Summary: Evil wants to get us. If we have a shaky start or messy middle, God wants us to finish strong.
“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.” (NKJ)
As we complete our sermon series on the prayer of Jabez we have to focus on these last words, You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain! Because the name Jabez means pain and that this man of God was branded with a name that would haunt him for the rest of his life Jabez decided he needed God’s power to keep him from failing.
You can see as we moved from bless me indeed, enlarge my territory or my influence for you this prayer progresses. Jabber moved in faith and he needed God’s power and favor of God’s hand on his life. But now as he walked in faith and stood for God the enemy comes after him. Ladies and gentlemen that is the normal Christian life.
To not get this is to miss the fact that we are in Spiritual Warfare. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6 to put on the armor of God so that we can stand against the schemes of the devil. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8, to “Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Because our adversary is real we have to comprehend what Jabez is asking for. He’s asking for the same thing Jesus prayed in the Model prayer. Jesus said, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one :” (KJV) Jesus is teaching us to pray that God will keep temptation away. Jabez is saying keep temptation the things that will cause me to fail help me to avoid them.
As God begins to bless our lives and the enemy strengthens his attack that’s when our struggles come. So I want to speak to the areas of our temptations and the how to avoid those pitfalls.
We fight against the world, the flesh and the devil everyday. Attacks come and we must be prepared. We need His power and we need to be real about ourselves. Why do I say tit that way? Look again at Jabez’s focus, You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!
God YOU have to keep me from this and God my plea is I don’t want to hurt my family!!!
I. The First Two Battles (Keep me)
The Bible tells us we battle against the world and the flesh. Here in our text is the word keep. It is a verb which means protect. It is much like Jesus saying “lead us not into temptation.” Jabez is asking don’t even let me go there. Keep me hedged under your umbrella of protection—and don’t even allow me to think like that.
The Bible tells us that people don’t grow in their faith like they should because the “cares of the world” have hindered their faith from taking root and maturing into fruit. We are also told to “Crucify the flesh and its lust.” So what are the areas of temptation that the enemy knows will trip up a man?