Summary: I preached this message before the Prayer of Jabez book hit the market. It is a message challenging people to get out of their comfort zones.
ENLARGE MY COAST
JABEZ – 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
comfort zone on the heat dial.
We as Christians also have our comfort zones. When we are in them we are more likely to relax and be satisfied with the way things are.
Those things might be worship, etc.
When things start to happen that are outside of our "comfort zone"...
The danger of protecting our comfort zone is that we can grow complacent and self-satisfied. When that happens we begin to grieve the heart of God. We are in danger of becoming like the church of Laodecia. (Luke warm – Revelations 3:16 "so, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth…")Jabez prayed a prayer that would lead to the avoidance of just such a calamity. Let’s observe him for a moment.OBSERVE…jabez’ place in historyA. Consider the genealogies.
We find many places in the Scriptures where there are seemingly endless lists of names.
It is sad to think that multitudes are listed and all that is said about them is that they lived, begat sons and daughters, and then died.
However, that is the truth about life isn’t it?Few people leave an indelible mark upon this world, and even fewer have an impact on eternity!
B. What about us?
Ten years after our death, will it have mattered that we lived?
Or will we simply be one name of many in a list on some obscure genealogical record?
It doesn’t have to be that way!C. Jabez’s name stood out from among those in insignificancy.He was not a great prophet or preacher.
He was not a wise ruler over great nations.
He was not famous on the field of battle.
He was remembered because of his prayer!
He was a man that was "more honorable than his brethren".
the prayer of Jabez
A. He prayed for spiritual prosperity.
"Oh, that you would bless me"
He was not satisfied with the status quo…he wanted God’s richest blessing upon his life.He recognized what was most important in life. – God’s blessings.We aren’t talking about money, fame, or possessions here, though they may come – we are talking about seeking God’s best for our lives.B. He prayed for widened horizons.
"Enlarge my territory" (Enlarge my coast (KJV))
He didn’t want to stay in the "comfort zone"!The word ‘enlarge’ means simply to make larger, extend in limits or dimensions, to extend to more purposes or uses.The word ‘coast’ or ‘territory’ here is used to refer to boundaries and borders.His desire was to reach out beyond himself…to expand his sphere of influence.C. He prayed that the hand of God would be with him.
The Hebrew word that is used here is the one for an open hand.
Indicating power, means, and direction.
Jabez prayed that God’s open hand of direction and power would be with Him.What a comfort to know that God is there with His open hand to take ours and lift us up when we are down, and encourage us when we are weak.
D. He prayed for deliverance from sin.
Jabez was aware of the power of evil and the fact that God could deliver him.
Perhaps he had witnessed others who were grieved.
Whatever the reason, Jabez prayed and sought God’s help in this matter as well.E. God answered his prayers (v10b)