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100829 The Prayer Of Jabez 1 Chronicles 4 9 10


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A sermon on the Prayer of Jabez presented August 29, 2010, at Palm Desert Church of Christ, by Dale Wells

A sermon on the Prayer of Jabez presented August 29, 2010, at Palm Desert Church of Christ, by Dale Wells

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  • How long has it been since you read 1 Chronicles?
  • We’ve just read it from the NIV.Here is the prayer from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.
  • In 2000, Dr. Bruce Wilkinson published a book about the OT prayer of a man named Jabez. Subtitle is telling: “How to Get God to Bless Your Life.”Instant best-seller. Fad has passed and people have moved on to purpose-driven lives and Da Vinci codesBut there is something worth studying in Jabez’s prayer that might have escaped people’s notice the first time around.
  • Does Jabez’ prayer sound selfish to you?61% - Yes39% - No
  • Does his prayer sound to you like a prayer for material or spiritual blessings?79% - Material blessings21% - Spiritual blessings
  • Do you think Jabez’ final request was to avoid experiencing pain personally, or to avoid causing pain to others?82% - He wanted to avoid experiencing pain personally18% - He wanted to avoid causing pain to others
  • Would you feel uncomfortable praying Jabez’ prayer?57% - Yes43% - No
  • Since “God gave him what he prayed for,” does that mean we should count on God giving us wealth and freedom from personal pain?Seems counter-intuitive based on the preceding answers. Maybe we’re more uncomfortable with the prayer than we thought.15% - Yes85% - No
  • Descendant of Judah:Obscure, now famous, descendant of patriarch Judah.Mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4 in a genealogy of David. (If you think Matt. 1 is tough reading, try 1 Chron. 1-9!) Lived before David in a time when Canaan had not been completely conquered by Israelites, so pagan religions flourished in the land.
  • Name gives a clue to understanding his prayer.Literally, the Hebrew name means “he grieves” or “he causes pain” Apparently his birth was more difficult than most since his mother chose that unfortunate name for her more son.Imagine growing up with that kind of name. Since all your friends and neighbors speak Hebrew, they all understood; it would be like naming your son “He Causes Pain.” (Caleb & Ashley – would you have thought of naming Cash “Grief” or “Pain”?)
  • Jabez could have become warrior or criminal or even commit matricide, living “down to” his name. (Like Johnny Cash – “Boy Named Sue” – Get tough or die!)Jewish writers say he was an eminent doctor in the law & his reputation drew so many scribes around him that a town of scribes was named after him.1 Chron 2:55 The families of scribes who lived at Jabez were the Tirathites, the Shimeathites and the Sucathites. Those are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab.We have confidence in his prayer because the historian describes him as “honorable”I suspect his prayer is not avaricious.Misunderstood by people more interested in treasure on earth than a home in heaven.The fact that God answered his request adds more evidence to the nobility of his prayer.
  • Alfred Nobel devoted himself to the study of explosives, and especially to the safe manufacture and use of nitroglycerine. In 1888 Alfred's brother Ludvig died while visiting Cannes and a French newspaper erroneously published Alfred's obituary. It condemned him for his invention of dynamite and is said to have brought about his decision to leave a better legacy after his death. The obituary stated "The merchant of death is dead” and went on to say, "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”On 27 November 1895, at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, Nobel signed his last will and testament and set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes, to be awarded annually. Nobel's will gave about 250 million US dollars in 2008) to fund the prizes.
  • Good News Bible, like most modern translations, take this as a selfish prayer for prosperity and freedom from pain.* Holman Christian Standard Bible has a different take on it – as a prayer for God’s presence and help, and that he would not cause anyone pain.
  • Jacob, his distant grandfather had done much the same thing.* Dream when he was fleeing from Esau. Stairway from earth to heaven, with angels ascending & descending. God’s promise: (1) to give his descendants the land, (2) to give him innumerable descendants, and (3) to bless the world through him and his descendants* Genesis 28:18-22 NIV Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. (19) He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz. (20) Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear (21) so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God (22) and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth."
  • The most vital blessings we enjoy are the ones we are most likely to take for granted –air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat, houses in which we live, work by which we live and people who make it all enjoyable along the way.The blessings we tend to seek most ardently are those that are luxuries and perhaps that come naturally in a prosperous society, but it also sets us up for moments of ingratitude, apathy about the less fortunate and pouting when the luxuries don’t come fluidly enough.How much time do we spend praying for more spiritual kinds of blessings, like wisdom and opportunities to come to the aid of others?
  • Spiritual instability exists when prayers are wholly devoted to material prosperity, or when self-centered, or when not heart-felt and confident.Jesus taught that the surest way to be blessed indeed was to follow what we call his beatitudes
  • Jesus turns the world’s priorities on their head and says “This is what I expect of my disciples.”
  • What is this about? “Give me much land” (GNB), “Enlarge my territory” (NIV), “Extend my border” (Holman Christian Standard)?Bruce Wilkinson applies it to the “name it and claim it” gospel of health and wealth. Subtitle: “How to Get God to Bless Your Life.”Salvation from sin is subordinated in importance and believers are encouraged to explore their materialism in a warped Christian environment.Should be understood in a nobler context, than that of pursuing wealth, which Jesus and his apostles warned was a snare on the road to salvation .
  • Well, if Jabez’ prayer is not about material prosperity, what is it about?In the early days of the exodus from Egypt, God instructed Israel about the conquest of Canaan, the snare of idols and the potential for fearing their enemies
  • He obligated them to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the animal sacrifices, the Sabbath and the Pentecost, regardless of the circumstances or expense.In that context, he reminded them
  • No issue or concern was to become so pressing or daunting that Israel would be prevented from appearing before the Lord to worship.Remember that is why they began the Exodus in the first place – to go worship God according to his will.This was stated in Exodus 34 to reassure them that they would not jeopardize the conquest of Canaan or their own possessions by breaking the pattern of worship
  • Not the modern materialistic applicationRather,dedication to God’s purity, plan, and people
  • Deuteronomy 33:7 ESV And this he said of Judah: "Hear, O LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him in to his people. With your hands contend for him, and be a help against his adversaries.“Without God’s hand, there can be no help against one’s enemies or anything else.Jabez is praying for a continuation of Moses’ blessing.Paul described the constant sense of a divine and abiding presence in 2 Cor. 13:14
  • We are never alone, abandoned or neglected when we are aware that Christ’s sacrifice was made for us, that God’s love is eternal and imminent, and that we the Holy Spirit is with us and in us.Establishing that kind of relationship with God and sense of his presence is a matter of submission rather than sensation.In light of the world’s popular view of Jabez’ prayer, we’d do well to remember Hebrews 13:5-6.
  • I think this is something of a combination of the two translations: Jabez asks God to keep him from evil, so that he might not cause anyone pain.Jabez had a constant reminder that he had caused his mother pain and he desperately wanted to escape the implications of his name.Who can read this without thinking of the model prayer:Mat 6:13 ESV And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.Paul wrote of this in Gal. 1:4
  • Here is where the distortion of Jabez’ prayer leads to the very opposite of what he intended.Pursuit of material prosperity turns ugly as people are tempted to compromise their convictions and dally in evil so that they can enlarge the boundaries of their earthly estates at the expense of the poor, unfortunate, downtrodden people they step on to get what they want.Jabez’ prayer is “keep me from doing anything evil, that I may not cause pain”
  • I pray that God will keep me from that kind of evil by teaching me contentment, selflessness, humility and honesty, so that I can follow Paul’s urging:1 Thessalonians 4:6 NLT Never harm or cheat a Christian brother … for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.
  • When Jesus was asked for a model of prayer, he didn’t say “Pray the prayer of Jabez,” – He said “Pray like this,” and he taught a prayer that focused on God’s glory and our necessities – not luxuries.* Remember James 5:16If your prayer reflects materialism and selfishness, then, its effectiveness is in doubt, because it is not the prayer of a righteous person.* I don’t think Jabez prayed to get rich quick.When he asked for enlarged borders, he was talking about Israel’s more than his own.Let’s get serious about the kingdom, its borders and our sphere of influence.God is not interested in making you rich – He is interested in making you righteous!
  • Transcript

    • 1. The Prayer of Jabez
      1 Chronicles 4:9-10
    • 2. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 HCSB
      Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez and said, "I gave birth to him in pain." (10) Jabez called out to the God of Israel: "If only You would bless me, extend my border, let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will not cause any pain." And God granted his request.
    • 3.
    • 4. 1 Chronicles 4:10 NIV
      Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "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." And God granted his request.
    • 5.
    • 6.
    • 7.
    • 8.
    • 9.
    • 10. Jabez, the Man
      1 Chronicles 4:9 HCSB Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez and said, “I gave birth to him in pain.”
    • 11. Jabez, the Man
      Descendant of Judah
    • 12. Jabez, the Man
      Descendant of Judah
      Name: “He causes pain”
    • 13. Jabez, the Man
      Descendant of Judah
      Name: “He causes pain”
      More honorable than his brothers
    • 14. Alfred Nobel
    • 15. Jabez’ Prayer – 1 Chr. 4:10
      GNB “Bless me, God, and give me much land. Be with me and keep me from anything evil that might cause me pain.”
      HCSB “If only You would bless me, extend my border, let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will not cause any pain.”
    • 16. If only You would bless me
      Jacob, his distant grandfather, had done much the same thing
    • 17. James 1:17 NIV
      Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
    • 18. James 1:5-8 NIV
      If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
    • 19. James 1:5-8 NIV
      (7) That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; (8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
    • 20. Matthew 5:3-10 NIV
      "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (4) Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (5) Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
    • 21. Matthew 5:3-10 NIV
      (6) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (7) Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (8) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
    • 22. Matthew 5:3-10 NIV
      (9) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. (10) Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    • 23. Extend my border
      A favorite of modern readers
      GNB “give me much land.”
      NIV “enlarge my territory!”
      HCSB “extend my border”
    • 24. Matthew 19:23-24 NIV
      Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. (24) Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
    • 25. 1 Timothy 6:9-11 NIV
      People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. (10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
    • 26. 1 Timothy 6:9-11 NIV
      Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (11) But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
    • 27. Exodus 34:10-12 NIV
      Then the LORD said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.
    • 28. Exodus 34:10-12 NIV
      (11) Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. (12) Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.
    • 29. Exodus 34:23-24 NIV
      Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel. (24) I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God.
    • 30. This is about God’s promise
      Applied to Jabez’ day:
      Not about personal enrichment
      Prayer to exterminate idolatry that dishonored God
      Applied to today:
      Not personal enrichment
      Prayer to expand Christ’s kingdom
    • 31. 1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV
      Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. (11) If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.
    • 32. 1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV
      If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
    • 33. Let Your hand be with me
      Jabez prays for a constant sense of God’s abiding presence
      Adopts Moses’ prayer for ancestor, Judah, and Judah’s descendants (Deut. 33:7 ESV)
    • 34. 2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV
      May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
    • 35. Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV
      Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (6) So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
    • 36. Keep me from evil, so that I will not cause any pain
      GNB “keep me from anything evil that might cause me pain”
      HCSB “keep me from harm, so that I will not cause any pain.”
    • 37. Keep me from evil
      Galatians 1:4 NLT Jesus gave His life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live.
    • 38. That I may not cause pain
      Romans 13:7-10 NIV Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
    • 39. That I may not cause pain
      (8) Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
    • 40. That I may not cause pain
      (9) The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
    • 41. That I may not cause pain
      (10) Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
    • 42. James 4:1-3 NIV
      What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? (2) You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight.
    • 43. James 4:1-3 NIV
      You do not have, because you do not ask God. (3) When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
    • 44. God Granted His Request
      Epilogue makes the prayer of Jabez so popular and promising
      We want what we want and Jabez got what he asked for, so we figure we will ask the same way
    • 45. A good model, if understood
      It is not the greedy, rote mantra into which men have tried to transform it
      James 5:16 NLT The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
      Prayer is not Get Rich Quick Plan
    • 46.
    • 47. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NIV
      Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." (10) Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "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." And God granted his request.