“And Jabez called on God of Israel… So God granted him what he requested” (I Chronicles 4:10).
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What’s the meaning of your name? The meaning of our name and the story behind it are sometimes a fascinating topic to discuss. People sometimes are called as what they are. Thus, a name can have an impact in someone’s life. A name can bring a good or bad connotation to your personality.
With this in mind, you might already have an idea how it feels to have a negative name. In the Bible, we also have a person who has a name that’s really negative. But he did not let his name dictate the course of his life. The meaning of his name is pain or sorrow. His name is Jabez.
His story is found somewhere in the bible that is not read very often. In fact, the chapter where his name was found is about genealogies. Most people would find this part of the Bible as “boring”. His story is even just 2 verses long. But it is very important for us to pause and learn the lessons that we can acquire from this.
A Brief Background in the Life of Jabez
So let’s go to I Chronicles 4:9-10.
And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, because I bare him with sorrow (verse 9).
Why would a mother call his son such a name unless she has a reason to do so? This might be referring to her unusual pain in giving birth. Or maybe, there must be something else. Maybe, his mother was having a financial problem and an additional child would mean more sorrow. Or maybe, her other sons might already be a headache and she thinks that Jabez would grow up in the same way as her other sons.
So, can you imagine yourself growing up with such a name that means pain or sorrow? You can be a subject of ridicule, teasing, and hurtful jokes. To make things worse, in the Middle Eastern society, a name can be a determiner of his or her destiny. So Jabez could have been expected that he will grow up and be a source of pain or sorrow.
There is no doubt that Jabez started in life with the wrong foot. He was born with disadvantages that he himself does not have any control of.
However, all this did not stop Jabez from following God and His commandments. As a matter of fact, he was considered to be more honourable than his brethren. Jabez then prayed a prayer for all of us to read.
The Life-Changing Prayer
And Jabez called on the God of Israel – Jabez prayed to the Living Eternal God, the one and true God who hears prayer. In his time when idolatry is rampant and common among the gentiles, he knew that it was only the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who truly has the supreme power to bring things to pass.
It is worth noting that this is not just a one-time event. For God to bless and hear our prayers, we must do this on a regular basis. We must pray every day and make it a daily habit.
Oh, that thou wouldest bless me indeed – Jabez is very intent in his prayer. It is not just some kind of superficial and sleepy prayer. Jabez is very serious in his prayer. In this phrase, you can really and genuinely feel how heart-felt his prayer was.
Enlarge my coast – Let us not mistaken this as a very selfish prayer that he prays for God’s blessing just for himself. For one, we know that Jabez is a honorable person. He wants to ask for God’s blessings so that he can be better equipped in doing God’s work. As a matter of fact, if you turn to I Chronicles 2:55, you will find a land named Jabez where many families of scribes dwells.
This is something that we must all keep in mind.
Why do you want to be blessed? What is the reason you ask for God’s blessings? Why do you want to be rich? Is it for selfish gains or for helping other people?
Let’s briefly read James 4:3.
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
So why do you pray for more money? Why do want to have a brand new car, bigger house, newer gadget, beautiful wife or handsome husband? Is if for your own lust, for vanity, or pride of life? You see we must have the right attitude because it is possible to pray the wrong prayer to God.
And that thine hand might be with me – Jabez recognized that if God would grant him what he requested, he needed God’s guidance and wisdom. Like what Jesus said, to whom much is given, much is required.
And that thou wouldest keep me from evil that it may not grieve me – In the same way that Jesus instructs us to pray, “deliver us from evil”, Jabez recognizes that it is a frightening thing to go on in our lives without the protection of God.
Accidents can LITERALLY happen any time. Even people who just stay in their house die because of a strayed bullet, landslide, flooding, and other causes. Some people would even just die in their sleep. This is the main reason that we all should constantly pray for God protection.
And God granted him that which he requested – God knows the heart of Jabez and He granted the prayer of Jabez. So you see, it is not about saying certain highfalutin words. God looks at the heart. He looks at our attitude and the motive behind our prayer. When we have the right heart, the right words will follow. It will come out naturally.
Living a Prayerful Life
Prayer is among the greatest privileges given to mankind. I hope that we all take advantage of it. God is waiting for us each day to talk to Him. It is not enough to just believe in God, but we must all seek a closer relationship through prayer. Let us make prayer a habit. It is impossible to truly love and follow God without communicating with Him. So keep in mind, pray to God and He will listen to you.
P.S. I would love to hear from you. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions, suggestions, comments and stories to tell or you simply want to be part of my email subscription list. You can also come and worship with us by finding a congregation nearest you. Get in touch!
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