14 Sep The Faith of Jabez
I’ve heard a lot about the prayer of Jabez. There has been a lot of study on this otherwise unknown man and his 2 lines of prayer in the middle of the genealogies in 1 Chronicles chapter 4. It’s a good prayer, but what led to the prayer? What was the catalyst of that prayer that’s been adopted by today’s church?
The only way that Jabez could actually pray the prayer that he did was if he actually believed that God could do it. And not even that God could do it, but that He actually would do it.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NET)
Jabez was more respected than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, for she said, “I experienced pain when I gave birth to him.” Jabez called out to the God of Israel, “If only you would greatly bless me and expand my territory! May your hand be with me! Keep me from harm so I might not endure pain!” God answered his prayer.
What’s pretty important, I’d say, in this scripture is those last 4 words: God answered his prayer.” That’s a pretty big deal. We probably wouldn’t be reading books about Jabez and learning this prayer some thousands of years later if God hadn’t answered his prayer, don’t you think?
I started going back through the scripture and just a few verses before, in Chronicles 2:55, it says “…and the clans of the scribes who lived in Jabez: the Tirathites, Shimeathites, and Sucathites. These are the Kenites who descended from Hammath, the father of Beth-Rechab.”
Picture this: Jabez had an entire region named after him. So when you look at the prayer of Jabez, it was built upon the faith of Jabez and many families joined together with him to form a community in his name, a name which really isn’t that beautiful to begin with…
The name of Jabez held the meaning of “you caused me pain.” Some of us were called names when we were kids: stupid, little devil, loser, idiot. Maybe you even had parents that were verbally abusive. Jabez came from the same thing. But even though he came from a bad start, an entire community was built around his faith. Jabez had the faith that built an entire community! You’re either living on your faith, or on someone else’s.
We live with the effects of our own faith or with the faith of someone else – this is around us all the time in our vocabulary:
I’ll never amount to anything.
You’re driving me crazy.
I knew I wouldn’t get that job.
I can’t do it, it’s too difficult.
No wonder people stay in the position they’re in, never rising out of the same situations that they swore they wouldn’t be in a year ago – they’re living with their own negative faith! Negative faith will create negative results, while healthy faith will create healthy results. You’re living off the harvest of your faith or someone else’s faith.
You’re either living on your faith or on someone else’s.
You have an assignment on your life and that assignment requires you to get God’s blessing and favor so that you can complete it. We’ve got to make God our partner. Jesus said that he calls us friends, not slaves. He wants to partner with us to reconcile our families, influence our friends, and bring the world back to Himself. A lot of people don’t pray and ask for this partnership everyday. Why?
Because they don’t believe they deserve it: “Why would God want to help little old me?”
Because they have a false religious piety: “God is so great and I’m so terrible and horrible!”
Because they have a victim mentality: “Everyone hates me, so surely God doesn’t like me!”
Because of a distorted view of God: “God is punishing me for sinning.”
Your belief about God, miracles, and favor will determine how much you ask every day. We think that, somehow, we have to earn the things we ask for. We think that, for some reason, God doesn’t want to bless us because, maybe, we’re in a secular business – “why would God bless my accounting business? Accounting has nothing to do with God! Spiritual things are for Sunday, not during the workweek!” The prayer of Jabez flies in the face of this thinking. Jabez prays for an enlargement of territory – give me more land, give me a raise, give me a promotion, give me money and favorable settlements, etc.
Whatever your faith is, that’s what you’ll pray. So if your faith says that God is just putting up with you and waiting around for you to mess up so he can smite you with His almighty smiter, you’ll pray powerless “I’m no good” prayers. But if you believe that God wants to bless the work of your hands so that you can be a blessing to others, that’s what you’ll pray.
So before you get down on your knees to pray and ask, make sure that you see God as the loving, gracious, merciful, beautiful, generous, compassionate, helpful, giving, merciful, charitable, big-hearted God that He is. Pray to that God and see how He blesses you!