WHAT DID JABEZ DO THAT WAS SO RIGHT William Andrew Dillard From the chronicles of ancient Israel there come to us a brief, often distorted story. Yet, it is a story of a little known character doing something so exemplary for everyone. Read about it in I Chronicles 4:9-10. It is the story of one Jabez. It is a story that has claimed much attention of motivational speakers and worldly religious preachers who are constantly on the lookout for biblical material easily plucked out of context, and usable to accomplish material gain from the more simple-minded. In recent years, a book entitled “The Prayer of Jabez” appeared on the national scene from the “Name it and claim it” crowd. The scriptural information about Jabez is scanty, underscoring the greater reason that thoughts about him be carefully restricted to the context. THE TEXT: “And Jabez was more honorable (weighty, serious, grievous) than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” THE SETTING: This story is injected into a genealogy of Judah, one of the sons of Jacob. The important words promoting contextual ideas are “Jabez,” “Honorable,” “Called,” and the resultant blessing. Jabez is a Hebrew word that means “Sorrow, grievous, painful.” His mother so named him because she bore him in sorrow and pain (the connotation is that he may have been born breach which nearly killed his mother). So to get the picture, we must not call him Jabez because that is a Hebrew word that the English reader simply use as a label. One must read his name as “Sorry outfit” or a little nicer, “One who created sorrow,” “which is what the Hebrew mind hears by the term Jabez. So, “A creator of sorrow” was his name which brought him much shame, derision, a smaller sphere of influence, and lack of self-esteem. Indeed, the term “Honorable” is a translation of the Hebrew “Kavad” which carries the base idea of heavy, weighty, seriousness, also burdensome and grievous. THE ACTION: “Creator of sorrow” (Jabez) called (cried aloud as in desperation) to the God of Israel. He begged for Divine blessings, specifically for “Enlargement of his coasts.” This means an increased acceptability, and sphere of influence among his brethren. Moreover, he sought that the hand (power, strength) of Jehovah might be manifested in his life which underscores his unreserved surrender to God. Also, he specifically besought the Lord that he might be kept (relieved of, and removed from) the evil, (tormenting taunts associated with his name) so that he would no longer be grieved thereby. THE RESULT: And God granted (came to) him that which he requested (begged). What a wonderful story this is, but oh, so different to what is propagated by the nonchalant, flippant “name it and claim it” crowd. God is ready to bless all who in deep, repentant sincerity call upon Him, but no one should expect worldly living to be rewarded by the Lord with a repository of material wealth to consume in lust simply because it is asked. On the other hand, life, peace, joy, understanding, and a future mansion are all there for those who seek Him in obedience to His Word. Jabez did, and that is so right!

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