Summary: Approach God with a confident expectation. God wants to bless you - so let’s ask - and expect a blessing!
Expect a Blessing
“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)
“Bless me indeed.”
Learn a lot about people from the prayers they pray. You can also learn about God by listening to the prayers people have prayed… and how they were answered.
In 1 Chronicles 4 the long litany of rulers and family blood-lines is interrupted and we’re given a brief, yet compelling, observation about a ruler named Jabez. And most of what we know grows from one sentence of biography and a one-sentence prayer. But there are nuggets of gold here, and we’re going to mine them out.
Jabez begins his prayer by praying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed…’
“Bless” – There’s a word that’s lost all its meaning and power these days.
“Bless you” – Excusing some one for sneezing
“Bless you” – Thank you, or have a nice day
“Blessing out” – Giving someone a verbal ‘gift’
But clearly, from the Judeo-Christian heritage a blessing was much more. We’re told to ask for blessings, to give blessings, to be blessings. So what does it mean to be blessed? What is a blessing?
A blessing is an announcement of God’s favor.
“For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.” Psalm 5:12 (NKJV)
A blessing is an appeal to God’s gifts.
“May their land be blessed by the LORD with the choice gift of rain from the heavens, and water from beneath the earth; with the riches that grow in the sun, and the bounty produced each month; with the finest crops of the ancient mountains, and the abundance from the everlasting hills; with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness, and the favor of the one who appeared in the burning bush.” Deuteronomy 33: 13-16, NLT
A blessing is an attaching of God’s name.
“This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace. So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27
A blessing is an avenue of God’s will.
Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’” Genesis 12:1-3
Some blessings come in times of difficulty or distress
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12