A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but the LORD condemns a crafty man.
“Hey, would you mind doing me a favor? Would you mind picking up my kids from school today?” Have you ever heard that? Sure you have. Favors are requested and given all the time in our culture. It’s our way of helping each other out, making life a little more manageable. We hear it at home, work and in different facets of relationships. Everybody needs a little help some time.
In our Western culture favor has been basically stripped of its original meaning and intent. God and His favor over and toward men is a Biblical thought. While picking up someone’s children or feeding their dog over the weekend is kind and helpful, it pales in comparison to God’s favor as He designed it to rest on men and women in His kingdom. It is His strong desire to allow us to partner with Him and for Him to place His favor on us as His children. His favor isn’t just helpful, it’s powerful.
The word favor comes from the Hebrew word rason. The Hebrew dictionary defines rason as acceptance, will, desire, pleasure, gracious kindness, and a strong desire implying choice.
In Proverbs 12:2, God makes a bold promise to the “good man”. He says His favor – God’s willful choice of acceptance, good will, desire, pleasure and gracious kindness – is on him. WOW!
So what is a good man? Is this a man who lives by the motto, “It’s always the right time to do the right thing?” A good man would be a man who lives by principles, laws, rules and conviction. Doesn’t that sound like a guy you would want running your business or mentoring your kids. However, if the good man only lives by convictions and principles he runs the risk of life and relationships being boiled down to programmed and calculated responses. By its very nature, that lifestyle can lead to a pre-determined response of legalism, predictable and religious responses.
I would submit to you that while principles and convictions are good things, sometimes they aren’t the best things.
A good man is someone who knows the difference between right and righteous. Unless you think I’m splitting hairs over these two words, right and righteous are two very different words. At times they are the same, but other times not. Think about it for a moment. Jesus touched a leper and he was instantly and completely healed. According to Levitical law, the principle, a priest was not allowed to touch anything unclean. However, it was equally evident by God’s blessing and favor on Jesus with power for the moment it was the righteous act of kindness and blessing on display for all to see. It was the right thing to do that day.
In order to receive the favor of God we must not seek to live beyond the rules and regulations of being good. But rather find our every moment in the breathing in and breathing out of the very nature of God. Jesus said it like this, “I only do what the Father tells me to do and I only say what the Father tells me to say.” His goal was not “good” but God!
The Bible tells us that God is love! We must choose to do as He does. We must choose to speak as He speaks. We must choose to love as He loves. When we choose righteously, God’s bold promise of favor begins to rest on everything we do in this life.
Proverbs 12:2 also says, but the LORD condemns a crafty man. This second part of the verse undoubtedly is speaking to the man who seeks gain outside the character and nature of God’s love. A person who is crafty understands how to move and live in his own strength in his sphere of life. The crafty man has become skilled in the nuances of working the systems that govern his work place, home, and relationships. Although he/she may prosper for a while they will not be allowed to experience the favor (acceptance) of God.