Praying Like Jabez
written by Richard Thomas / February 04, 2006 (revised December 30, 2008)
Several years ago the story of Jabez found in 1 Chronicles 4:9&10 turned into a masterpiece of mental imagery. Two short verses from scripture squeezed of its contents produced a concentrated mixture of encouragement and motivation to unlock the treasure of Heaven.
It is God's delight to bless His obedient children. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7-11 to "...ask, seek and knock...If you then, being evil, know how to give what is good to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give what is good to those who ask Him." Reward follows obedience. "Without faith, it is impossible to please God...He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6
According to Psalm 18:17-19 David writes - "He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me; for they were too strong for me. They came upon me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out to a roomy place; He was delivering me because He delighted in me." In the beginning God created a perfect environment for His children in which to dwell. The literal meaning of Eden is "a delightful place." A delightful place conjures up different visual images in the human mind just as mental imagery of heaven painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
But Heaven and Eden are two different realms, one physical the other being spiritual. Adam was given the key of authority to rule the physical realm of Earth "...fill the Earth and subdue it; and rule over...every living thing..." Genesis 1:28. But Adam marred his image of God (as do all) for a taste of forbidden fruit. Eve was deceived but Adam was not. Adam tried to scale the wall of disobedience into heaven instead of gaining entry through the door of obedience. In so doing, opened the floodgate of death and darkness.
From the fall of Man in the "delightful place." to Gethsemane, the marquee of human history displays briefly, creatures that delighted the Creator. The door of Heaven opened for Enoch with the key of faith and obedience Hebrews 11:5-6. Noah found favor in the eyes of God and spawned a brand new world for Abraham to transfer the seed of the woman mentioned in Genesis 3:15.
The recorder of Israelite history makes an interesting observation. Jabez stands out among his brethren as an oasis in the desert of spiritual dehydration among Abraham’s descendants. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 tells us that Jabez was more honorable than his brethren. Jabez is listed as a member of the clan of Judah - the line of power. Judah along with his brothers sold Joseph their brother into slavery out of envy for possessing the birthright (symbolized by the coat of many colors) as recorded in 1 Chronicles 5:1-2.
While the nation of Israel was crying out to the gods of Canaan, Jabez stands alone as a man rejecting the golden calf to reach upward with a heart devoted to the God of Israel - our only hope. Isaiah records the heart of God calling out to a world lost in darkness saying "look to Me and be saved, for I am God and there is no other." Isaiah 45:22. Now when the fullness of time came the Word of God stood in the temple on the Sabbath and cried out, "Come to me all ye that are weary...and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
Apostasy became the national religion of Israel in the land of promise. Therefore, the prayer of Jabez stands out in sharp contradiction to the petitions made by the children of Israel to the gods of gold, silver, stone and wood. Images reflecting the heart of each maker.
God made Man in His own image. And for that reason "...the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the Earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is loyal to Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9a God is not a genie in a lamp. "His word is our lamp..." Psalm 119:105a Only through faith in the Light of the world will the image of God be restored in Adam.
The prayer of Jabez is about laying hold of our treasure in Heaven - God Himself. "No matter how many promises God has made, they are Yes in Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 2:20 The last chapter of the last book of the Bible leaves us with this promise...Revelation 22:12 "Behold, I am coming soon. My reward is with me."