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  • Writer's pictureGODVERSITY

Who Was Jabez in the Bible?

Jabez is a very minor character in the Bible. He was only ever mentioned a few times, all in the book of 1 Chronicle. In 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, it is said that “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, 'I gave birth to him in pain.'” In Hebrew, the equivalent for Jabez means “he causes pain”. Also, in Jewish culture, it is common to give symbolic names for one’s children. So, for the reason that her mother took great pain in giving birth to her son – more pain than the usual childbirth – she named him Jabez.

Also, in ancient Jewish customs, the name of a person somehow foretells his future. By naming her son Jabez, the mother is probably giving a vision of what is yet to come for her son. She may have seen that her son would have a bleak future, with his life full of pains and sorrows.

However, this was not so. Jabez defied all odds, including his supposed destiny, and became a man of fervent prayer. He believed so strongly in the power of God that he cried out to him boldly.

Because of his good relationship with God, Jabez was described as honorable; in fact, “more honorable than his brothers.” For the author of the book of Chronicles to mention him, even briefly, tells us of the extraordinary character that this man displayed during his life. And the fact that he was named in the book means he had a very important role to fulfill as well.

What Is the Prayer of Jabez?

The prayer of Jabez is a very short yet powerful prayer mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:10. It reads:

“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.”

Let’s have a look at those lines carefully and analyze what they mean.

“That you would bless me”: Jabez knew that the God he believed in is the source of all blessings. For that reason, he asked God to bless him. And these blessings are more than just material; they can also be spiritual blessings, like good relationships, peace of mind, a compassionate heart, and a gentle demeanor, among other things. God blesses us with spiritual as well as material blessings when we ask Him. So we should always be reminded that asking God for a blessing is not a bad thing.

“And enlarge my territory”: Territory here does not really mean physical land. Jabez is more concerned about making an impact for the Kingdom of God. It is not a literal land territory. This may not be obvious at first glance, but when we look at the spiritual meaning of this line, it’s different. Jabez prayed that God would enlarge the territory of his heart, that it may overflow to those around him. He wanted to reach others for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

“Let your hand be with me”: Jabez recognized his limited, feeble nature as a person. Because of that, he knew he needed God’s help. He knew that God was all-powerful, so he asked God’s hand to be with him – to guide him into the right path and to hold him throughout his journey. In this line, Jabez recognizes that blessings can only be good things when it comes to God’s hand. Without God’s hand leading and guiding us, the blessings would be a waste. They would not fulfill a good purpose.

“Keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain”: In this line, Jabez makes a reference to his own name. Again, the Hebrew word for Jabez means “he causes pain.” With this, he renounced the awful meaning of his own name. He asked God to free him from harm so that pain may not befall him. Perhaps Jabez needed strength, and who better to look to than God Himself?

How Can We Pray Like Jabez?

We see in the next part of the verse that “God granted what he asked.” God was honored in the prayer of Jabez. He asked for the right things from God. He also had the right attitude when he prayed.

For us to pray as Jabez did, we must first recognize who God is in our lives. Do we know that He alone is the source of all blessings? Do we recognize that God can give us the appropriate blessings if we ask Him for them? It is important to first evaluate what we know about God so that we can approach Him with the right heart and mind. Otherwise, we may pray for the wrong things and become frustrated when God says no.

Once we know who God truly is, what He’s capable of, and His role in our lives, we can then come to him with all confidence. Like the boldness Jabez showed when he prayed for God to bless him and enlarge his territory, we can ask God just as courageously for big things. Once again, the right attitude here is important. Jabez did not seek material wealth, so this prayer is not a gateway to the so-called prosperity gospel. God may not grant you 1 million dollars or a thousand-acre estate, but He is willing to grant you a heart like that of Jesus. He also wants to give your heart a desire to spread the Gospel to others. That’s an expansion of territory that truly puts a smile on God’s face.

Once we receive His blessings, we must never forget the Source. Often, we get so blinded with the good things God gives us that we forget about God Himself. Jabez recognized this, and so he also prayed that God will continue to take the lead and guide his way. If we ask God’s hand to be with us at all times, we will surely take the right paths. And we can maximize our blessings as we go along those right paths.

Equally important is asking God for protection from evil. There are many temptations and things in this world that may distract us from the paths God leads us to. Because of these, we need His constant covering over us. Remember that enjoying God’s blessings can only happen when we allow God to lead us too. Thus, we need to ask God to shield us from anything that may take the lead instead of Him.

What We Can Learn from Jabez?

Not only did Jabez recognize who God truly is, and not only did he have the right attitude when he prayed. Against all odds, Jabez also defied his supposed destiny. He was a conqueror through what God has done in him. He powered through the challenges life threw at him, and he honored God by doing so.

We may be facing trials and discouragements ourselves. But like Jabez, let us learn to look to the God we believe in. Ask that He would do great things through us, and ask that He would be the one to lead us every step of the way. With that kind of attitude, certainly, God will answer our prayers positively.



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