
- Some blessing comes from being a peacemaker. (Matt 5:9; James 3:18)
- Some blessing is a result of sowing and reaping (2 Cor 9:6; Gal 6:7-8)
- Some blessing is a result of giving and then receiving (Acts 20:35)
- Some blessing is as result of asking and then receiving. (Matt 7:8; James 4:3)
- Some blessing is from choosing to give up your rights and desires and submit to the Lord. (Mark 9:35)
- Some blessing is from being faithful with little and being given more. (Luke 12:48)
There are many more of these in scripture. We don’t know why God chooses to bless, but we do know that it is His nature to bless. Eph 1:3
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
Coming back to the question of favorites and blessing; our level of blessing does not determine the level to which we are loved. God extends love to all without limit, but his blessings are not equally extended without discernment on His part. He is very clear, that He blesses as He determines.
Thank you Father for all the blessing that I do have in my life. Forgive me my ungrateful heart. Help me to focus on being thankful for every blessing from You rather than complaining about what I did not receive. Help me to remember that I cannot measure your love for me by the blessings I have. Help me to remember that Your love for me does not change, is always consistent and is always focused on my best interests.
When we are in pain, when we are ill and broken emotionally, physically, spiritually, when we are discouraged, when all the world seems against us, it is hard to see the sunshine overhead. But that is the exact moment God wants you to turn your head upwards. To see the sunshine, the warmth it gives. To see that God made even this for you. When you start to see small and amazing things around you and you thank God for giving you even the smallest thing, like a paper clip…you begin to feel loved and blessed. He gave your a shelter, how ever humble it might be, he gave you warmth as in clothing, or in a hug from a friend. He gave you food how ever meager to sustain you. All that you have, He gave to you, your eyes, your ears, your mind, your arms, your legs. He made you for Him! Because He loves you and he has a purpose for your life. You just have to look up and start seeing your blessings and you will see how rich you are! When you start seeing what God has done in your life….all the blessings, your life will change. Start reading your Bible, ask God first to help you understand it. You will find many treasures if you lift your head and seek His treasures.
I echo NIkki’s pain and also wonder why others suffer more than others. Is life a battle so much that we have to choose that we should stay in that pain while God chooses to blesses others just and the unjust. Maybe I am being unfair but I never choose to be here on earth to suffer.
God is unfair and we cant keep making excuses that its just seasons we go through in life. Every single year. Year after year, rejection after rejection unanswered prayers and I am expected to still be nice and be loyal in the things I do and feel guilty for saying enough is enough.
I really do no care anymore weather I make it to heaven or not, I just want out irrespective of what happens. I have seen God move for people and for some of us he folded is arms and we are spectators of life. We only participate when he wants to bless others and then we are forgotten.
If God is for us, where is our shinning moment in the things we hope for. His NO NO No for us too much that there is no longer any use of praying. What is the point of it all
Let him Kill me
Hey Daniel, that is quite a statement you end with!
Not the words of Job in Job 13:14-16.
Just has God does not have favorites for blessing, He does not practice favoritism in the handing out of trials and difficult times.Everything is worked to His purpose and will, not ours.
In Job’s story one tends to forget that for Job, all he goes through is without knowing what was going on in the heavenly realms. We however, read the bible with this knowledge. Job questioned his misfortune in life, yet at no point did he deny God. And his “friends” were determined to discover the reason for his suffering. They wrongly believed that only sinners suffer while the righteous are blessed. They determined to discover Job’s sin; moan at him for his crime and correct him with their counsel.
Job silenced their insults, declared himself innocent of sin and embarked on a magnificent declaration of God’s sovereign authority, including “Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him”.
Although Job was not happy with his lot in life, he never denied the Lord in Whom he trusted. If ONLY he could present his case to God, argue his way before the Lord and defend himself, Job reasoned – nevertheless, he would to maintain His trust in God, even if He were stuck dead.
Trust God, hold fast to His Word and maintain your integrity. God knows all about our suffering and is our ever-present help in times of trouble, He does not however promise no trouble. He often uses our pain to strengthen our faith and develop spiritual maturity. Some suffering may result from sin, but bad things often happen to God’s children for no reason and without explanation.
He may seem unfair, but as Job discovers, his own mind and reasoning is no match for Gods. Job 42:3
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
I hear much pain in your words Daniel, but I would encourage you to seek answers from God and the revelation of the Holy Spirit, rather than determine truth from your own observations and experiences of life. God explains Himself in scripture and when we ask Him for wisdom and revelation, He is willing to reveal Himself to us.
Well… we do know what’s going on in the spiritual realms in the case of Job. God actually conspired with the devil to test Job. What?! I never understand that part. How on earth could satan enter heaven in the first place? And then, why would God allow the devil to torment Job to the point of killing all of his children? This part of Job always mind boggle me. It makes it harder for me to believe that God is really good. I feel that satan is working overtime in my life to derail me and ruin God’s plan for me, but then when I think about what happened to Job, then it must be God allowing the devil to wreak havoc in my life. Why? Doesn’t that mean satan is just God’s messenger who does all God’s dirty work? God washes his hand while the devil works on us administering God’s “tests and trials.” When I think that God and satan are in the same party working to test me, I cannot put my trust in God. I cannot believe that God is good. If so, then why is he partnering up with the devil himself? Anyway, the devil was originally God’s creation too! So, there you go… If he had known that Lucifer would fall, then why did he allow it? And why are they working together now to inflict Job and us?
Hello again Cindy.
Interesting questions you ask. They are all good questions which I hope are resulting in good study of scripture and an honest search for answers. Job reveals to us God enthroned in the heavenly realms, holding court, establishing justice. Satan (called the accuser) enters to make an accusation against God in the heavenly courts. There is always an accuser at court and that is why Satan is there.
JOhn 10:10 makes it clear that Satan has one goal: to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus also had one goal: life and life in abundance. Although Jesus death and resurrection destroyed Satan’s ultimate control, he is still around and not completely destroyed. But a time is set up for his ultimate destruction in future. Why not do it straight away? God has set up a time to allow for as many as possible to come to repentence, and while He delays judgment, His mercy allows for others to come into the fold.
2 peter 3:8-10
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
Thank you for your questions Cindy, I pray that you find peace in your heart as you wrestle with these questions.
Soooo, why would he choose any one person life to be straight hell? Why don’t he mix it up? Some people have drizzles while others such as myself have endless floods no matter what I do. People can be hateful and mistreat others and be blessed (not just material things) beyond anything I can imagine while I struggle to have the basic things to live. If he rain on the just and unjust and shine on the just and unjust just the same then why do I only have rain!?
I so hear your heart and you have obviously been through a very difficult period in your life.
First let me say, there are seasons in our lives, and your winter as you describe it, will move on eventually.
For just as there is day and night, God appoints seasons in our lives.
Secondly, Rom 8:28 is hard to trust in the middle of difficult times, who says God is working for my good, while my life around me is so difficult.
But the question of faith is often, do I believe that God is in control and can do the impossible in my life.
Often our seasons in our life, make us question what we actually believe about God.
I have included some links for you, to read a little more on why God allows us to go through difficult times but remember:
Sometimes things happen to us, because we live in a sinful world, and the consequence of the world’s sin affects us.
Sometimes things happen to us as a consequence of our own sin.
Sometimes things happen to us, because of the people we are involved with, where their actions bear consequences for us and we are along for the ride.
Sometimes things happen because God has appointed it for us, so that He may test us or discipline us, or alternatively to bring us into a deeper walk with Him.
Whatever happens, God does not say: “oops, I did not mean for that to happen.” Each season has a purpose and though we cannot see it or understand it, we worship a God that lives outside of time and space and is in control.
Read the following links:
Does God Test us: Does God Test Us?
The purpose of God’s testing: The Purpose of God’s Testing
Time to Sit for the TEst: Time to Sit for the Test
Why Does God discipline us Why Does God Discipline?
Making light of discipline Making Light of Discipline
Are you Suffering from Discouragement Are You Suffering from Discouragement
I hope these will help you a little.
Will be praying that the Holy Spirit will encourage your heart and strengthen you.
From the way you talk, you obviously have not really experienced pain. Real pain. Emotional pain. Disappointments, failures upon failures, failed tests upon failed tests, disability, divorce, depression, even death and grief. There are people whose lives seem to be rain all the time. I know someone whose children all have autism, for example, or someone who is really smart but always in lack despite their hard work no matter they try. On the other hand, there are very evil and corrupt people who seem to be prosperous, fruitful and “blessed.” Look no further to dictators and corrupt government officials in some corrupt developing countries, or celebrities who get famous for just showing off their naked bodies. Life is unfair, indeed. I’m a Christian and I often question the question you tried to answer. I think I’ve overcome jealousy over “fruitful” non-believers. My Christian friends said, their reward is only here. Okay, I agree and understood. But my unanswered question that gets me down often is about other believers. Why do God love/bless some of his children more than others? I do think there is a parallel between God’s love and blessing.
Thank you for the comment, I wrote this blog post because I and many others battle with the exact questions you are asking. During this season I was particularly battling with my own questions about God’s love for me, investigating all my own doubt in scripture. What I think is so wonderful about the Lord is that in the growth of our faith, He welcomes our questions. We can even see in Job how He allowed Job to ask Him questions.
And just like Job, God does not always answer all our questions other than to remind us that we, with our limited minds (and mortal with limited control), cannot hope to fathom the mind of God (eternal and all controlling). There is a point where it still comes down to the one question: who will you worship even if you don’t have all the answers?
For me that is the point I came to eventually. What was it that I believed, based on what God revealed to me in scripture.
Scripture tells me He has no favorites and all His promises are trustworthy. For me, faith is based on what scripture tells me, not on how I perceive things to be. My life has shown me that my mind and heart are easily deceived and scripture has been the one true source of truth for me. I don’t have the answers, but I choose to believe in His heart and nature as revealed to me in scripture.
As to whether I have experienced real pain in life – you don’t know me or my life walk – but I write what I have come to understand and know in my heart from scripture. They are my own heart treasures, shared with others.
Thank you for your dialogue