June Bible Study Series
The Prayer of Jabez
Part 1: June 2, 2013
1 Chronicles 4:9-4:10
"Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bore him in pain. 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├??├?┬Ł (1 Chronicles 4:9-10, NKJV).
Part 1- Bless me indeed
We find Jabez buried in a long list of genealogies listed from chapter 1-4 beginning with ADAM...so and so was the father of so and so, and so and so was the father of so and so . . . . CONTINUES on and on and on. You are so bored by the time you reach Jabez that you almost skip over him. But he is there like a shining star in this long list of anonymous characters. It is very interesting to me that what Jabez is remembered for is not some outstanding task, but a prayer. He did not win a great battle, cause the walls of Jericho to fall down, walk on water or erect a great building. He simply prayed a prayer. But out of all the people in this long list of characters, he is lifted out because of the prayer that he prayed.
Jabez's name in Hebrew means "pain├??├?┬Ł! His mother delivered him in great pain and she never let him forget it. She named him Pain so that he would always remember what he had done to his poor mother. What a pain! Has anyone ever said that about you? It was said about the person we are looking at in this scripture today. I had a relative who was a lot like Jabez's mother, because she repeated the story of how much pain her child had caused her in birth. And she always liked to tell the old, old story when there were several people around. Other parents do something similar by rehearsing all the disappointments they have felt with their children, and the pain it has caused them. You might say Jabez came from a dysfunctional family, with a controlling mother who was an expert at exacting guilt from her children. But in spite of all that, he overcame the obstacles created by his upbringing. The Bible says that he was an honorable man more honorable than the rest of his family. Why was that? Because he prayed
What is so unusual about his prayer, and why have preachers been talking about it for centuries? Over the next several weeks we will look at the prayer- piece by piece in order to discover why God was pleased enough with his prayer to have it forever recorded in scripture. His prayer was in four parts: 1) He prayed that God would bless him. 2) He prayed that God would enlarge his territory, or his borders. 3) He prayed that God's hand would be upon him. 4) He prayed that God would keep him from evil.
The first part we will explore, then, is: Jabez prayed for God to bless him. He sought God's blessing on his life.
Deuteronomy 7:13 He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you.
He was not worried about being selfish, he wanted God's best and believed that God wanted to give it to him. He remembered his ancestor Abraham, when the Lord said to him: "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing├??├?┬Ł (Genesis 12:2). Jabez sought the blessing of God, that he might be a blessing to the world. The Bible tells us that our whole reason for existence is to be a blessing to God and a blessing to the world. That's it. You are not here for you. The world does not revolve around you. Your whole purpose for existence is to be a blessing to the world.
Do you know how blessing is defined? It means approval, to be favored by God; Something promoting or contributing to happiness, well-being, or prosperity!
Secondly, There is nothing wrong with praying for God to bless you, if it is for the purpose of being a blessing. It is not wrong to pray for wealth, if you are wanting to bless people with your material blessings. If you want to have more so that you can give more, then that is an acceptable prayer. If you want to be able to give more to missions or an outreach program so that people will come to know Christ, then by all means pray for material prosperity. If you want wisdom so that you can help other people then pray for wisdom, for the Bible says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him├??├?┬Ł (James 1:5). But if you just want more wealth in order to spend it on yourself, your prayer will not be answered. If you want wisdom so you can feel smarter than other people, your prayer will not be answered. If you want success, or want to be a leader, so that you can lord it over others or control others, your prayer will not be answered. But if you want to serve others with more talents and resources, then pray for those things in order that your life may be a blessing.
I'm sure Jabez also remembered his ancestor Jacob who wrestled with God. When God told him to release him, Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me├??├?┬Ł (Genesis 32:26). And from that point on Jacob entered the promised land and prospered so that his descendants blessed the whole world with unbelievable spiritual blessings. Through Jacob and his offspring, God's Messiah came into the world. God wants to bless us, but we have to want the blessing. We need to wrestle with God and not let go until he blesses us.
The problem is that apathy, sluggishness even the spirit that desensitizes us (Belial) has so gripped the church that we don't seek God's blessing. We have so much already. Our plates are so full. Besides, we are too busy to be blessed with anything else. Blessing means responsibility. Serving God by serving people takes time. If God gives me more, I have to do more, and I just want to relax. I don't need anything else or anyone else to worry about.
In your own church you may have heard teaching and preaching regarding blessings. You may have studied it in Sunday School. You may have heard it taught over on our Freedom Hour Bible Study or on our Fresh Manna broadcasts. But all of this does no good, unless you are using what you have learned. If it is not creating a new passion within you to know God better and serve him more effectively, then it has not done its work. If you are not closer to God this year than you were at the beginning of last year, then somehow you have missed the blessing. You need to pray that God would bless you and bring a new fire in your soul; a new passion for God; a new zeal for serving him; a new desire to have your life be a blessing to the world.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
To love God is the greatest of virtues; to be loved by God is the greatest of blessings.
- Author Unknown