When Jesus came out of the water at his baptism, the Holy Spirit descended on him and the voice of God proclaimed “you are my Son whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). That was a sign of God’s favour being on him on him. The Psalmist in 84:11 also says “The Lord bestows favour and honour”. What is the meaning of ‘God bestowing his favour’? Most times, we tend to equate God’s favour with material possession and privilege. I believe that is a wrong understanding. God’s plan is unique for each one of us. That is why some of us are millionaires and some are not. So are the non-millionaires non-recipients of God’s favour? The psalmist’s reply will definitely be no! Look at Ps 84:10 “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” That’s a powerful image of godly contentment.
What he is saying is “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God (and have ‘nothing’) than dwell in the tents of the wicked (and have ‘everything’).” He knows what God’s favour is. Doorkeeper? That’s fine! After all, it’s from God so it must be good. He is content with what God has given him and where God has brought him. Will that sound good to us? If God is our everything, we will also know the same satisfaction and contentment with where God brings us.
In Psalm 84:8-12, we can see some common elements that identify what God’s favour really is.
Purpose – v9, “Look with favor on your anointed one.” The Hebrew word for “anointed one” is mashiach, a word that is often used to refer to Jesus – the Messiah, Anointed or Chosen One. We too are God’s anointed ones, chosen as instruments in the redemption of the lost. The glorious truth is that we are not just taking up space here on earth. There is a point to our lives. We have an anointing from the King of Kings. I recall back to the time when I wanted to commit suicide. I wrote a goodbye note to my mum saying, “Just cremate me and throw the ashes down the toilet. There is no purpose to my life.” Now I know there is a point in living. God has chosen me and given me a purpose to live.
Protection – v11. The beginning of verse 11 states, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield.” Two interesting terms—sun and shield. ‘Sun’ reminds us that God is our light and illumination. Therefore, the darkness of this life, the devil, discouragement, etc. cannot overcome us. Instead, as our shield, God guarantees us victory over sin and death.
Provision – v11. The psalmist continues, “No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” God is a generous, gracious God who provides his children every good thing! Does that mean that God will give us a fancy condo, an exotic car, lots of cash? Those are the good things of the world. What are the good things of God’s Kingdom then? Let us look at our Lord Jesus himself. Jesus came to establish a relationship with us. The story of Martha and Mary reminds us it is a good relationship to be treasured above all else. Jesus also established a good, blameless reputation for himself, his accusers could find nothing wrong with him and even Pilate called him an innocent man. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men,” (Luke 2:52). More than that, Jesus left a lasting legacy for all to follow – his disciples who would be known by their love for fallen man. These are the real blessing of life as God’s favour rests on us - things like good relationships, good reputation, a good legacy to leave behind. That is a guaranteed provision because we enjoy his favour.
Don’t be fooled. Never exchange blessings of eternal value with things of temporal value.