Be a Jabez
BE A JABEZ
I Chronicles 4:9-10
Bobby Earls, First Baptist Icard,
February 4, 2001
SLIDE 1 – TITLE SLIDE
Please take your Bible this morning and open to the 4th chapter of the book of 1 Chronicles.
I want to share with you today about a man that few people have ever heard about, but that deserves to be known by all. His name is Jabez. We discover all that the Bible has to say about Jabez in the two short verses tucked away in this fourth chapter of the O.T. book known as 1 Chronicles.
SLIDE 2 – SCRIPTURE
Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10, NKJV
1 Chronicles 4:9-10, NKJV
1. I must confess that the first 9 chapters of I Chronicles is not the most exciting portion of the Bible to read. These chapters read like a Hebrew telephone book. There are more than 500 names given to us. Reading through all these names, names that you can't pronounce, can be dull and difficult reading indeed.
2. Yet in verses 9-10, we discover the man named Jabez. He is one of those fellows that stir us to give our best, do our best, and be our best for God.
3. Someone has said that in each of us there are 3 persons: . There is the person you are right now. . There is the person you could be for evil if you allowed Satan to control your life. . There is the person you could be for God if you allowed God to rule your life.
4. Jabez demonstrates for us the person we could be if we let God rule our life. Jabez is the kind of person I want to be. What I see in Jabez I want to see in this Church.
5. Let's look at this fascinating character and this inspiring passage from God's Word. Let me point out 3 things from the passage about this man that begin in the shadows and end in the spotlight.
SLIDE 3 – POINT ONE
1. THE PERSON OF JABEZ!
1. Now there is very little that we know about Jabez. We don't know where he was born, where he lived, or when he died. We don't know if he was from a prominent family or a poor family. About all we know about him is that which his name reveals and what his life shows.
SLIDE 3 – MASK 1
A. HIS NAME THAT IS SO SUGGESTIVE.
1. We read in verse 9, "...and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bore him in pain.”
2. There are several Bible names I would never think of to give to a child. I certainly would not name a girl Jezebel or a boy Judas. Nobody names his or her children Jezebel or Judas.
3. Jabez is another name that I would not give a child. The name "Jabez" means, "to cause grief, to be sorrowful, or simply, pain."
4. How would you like to be named "pain?" I have known some people that deserved the name, but I would not want to bear the name myself.
5. The text says she named him Jabez because she bore him in sorrow. We don't know what sorrow it was that caused her to give him such a name.
6. Many things have been suggested. Since his mother named him, it would suggest that his father was dead. Normally the father named the child.
7. Some have suggested that his brothers had stolen his inheritance and his mother grieved over the impoverished life he would live.
8. Others have suggested that his mother grieved over the barren environment in which he would have to live his life.
9. It is possible that she named him Jabez because she had such a hard time delivering him.
10. Most suggest that Jabez was born with some handicap. Clovis Chappell said, "His name was a handicap if there was nothing else." 3
10. Whatever the reason, it would appear that Jabez was not among the "Who's Who" or an "All-American." There was some handicap and burden that he would carry all his life.
SLIDE 3 – MASK 2
B. HIS NATURE THAT IS SO STIRRING.
1. Whatever his handicap may have been, he did not let it defeat him or hinder him from being all he could be and doing all he could do.
2. Even though we know little about Jabez, what we do know tells us that he was an achiever in spite of his handicap.
3. It is possible that there are some of you that feel you could never be used of God or do much for God because you feel you don't have many talents or abilities. You feel that you don't measure up to others and therefore you think that God could never do anything special with you or that you could do anything special for God.
4. I am glad that Jabez didn’t feel that way. In spite of his handicap, he wanted to be used of God and he was used of God.
5. You don't hear Jabez saying, "I'm not qualified" or "I don't have the ability," or "I could never be anything for God." No, in spite of his handicap he was an achiever.
6. You may not be able to sing like others, you may not be teach like so and so, you may not be able to do many of the things others can do, but you ought to say, "I am going to be all that I can be and do all that I can do. I want to be a Jabez for Jesus."
1. The Person of Jabez!
SLIDE 4 – POINT TWO
2. THE PROMINENCE OF JABEZ!
1. We read in verse 9, "And Jabez was more honourable than his brothers..."
2. His name may have been pain or sorrow but God gave him the name of the Right Honorable Jabez.
3. Now what does the Bible mean when it speaks of Jabez being more honorable than his brethren.
SLIDE 4 – MASK 1
A. THE BLESSED LIFE OF JABEZ.
1. The word "honourable" was used in a negative and a positive way. In the positive, it means "numerous, rich." The ideal is that Jabez had been blessed of God. He wanted to be blessed and he was blessed.
2. Now here is a reason why we should want to be a Jabez for Jesus. We should want to be blessed by God.
3. I hear Christians talk about how all they want is crumbs from the Master's table. May I say that is why we have so many crummy Christians.
4. God wants to open the windows of heaven and pour out His blessings upon us.
5. When the word was used in a positive way it meant, "numerous, rich, prosperous," but when the word was used in a negative way it meant, "to be heavy."
6. Jabez was not only blessed, but he was heavily blessed. He was weighted down with God's blessings. God had loaded him with blessings.
7. It is much like what the Psalmist said in Psalm 68:19, "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation."
SLIDE 4 – MASK 2
B. THE BETTER LIFE OF JABEZ.
1. Notice carefully that it says that he was "more honourable than his brothers." Now in all these names we find, I am sure there were some great men, and some were greater than others. But Jabez was the greatest. I am sure some were better than others, but Jabez was the best of the best.
2. What it is saying is that Jabez was not your average Christian. He was not ordinary; he was extraordinary.
3. The simple truth is most Christians are average Christians. What do I mean when I talk about the average Christian?
4. The average Christian will come to Church one Sunday and lay out the next Sunday. The average Christian never attends a Wednesday night Prayer Meeting, and would never take part in the church’s Outreach Ministries on Monday night.
5. The average Christian will not get stirred up or fired up about the things of God. Now they will get worked up about if the sound system is too loud, the building is too cold, the preacher is too long, and if things don't go to suit them. You can get them worked up but you can't get them stirred up or fired up.
6. The average Christian will drop a ten or a twenty in the offering plate but won’t come close to giving at least a tenth of their income to God. You want to choke an average Christian, talk to them about giving a tenth plus an offering each week. If you really want to knock him for a loop, talk about giving 15 or 20%.
7. You can't get the average Christian to work, pray, give, serve, witness, or sacrifice.
8. May I say that this world is full of average Churches as well. The average Church is content to have 3 services a week and if someone gets saved, good, but if not, don't worry about it.
9. The average Church is satisfied to be what they are, do what they are doing, and stay where they are. They don't want to change, believe God, climb higher, move out, move on, or move up.
10. The average preacher says we can't. The average deacon board says we won't. The average Church member says you better not.
11. I believe God is sick of average Christians and average Churches. He said to the lukewarm (average-neither cold nor hot) Church at Laodicean, "I will spew thee out of my mouth."
12. God wants some Christians that will be a Jabez for Jesus. He wants some Churches that will be a Jabez for Jesus. He is looking for those that will rise above the ordinary and be extraordinary.
13. God wants people who will:. Pray more than the average Christian. Work harder than the average Christian. Give more than the average Christian. Witness more than the average Christian. Sacrifice more than the average Christian. Want more than the average Christian. Just simply be more than the average Christian
14. God is not looking for banana's; one of the bunch. He is looking for those who will be a Jabez for Jesus.
15. God is looking for Churches that will:. Bust out of the mold of business as usual. Dream bigger and greater dreams. Attempt bigger and greater things WILLIAM CAREY “ATTEMPT GREAT THINGS FOR GOD; EXPECT GREAT THINGS FROM GOD.”
16. You want to be average? Not me. I want to be a Jabez for Jesus!
1. The Person of Jabez!
2. The Prominence of Jabez!
SLIDE 5 – POINT THREE
3. THE PRAYER OF JABEZ!
1. Now there is a reason Jabez was more honorable than his brethren. In verse 10 we find the prayer of Jabez. It is one of the greatest prayers in the Bible and one of the most inspiring passages in the Bible.
2. Notice the prayer: "And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”
3. Jabez was throwing off the harness and saying, "Let me go!" Notice his prayer.
SLIDE 5 – MASK 1
A. HE PRAYS FOR GOD TO ENLARGE HIS LIFE.
1. He prays, "Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory." He was saying, "Lord, let me take greater territory for you." Jabez favorite hymn was “Higher Ground”
2. It is like Hudson Taylor used to pray, "Lord, give me wider usefulness." Jabez wanted to have a wider usefulness for God.
3. Like Jabez, we ought to pray for greater opportunities, greater usefulness, and more ministries.
SLIDE 5 – MASK 2
B. HE PRAYS THAT GOD WILL EMPOWER HIM.
1. He prays, "that Your hand might be with me." He was praying for God's power; that His hand be upon him.
2. Like Jabez, may the hand of God be with us.
SLIDE 5 – MASK 3
C. HE PRAYED THAT GOD WOULD ENCOMPASS HIM.
1. Finally we see that he prays, "and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!" He was praying that God would surround him and act as a guard to keep him from evil.
2. I think about how Jesus taught us to pray in Luke 11:4, "And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil."
3. Let me ask you a question. How many of you have ever committed a sin? How many of you have committed the same sin twice... third time...a fourth time?
4. Why is that? We keep committing a certain sin and come running to God praying, "Lord, forgive me." Thank God he does forgive of sin, but we should also pray, "Lord deliver me."
5. Like Jabez, we ought to pray that God will protect us from evil.
6. Now notice the last part of verse 10: "And God granted him that which he requested." He prayed big and got big answers.
7. A.B. Simpson said: "Our God has boundless resources. The only limit is in us. Our asking, our thinking, our praying is too small. Our expectations are too limited."
8. C.S. Lewis said: "Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak...we are far too easily pleased."
9. Not Jabez and neither should we. I want to be a Jabez for Jesus. How about you?
Endnotes1. "Bible Epitaphs"2. "Christ All in All"3. "Men That Count"4. "Chattanooga Free Press"