Summary: To walk in the blessings of God suggests we must pray to also walk in the protection of God.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, "Because I bore him in pain." 10 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.
A full-page magazine ad depicts a Roman gladiator in big trouble. Somehow, he has dropped his sword. The enraged lion, seeing its opportunity, is in mid-lunge, jaws wide. The crowd in the Coliseum is on its feet, watching in horror as the panic-stricken gladiator tries to flee. The caption reads: Sometimes you can afford to come in second. Sometimes you can’t.
When it comes to your relationship with God … can you afford to come in second?
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Having received the blessings of God … Jabez understood he now needed to live safe.
Though he had received honor, blessings, and influence he knew better than to jump into the ring with a lion … and so he prayed, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!
Evil: bad, adversity, affliction, calamity
Jabez wasn’t asking to abuse or misuse his relationship with God when he prayed for to be kept from evil.
That would be like asking God to let nothing bad happen to you and then you jump off the roof of a building hoping to land softly. If you do that … God might ask, "Why did you go and do that?"
Note: Using an umbrella to jump off a roof top doesn’t work and does nothing to impede the pull of gravity … I know … I did that as kid!
Along with the blessings from God we need to pray for His protective hand to be upon us to keep us from evil. Why?
· When we pray in boldness, such as Jabez did … we threaten Satan … we step on His turf and that ticks him off. And he is going to do all he can do to get us to come in second!
· Blessings tend to make us presumptuous to think we don’t need to depend on God so much now that things are going good.
1. Safe Living At a Safe Distance
The blessings of God are not intended to make us think we are invincible. We are to be seeking God in the blessing.
So when it comes to praying for divine protection the answer may come in the simple command of "don’t do that" … or "don’t go there."
"By far our most important strategy for defeating the roaring lion is to stay out of the arena." - Bruce Wilkinson
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from every form of evil.
Abstain: to hold oneself off, refrain, keep at a distant
We need learn that God has given us the ability to say "no" to sin and to distance ourselves from the things that can cause us harm.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."
God is wanting us to learn more than just how to handle temptation … but to stay away from temptation.
Matthew 6:13a ’And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Bruce Wilkinson says, "We make a huge spiritual leap forward … when we begin to focus less on beating temptation and more avoiding it."
Safe living is living at a safe distance.
2. Safe Living In a Safe Décor
What decorates your mind, heart and life? If our mind’s attention and heart’s affection is not on the Lord Himself … we are living dangerously.
The outfit for living life is strategically designed by God.
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
Therefore to pray to be kept from evil is to wear what God has given us to wear into battle.
· Dress yourself for safe living
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
· Truth … belt
· Righteousness … breastplate
· Peace (gospel) … shoes
· Faith … shield
· Salvation … helmet
Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
God gives us the armor … but it is up to you and I to put it on for protection against the evils of the day.