The Prayer Of Jabez

THE PRAYER OF JABEZ

I Chronicles 4:1-10

INTRODUCTION

We have two choices in life regarding our testimony. Either we blend in with the crowd or we stand out. The same applies to our families. Some of us are just like the rest of the family. Others of us stand out uniquely for God. Some blend with the wrong crowd and sin. Some stand out for God and shout a testimony.

The selection of our text appears to be a “bad beginning” for a sermon!! Here seems to be a list of dry, uninteresting names. Might as well put several pages of the telephone book in the Bible!! What is the point? We have a God who likes to write names in a book. A God who knows us by name.

We know that we are in a bad way when God forgets our name. This was the difference between “Lazarus” and “the rich man.” Even God forgot his name. In this life, either our sin is blotted out or our name is blotted out. This is a most horrible fact for human beings.

We see in this text God give honorable mention to a man’s name and history. There is something special about his story that God wanted written down for our learning and encouragement.

This man’s name was associated with a bad beginning. It was filled with sorrow and potential pain. But Jabez overcame what might have become his ruin. And God sets him forth as an example of a man who overcame a bad beginning.

THEME: HOW CAN WE OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE?

I. TO OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE WE MUST FACE THE FACTS AND DEAL WITH THEM

     A. Nothing Can Be Gained By Denying A Bad Beginning

NOTE: People have a tendency to deny failure, or a bad beginning (sin)

          1. What caused the “sorrow”?

               a. Unwanted pregnancy?

               b. Abandoned family?

               c. Hard economic times?

          2. What were the effects of this “life script” for Jabez?

                a. Feelings of rejection?

                b. Potential pain and personal sorrow

               c. Chip on his shoulder

               d. Determination to see a change in his life!

NOTE: The aggravation of a bad “life script” drives us to find a way out

NOTE: A grain of sand in an oyster shell creates a costly pearl after years of grinding aggravation

     B. God Is A God Of New Beginnings

NOTE: Jabez was a descendant of Caleb, which gave him a great heritage and the potential for greatness. His home was somewhere near Bethlehem where spiritual giants like Boaz and Ruth lived.

          1. Jabez can mean “sorrow”

               a. There is no question that we live in a vale of tears

               b. But do we have to wallow in them?

NOTE: … forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before …           Philippians 3:13

          2. Jabez can also mean “height”

               a. How we look at our life can be a matter of perspective

               b. In Christ we can gain new heights in living

NOTE: In sorrow we are down; in Christ we are in the heavenlies

T.S. HOW CAN WE OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE?

          I. TO OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE WE MUST FACE THE FACTS AND DEAL WITH THEM

II. TO OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE WE MUST LOOK IN THE BIBLE FOR DIRECTION     Psalm 119:105

NOTE: The Bible is a book about people, about problems, about solutions to those problems

     A. The Scriptures Are Like A Mirror      James 1:22-25

NOTE: Jabez decided to take his problem to his God in prayer

     B. Other Examples Of Bad Beginnings

          1. Benjamin   Genesis 35:16-18

NOTE: His mother called his name, “Ben-oni”, “son of my sorrow,” his father called him “Benjamin,” “son of my right hand”

          2. Jacob         Genesis 25:24-32:32

               a. Born a “supplanter”       Genesis 25:26

NOTE: Jacob had suffered all his life because of his name, “cheat, double-crosser.”  “One who takes you by the heel.” “One who twists your arm!”

               b. Took advantage of his brother’s weakness Genesis 25:30-34

               c. Deceived his father to gain more than his share of the  inheritance            Genesis 27:35,36

              d. Driven from homeland and family     Genesis 27:41-45

              e. Became a fugitive (outlaw, runaway, escapee)      Genesis 28:10-11

NOTE: Jacob had tried all the clever ways known to man to get ahead.  But now he is broken, alone and at the end of himself.

NOTE: “God had to break him, in order that he might bless him”

NOTE: Ye have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy     James 5:11

T.S. HOW CAN WE OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE?

          I. TO OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE WE MUST FACE THE FACTS AND DEAL WITH THEM

        II. TO OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE WE MUST LOOK IN THE BIBLE FOR DIRECTION

III. TO OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE WE MUST ASK GOD TO GIVE US A NEW BEGINNING      vs. 10

NOTE: The God of the Bible is a God of new beginnings and eternal blessings

NOTE: Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed …

               a. Abraham

               b. Jacob

               c. Nineveh (That generation got saved by Jonah’s message but did not win their children)

     A. We Learn From Jabez To Ask For Specific Blessings

          1. “Enlarge my coast”

               a. This was not asking for a material blessing alone

               b. “Make me a victorious man, to take something away from the enemy”

NOTE: “MAKE ME A BIGGER MAN!”

          2. …that Thine hand might be with me…

NOTE: “MAKE ME A BOLDER MAN!”

                a. He wanted to hold hands with God! “Thine hand with me.”

               b. He didn’t want anyone in between him and God

               c. He didn’t want anything in between him and God

               d. With our hand in God’s, we can walk about anywhere we need to go

          3. … keep me from evil …

NOTE: “MAKE ME A BETTER MAN!”

NOTE: “KEEP ME FROM HARM.”

NOTE: The enterprise was in all probability the expulsion of the Canaanites from the territory he occupied; and as this was a war which God himself had commanded, His blessing could be the more reasonably asked and expected in preserving them from all the evils to which the undertaking might expose him.

NOTE: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

I John 5:14-15

               a. We live in a terrible, decaying world

               b. Evil men and seducers are waxing worse and worse        II Timothy 3:13

               c. Its a dirty world and so hard to keep clean

     B. We Learn From Jabez That God Will Answer Our Requests

          1. God granted Jabez his request

               a. A town was named after him  I Chronicles 2:55

NOTE: Jewish writers affirm that he was an eminent doctor in the law,

whose reputation drew so many scribes around him that a town was called by his name

                b. … and God granted him that which he requested

CONCLUSION

HOW CAN WE OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE?

I. TO OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE WE MUST FACE THE FACTS AND DEAL WITH THEM

II. TO OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE WE MUST LOOK IN THE BIBLE FOR DIRECTION

III. TO OVERCOME A BAD BEGINNING IN LIFE WE MUST ASK GOD TO GIVE US A NEW BEGINNING

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