He (Jabez) was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh that you would bless me and extend my lands! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request. 1 Chronicles 4:10, NLT
Before you impugn this request as being too “me” centered, consider the following. According to Scripture Jabez was a man described as honorable. And as to motive; a deeper look will reveal a very God-centered heart. Jabez clearly reveals that it has always been God’s desire to bless and prosper His children.
Let’s consider an expanded (amplified) version of his prayer. This is a look behind the words “bless me” to their shades of meaning. Jabez’ prayer actually provides a window into the true heart of God. And it reveals that our only true route to being a blessing for God is by embracing all of His blessings toward us. Consider this version as a revelation of some of the multitudinous ways God desires to Bless His Children Daily!
“Lord, bless me indeed. Do something so big in my life that it is obviously from you. Increase my influence and opportunity for you, and give me a sense of your continual presence and direction. Protect me from falling into Satan’s traps. I will always await and receive YOUR answer with great child-like anticipation, joy and gratitude.”
Would you characterize God as one who only richly blesses and prospers you and me at all times? If not, why? Could it be that we need an adjustment to our view into the true character of God? The weight of God’s Word bears this out beyond any doubt. And Jabez was the norm not the exception! God’s thoughts, motives, actions, intentions and will are always to bless, provide for, protect, and prosper all.
Paul expands on these truths in his letter to the Church at Rome.
1 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
2 Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
3 I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.” (Romans 12: 1-3, The Message.)
Could I be so bold as to challenge you to pray this prayer for a week and journal the answers or changes you experience? If for no other reason than to become more sensitized to God’s blessings and thereby become more grateful. I suspect you’ll be glad you did!
Living the Jabez experience!