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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Men in the Bible: Jabez

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.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Jabez's story is right in the middle of 4 chapters worth of genealogies. Jabez's story doesn't seem to fit where it was placed. Here are a few things we can get out of these two verses.

1. He came into the world without a welcome.
Hopefully non of reader have a name that means pain or sadness or death. Most parents give their child a name with a pleasant meaning. For whatever reason, Jabez's mother received him with fear or sadness.
There are many reason this might be the case. It could have been the death of his father, financial difficulties, the child might have been shameful for whatever reason...we can only guess.
But while his mother was predicting a dark future, God was planning something better. And despite the his name Jabez became the most honorable of all his brothers.
2. Faith wins
Mothers are designed to nurture their children and to encourage them, but Jabez experienced quite the opposite. His mother gave him an awful name, one that would stick with him his whole life.
Jabez probably didn't have a lot of friend and he didn't have the support of his family. His family was expecting failure at everything he did.
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers because he has faith. He had faith that God would get him through.
Here is what Jabez prayed:

"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."

Jabez prayed to be free from pain. Jabez was probably talking about the pain of bearing his name I can say this because if he had an awful disease, he would not be ruler of a territory because in his times, anyone with a bad disease was sent away from the town and lived with others who had that disease. So this pain he speaks of is probably not from a disease, but more likely from how others look at him.
He wanted to be free from the doubt, from the those who were waiting for him to fail. He wanted success. And when Jabez prayed faithful, God answer. Jabez was better than his brothers because he had faith, even when the odds were against him.

Next: Ananias

Men of the Bible: Some Lesser-Known Characters

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