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Sermon #2331 Miscellaneous Sermons

 

Title:                           Jabez’s Prayer

 

Text:                            1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Subject:                     Jabez’s Prayer

Date:                          Tuesday Evening — May 2, 2017

Readings:     Bobbie Estes and Larry Brown

Introduction:

 

I know a good many of you regularly follow the daily reading schedule I developed for you many years ago. If you do, I am sure, if you are like me, your eyes quickly became weary and you began to get a little sleepy soon after you began your readings yesterday and today. Who can read lists of names and not become bored, even when reading those lists in the Word of God?

 

Reading Records

 

Well, it is possible to do so. I do not suggest that the boredom will be altogether relieved. Flesh is still flesh! But, I promise you, this will help. ⸺ Every time you start to become bored with chronologies and genealogies given in Holy Scripture, every time you come to lists of names, records, and events preserved for us by divine inspiration, read them. Do not skip over them…

 

Š      They all point to our Lord Jesus Christ. The genealogical records, so meticulously preserved by the Jews, clearly and undeniably show the rightful claim of the Man Christ Jesus to the throne of David as the Messiah. He who is the God-man is the Woman’s Seed, Abraham’s Seed, and David’s Son and David’s Lord.

 

Christ is he in whom the purpose of those records was fulfilled. It is as though the Lord Jehovah had said, concerning each historic document of Inspiration,Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it” (Isaiah 65:8)? The Lord Jesus was folded up in the seed of Israel, in whom all the family of God should be blessed.

 

These genealogies, though they may not yield much comfort to our hearts or peace to our minds, are of great importance in tracing out the descent of our blessed Lord Jesus from Adam to his incarnation.

 

Oh, what grace! Oh, what mercy! Oh, what wisdom! ⸺ “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out (Romans 11:33).

 

Š      As you read those records that seem so boring, always look for some display of God’s great mercy, love, and grace in them. Every word of God is pure, and all Scripture, given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.

 

A few years ago, as I was reading the first few chapters of 1st Chronicles, as I did yesterday and today, just as I was about to give up and just skim over them, my eyes fell on the prayer of Jabez in 1st Chronicles 4:9-10.

 

I was astonished! It was to me like an oasis in the desert, a spring of clear water in a dry and thirsty land. I have wanted to preach from this passage for a long, long time, but the Spirit of God just wouldn’t let me. I’m going to try to do so tonight. The Lord has great blessed these verses of Holy Scripture to my own; and I pray that he will bless the message to your souls this hour.

 

The title of my message is Jabez’s Prayer. My text is 1 Chronicles 4:9-10.

 

(1 Chronicles 4:9-10) “And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. (10) And 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.”

 

Who was Jabez? Who were his brethren? We are not told who this man was, where he was born, who his parents were, where he lived, or anything else, except that which is written in these two verses of Holy Scripture.

 

(1 Chronicles 4:9-10) “And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. (10) And 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.”

 

More Honorable

 

The opening line of verse 9 reads, “Jabez was more honorable than his brethren.” ⸺ When I read that statement, I am immediately reminded of another man, the Man Christ Jesus. Our blessed Savior, like Jabez, was more honorable than his brethren. He was and is “greatest in the kingdom of God,” who became least when he was made sin for us. This he did for the enlargement of his coast that the heathen by his Father’s decree might be given to him for an inheritance and the utmost part of the earth for his possession.

Š      And, truly, our coast is enlarged if Christ has made us free!

Š      And we are assured by God’s own word that he will keep us from all evil, keep us from the evil one, and keep us forever in the arms of his omnipotent mercy, love, and grace in Christ!

 

Why was Jabez more honorable than his brethren? Jabez was more honorable because made him more honorable (Isaiah 43:4).

  • He was loved and chosen of God.
  • He was redeemed by Christ’s precious blood.
  • He was made righteous by God.
  • He worshipped the God of Israel.

 

Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee! ⸺ That is God’s word concerning all his elect.

  • Do you know, as brethren beloved of God, your election?
  • Is your name written in life’s fair book, and that since before the worlds were framed?
  • Do you have a good hope through grace that when the roll-call of God’s worthies takes place, when the world is on fire, your name shall be found among them?
  • Does the all seeing eye of God look upon you in the midst of the seed royal of heaven in unchanging, uninterrupted oneness with Christ?

If so, the God of Israel, our Savior, is at this very moment with you, with you in the midst of all the temptations, tribulations, and trials, which perplex in this world of woe. What glorious distinction! ⸺ “More honorable than his brethren!

 

O how precious to have a knowledge and realization of our grace union to Jesus Christ, the Captain of Our salvation, the Leader and Commander of the redeemed host, the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

 

Jabez’s Grief

 

Jabez means grief, sorrow, pain. ⸺ “And his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.” Jabez! A name corresponding with the circumstances of his birth and with her own spiritual experience.

 

This reminds me of what we read concerning Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. Hannah, in bitterness of soul and sorrow of heart, breathed out her desires into the ears of her God. And when the Lord God hears his own Spirit inspired prayers, he is sure to answer them. When prayer is Spirit inspired and God breathed the thing sought is sure. This is sweet encouragement to those who pray not by the clock, but who, as it were, pray without ceasing

  • In the public assembly of the saints.
  • In the quietness of their closets.
  • In the solitude of their own souls though surrounded multitudes.

 

His mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bare him with sorrow.” That is the way life is in this world since the fall. The Lord God said to Eve, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.”

 

But I see something more than nature here! The church of God, the bride, the Lamb’s wife, brings forth her children, a seed the Lord has blessed, in sorrow. All who are born of God are born again in sorrow.

  • The church of God in this world is in a state of sorrow and grief because of the tribulations we experience in this world.
  • The newborn soul is born in sorrow. The very first experience of the life of grace is sorrow (John 16:7-11; Zechariah 12:10).
  • So long as God’s Jabez lives in this world, he lives in sorrow and grief (Romans 7:14-24).

 

Sorrow will be the lot of God’s children as long as we live in this world. But, soon, our sorrow will be turned into joy (John 16:20-22).

 

(John 16:20-22) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. (21) A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. (22) And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”

 

I like that word, “again.”

  • Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel.”
  • Thou shall again be adorned with thy tabrets!
  • Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shall quicken be again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.”
  • I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.”

 

Ye now, therefore, have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.” Is that not delightful? No one can rob you of your joy! What is your joy? The joy of the Lord is your strength. Jehovah himself is the joy of his people.

 

Jabez’s God

 

Look at the text again, and take notice of the fact that the God Jabez worshipped is “the God of Israel.” ⸺ Not on one of the gods of the heathen, or on a god of his own manufacturing. ⸺ Not on a god of his vain imagination, or choice, but he called on the God of Israel, the covenant God of an elect people, a covenant people, a specifically redeemed and called people. ⸺ “Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things” (Psalm 72:18).

 

Look at the wondrous things he did in Egypt in the preservation of his people there, and delivering them there from, in sending their enemies down into the depths of the Rea Sea, like lead in the mighty waters, in marching and counter marching them through the wilderness, and bringing them by the strength of his own right hand into possession of the land which he had promised to their fathers for them. All these are so many types and pictures of his dealings with his spiritual Israel throughout all time.

 

(Luke 1:68) “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people.”

 

Those who are Israelites indeed, are a people in whom is no guile (Psalm 32:2; John 1:47; Revelation 14:5). No guile? I find that my nature is nothing else but guile! I am not talking about your nature by birth, but about your nature by the new birth nature, that which God has implanted in you by grace, that which is born of God.

 

I call your attention to this because it is included in the description of Jabez given by God the Holy Ghost in our text. The words “called on” carry the idea not only of prayer, but also of confession, praise, and adoration. And the words “no guile” suggest more than honesty. They suggest honesty that holds nothing back. That is the essence of worshipping the God of Israel and the essence of God’s Israel as we worship him. We hold nothing back…

  • In the Confession of Our Sin to God.
  • In the Confession of Our Faith to the World.
  • In the Publication of God’s Name.
  • In the Preaching of the Gospel.

 

All God’s servants, all faithful gospel preachers are like Micaiah who said, apparently to his disadvantage, “As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak” (1 Kings 22:14).

 

Jabez’s God was “the God of Israel,” the God of

  • A People with Whom the Angel of the Covenant Wrestles.
  • A People who Confess Themselves Sinners.
  • A People who Know Their Weakness, Halting on Their Thigh.
  • A People who Prevail with God.

 

Jabez’s Prayer

 

Jabez was a praying man. ⸺ Not the man with a bucket full of pretty words. ⸺ Not a man who kept a diary of the hours he spent in prayer for others to read. ⸺ Not a man who read out the prayers others had written for him. ⸺ No! ⸺ Jabez was a man who worshipped God, praying for God’s blessing.

 

(1 Chronicles 4:9-10) “And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. (10) And 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.”

 

As he breathed this short but comprehensive prayer into the ears of his covenant God, “the God of Israel,” Jabez made four great requests.

  1. Oh, that thou wouldest bless me indeed.”
  2. And enlarge my coast.”
  3. And that thine hand might be with me.”
  4. And that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!

And God granted him that which he requested.” These four request embrace all that we need for time and eternity.

 

1.    Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed.” To be blessed is to be in Christ. To be blessed indeed is to be assured of our acceptance with God in all the glorious perfection of the Son of his love.

 

To be blessed of God is to possess all the bounty of God’s salvation in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-14).

 

(Ephesians 1:3-14) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (8) Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (9) Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (10) That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

 

To be blessed indeed is to have the sweet assurance that God alone can give, the assurance of faith, sealing the blessing of God’s salvation in me, giving me God’s own testimony that I am his (2 Timothy 1:9-10).

 

(2 Timothy 1:9-10) “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

 

“Though God’s election is the truth,

Small comfort there I see;

Till I am told by God’s own mouth

That He has chosen me.”

 

Yea,” was written upon every blessing, and inscribed upon every promise he treasured up in his covenant for me. But the purpose alone cannot not satisfy me. I want the performance of the purpose in my heart’s experience. That is God’s own, “Amen” in my soul.

 

Oh, that Thou wouldest bless me indeed.” ⸺ Make that your prayer, your heart’s desire every time you come to the house of God to hear his Word. God might just do it, even if you hear his Word from such a man as me!

  • Bless me with an abiding sense of your love.
  • Bless me with a sweet enjoyment of your mercy.
  • Bless me with the assurance that I am yours and you are mine!

 

2.    And enlarge my coast.” ⸺ This expression no doubt, had reference to the location of the tribes in the Promised Land. The Canaanites were not all driven out, but some permitted to remain, lest the land should be desolate and the beasts of the field multiply against Israel. By little and little God would drive them out, enlarge the coasts of the children of Israel, and increase them, (Exodus 23:29-30).

 

Wild beasts and enemies of every description rage in our souls. ⸺ Satan raises Moses up and roars against us. ⸺ Unbelief fills the Land! ⸺ Well might we cry with Jabez, “Enlarge my coast,” the coast of…

  • My Knowledge of You and Your Grace!
  • My Enjoyment of Your Salvation!
  • My Communion with My Savior!
  • My Love for and Delight in Your People!
  • My Anticipation of Heavenly Glory!
  • My Delight in Your Will!

 

“Sweet in the confidence of faith

To trust God’s firm decrees;

Sweet to lie passive in His hands,

And know no will but His.”

 

3.    And that thine hand might be with me.” ⸺ God’s hand is his power. ⸺ “Thou openest Thine hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” His hand speaks of our Savior’s unwearied care for and preservation of, his people ⸺ “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all: and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Our God holds the wind in his fists, and the waters in the hallow of his hand, the very spot where he keeps his redeemed! Sometimes I am chin-deep in water and, with the boisterous winds, ready to perish; but perish that cannot be! I am in his hands. And my relentless prayer is, “Oh, that thine hand be with me!” His hand speaks of…

  • His Power!
  • His Purpose!
  • His Providence!
  • His Protection!
  • His Presence!

 

The blessing of his hand often come like Jacob’s blessing upon Ephraim and Manasseh. But his blessing is always a blessing and always comes in the best way!

 

Precious hand of blessing and bounty! He puts forth his hand, and we are saved! He opens his hand, and we are fed! He stretches forth his hand, we are healed! He lays his hand upon us, and we are blessed!

 

4.    And that THOU wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me.” ⸺ From the evil one, the devil, and his assaults and temptations! From the evil world with its sins and follies! From the power of an evil heart of unbelief! From evil influences which continually surround me! From evil associates who vex and wound your life and Spirit within me!

 

Jabez here alluded to the name his godly mother gave him, and to the nature implanted within him by the God of Israel. Sorrow was in his name, and grief over sin, failure and infirmity was his daily experience. Such is the lot of every true child of God. Suffering is a grief to us naturally, and sin is a grief to us spiritually. So we pray, “Keep me from evil that it may not grieve me.” And that is praying in complete harmony with our Savior (John 17:15).

 

(John 17:15) “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”

 

Last Line

 

Now, look at the last line of our text. ⸺ “And God granted him that which he requested.” Our God is always faithful to his promise and mindful of his covenant. Every desire, hope, expectation, and plea arising from his own life within must be answered in the case of every sorrowing Jabez, of every tried and tempted, sorrowing and sighing child of the living God. So it has been, and so it shall be. Hear me, child of God. Hear me, my brother. Hear me, my sister. ⸺ Our God hears and will soon answer our hearts’ cries unto him.

  • He has blessed us!
  • He will bless us indeed! ⸺ “Salvation ready to be revealed!
  • He will enlarge our coast!
  • His hand will be with us!
  • He will keep us from evil!
  • He will not allow evil to vex us! ⸺ “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly!

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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