1 Chronicles 4:9-10
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.”
I read this passage in my devotional the other night. Not for any particular reason but just because I opened my bible to it. You ever have those moments? Sure you do. We all do. But then we feel like it was “meant to be” because we always find some meaning in it. I was really taken with this scripture because it stands out in the midst of telling of how so and so was born from so and so and then lived to be such and such and begot so and so. Then out of the blue we learn about this guy Jabez. Jabez means pain or sorrow. Scholars believe that Jabez’s mother gave him this name because she bore him in pain or sorrow that was exceptionally more than normal child births for child birthing is painful in general. They also believe that she named him this as a memorandum to remember to thank God for bringing her out of this pain. Jabez was more “honorable” than his brothers meaning he was more courageous and pious than his brothers. The Jews say that he was a doctor of the law and created many disciples. He asked God to bless him and enlarge his territory which scholars think refer to the war with the Canaanites. He asked for protection and to be free from pain. Some people think this was a selfish prayer but we see that God granted his request indicating Jabez’s motive was sincere for God looks at a man’s heart and knows his motives.
One thing I can say is that God is given the glory through this passage in the bible. Jabez’s circumstance at birth could have ended in his death, his mother’s death or both but God allowed them both to live. Jabez grew up in a time of war and could have been negatively overcome by his surroundings. But Jabez prayed a courageous prayer and God granted his request.
I am inspired by this man that we know so little about to pray more courageously to the Living and True God in the midst of trouble or challenge.
If you’d like to read more about this prayer (because lot’s of people have things to say about it) here is a link.