Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested. (I Chronicles 4:9-10)
Back in 2000 a New York Times Best Seller, by Bruce Wilkinson, hit the the shelves titled The Prayer of Jabez. In 2002, the August 1st edition of Christianity Today, Chris Armstrong wrote an article, comparing and contrasting Charles Spurgeon’s and Bruce Wilkinson’s interpretation of this Scripture text. I will let this article speak for itself. Personally, I see great truth in both interpretations and by reading both there is balance. God’s Holy Spirit has used both men to shed light on His Word! No one individual has all the revelation. Each brings a unique experience with the Lord in study of this Scripture placed here for our edification.
Jabez, ya’ bets, in the Hebrew language is a name meaning pain, sorrow. It is a wonder every child is not named Jabez because if you ask any mother she will tell you she bore her child in pain. Even with the wonder of pain killers, women still experience some pain during childbirth. Genesis 3:16 God decreed this. Was there more pain or sorrow involved? Emotional? Psychological? Social? We are not told. We are all born in pain. We are all born into a world once warm, and peaceful now cruel, cold, dark, and difficult. These few words prove Jabez was one of us. Human. Not super-human.
Jabez is part of the tribe of Judah, the Lion tribe. Tribe of the Messiah. The tribe of kings. Why is this important? Leadership, strength, courage, wisdom, heritage, accolades and previous promises are not sufficient. He needed more! Where he sought more is crucial. Jabez called on God, Yahweh.
Jabez is a man of prayer. He was dependent on the Lord God of Israel and it was to God alone Jabez called on for blessings. Jabez requested three things from the Lord. He asked for blessings. Who among us has not asked the Lord to bless us? Going to God for blessings is encouraged from our mother’s knee. One of the first prayers we learn is Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord, my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take, or “God is great, God is good. Let us thank Him for our food; by His hands we are fed, give us Lord our daily bread.” We are asking for the blessing of Heaven! We are taught to ask as we are instructed to offer thanksgiving for all given without our asking.
Jabez asks the Lord to enlarge his territory. Some read this as more land, more importance, more influence, more, more, more. It could be all of this and more: prosperity. I believe this man was seeking the Lord for opportunities to further serve His God. It was Jabez desire to be used in the service of the God of Israel. Israel was reaching into the Promised Land God had promised: To ask for enlarged territory was to acknowledge (agree with) God’s covenant with Israel.
Jabez asked the Lord for guidance and protection. Again, we have been doing this since we were old enough to repeat our first prayers. I do this every day! Without the guidance and protection of the Lord I would have long ago ceased to exist. Psalm 34:7 reminds us of God’s constant care, “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.” Jesus sought the Lord’s guidance daily (Luke 5:16). Jabez exhibits wisdom for he knows “from whence comes his help.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
His last statement in his prayer reveals the motivation of Jabez for his requests: He desires to avoid evil (sin) and cause no pain to others which prevents them from seeing the Lord. Jabez is seeking to honor and serve not only God, but his fellow man, knowing this is how others see our God. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) This is the characteristic that made Jabez an “honorable” man. We honor others when we seek to do no harm, to cause no additional pain. Even our best efforts are not always successful. However, when our desire is to be a blessing it honors God and man.
Time out to seek God’s face, our greatest blessing of all. Time out to seek His blessing through opportunities to serve, to request protection while we serve, and protection from temptation in order to pass the blessings on to others. Time well spent each day in the pursuit of holiness. Exodus 19:6, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” Colossians 3:12, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
#seekingGod #prayer #timeout
Father, in the name of Jesus, give us hearts like Jabez: hearts seeking You first, concerned for others, and desiring to live pure and holy to bring glory and honor to Your kingdom. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer –Andrea Bocelli