Jabez—A man heard of God.

Over the years, my good wife has only banned two of my travel sermons. One on, “Moses,” and the other on “The Prayer of Jabez.” I guess that she had heard them once too often. But I didn’t feel bad about Jabez. I had borrowed the best parts from a preacher named Bruce Wilkinson. And I knew his version was about to become super popular. I was right, his ‘Prayer of Jabez’ sermon recording and gift books achieved massive sales. For a man who only occupies two verses in the OT, Jabez is well known. But, as they say, ‘he is not famous for nothing.’ Note how the Chronicler succinctly crafts his biographical sketch:—”Jabez was more honourable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). This brother of greater honour was not going to be forgotten. Just as Rachael named her son Benoni (son of my sorrow) in the pain of childbirth, Jabez too would reflect his mother’s ‘Pain.’ In his prayer he asks God to bless him. He cries out for the enlargement of his estate, for providential presence and protection, and for relief from any pain and sorrow that might come his way—his name was a constant reminder. What has made this prayer most famous are the concluding words: “And God granted him what he requested.” All of us want to pray with knowledge and certainty. Can we too be heard of God, and answered in the affirmative? Yes! The Apostle John assures us: “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).



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