Summary: This message shows how Jabez wasn't afraid to call upon God to help him rise above his circumstances.
What’s in a name? All names have meanings some positive and some negative. For example consider the name Scott, it means wanderer or painted warrior. However, there are names that carry with them quite a negative meaning. Here are the top three names for boys that have negative meanings. Byron: barn for cows. Calvin: one who’s bald. Jacob: one who deceives. The top three names for girls that have negative meanings. Cecilia: one who is blind. Portia: the pig. Claudia: one who is lame. The belief was that your name would also determine your character. A lot of people subconsciously predict career success based on a name, according to James Bruning, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Ohio University in Athens. In his study, participants forecasted that girls with feminine names like Emma and Winifred would be more successful if they pursued traditionally female occupations like nurse and hairstylist, while boys with names like Boris and Bruno were expected to succeed in traditionally male careers, such as plumber and truck driver. Our culture does not give careful consideration to the meanings of names but the ancient Hebrew culture viewed it as being extremely significant. In fact, your name would often determine how you were viewed by the culture. As we turn to our text, we meet a man by the name of Jabez whose name undoubtedly caused others to look down on him. Perhaps, the stigma of his name proved to be quite the hindrance. It’s quite possible that his name even proved to be a disability. All we know about Jabez is found in these brief two verses in 1 Chronicles. Though the information about him is sketchy, his name speaks volumes. Although we don’t find his name listed among those giants of the faith in Hebrews 11, he is a man of great faith. Jabez provides us with an excellent example of faith and determination. Today, we want to look at the power lessons we can learn from this virtually unknown character from the Old Testament.
I. Getting better acquainted with Jabez.
A. The significance of the name Jabez.
1. Jabez is not mentioned by the author in any of the genealogies of the residents of the town that bears the same name.
2. Theologically these two brief verses are very significant and we can learn some important insights from them.
3. The passage also hints at the fact the Jabez is of the tribe of Judah.
4. The name Jabez can mean either sorrow or pain.
5. Jabez’s mother named him this because of the great pain she endured during his birth.
B. A reputation that did not match the name.
1. Jabez is a very upstanding as an individual since he is viewed as being more honorable than any of his relatives.
2. A Jewish reader would have found it quite ironic that person named “pain or sorrow” would be the most honorable in the family.
3. This description is usually attached to a person who is upright before God as well as others.
4. The rest of this passage will reveal a man who walked by faith and had the determination to rise above his circumstances.
C. Jabez had great faith in God.
1. The writer does not label Jabez as a man with great faith but it is obvious by the way he approaches God in prayer.
2. Undoubtedly the writer is holding Jabez up as an example to be imitated by his readers.
3. We all have heard actions speak louder than words and it is obvious that Jabez’s great faith is revealed in his actions.
4. His faith is revealed in the fact that he called on the God of Israel to hear his prayer believing that He would answer it.
5. We probably should pause for a moment of application. Let’s ask ourselves three very probing questions.
a. What do you think others say about our faith?
b. Is our faith obvious in every area of our life?
c. Is our faith more visible in our words or in our actions?
II. Jabez’s very ambitious prayer.
A. The four things Jabez asks from God.
1. Jabez asked God to bless him.
a. Perhaps his desire was to be freed from the stigma attached to his name.
b. He asked God to turn around the circumstances of his life.
c. Jabez wanted more than simply settling for the status quo.
2. Jabez asked God to enlarge his territory.
a. This is more than just simply asking God for more land.
b. This would also refer to asking God to increase his descendants.
c. This might also refer to asking God to increase his opportunities to serve Him.
3. Jabez asked that God’s hand would continue to be upon him.
a. This would first of all refer to God providing guidance for him.