Last Sunday I spoke about a godly man that I had never spoken about in my entire life in the ministry. His name is mentioned in no other place in the bible. There are only two verses that say anything about him. Since they are so few in number I will now write them. You might like to open a bible to I Chronicles 4:9-10 and keep it open as you read my article.
It is doubtful if you ever remember his name unless you are a person who has read the bible through word by word. You still might never have caught what he is noted for.
Here are the words about him, I Chronicles 4:9-10: We read, "And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, because I bare him in sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldst bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldst keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested."
There it is just two verses. If you have a bible open you will note that it is located in the hundreds of names of the chronology of many families and descendants. When I read a section of a bible like this I just skip all the names unless I want to see something about one of the families.
Most people skim this section for no one can remember them all. The first 10 chapters are made up with this kind of writing. But in chapter four the bible singles out in the two short verses a little about the man named Jabez. I would think you would note that this is a prayer. A man named Bruce Wilkinson has written a little book called "The Prayer of Jabez." It is a little book but contains 91 pages about his prayer. Doesn't that sound like some long-winded preacher who can speak an hour on one verse?
Let's consider verse 9. It says something admirable about him. He is more honorable than his brethren. His brothers are never mentioned. Somehow he had been raised to know, fear, and trust in the Lord. Nothing is said about the hundreds of other names. But he gets the great acclaim, he is a more honorable man than all the rest. He is a man of prayer.
All God-fearing people are people of prayer. It is at praying we are all equal in the sight of God. We are not miracle workers. I'm not for sure, but the Lord welcomes the prayer of his children. It is noted that his name means "sorrow." This may indicate that from his birth he may not have had such a promising life. Giving birth of any child involves pain. Was he born to some woman who was departed from the father? If so it could have created difficulty or pain to live and feed the child. Whatever it was the bible notes the pain and sorrow of his coming into the world.
The main part of the scripture is clearly a prayer from Jabez. It is made up of four parts in one long sentence. A short prayer but important words.
His first request is that God would bless him and enlarge his coast. He was already a man of God but was praying perhaps for greater blessings. In life most of us ask little and get little. We live a humdrum life and are satisfied probably missing the greater blessings He has for us. Jabez wanted more of God's blessings. He wanted all that God wanted him to have. Surely we should all want to be all the Lord would will us to have. He mentioned he wanted his coast enlarged. At first we think this is a selfish prayer but the bible says God granted his request. Are we so satisfied we just live an unfruitful life and never aspire to know the fullness that God would like to do for us? Is it wrong to be used of God in a fuller way, to see more souls saved and the gospel to reach more people? I think not. Who knows what anyone can be if we are fully committed to the Lord and ask God to enlarge the horizon of our effectiveness and influence.
His third request was that the hand of God would be upon him. No one is all he can be without God's hand be upon his life. Without being guided by the hand of the Lord we can lose our way, miss our direction, and miss his blessings.
Jabez didn't want to lose out on any of the good things God has for him. Then his least request was that God would keep him from evil. The inference here is that the Lord would lead him away from sins.
When we see ourselves tempted the best thing would be that we get away from the temptation as soon as possible. Don't toy with the devil. Satan knows how to get at us so flee from temptation. Pray that God will give us power to get way from it.
The Psalmist prayed in Psalm 19: 12-13, "Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins, let them not have dominion over me." Another scripture is "If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me."
Let me conclude by saying the Lord has good things for us. Stay near him and pray for his best for us. Above all ask God to keep you from the snares of the devil. This way you will be of great service to the Lord. Satan will be unable to mess up your good life.