Summary: It appears that Jabez came from a dysfunctional family, with a mother who tried to lay a guilt-trip upon her son, and a father who is not even mentioned in Israel's genealogy list. (Powerpoints Available - #367)


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TEXT: 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

ILL. During some of the darkest days of the American Revolution, after the Continental Army had experienced several defeats, a farmer who lived near Gen. George Washington’s camp decided to pay the soldiers a visit.

As he approached the camp he overheard a voice raised in agonizing prayer. On closer inspection he saw Gen. Washington down on his knees in the snow, tears streaming down his cheeks, asking God for assistance & guidance. The farmer crept away & returned home.

Once there he said to his family, "Its going to be all right. We're going to win!" "What makes you think that?" his wife asked. "Well," said the farmer, "I heard Gen. Washington pray out in the woods today - such fervent prayer I have never heard. And God will surely hear & answer that kind of praying."

Such was the prayer of a man we're going to look at this morning. And he’s known for a very short prayer that he prayed.

A. If you were to turn to the first 9 chapters of the book of 1 Chronicles, you would find a list of genealogies containing more than 500 names! These names make up the official family tree of the Hebrew tribes, beginning with Adam & continuing up to Israel’s return from captivity.

Most names are mentioned with no comment, but there is someone mentioned in chapter 4 who stands out above the crowd. His name is Jabez. And he's not particularly remembered for what he did, but for what he prayed.

Listen to 1 Chronicles 4:9 (NKJV). “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’”

Do you understand what it is saying about his name? His mother named him "Jabez" because that name in Hebrew means “sorrow " or "misery" or "pain."

His mother experienced great pain when he was delivered, & she named him "Pain" so that he would never forget the pain he had caused her.

Children are given names for all kinds of reasons. Did you happen to read this story in the Reader’s Digest? (Adapted from Tammy Garrison on Sermon Central)

ILL. Following the 1960s, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district changed from being a "hippie" enclave to a high rent area. Many of the hippies moved down the coast to Santa Cruz. There they got married & had children, though not necessarily in that order. But most of them didn’t give their children common names like Jane, Mary, Bill or Robert.

Instead, Santa Cruz natives soon found their children going to school with other children bearing names such as "Time Warp", "Spring Fever", "Moonbeam", "Earth", & "Precious Promise".

That’s when the kindergarten teachers met "Fruit Stand." Every fall, for the first few days of school, parents were told to pin name tags to their children's clothes, kiss them good-bye & send them off to school on the bus.

So it was for "Fruit Stand". The teachers thought the name on his nametag was rather odd, but they tried to make the best of it.

"Would you like to play with the blocks, Fruit Stand?" they asked. And later, "Fruit Stand, how about a snack?" He accepted hesitantly. But by the end of the day, his name didn’t seem much odder than some of the others.

Well, at dismissal time, the teachers led the children out to the buses. "Fruit Stand, do you know which one is your bus?" He didn’t answer. That wasn’t strange. He hadn’t answered them all day long. Lots of children are shy on the first day of school. It didn’t matter.

The teachers had instructed the parents to write the names of their children’s bus stops on the reverse side of their name tags. So the teacher simply turned over Fruit Stand's tag. There, neatly printed, was the word "Anthony."

(Adapted from Tammy Garrison on Sermon Central)

B. Now it would appear that Jabez came from a dysfunctional family, with a controlling mother who tried to lay guilt-trips upon her children, & a father who is not even mentioned in the more than 500 names in the genealogy list. Jabez is mentioned, but not his father.

So why is Jabez mentioned? It must have been because Jabez overcame the obstacles created by his upbringing. The Bible makes a point of saying that he was an honorable man - more honorable than all the rest of his family.

C. Notice, too, that Jabez' name is buried in the middle of 9 chapters of genealogies. Now most of us would probably be so bored by the time we reached his name that we would just read his name & keep on going.

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