Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Prayer of Jabez

The Prayer of Jabez

“ And Jabez called on the God of Israel”

The fact that Jabez “called” on God indicates to us that Jabez was already
in relationship with God. The fact that Jabez called on the God of Israel
tells us that he knew who he was praying to.
Jabez was a very lonely and insecure man. He was ridiculed, teased and
put down all his Life. His heart ached for something more, something better,
anything was better than the situation that he was in. Jabez had the faith in God
because he saw what God did before him. Jabez believed in what he prayed.

“Oh that you would bless me indeed”

All his life he watched other people rise up and move on in their lives.
They felt secure in who they were and they prospered in many things that they
did. “OH” states the urgency of his heart, he is desperate to see changes in
his life. “Indeed” speaks that Jabez was asking for a ‘true’ blessing.

“And enlarge my territory”

Jabez knew deep down that there was more to life than he was
experiencing and he desperately desired that life. He was asking God to take
away the limited vision that he had, so that he could see the full picture, so
that he would experience that which he knew deep down was intended for him.

“That your hand would be with me”

Jabez knew that if God actually enlarged his territories, that he would
need God to lead him through it. He knew that he couldn’t go there on his
own. This also shows us the intimacy that Jabez had with God. Notice that he
doesn’t ask that God go with him. He asks for his hand. This speaks of the
utter dependence that Jabez had on God. If we hold on to the hand of God,
he will lead us to the places that he wants us to go. It also speaks of the danger
of walking into Gods territory without his hand. That is intimacy.

“And that would keep me from evil”

Let’s take a simple approach on this. Lets look at this for a moment.
Jabez asks God to bless him and enlarge his territory. In realizing this request,
Jabez knows that he cannot go there without the hand of God leading him,
which takes us to this portion of his prayer. In his life he had responded to
or retaliated to the ridicule that he received. A lot of this retaliation was of
an evil mind. He would plot to avenge himself and would often lash out or
respond violently. He knew of his tendencies and did not want to continue
in them. Looking at this in a deeper level, Jabez knew that he had the hand
of God with him which meant that if he walked towards evil things that he
would have to let go of Gods hand in order to pursue the evil act. In knowing
this, Jabez asks God to basically keep him accountable and to turn him
in a different direction. One could say it this way. “God I know that I will have
your hand as I walk, but there are times in my life God where I mess up and do
wrong things. I need you to hold on to me when I want to pursue these
things. Please don’t let me go. Just hold on and lead me away from evil”
As the famous quote from titanic “never let go”

“That I may not cause pain”

Jabez more that most knew what pain felt like. He lived his life rejected
, as an outcast/set apart. In knowing this pain, he desired to not cause any of
it himself. Jabez knew that when he participated in evil acts that it also caused
pain for other people. Again with the hand of God on him, he was convicted
to follow after the things of God, over his own sheltered view.
We can see that Jabez knew that doing evil and causing pain were
associated together. He knew that if he followed along, holding the hand of
God, that he would not sin, nor cause anyone pain.

“So God granted him what he requested”

We can see here that God saw the motivation of Jabez’ heart and ‘granted
him what he requested’. God saw that Jabez was tired of being hurt and
hurting people. Jabez was seeking after the things that he knew were there and
God was especially pleased that Jabez was seeking his hand.

I would be cautious to so that this prayer is a practical prayer for every
day life. If we think this way about this prayer, I believe that we will be missing
out on the full context of this prayer. This was a prayer of lament /repentance.
This was a prayer speaking to the very heart of Jabez. We should approach
this cautiously with open eyes so that we don’t take the prayer out of context.
I also believe that practical prosperity will always point to the spiritual health
of a person. If God is doing a major work in us spiritually, it will automatically
flow into our practical lives. Guaranteed.
So often as Christians we think that we receive practical things due to the
way we live or the way we pray but we need to realize that it is a
demonstration or testimony to what is happening in your spirit. I challenge you
to take this up with God and have him prove this to you.
I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

No comments: