Jabez lived in southern Israel after the conquest of Canaan and during the time of the judges. He was born into the tribe of Judah and eventually became the head of a clan. In Hebrew the name Jabez means pain or sorrow.
He had grown up hearing about the God of Israel who had freed his forefathers from slavery, rescued them from powerful enemies and finally established them in a land of plenty. Being an adult, Jabez believed and fervently hoped in this God of miracles. He prayed an unusual one sentence prayer. What are some important facts that we do not know about Jabez? The exact time frame, his age, marital status, possessions and his physical features are some unknown facts.
This little prayer has giant sized prizes. Things went extraordinary well because God granted his request. Jabez was a real person whose prayer for God’s blessings has changed the lives of millions. His Journey towards God’s answers makes a story which could have and will inspire us to come closer to the God who loves even the unlovable! Can prayer change circumstances? We all know the right answer to this question.
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me.” God granted his requests. Is it possible for us to think of ways others have been blessed through us? If not, think of ways God may use us in the future.
God’s bounty is limited only by us, not by His nature, His resources, power or willingness to give. His nature is to bless His people. How is our coast or territory enlarged? Excellent examples may include family size, business adventures, more possessions and to multiply what the Lord has already granted. We ask, just as Jabez did, for God to remove stumbling blocks and limits on what we can do and who we can become. Undoubtedly, we too want our spaces enlarged in this world! Notice how Jabez left everything entirely up to God to decide WHAT, WHEN, and HOW his blessings would come!
Ask God’s blessings according to His will and not our merits. Jabez did not have the New Testament to read James 1:17 which tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above. Who knows better what to give us than God? He is the only One to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us. Why not give God a chance in our lives? We can expect great things from God; we can attempt great things for God!
Ask God to be with us in all endeavors. In all our plans we can acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths. None of the accomplishments Jabez made are mentioned. God points out that he was more honorable than his brothers. With all of God’s plans, He wants to step into our lives and bless us abundantly, to let us do more for Him and expand our opportunities so that we can have a greater impact for the Lord. Let us say to God, “I’m available”!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.