In this article, we will look at favor and how a person can acquire it. We will begin our study with the book of Esther and then turn to examples of others who have been favored.
1. “And Esther found favor with him”
In the book of Esther, situations are repeated several times where Esther gains favor. Let’s start with the first of them, in which Esther appeared before the king as one of the many girls, among whom he had to choose the future queen:
“When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. 9 She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.”
The reason Esther was so quickly provided with everything she needed for training, including seven maidservants from the royal house, and was transferred to “the best section of the women’s house,” was the favor she found in the eyes of the chief overseer, Hegai.
But Hegai was not the only one from whom Esther gained favor. Esther 2:15-17 says:
“When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her. 16 She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti..”
Esther became queen because she “gained favor in the eyes of EVERYONE who saw her” and, most importantly, she gained the favor of the king himself.
Some time later, Esther had to risk her life to appear before the king without a formal invitation, even though it was “against the law” (Esther 4:16). However, she was not executed:
“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. […].
The reason why Esther did not suffer the death penalty was the mercy (favor) she found in the eyes of the king.
In addition to the passages above, readers may refer to the following verses for themselves: Esther 5:8, 7:3, 8:5. These passages make us understand that due to the favor acquired in the eyes of the king, Esther succeeded to:
a) get the consent of the king to come to the second, decisive feast, arranged by her (Esther 5:8);
b) get a satisfactory response from the king to his request regarding Haman’s threat (Esther 7:3) and
c) get the decree issued by Haman canceled (Esther 8:5).
As can be seen from all of the above, Esther was a woman who enjoyed special favor. This favor was so high that it allowed her to become queen. Since, I believe, many of us need favor, we should find out what was the source of this great favor to Esther. After all, if we understand where it comes from, then we ourselves can receive the favor we need from the same source.
Who is the source of blessing?
To find the source of favor, we do not need to guess or look for answers in this world. Only the Word of God can open this source to us and explain how we can receive favor. Therefore, to find the correct answer to this question, we turn to Psalms 83:12, which says:
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”
According to this verse, the source of favor is not in beauty, not in a good education, not in connections with the right people, but in the LORD. He alone gives favor (grace). In previous passages in the book of Esther, we saw that Esther was indeed favored. And this psalm tells us about the One who granted her this favor. It was none other than the Lord Himself, the source of all favor.
Other examples of people who have found favor
In addition to Esther, Scripture gives several more examples of people who have found favor (mercy, grace). One of them was Joseph, the son of Jacob, who at the beginning of his history fell into slavery in Egypt. Despite this beginning, note what happened next in his life due to the favor bestowed on him by the Lord:
“The Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
But HOW did he get this favor? He acquired it because the Giver of favor, the LORD Himself, gave it to him.
Another example of favor and its source is found in the book of Exodus. This example describes the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and how the Egyptians gave them “things of silver, things of gold, and clothes” (Exodus 11:2, 3:21), i.e. very valuable items. Why did they do it? Exodus 3:21 says:
“And I [ the LORD] will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”.
The reason the Egyptians gave all these valuable things to the Israelites was because of the favor they found in the eyes of the Egyptians. How did they find it? The answer is simple: the Lord, the source of favor, gave it to them.
Finally, Daniel 1, which tells of Daniel’s decision not to defile himself with food and wine from the king’s table, states that “Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel,” (Daniel 1:9) and he, acting against the royal command, gave Daniel and his friends food that meets the requirements of the law of Moses.
From the foregoing, we can conclude that favor is inseparable from the source, the giver of favor, which is none other than God. This means that it was God, the source of favor, who helped Esther to get everything necessary to prepare herself for a meeting with the king, as well as the best place in the women’s house; it was He who gave her favor in the eyes of all those around her, made her to become queen, saved her from the death penalty for visiting the king without an invitation, and showed great deliverance to her, Mordecai and all the Jewish people. In the same way, God Himself was the source of the favor that Joseph and Daniel found despite difficult external circumstances, and He also helped the Israelites find favor in the eyes of the Egyptians, despite the fact that the Israelites were leaving their country.
Thus, we come to the conclusion that in order to obtain favor, we must turn to God, who is able to give it to us. As Hebrews 4:16 says:
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy [Greek “charis”, which means grace, mercy, favor.] and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
In other words, let us without fear turn to God for help, and we will certainly receive the grace we need.