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Commentary On The Prayer Of Jabez.

July 30, 2019

cropped-12301412301.jpg“And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren….” (I Chronicles 4:9).

“Prayer puts Gods work in His hands, and keeps it there.” Charles Spurgeon, (1834-1892). There was an book entitled, “The Prayer Of Jabez” by Bruce Wilkerson published a while back. In this book it was taught or at least implied at if you prayed like the honorable Jabez that you to could and would be blessed as he was by the Lord. Critics sighted that it all sounded so much more like the Prosperity Gospel that they justly dismissed it as questionable theology. It sounded too much like a worldly prayer than a God-honoring prayer to the critics. But let us look at the actual scriptural man of the Bible story.

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel.” Think about that statement a moment. He called upon the God of Israel; not any other self-proclaimed deity of the land. Jabez was acknowledging the sovereignty of the God of Israel. That God was one and the only one that was Holy and Perfect. The Shima says it all from the Torah and to the Jewish heart and soul, “Hear O Israel the Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deuteronomy 6:4). To a Jew prayer is as natural as quoting the Shima with the great awe and understanding of who they were and are praying to. Remember what the Apostle Peter wrote in his own epistle, “Because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16; Leviticus 11;44a). Jabez called, sought, and most important prayed to the only God in heaven who actually wants ton hear from Jabez. Remember again from Scripture, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6). The bottom line from all this is that God is sovereign. But He is always willing and ready to hear and respond to Jabez’s prayer. He wants to hear from us. He wants to hear our prayers. His throne is always open to the prayers of His people. The preacher D. L. Moody, (1837-1899), once stated, “Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking. The way to trouble God is to not come at all.” D. L. Moody got his theology from reading and studying the Bible. He could quote, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).

Continuing with the prayer of Jabez, “…Saying, oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coasts, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me.” (I Chronicles 4:10b). What was Jabez asking of the Lord? What is he stating do fully? He is asking the Lord for help in his work, to be with him in all he did. Remember from Scripture, “For it is God which workest in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13). And he prayed to keep away from evil, from sinning against the Lord. Remember also, “Prayer is submission to God.” E. M. Bounds, (1835-1913). It’s a prayer of acknowledgment that he is and was completely reliant on the Lord for all his blessings. He was praying for a blessing from the Lord, he was kneeling before the Lord God of Israel like Jacob and his wrestling with the Lord for a blessing. There is humbleness in his words of his prayer. There’s a confession of dependence on the Lord for his life and blessings. There is not sense of expectations that the Lord had to do anything for Jabez; He owed Jabez nothing and he knew it. As the preacher E. M. Bounds spoke, “Prayer has in its hands a double blessing, it rewards him who prays, and blesses him who is prayed for.” The Lord praised and thanked for His blessings via Jabez’s prayer.

“And God granted him that which he requested.” (I Chronicles 4:9c). Did God have any obligation to answer his prayers? The sovereignty of God does not require Him to do anything for a sinful mankind let alone one single man called Jabez. He is a God of sovereign grace and mercy and wants to bless His people who obey and have faith in His Word. He wants us to pray to Him, to talk to Him, to acknowledge Him throughout their lives. He wants to be part of our lives on a very personal level. His sovereignty covers His throne in and of holiness and yet He calls all to that throne of grace and mercy. Jabez didn’t call on the Lord of all creation because he thought he was owed a blessing. The prosperity gospel teaches that we are owed a blessing because we call upon the name of the Lord. Jabez prayed for a blessing from a humble heart. He didn’t demand one or expect one because it was owed him. He acknowledged the sovereignty of God and was blessed for it.

The whole point of the prayer of Jabez is to show the absolute sovereignty of God by the act of acknowledging God and God alone as the rewarder of prayer and the faith behind the prayer. Why were the lives of Abraham, Hannah, King David and the reformer King Josiah so blessed as they were? The answer? They acknowledged the complete and absolute sovereignty of God in their lives. The prayer of Jabez was no different in it’s proclamation and standing toward God and that was stating that God was sovereign and owes humanity nothing but what He chooses to give humanity by His own grace and mercy. In closing, “Holy character are formed by the power of real prayer.” E. M. Bounds.

REFERENCES/RECOMMENDATIONS

Bible. (KJV).

Christian Heroes:Then And Now Series. By. Janet And Geoff Benge.

Heroes Of History. By. By. Janet And Geoff Benge.

Delighted By God: Biography Of George Mueller. By. Roger Steer.

D. L. Moody. By His Son.

Complete Works Of E. M. Bounds.

The Prayer Of Jabez. By. Bruce Wilkerson.

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