“9And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. 10And 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.” (I Chronicles 4:9,10)
Oh, what a beautiful story of sorrow turned into joy. Jabez’s mother named him Jabez because she bare him in sorrow. But Jabez did not want sorrow all his life. He wanted blessing – God’s blessing. Though the text does not say so, perhaps he also desired blessing so that his mother might have some joy for her sorrow.
There are six things that stand out to me about this story.
1. Jabez called upon the God of Israel. He acknowledged God for who God was.
2. Jabez asked the Lord to bless him. He knew that all good things come from God.
3. Jabez asked for material blessing. He understood that everything he possessed or would possess was provided by God’s hand.
4. Fourth, He asked for God’s hand to be with Him. Jabez realized that all wisdom, power, and success come from God. Nothing he did or worked for would prosper if he sought to do it in his own strength.
5. Jabez requested God to keep him from evil so that evil would not grieve him.
This brings to mind the story of Lot. Lot wanted good things, and he wanted prosperity. He wanted these things so badly that he considered himself before Abraham, and he was willing to live where evil was rampant in order to get his prosperity. He got what he wanted, but it did not bring him joy and satisfaction. Rather, it brought him grief. Besides the loss of his family, the Bibles says that living in Sodom “vexed his righteous soul from day to day.” (II Peter 2:8) Lot hated the evil deeds he saw day in and day out, but he loved his riches and prosperity too much to leave.
Jabez sought his prosperity by seeking God, and he asked the Lord to keep him from evil that he might not be grieved by it.
6. God granted Jabez that which he requested
Deliverance from evil
Because Jabez sought the Lord and honored Him with his heart, life, and riches, God blessed Jabez and turned his story from one of grief and sorrow to one of blessing and joy.