Scriptures

The Prayer Of Jabez!

Introduction

‘Jabez was more honourable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request’. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

The dangers!

The dangers when dealing with small texts with so little information on a person or any subject is reading too much into something which the Bible doesn’t say. Speculation can be good sometimes but never taught as truth.

Who was Jabez?

There is no mention of him anywhere else in the scriptures. From the context, it does appear that he was of the tribe of Judah, and some people think, he was the son of Coz, or Kenaz, 1 Chronicles 4:8. But we can’t be sure. In this passage, he is praised for his sincere and passionate goodness, as well as for some public and devoted works which he performed.

The Jewish writers affirm that he was an well-known doctor in the law, whose reputation drew so many scribes around him that a town was called by his name, 1 Chronicles 2:55 and to the goodness of his character this passage bears ample testimony. There are other theories as to who and what he was, but our purpose here is simply to see what lessons we can learn from this passage of scripture.

What does your name mean?

The meaning of Jabez is ‘pain’ or ‘he will cause pain.’ Though what kind of pain he caused, outside of childbirth we don’t know. The memory of the critical circumstances which marked his birth was continued in his name and yet, in the development of his high talents or distinguished worth in later life, his mother must have found a satisfaction and delight that amply compensated for all her early trials.

What was his prayer about?

His prayer which is like Jacob’s, is in the form of a vow, Genesis 28:20-22.

His prayers seem to have been uttered when he was entering on an important or critical service, for the successful execution of which he placed confidence neither on his own nor his people’s ability, but looked anxiously for the aid and blessing of God.

The venture was in all probability the expulsion of the Canaanites from the territory he occupied and as this was a war of extermination, which God Himself had commanded, His blessing could be the more reasonably asked and expected in preserving them from all the evils to which the undertaking might expose him, Numbers 33:50-54.

‘Jabez was more honourable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request’. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

In these words, ‘so that I will be free from pain,’ and which might be more literally rendered, ‘that I may have no more sorrow,’ there is an allusion to the meaning of his name, Jabez, signifying ‘grief’ and the introduction of this petition is, ‘Let me not experience the grief which my name implies, and which my sins may well produce.’

‘God granted his request’

Whatever was the kind of undertaking which roused his anxieties, Jabez enjoyed a remarkable degree of prosperity, and God, in this instance, proved that He was not only the hearer, but the answerer of prayer.

‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request’.

‘Jabez was more honourable than his brothers.’ 1 Chronicles 4:9

1. Consider the attitude of Jabez.

He was honourable

Why he was more honourable than his brothers we aren’t told, but it may have to do with the nature of his prayer. There are two characteristics that are needed for one to be honourable in prayer. One of them is being earnest, which means intense, zealous, sincere, and determined, James 5:16.

The second of these characteristics is humility, 1 Peter 5:6-7. The earnest, fervent prayer that is prayed in true humility is honourable before God.

Another aspect of the attitude of Jabez is that he directed his prayer to God.

He didn’t direct his prayer to the gods of the Canaanites’ but the God of Israel. Because we are to worship the Lord our God and serve Him alone, Jesus taught us to address our prayers, saying, ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name’. Matthew 4:10 / Matthew 6:9.

To direct such a prayer to God demonstrates that one is trusting in and thus dependent on Him for everything that is needed, Philippians 4:6.

2. Consider the character of Jabez’s request.

He requested a personal blessing

To ask God’s blessing is to ask Him to give divine favour. There is nothing wrong with requesting God to bless us specifically. The Psalmist did. He prayed, ‘Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; shepherd them also, and bear them up forever’. Psalm 28:9

‘Oh, that you would bless me indeed’.

For most of us, Jabez’s prayer seems bold and brash. His prayer revolves entirely around himself. He asks for great favours from God. It’s no more bold than Jacob wrestling with an angel of God, demanding a blessing before he would release him, Genesis 32:24-26 / Genesis 32:29.

Every good gift is from God

James 1:17 ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’

The reason Jesus came was to bring us blessings by turning us from sin, Acts 3:26. Blessings are not just gifts, they are life changing benefits from God. In Jesus, we have all spiritual blessings, Ephesians 1:3. God will supply all we need, Philippians 4:19.

Both Jabez and Jacob fully and sincerely believed that God would bless them. Jabez also asked God to enlarge his borders. This seems to relate to material prosperity.

‘Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request’. 1 Chronicles 4:10

Jabez isn’t just asking for more territory

He’s asking God for more responsibility and work as well. So many want to ask God for more of this world’s wealth, but what do you plan to do with it? Are you willing to take on the extra burden that comes with it? 1 Timothy 6:6-10. The rich will face more temptations.

Will your faith survive what you are asking for? 1 Timothy 6:17-19.

God expects extra duties from the wealthy

We’re expected to work so as to have enough to help others, Ephesians 4:28. We are to give to God as we have prospered, 1 Corinthians 16:2.

Enlarging our borders can be more than just physical wealth and responsibilities, John 10:10. Jesus came to give us an abundant life. An entrance to the heavenly kingdom is abundantly supplied, 2 Peter 1:11.

In Christ, our spiritual borders are enlarged, Ephesians 3:17-21. But with it comes responsibility and more work. You cannot have more without expecting to put out more. It is certainly scriptural for us to pray that God will bless us materially Matthew 6:11.

However, the Bible offers no ‘quid pro quo’ promise that if we do certain specified things for God then He will materially prosper us a certain specified amount, as some who hold the ‘Abundant Life–Health and Wealth’ Gospel teach.

Rather, the Lord has simply said that if we serve Him faithfully, He will provide for us, Matthew 6:33.

Then Jabez requests that God’s hand would be with Him, no doubt to provide protection and guidance.

‘Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.’ 1 Chronicles 4:10

‘That your hand might be with me’. We are strengthened by God’s Spirit within us, Ephesians 3:16 / Philippians 4:13 / 1 Peter 5:6-7.

David said that God upholds the righteous, Psalm 37:23-24. Here again, more is implied than what is said. If we want God’s help and aid, then we are saying we placed our lives into His care. We have volunteered to be God’s servants, Hs slaves to do His will. Are you willing to give that much of yourself to receive so much more from God? No one can remove us from the mighty hand of Jesus, John 10:28-29.

The Psalmist prayed, ‘Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day’. Psalm 25:5

Finally, Jabez expressed a request that God would keep Him from evil.

‘Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.’ 1 Chronicles 4:10

‘That you would keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain’

God watches over and cares for His people. However, Jabez is acknowledging that his request is spiritually dangerous. He is more open to harm from the enemy and he needs protection and aid, Deuteronomy 32:15. Wealth and comfort causes people to forget the Lord who gives, Deuteronomy 31:20.

It has happened repeatedly in the past. God doesn’t tempt us with evil, James 1:12-13. But that blessing which we think we want so much can put us into the path of evil. Even in Jesus’ sample prayer He urged his disciples to ask to be delivered from evil, Matthew 6:13. God knows how to deliver us, 2 Peter 2:9.

Too many have been bluffed by Satan to think they are too far gone into sin. God saved Lot from the evils of Sodom, 2 Peter 2:7-8. God saved Noah from the evil world, 2 Peter 2:5.

God can save us as well, if we will but ask. Jesus also indicated that His disciples should pray for God’s preservation and deliverance, as He taught them to say, ‘and do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ Matthew 6:13. See also 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5.

Of course, God’s protection, guidance, preservation, and deliverance are all provided for us through the scriptures, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 / 2 Peter 1:3-4.

The reason why Jabez prayed was so that He might not cause pain. One commentator expressed it this way, ‘Let me not experience the grief which my name implies, and which my sins would well produce.’

Another phrased it, ‘Grant that the grief implied in my name may not come upon me!’ And likewise, it should be our prayer, Psalm 119:31.

Finally, consider the response of God, who granted Him what he requested.

‘Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.’ 1 Chronicles 4:10

‘God granted him what he requested’.

As simple as that.

Are you surprised? Matthew 7:7-11. Are you seeking God’s blessings? Are you looking to do greater work? Why not this day imitate the prayer of the honourable Jabez? The Lord has promised us, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened’. Matthew 7:7-8

God has said that He will hear and respond to the prayers of His people. Oh, He may not always give us what we ask for, when we ask for it, in exactly the way that we asked. But He is the source of every good and perfect gift, James 1:17.

Therefore, we can trust Him to answer our prayers by providing what He knows best that we need in harmony with His will, just as He did with the prayer of Jabez.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness."

MENU