The Book of Mormon uses the phrase “favored of the Lord” to communicate the idea that a follower of Christ can arrive at a point where they are “supplied with advantages”. In other words, they are “regarded with kindness; as a favored friend” by the Lord (the preceding words in quotes are taken from the1828 Webster’s Dictionary, under the heading: “favored”).
The Righteous are Favored
Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God. 1 Nephi 17:35
This scripture from the Book of Mormon is to the point: The Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; that is, highly valued or prized on account of worth. Everyone is a valued son or daughter of God; however, the righteous have a favored status in His eyes.
What does it mean to be righteous? I’ll list a few things that I think define what a righteous man or woman are like:
1. At a basic level (light of Christ), they possess a quality of fairness, sometimes referred to as “fair play”. This quality is displayed by balancing the needs of others, with their own needs. In the language of the scriptures he “esteem(s) his neighbor as himself” Mosiah 27:4. The Savior describing this quality said: “…whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…” Matthew 7:12.
2. At another level (making and keeping covenants), when they hear the gospel they join the church and exhibit a quality of righteousness defined by Hugh Nibley: “Who is a righteous man? Anyone who is repenting. No matter how bad he has been, if he is repenting, he is a righteous man. There is hope for him, and no matter how good he has been his entire life if he is not repenting he is wicked.” Approaching Zion. P. 301-2
3. At a still higher level (gift of the Holy Ghost), they “hunger and thirst after righteousness” (3 Nephi 12:6) and therefore acquire the gift of the Holy Ghost. To be blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost can be compared to obtaining great wealth. Having millions of dollars can provide a level of “freedom” and “power” to accomplish useful things in the world we live in. Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey are two possible examples. Having the gift of the Holy Ghost makes one Spiritually wealthy. Those who are so blessed have access to things of the Spirit and accomplish the miraculous. Alma, and the sons of Mosiah are examples.
How Does the Lord Favor the Righteous?
After reading this far, you’re probably wondering how the Lord favors the righteous. The three scripture that follow are among my favorite to answer this question:
“…he was favored of the Lord, for the Lord heard his prayers and answered them…” Mosiah 10:13
“For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.” Psalms 5:12
”For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.” D&C 76:5
These three scripture teach how the righteous are favored:
1. The Lord will hear and answer their prayers
2. The Lord will compass them “as with a shield”, this seems to be saying that He will protect them.
3. The Lord is merciful and gracious to the righteous seems to be another way of saying he saves us, by the… Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5).
My experience with the Lord has taught me that His help is available to those who make and keep covenants. However, I’ve noticed that there is reluctance on the part of some church members to “trouble” the Lord. The thought being that we shouldn’t go to the Lord with all of our problems and difficulties—only with a select few—those that are over whelming.
The difficulty with this kind of faith is that the scriptures don’t teach it. In fact, I wonder if it this might not be a form of hardening one’s heart.
The Lord desires us to have the constant, not occasional companionship of the Holy Ghost (D&C 20:77, 121:46). The Lord would have us seek Him diligently and constantly (D&C 88:63, Alma 37:34, D&C 6:36).
If we choose to seek the Lord only in a crisis, we may find our faith is anemic. We may not have the “staying power” it takes to obtain a blessing in a crisis because we haven’t exercised our faith in everyday challenges. It can be likened to going to the gym. If we only go occasionally, then we can’t expect to have the same strength and endurance as compared to going frequently.
Those who are favored of the Lord are committed and sincere. This quality of heart leads to the gift of charity, which can cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).