Scripture: Genesis 12:1-4
When I was about 12-years-old, I went to my father and told him that I wanted to play organized football in the local park league. He contacted a friend of his, who coached a team and told him of my desire.
His friend contacted a friend of his, who had a team that practiced closer to our house and told him that I was interested in playing. Coach Merriweather allowed me to play on his team and we won the league championship. My initial opportunity to play organized football was due in part to my father’s favor.
When I went to college in Houston, Texas on a football scholarship, my father gave me the address of some friends of his who lived near the campus and said to me to be sure and visit them when I arrive. After several weeks in Houston, I went looking for their house. It was literally across the street from the school.
When I knocked on the door and told them who I was, they welcomed me into their home and on many occasions, took me to church and out to dinner and put money in my pocket. The kindness shown to me by Mr. and Mrs. Dickerson was due in part to my father’s favor.
When I finished graduate school and returned home, my father said to me that I should consider teaching part-time in the business department at the local community college. He gave me the name of the dean of the business department and I contacted her. She met with me and I gave her my resume and she said when an opening became available, she would contact me. Several weeks later, I received a call from Dean Jackson inviting me to join the adjunct faculty of the college to teach business administration and economics. The employment opportunity was due in part to my father’s favor.
When we look back over our lives, more times than we even realized, we have received invitations, and opportunities and blessings because of our father’s favor. Doors have been opened and opportunities presented and grace extended to us because of a father’s favor.
This is Israel’s story. It is their history. It is their Torah. Their greatness as a people is attributed to the favor of the Lord extended to them because of their father, Abraham. In Genesis 12, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “Get out of your father’s house, and your father’s land, and go to a land that I will show you (v.1). In covenanting with Abram, the Lord promised to do three things.
The Lord promised to show Abram a land. The Lord promised to show him a great land. The Lord promised to show him a land flowing with milk and honey. The Lord promised to show him a land with houses that he did not build. The Lord promised to show him a land with vineyards that he did not plant. By faith, the Hebrew writer says, “Abraham went looking for a land with foundations whose builder and maker was God” – (Hebrews 11:10). The walls of Jericho came tumbling down and Joshua was successful in leading Israel into that Promised Land, not because of their military might or power, but because of the Lord’s favor towards Abraham. Israel inherited a great land because of a father’s favor.
Then in the first part of Verse 2, the Lord promised to make a great nation of his seed. In that Promised Land, Israel became a great nation. From nomads journeying in a strange land to their own land, the Lord made them a great nation. From a rag tag ban of former slaves to a people who controlled their own destiny, the Lord made them a great nation. Israel became a great nation because of a Father’s favor.
What position and people and power can’t do, favor can do. Favor can take you from the pit to the palace. In Genesis 37, Joseph brothers became jealous of him because his father loved him more and gave him a coat with many colors (vv. 3-4). His brothers beat him, threw him in a pit, and sold him to some Ishmaelites who were on their way to Egypt and told their father that a wild beast had killed him (vv. 19-35). The Ishmaelites took him to Egypt with them and sold him to Potiphar, an officer and Pharaoh’s captain of the guard. He served as an indentured servant in Potiphar’s house until he was accused of rape by Mrs. Potiphar for not responding to her sexual advances and thrown in jail (vv. 4-20).
But the Bible said that the Lord was with him and favored him with the ability to interpret dreams. When the Pharaoh needed somebody to interpret a dream, his former celli (who was now Pharaoh’s butler) told Pharaoh that he knew somebody who could interpret his dream, but he was in jail. They sent for Joseph and he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, and was released from jail, and was brought to the palace, and was made second in charge of Egypt by appointing him the [Minister of Agriculture] (v. 40). What position, people and power can’t do, favor can do.
In the latter part of verse 2, the Lord promised to make his name great. Abraham is the father of the faith and all the families of the earth, verse 3 says, are blessed because of him. The Lord’s favor is upon those who have the faith like Abraham. The Lord’s favor is upon those who take the Lord at His word.
The Lord’s favor is upon those who put their trust in Him. Though sometimes falling, keep trusting Him. Though sometimes fainting, keep trusting Him. Though sometimes failing, keep trusting Him. I don’t know how you feel about but:
I trust in God, wherever I may be
Upon the Land or on the rolling sea
For come what may, from day to day
My heavenly father watches over me
I trust in God, I know He cares for me
On mountains bleak or on the stormy sea
Though billows roll, He keeps my soul
My Heavenly Father watches over me.
Trust in the Heavenly Father and you will find favor in His sight. Amen!
The Rev. Dr. Kelvin T. Calloway is the senior pastor of Bethel AME Church, 7900 S. Western Avenue in Los Angeles.