The Expository Files

 Not The Prayer of Jabez

 1 Chronicles 4:10

This is not about the prayer of Jabez, but rather the pray-er Jabez. This is about the man. What can we learn about him – the prayer, by looking at his prayer?

1 Chronicles 4:10 NASB
 Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!"
 And God granted him what he requested.

Yes, Jabez exhibits imitable faith and vision. He envisions God as his provider and protector. But did you notice his pain? Can you see that Jabez lives in hurt everyday? If you can’t see his pain, go back to verse 9:

1 Chronicles 4:9 NASB
 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, "Because I bore him with pain."
Daily Jabez lives with the verbal reminder that his mother suffered pain…because of him. Everyday when his mother calls his name, she reminds him. Yet bitterness against his mother does not seem to occupy his mind. He is described as honorable – more so than his brothers. Although honorable, we can see that Jabez does not escape totally from the thought of pain. Pain permeates his prayer to God: that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me. The man whose name means pained prayed that he would not suffer pain.

While I might be reading between the lines too much, I doubt it. Look at the facts: his name means pain, and he prays not to be in pain. Pain, grief, sorrow are part of his life. And yet….he lives in honor. What wonder from the Word is there for us to learn? Parents, let’s be careful what we say around our children. We can cause them pain all their lives. Children, don’t let our parents’ mistakes shape our lives. Yes, their words can wound, but we can be honorable despite the pain. More from Perry Hall -

By Perry Hall
From Expository Files 19.2; February 2012