Blessing. When we think of this word we may think of meal times, or prayers before children go to school or before we go to work. We may ask God to bless us or bless our day. But what does it really look like to have God bless us? Through the month of October, during our Wednesday night Bible studies, we are going to look at a simple prayer that was prayed by a man in the book of 1st Chronicles. The man’s name is Jabez.
As a short introduction before we meet Wednesday evening, I would like to share with you a little bit about this man named Jabez. Really, there’s not much about him in the Bible. Here’s what is said about him. In 1st Chronicles chapter 4, there is a listing of the clans of Judah. In verse nine we read these words: “Jabez was more honorable 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”. We then read that God granted his request.
The name Jabez sounds like the Hebrew word for pain. How would you like to be known or named after a word that meant pain? Jabez was. So, what is it about a very normal person, who is only mentioned in a couple verses in the Old Testament, that makes his prayer so important for us today? Why should we study this small prayer? I think the answer is that his prayer is just so interesting. While we notice that Jabez was named after the word for pain, (his mom said he was), we also notice what he asked for in his prayer. His prayer is a request that God would keep him from harm so that he would be free from pain. It is interesting that the one word he was named for, he was hoping to be kept from in his life.
I believe there are people in life who have to live with a stigma because of past events in life, or decisions that were made in life, or names that people called them growing up. They live with that and that becomes who they are because that’s what they’ve lived with all of their lives. However, in this prayer, we can see that we can rise above who people think we are. We can rise above the names that people called us. We can rise above the expectations that people have for us. We can do all of this simply by praying to God and asking God for his help. We will be looking at this during this simple, but profound prayer from a person who is barely known in the Bible. I hope you will join us as we look together at the four requests in the prayer of Jabez. Until next week….
Peace and Blessings… Johnny