Apr 25 (Daily reading: 1 Chronicles 3-5) Tucked away in the middle of three chapters of names is found the short-short story of Jabez. Jabez stood out: “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers” (4:9). We could ask why, and perhaps the answer is found in the statement: “Now Jabez called on the God of Israel” (4:10). He must have believed that God answered prayer!
We look at his prayer in verse 10: “Oh, that You would greatly bless me…” I do not believe, as some do, that this is a prayer for the proponents of the prosperity gospel. Jabez began by asking for God to bless him. This is a recognition that God can accomplish so much more than we can become or accomplish by ourselves. This shows our dependence on God!
“…and extend my border…” This has a strong spiritual significance. “Lead me, Lord, to become so much more than I could ever be without You! Give me more responsibility, more influence, in Your service, so that the blessings that have come from You may be turned into blessings for others!”
“…and that Your hand would be with me…” This shows us that his prayer was not selfish: blessings and extended borders—these come FROM God’s hand and they will be guided BY His hand into fruitfulness in God’s service. This is a prayer for God’s direction and God’s control!
“…and that You would keep me from harm (or ‘evil’ NKJV) so that it would not hurt me!” Only God can protect us from Satan’s ruses and attacks. Jesus suggested we pray: “Deliver us from evil” (Mt. 6:13). In keeping with the spiritual significance of the prayer, this part could be stated as “Preserve me from Satan’s attacks, so that my testimony and effectiveness for You may not be compromised.” This is a prayer that we should pray every day!
– Al Gary