THE PRAYER OF JABEZ
TEXT: 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 “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.”
1. As we are reading along through the genealogy of Judah, a name appears abruptly in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10.
2. The name is Jabez. His name means “Sorrow” or “I will cause you pain.”
3. In verse 9 of the text we learn that he was named such because in great pain his mother bore him.
4. However, it is not the unusual naming of Jabez for which he is noted these many years after his life on earth.
5. It is his prayer:
a) His prayer is one of the most comprehensive in the Bible, and shines forth like a brilliant star in the midst of a genealogical catalog of names;
b) Probably offered in setting out in life, an admirable model for youths.
c) Though brief, many lessons may be gleaned from the prayer of Jabez.
I. HIS NAME:
A. “I will cause pain.”
1) He started out with somewhat of a disadvantage.
2) Many have had to overcome unfair reputations associated with their names.
3) Let us always weigh people on their own merits and not on the family name.
B. Benjamin originally had a similar problem:
2) Jacob's youngest son, born to his favorite wife, RACHEL (Genesis 35:18,24).
3) After giving birth to Benjamin, the dying Rachel named him Ben-Oni (Genesis 35:18), which means "son of my pain."
4) But Jacob renamed him Benjamin (son of the right hand) –.
5) When Jacob lost his beloved son JOSEPH, he became very attached to Benjamin because Benjamin was the only surviving son of Rachel.
6) When his sons went to Egypt in search of food to relieve a famine, Jacob was reluctant to let Benjamin go with them (Genesis 43:1-17).
C. Saul of Tarsus:
1) Acts 9:13 Ananias: “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. An here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”
2) Acts 9:26 –“And when Saul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him and did not believe that was a disciple.”
D. In spite of a name or reputation of causing sorrow, Jabez has brought generations of believers joy.
II. HIS PRAYER: That for which he is famous.
A. "Oh that You would bless me indeed”:
1) God alone knows what is good for us,
2) BLESS: The act of declaring, or wishing, God's favor and goodness upon others.
3) The blessing is not only the good effect of words; it also has the power to bring them to pass.
4) In the Bible, important persons blessed those with less power or influence. The patriarchs pronounced benefits upon their children, often near their own deaths (Genesis 49:1-28).
5) Leaders often blessed people, especially when getting ready to leave them.
a) These included Moses (Deuteronomy 33),
b) Joshua (22:6-7)
c) Jesus (Luke 24:50).
6) Equals could bless each other by being friendly (Genesis 12:3).
7) One can also bless God, showing gratitude to Him (Deuteronomy 8:10) in songs of praise (Ps 103:1-2).
8) God also blesses people by giving life, riches, fruitfulness, or plenty (Genesis 1:22,28).
9) His greatest blessing is turning us from evil (Acts 3:25-26) and forgiving our sins (Romans 4:7-8).
10) In the famous prayer of Jabez, the first for which he asks is the blessings of God.
B. “Enlarge my territory"
1) Not merely in temporal but in spiritual interests:
2) 1 Kings 4:29 “And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore.”
3) Psalms 18:19-21 “He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not wickedly departed from my God.”
4) 31:7-8 “I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place. “
5) Psalms 118:5-9 I called on the LORD in distress; The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. The LORD is on my side;I will not fear. What can man do to me? The LORD is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me. It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORDThan to put confidence in princes.
6) “Help us to increase the borders of Your Kingdom.”
C. “That Your hand might be with me”:
1) As 'the hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him':
2) Ezra 8:18,Then, by the good hand of our God upon us, they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli the son of Levi, the son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and brothers, eighteen men;
3) 8:22For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying,"The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him."
4) Ezra 7:6 This Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.
5) Ezra 7:9-10 On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.
D. “That You would keep me from evil":
1) Matthew 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
2) John 17:15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
3) Luke 22:40,46 When He came to the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation." 46 Then He said to them, "Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation."
4) 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
5) 2 Peter 2:9 2 The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,
6) Revelation 3:10 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
7) “Bless us when we are right, defeat us when we are wrong.”
8) Evil cannot destroy the believer.
E. “That I may not cause pain!” The quest of the Christian is:
1) To bring joy not pain!
2) To help not hinder!
3) To build up not tear down!
4) To cause peace not tension and turmoil!
5) To speak the truths of comfort not the gossip and lies of discomfort!
6) To alleviate burdens not to bind heavier ones!
7) To stop the hurt and sorrow not to make it worse!
8) We all should pray that we no longer cause anyone unnecessary pain.
II. SORROW TURNS TO JOY:
A. Jabez, the son of sorrow, by prayerful faith inherited joy in the end:
1) Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.
2) Psalms 90:15 “Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,The years in which we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants,And Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us;Yes, establish the work of our hands.
3) Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
B. The Prayer of Jabez was the secret of his being "more honorable than his brethren"
1 Chronicles 4:9
1) 1 Samuel 2:30 Therefore the LORD God of Israel says:'I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.' But now the LORD says:'Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.
C. The abrupt mention of him shows he was a man of note when Ezra wrote Chronicles.
D. His prayer was to "the God of Israel"
E. Jacob wrestled in prayer, and "by his strength had power with God"
1) So got the new name "Israel."
F. "God granted" Jabez what he requsted:
1) Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
2) Matthew 9:29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith let it be to you." 30 And their eyes were opened.
1. The prayer of an obscure Bible figure. Only mentioned here can still teach us many valuable lessons.
a) God can change sorrow to joy in an instant.
b) God blesses the humble, obedient child.
c) God will enlarge our territory and stand us on solid ground.
d) God will place His loving hand of protection and guidance upon us.
e) God will keep the obedient from the evil one.
f) God will aid the obedient in bringing healing rather than pain to others.
2. God granted him his request.
3. What is your request of God today?