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The Man Who Got What He Asked For! a study on praying effectively by Ken Chant
text 1 Chronicles 4: 1 -10 v especially vs 9 -10. . .
“The sons of Judah were Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur, and Shobal. Reaiah the son of Shobal fathered Jahath, and Jahath fathered Ahumai and Lahad. These were the clans of the Zorathites. These were the sons of Etam: Jezreel, Ishma, and Idbash; and the name of their sister was Hazzelelponi, and Penuel fathered Gedor, and Ezer fathered Hushah. These were the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem. .
“. . . Ashhur, the father of Tekoa, had two wives, Helah and Naarah; Naarah bore him Ahuzzam, Hepher, Temeni, and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah. The sons of Helah were Zereth, Izhar, and Ethnan. Koz fathered Anub, Zobebah, and the clans of Aharhel, the son of Harum. .
“. . . Jabez was more honourable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain. ’ Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be upon me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!’ And God gave him all that he asked. ”
What a dreary chronicle of unremarkable people! v But among them was one “honourable” – indeed, “more honourable” – man!
Why was Jabez “more honourable” than the others? v We are told that “he called upon the Lord”. v But did they not all do so? v Yes! But he got what he asked for!
He Prayed Boldly “Oh! that you would keep me from harm, so that it cannot hurt me!”
At first sight that seems a remarkably selfish, even offensive prayer. v But there is a clue in his name, “Jabez” – it means “Pain”.
Imagine giving a baby such a strange name! v Perhaps it was a terrible birth. v His father is not mentioned. . .
v perhaps he deserted her while she was still pregnant v perhaps he died at the time of the boy’s birth v perhaps Jabez was a consequence of rape or incest.
For whatever reason, she blamed her baby, and inflicted an awful maternal revenge upon him, one that was made worse by an ancient belief in the power of names. . . cp. Gen 35: 18. . .
“Jacob and Rachel moved on from Bethel. When they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel went into labor and suffered harsh labor pains. During one spasm, the midwife said to her, ‘Don't be afraid! You're having another son!’ But Rachel was dying. As she took her last breath, she named her son Benoni [Son of My Sorrow], but his father named him Benjamin [Son of My Right Hand]. ”
Now we can see the meaning of Jabez’ prayer! v He believed that he could break free from the curse and become a new man!
We have an even greater opportunity in the Holy Spirit v see 2 Cor 3: 17 -18. . .
n “Whenever we turn to the Lord, the veil that blinds our eyes to God is taken away. This Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Lord's Spirit is, every chain must fall away. Indeed, as we reflect the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, we are being changed into his likeness from glory to glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. ”
v Don’t accept the false limitations that are often imposed upon us by the world, the flesh, the devil, and even the church.
He Prayed Persistently “He called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh! that you would bless me indeed!’”
There is an obvious link with the story of Jacob on the banks of the Jabbok – Gen 32: 22 -28. . . The Jabbok
“One night Jacob got up, took his two wives, his two concubines, his eleven children, and everything he owned, and crossed the Jabbok River. But he stayed behind, alone. Then a man came and wrestled with him until just before daybreak. When the man saw that he was not winning the struggle, he struck Jacob’s hip, and threw it out of joint. Then the man said, ‘Let me go; daylight is coming. ’. . .
“But Jacob cried, ‘I will never let you go, unless you bless me!’ ‘What is your name? ’ the man asked. ‘Jacob, ’ he answered. The man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won; so your name will be Israel. ’" The Jabbok Valley
Our instant generation has lost the capacity for such prayer. Jacob and the Angel
He Prayed Expansively “He called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh! that you would enlarge my borders!’”
Keep on expecting great things from God – you don’t have all that God wants to give to you! v Mark the extraordinary confidence of Eph 3: 20 –
tw de dunamenw u. Jper panta to the yet onebeingable superabove all poinsai u. Jper ejkperissou w. Jn aijtou-metha to do superbeyond pastexcessively which we-areasking hj nooumen or evenimagining
– which we could paraphrase as – “Your God is able to do exceeding abundantly far above all that you could ask or even begin to imagine!”
Joshua lengthening the Day v Your God is able. . . v Your God is able to do what you ask. . . v Your God is able to do all that you ask. . . v Your God is able to do above all that you ask. . .
Elijah calling fire from heaven v Your God is able to do abundantly above all that you ask. . . v Your God is able to do exceeding abundantly far above all that you can ask or even imagine!
Yet this quality of expectation has become a problem in some places. v The cause has been a failure to follow Jabez in his final petition. . .
He Prayed Submissively “He called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh! that your hand would be upon me!’”
He wanted the hand of the Lord to guide him closely. v He recognised that the promise of God is necessarily tempered by the purpose of God.
v Think about Paul, and the many vicissitudes he had to endure. v Remember how Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations.
Note that for both Paul and Jesus, the power of God was displayed primarily through giving them grace and strength to persevere to the end, and in every situation to display a divine patience, love, and unfailing trust.
But this all requires a perfect submission to the will and heart of God.
We have cast our minds back to the distant past, but now let us look ahead, to the future Day of Judgment. . . v How will we rate alongside Jabez?