Living Large

Jabez’s name means “sorrow,” “burden” or “miserable.” Can you imagine what a hard time this little fellow must have had when he was a boy?

His name meant misery. Maybe some of the children came knocking on the door asking if Misery could come out and play. What a name!

The Bible says that his mother called him Jabez because she had borne him in sorrow (I Chron. 4:9). A hard time at birth had labeled his name.

But none of us are bound to our upbringing or trapped by former circumstances. with God’s help and blessing we can rise from the muck of the pit and be something more for Him!

Jabez was more honorable than his brethren.

Some think that sin can be sanctified by bringing it into the church. The members of many churches are living sinful, lascivious lives under the cloak of church membership and even leadership. To them, the church is just another club that will help them feel good about themselves or advance their business or give them more contacts. It seems to be profitable to join the church. A little religion is very convenient at times.

The church at Corinth was filled with carnal Christians with problems, strife, divisions, contentions, and envies. On the other hand, notice that the church in the book of Acts was in one accord and unified. When they prayed, great power came and miracles took place.

This contrast points out the vast difference between a church led by the Spirit of God and one that the Devil is in, walking after the lusts of the flesh.

The church of today is filled with whimpering, jealous, defeated Christians. They are worldly, selfish, and cold because they are in bondage under the power of the Devil’s emphasis on their flesh, and their church won’t preach against it.

Don’t take this personally but the enemy of our God and Our Souls does not have our best interest in mind.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walked about, seeking whom he may devour:

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.

I’m reminded of the story of a man who had done something wonderful and the king called him in and told him he could mark off as much of the kingdom as he wanted and it would be his. The man took his staff and traced a line in the dirt around himself. The king watched as he finished and said, “Is that all you want? Just what’s in that circle?”

The man said, “NO. I want everything OUTSIDE the circle.” What if we drew a line around this building and said we want to claim all the territory beyond this place for God? Jabez looked beyond where he was and what he could do to where God was and what God could do. We can take a lesson from the vision of Jabez. Let’s not sell ourselves short. Don’t put God in a box. Think of everything that’s outside these 4 walls!

I want us to listen carefully to the prayer of Jabez. He prayed for:

Jabez called on the God of Israel and asked for the blessing of God (I Chron. 4:10). Of course, the blessing of God begins with the grace of God. The Bible explains to us in Ephesians 2:8,9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

In Hebrews 4:16 we are encouraged, “Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” If a person is going to come to God, he has to start at the starting place and receive the gift of God and the grace of God.

Jabez realized that he must start with grace!

Jabez prayed, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my coast” (Chron. 4:10). He was not satisfied to remain the same. He was interested in growing in grace. In I Peter 2:2 we read, ” . . .desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” In II Peter 3:18 we see, “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” It is important that a Christian grow, and Jabez was praying for that growth.

Sometimes small churches look at themselves and say, “Oh, we can’t do this and we can’t do that because we are too small. We don’t have the resources.” And their vision gets limited by their circumstances and instead of taking giant steps of faith, they take baby steps.

Jabez prayed for the hand of the Lord to be upon him. He wanted the guidance and leadership of the Lord. In Matthew 4:1 and Luke 4, we read of Jesus being led by the Spirit into the wilderness. In Romans 8:14 we read again, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” We read about the children of Israel in the Old Testament and how they were led through the wilderness by a cloud and a pillar of fire.

Jabez prayed for the guidance of the Lord.
This hand’ also speaks of power. God’s mighty hand wants to put you on like a glove and then work thru you!

His prayer would sound something like this. “Lord, please use my abilities, such as they are. Give me the experience and training I need. Make me a better person and don’t let anyone find out what I’m really like. Help me to be what everyone expects me to be so I can have more influence.”

Wilkinson writes, “Our God specializes in working through normal people who believe in a supernormal God who will do His work through them . . . That means God’s math would look more like this:

My willingness and weakness + God’s will and supernatural power = my expanded territory”

In other words, the best ability is availability, and next after that is dependability. When it comes to other supernatural abilities, well, that’s where God comes in…IF we’ll look to Him and ask for it!

Jabez prayed that God would deliver him from evil or keep him away from sin. This means godliness. Psalm 12:1 prophesies that the godly men will cease from the earth. This prophecy seems to have been completed. First Timothy 4:7 admonishes us “..exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” Titus 2:12 says “we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”

Second Peter 1:6 encourages us to add “to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness.”

Our text says, “And God granted him that which he requested.” I Chron. 4:10.

The Bible says “you have not because ye ask not.” God wants to bless us, but He wants us to ask, and to ask from the right heart out of the right motive. Not just for financial blessings and enlargement, but for spiritual growth and Godliness, for guidance in all things!

We left off in our Gospel of Jesus study in Matthew 7..please turn there now. v. 7-11 God wants good things for His children, but we don’t really know what’s good for us. But we can trust that HE DOES know what’s best for us, and we can have God’s best by asking for it!

Your name may never be widely known, and years from now you could just be another genealogical branch on a family tree. But one thing is for sure–Jabez is a lesson to all of us when it comes to asking and receiving from our loving Father above!

Satan is wise. He knows that to openly attack the church would only serve to unify and strengthen it; so, the only other method is to infiltrate the church and work from within to destroy it. He uses people, and problems.

I believe there’s a big bullseye atop our building as the prince of the power of the air flies by. We have his attention, and he wants to put it all to a stop!

The Devil has been using this “infiltration method” for thousands of years. Satan has gotten into our churches, and he is succeeding in draining strength and power.

The devil infiltrates churches which are:

Formalism always has been an enemy of true spirituality. The less power with God a church has, the more ceremony will be involved This is done to try to make up for the loss of spiritual power. This is a day of bowing, chanting, and reciting meaningless prayers. Men are following procedures, lighting candles, and burning incense.

There is a trend toward going back to the ceremony of the old Jewish law. Modern churches are complying more every week with the ceremony of the Tabernacle and Temple worship. We are told, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall flesh be justified in his sight . . .” (Rom. 3:20).

In Galatians 3:13 we read, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law . . . .” Paul tells us in Galatians 5:1: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Conclusion: New Testament Christianity is not in keeping ordinances and following regulations laid down by an ecclesiastical headquarters. It is in being led by the Spirit of God. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).
We must be careful in our church not to get stuck in ruts, and to strive to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led, not so bound to any schedule.