Summary: As I explored our two line story today – which is a short message with a big idea - I paid attention to the meaning of Jabez’s name which to me became important to get a little background on this man’s life. So let’s look for a moment at the meaning of his name.
Series: Unsung Heroes
1 Chronicles 4:9-10: 9Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
Back about 14 years ago when our clocks struck the new millennium a book was introduced to the church by Bruce Wilkinson called “The Prayer of Jabez” prior to this time Jabez was an unsung hero found tucked away in the Old Tetstament book of 1 Chronicles and it’s genealogies. No one knew of this man Jabez or of his prayer. Most Bible readers skimmed over his name, his heritage and his prayer as they were reading about the ups and downs of the nation of Israel’s history and genealogy. But tucked there seemingly invisible in a genealogy list of Israel was a summary of this man’s life and how God saw him. In the middle of all the names a named jumps off the page and the author shares more than just a name but a legacy.
The book “The Prayer of Jabez” and the many study materials which accompanied it impacted our world for a short time. The emergence of this man’s life from the Bible and his prayer resonated with the church and some outside the church. People were buying up the little book in masses, they were studying each word of his prayer in detail. They started Bible Studies using the book. Movements were started, curriculum developed, websites launched and it buzzed through the church world and to a degree the secular world for a while. But it was about a 5 year phenomena.
As I look back now 14 plus years later I know the book was unveiled for such a time as that – A new millennium was emerging – and for many it became a retrospective time of evaluating our lives, our culture, our technology and our destiny’s and life for the new millennium.
If you recall back – Y2K came along with the changing clock of the new millennium. The Y2K scare was a buzz everywhere and if you believed the worst reports everything was going to shut down in our society at the stroke of midnight. The doomsday prophets cried that life was going come to a screeching halt, power plants were going to shut off, water was going to stop flowing through our facets, computers were going to crash, planes could crash, and a host of other things. Some people were telling people to prepare for a major disaster, they were to up store food, stock up on water, buy generators, buy gold and hoard food. Some people feel prey to the fear, the turmoil and listened to the dooms day messages and yet we emerged into the new millennium with only minor glitches. I think the worst thing I heard was a electric train shut down somewhere in the world due to the glitch.
In the midst of the unknown and maybe a fear of the future this little book emerges onto the scene and picks up momentum encouraging people, giving people hope, and reminding them that God is here for us if we call on Him. It highlighted an unsung hero in the life and history of Israel.