I Chronicles 4:9-10 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
With the end of the year approaching at warp speed, I imagine I’m not alone in the busy-ness of the season. In fact, I’ve been so busy, I’ve pretty much neglected this blog, but the Lord is so faithful in guiding my steps that he’s redirected me toward it (Proverbs 16:9) using the above scriptures as divine inspiration. He is SO good!
There was a time in my life that I didn’t pray with any regularity. Even though I believed in God, at least theoretically, I didn’t believe that the Lord had any time or interest in actually responding to my prayers. I figured he had to have better things to do. My old mindset: Really, who am I — small and insignificant — to think God Almighty has the time to respond personally to me? New mindset: I now know that He does because He shows me all the time, and even though I’ve had a relationship with Him for more than 13 years, each time He reaches out to me, I’m still a little shocked and deeply humbled.
Okay, so back to the scriptures above, let’s consider the following:
- Jabez was honorable — more honorable than his brothers.
- He petitioned God for what he wanted. He prayed for the Lord to enlarge his territory (I would think this meant more land, more flocks, more riches), and (drumroll, please) God granted his request.
- He asked for the Lord’s blessing or “favor,” and he asked the Lord to be with him and protect him. He didn’t just rush out on his own to try to enlarge his own territory because he knew that would be a waste of his time.
So, what does all this mean? Why did the Lord answer Jabez’s prayer? What can you and I take away from this?
- Being honorable isn’t just a great brand attribute, it’s important to finding favor with the Lord!
- Jabez was smart because he recognized that he could do nothing apart from the Lord (John 15:5,8).
- It’s okay to set material goals for ourselves, and if we’re honorable and if it’s God’s will, He will grant our request(s).
- The Lord wants us to ask for what we want, and if we don’t ask, we don’t get. (James 4:2)
How would you like the Lord to expand your territory in the new year? Think about it, but don’t just think about it. Write down your goals in exquisite detail. Then live honorably, pray, and ask God to bless you, be with you, and keep you from harm.