1 Samuel 18:5-30; John 8:25-30; Psalms 111:1-4; Proverbs 24:8
OT: “Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had left Saul. Therefore, Saul sent David away from him and made him commander over a thousand men. David led the troops and continued to be successful in all his activities because the Lord was with him. When Saul observed that David was very successful, he dreaded him… Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved him, and he became even more afraid of David. As a result, Saul was David’s enemy from then on. Every time the Philistine commanders came out to fight, David was more successful than all of Saul’s officers. So his name became well known.” (1 Samuel 18:12-15, 28-30 CSB)
In Numbers 6, God gave Aaron the High Priest a blessing to proclaim over the people. Part of that blessing said, “May the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace.” Other translations say. “May the Lord lift His countenance upon you…” The idea is that the Lord would look at you with favor and allow His presence to remain with you. That was exactly what David was experiencing. David’s faith and devotion to the Lord pleased the Lord… so the Lord looked on him with favor, and allowed His presence to remain with David in everything that David did. Saul, on the other hand, had grieved the Lord… so the Lord no longer looked favorably at Saul. Did the Lord stop loving Saul? No. Would the Lord have shown mercy to Saul had he humbly repented? Yes. God’s love is unconditional. His favor is not. As long as David remained faithful and obedient to the Lord, the Lord would be with him and show him favor.
NT: “So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own. But just as the Father taught me, I say these things. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what pleases him.”” (John 8:28-29 CSB)
While the Pharisees were disputing Jesus’ claim of being sent from heaven and were asking Him who He “really” was, Jesus began talking of His death… which really confused the Jewish leaders. Jesus was telling them, “You don’t understand Who I am because I come from above and you are earthly… and you can only see through earthly eyes… but when you lift Me up, then you will know Who I am.” Then Jesus said something really important. He said, “I do nothing on My own… I only do what the Father tells me to do, and I only say what the Father has taught me to say. The Father is with me, and He never leaves me, because I always please Him.” Though Jesus was divine, He set His divinity aside to become a man. The only way He could walk with divine power and authority was through being one with the Father through the Holy Spirit. And for Him to be one with the Father, He had to please the Father through faith and obedience… that the Father would look upon Him favorably and allow His presence to remain. Thankfully, Jesus did live His life completely devoted to the Father… and the Father was well pleased in Him. And when we are faithful and completely devoted to Jesus, the same abiding presence and favor that rests on Jesus, rests on us. Jesus’ love for us is unconditional, but His favor, and His presence are not. Favor and presence that brings peace only comes through our faithfulness and obedience to His word, will, and ways.
Psalms: “Hallelujah! I will praise the Lord with all my heart in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation. The Lord’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them. All that he does is splendid and majestic; his righteousness endures forever.” (Psalms 111:1-3 CSB)
The word translated “delight” here is the Hebrew word “chephets.” It has to do with something that is extremely valuable – so much so, that you make that thing your primary purpose, pursuit, and desire. That is why the psalmist said that he will praise the Lord with ALL his heart. He made the Lord his primary and singular point of focus. His primary purpose in life was to pursue the things of the Lord and make the Lord’s purposes His purposes. His primary desire was to live a life worthy of the Lord’s favor. So what did he do? He studied the Lord’s works and sought out understanding of His ways.