Jabez’s Prayer


Reading: I Chronicles 4:9-10

 

I.         In a long list of names, under the family of Judah is brief mention of a person named Jabez.

            A.        We learn that his name means “he will cause pain.” Though what kind of pain he caused, outside of childbirth we do not know.

            B.        He is described as being more honorable than his brethren

            C.        Jewish tradition is that Jabez founded a famous line of doctors of law. It seems to be supported by I Chronicles 2:55, which mentions a city of scribes that is named Jabez.

            D.        Many wonder what made Jabez so honorable.

                        1.         Not much is mentioned of him other than his prayer.

                        2.         Perhaps it is his prayer that made him stand out from those around him.

II.        “Oh, that you would bless me indeed”

            A.        For most of us, Jabez’s prayer seems bold and brash.

                        1.         His prayer revolves entirely around himself.

                        2.         He asks for great favors from God.

            B.        It is no more bold than Jacob wrestling with an angel of God, demanding a blessing before he would release him - Genesis 32:24-26, 29

            C.        Every good gift is from God - James 1:17

                        1.         The reason Jesus came was to bring us blessings by turning us from sin. - Acts 3:26

                        2.         Blessings are not just gifts, they are life changing benefits from God.

                        3.         In Jesus we have all spiritual blessings - Eph 1:3

                        4.         God will supply all we need - Phil 4:19

            D.        Both Jabez and Jacob fully and sincerely believed that God would bless them.

III.       “Enlarge my border”

            A.        Jabez is not just asking for more territory. He is asking God for more responsibility and work as well.

            B.        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.         I Tim 6:6-10 - The rich will face more temptations. Will your faith survive what you are asking for?

                        2.         I Tim 6:17-19 - God expects extra duties from the wealthy

                        3.         We are expected to work so as to have enough to help others - Eph 4:28

                        4.         We are to give to God as we have prospered - I Cor. 16:2

            C.        Enlarging our borders can be more than just physical wealth and responsibilities

                        1.         John 10:10 - Jesus came to give us an abundant life

                        2.         An entrance to the heavenly kingdom is abundantly supplied - II Pet 1:11

                        3.         In Christ, our spiritual borders are enlarged - Eph 3:17-21

                        4.         But with it comes responsibility and more work. You cannot have more without expecting to put out more.

IV.      “That your hand might be with me”

            A.        We are strengthen by God’s Spirit within us - Eph 3:16

            B.        I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me - Phil 4:13

            C.        Cast your cares on God and he will care for you - I Pet 5:6-7

            D.        David said that God upholds the righteous - Ps 37:23-24

                        1.         Here again, more is implied than what is said.

                        2.         If we want God’s help and aid, then we are saying we placed our lives into his care.

                        3.         We have volunteer to be God’s servants, his slaves to do his will.

                        4.         Are you willing to give that much of yourself to receive so much more from God?

            E.        No one can remove us from the mighty hand of Jesus - John 10:28-29

V.        “That you would keep me from harm that it may not pain me”

            A.        God watches over and cares for his people.

            B.        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.

                        1.         Deut 32:15 - Wealth and comfort causes people to forget the Lord who gives.

                        2.         Deut. 31:20 - It has happened repeatedly in the past.

            C.        God doesn’t tempt us with evil - James 1:12-13

                        1.         But that blessing which we think we want so much can put us into the path of evil.

            D.        Even in Jesus’ sample prayer he urged his disciples to ask to be delivered from evil - Matt 6:13

            E.        God knows how to deliver us - II Pet 2:9

                        1.         Too many have been bluffed by Satan to think they are too far gone into sin.

                        2.         God saved Lot from the evils of Sodom (II Peter 2:7-8)

                        3.         God saved Noah from the evil world (II Peter 2:5)

                        4.         God can save us as well, if we will but ask

VI.      “God granted him what he requested”

            A.        As simply as that. Are you surprised?

            B.        Matthew 7:7-11 - Are you seeking God’s blessings? Are you looking to do greater work?

            C.        Why not this day imitate the prayer of the honorable Jabez?