“And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bore him with sorrow.” (1 Chronicles 4:9)
The name “Jabez” means “sorrow”. In the Jewish culture, the mother would name the child at birth and in this case, something very sorrowful had happened to cause her to name him this way. Growing up with a name that suggested the grievous circumstances of his birth; Jabez could have turned against the Lord. This is the case with many today that feel unloved and have encountered adverse and hurtful circumstances in their lives. But this was not the case with Jabez, for the verse says, “Jabez was more honorable than his brethren”. What made the Lord address him this way? Why did the Lord consider him more honorable than his kin? The next verse gives us the reason.
“And Jabez called on the God of Israel…”
His adverse circumstances did not discourage him from seeking the Lord. Our trials in this life will either harden our hearts against the Lord, or we will seek Him all the more and cling to Him as He sees us through our difficulties. Jabez chose the later and prayed to the Lord for deliverance from the difficulties that welcomed him into this life. To call upon the Lord means to trust Him completely, to place our circumstances in the hands of the Lord, and trust Him for the answer. We can turn to Him in our difficulties and trust that He will answer. The first thing Jabez asked of the Lord was for the Lord to bless him as the following verse states.
“..Oh that You would bless me indeed.”
The Lord seeks to bless us as we come to Him in faith believing that He loves us and wants to bless us. Jabez, in spite of his terrible circumstances, believed this and sought the Lord for a blessing. True blessing comes only from the Lord and brings us not only material things to enrich our lives but also spiritual blessings that will give us peace and joy. Unlike the world, where what seems like a blessing at the time can turn out to be anything but; when the Lord blesses us it will be lasting and will bring us continued joy. Jabez goes on to ask:
“And enlarge my coasts…”
The word “coast” actually means “border”. Jabez is asking the Lord to get him out of the difficulties he was born into. Many are born into terrible circumstances or come into them in their lifetime. It is the few who seek the Lord for deliverance from these and trust that He will answer. Jabez knew that the Lord was the One he needed to go to for help. We can seek the Lord no matter what our circumstances are knowing that help awaits us there and only there. Jabez goes on with his request;
“That your hand might be with me..”
Jabez knew that he would encounter difficulties in his life and there would be those that might opose him for who he was and for his stand for the Lord. Here, he is seeking the Lord’s hand of strength in his life. If we place our faith in the Lord and trust Him to bring us through; the Lord will honor this. As the word says, He is no respecter of persons. Whosoever seeks the Lord will find Him and partake of His goodness. Jabez ends his prayer with the following:
“That You would keep me from evil, that it would not grieve me.”
Jabez knew that the blessings he sought were dependant on him being kept from evil. As we seek the Lord, He will keep us from the evil that seeks to destroy our lives. We place our faith in the Lord and His great work at the cross and we are kept by His power from evil. Jabez realized that he could not do this in his own strength. By faith, he knew the Lord would answer his prayer and he also knew that blessings in his life could result in him being lifted up in pride and could cause him to sin against the Lord. So he asked the Lord to bless him and to keep him. This is our answer as well. The Lord will bless us and keep us as we believe Him and trust Him. And what was the conclusion of the matter regarding Jabez? The Lord answered as follows:
“God granted him that which he requested.”
Jabez believed the Lord and the Lord blessed him for it. He will do the same for us. This beautiful prayer of faith was not placed in the Bible where you might think the Holy Spirit would place it. Instead, we find the prayer of Jabez in the middle of a long list of genealogies to be found by those diligent enough to seek out this treasure buried in the Word of God. We must seek out the Lord and His blessings. We will be rewarded for it. Our greatest reward is the Lord Himself. How wonderful it is to know that we can know the Lord and trust Him to bless us as we walk through this life together. This prayer is a testimony to the goodness of God and a reminder of the blessings that await us as we seek the Lord in our lives.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in the Lord.” (Jeremiah 17:7)
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