Summary: This is the third installment in a ongoing series based on the Prayer of Jabez
ASK FOR THE BIGGEST
INTRODUCTION: There is a story told of a wonderful, elderly, Christian lady who had very little money and lived in a rundown house, but despite her situation she was always giving praise to the Lord. Her only problem was with the old man who lived next door. He was constantly trying to prove to her that there was no God. One day, as the old man was walking by this lady’s house, he noticed her through an open window. She was kneeling in prayer. So he crept over to the window to see if he could hear. She was praying, " Lord, you’ve always given me what I’ve needed. And now you know that I don’t have any money, I’m completely out of groceries, and I won’t get another check for a week. O Lord somehow will You please get me some groceries." The man had heard all he needed. He crept away from the window, ran down to the grocery store and bought a basket full of groceries. He then raced back to the woman’s house, set the bags down on by her door, rang the doorbell, and hid behind the shrubs. You can imagine how the woman reacted to seeing all those groceries. She threw her hands over head and cried out, "Thank you Jesus! You answered my prayer! I was out of food and now you have overflowed my shelves." About that time the old man jumped out and said, "I’ve got you now. I told you there was no God. It wasn’t Jesus who gave you these groceries it was me." The woman lifted up her arms again and shouted "Oh thank you Jesus! You sent me all this food and made the devil pay for it." Great story, whether it is true or not, I have no idea, but I do know that it teaches us something great about prayer. In the prayer of Jabez, we come to the second request that he made. He said, "O, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory." As if it wasn’t enough for Jabez to ask for God to fill him up with blessings, "bless me a lot!" he now asks for more property.
I. ASKING AMISS?
A. At first glance, the second plea of this prayer may seem selfish, even materialistic. The NAS renders it as "enlarge my border," and it literally means, "Give me more land," but Jabez was not wrong in his asking.
1. Land was an important commodity during his time, and it was often considered a blessing from God and a sign of His approval. More land gave the owner more influence and a stronger voice in his community, no different than today in many respects. But it also provided more opportunities to do good for your fellow man.
2. With more land one could grow more crops, employ more workers, give more to the needy, as the law required, and provide for an extended family and for straangers that came your way, as was required by the law. I have no doubts that this was what Jabez had in mind when he asked God to expand his borders.
3. Remember, Jabez was an honorable man, more honorable, even, than his brothers. He was not greedy, selfish or materialistic. He was not seeking to fill up his pocketbook or his storehouses as some did. He was in fact pleading with the Creator of all things to multiply him, to increase his influence and to expand his ability to do good and provide.