Summary: This sermon looks at the faith of Jabez when he prayed. There are five points: 1. Jabez had a life of FAITH 2. Jabez prayed for God to BLESS him 3. Jabez prayed to have MORE than he had 4. Jabez prayed to have God’s PRESENCE in his life 5. Jabez prayed for God’s PROTECTION
The Faith of Jabez
Did you know that God never meant for us to live an average life. He has designed us for excellence. He has created us for success. He wants us to live above the norm. Each one of us is uniquely created by Him and for Him. Instead of being one in a million, you’re actually one in about seven billion! There’s nobody else like you – you are unique.
Everybody likes to be recognized. In fact it’s important to our own emotion health to have some recognition. That’s why children will shout out, “Watch me – watch me!” Everyone wants to be recognized – we want to stand out from the crowd. Perhaps that’s why so many people today are getting tattoos and body piercings – it’s a way to express our individuality and uniqueness. We have a need to be different – to be excellent – to stand out from everybody else.
In First Chronicles 4:9-10 we find a man who stands out from the crowd. His name is Jabez. The first nine chapters of First Chronicles consists of genealogies. There are over 600 names listed there. Right in the middle of all these names God singles out one man for special recognition – and that is Jabez.
There are only two verses in the entire Bible that mentions his name. Yet those two verses tell us a lot about Jabez. Let’s go ahead and read those two verses now:
“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, "Because I bore him with pain." Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!" And God granted him what he requested.” 1 Ch. 4:9-10 (NASB)
There were five secrets to this man’s life found in these verses – five secrets that can apply to our lives and help us to live above the norm too.
The first secret is:
1. Jabez had a life of FAITH
How can I say that? Because the Bible says:
“Now Jabez called on the God of Israel” (v.10)
In other words – he prayed. But look at what the book of James tells us:
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8 (NASB)
Jabez prayed in faith and because of his simple prayer that we’re still talking about him thousands of years later. He was a simple man of faith. There’s no mention in the Bible of Jabez having any special ability or talent or gift. The Bible doesn’t say that he was wealthy or educated. He was not a great prophet or a great preacher. He was not a wise ruler over some great nation. He was not famous for being so great warrior who could almost single-handedly win battles. He is not remembered for his great wealth. He is remembered – because he prayed to God in faith and God heard him and answered his prayer. But it’s his prayer that sets him above the norm. A simple prayer made him stand out in the Bible. Our prayers could help us stand out too – to live above the norm.
But maybe you’ve hesitated to ask for things in prayer – I know I have. Maybe you’ve felt your request was selfish – I know I have. Maybe you’ve not prayed because you felt that God may not answer – I know I have.
But let me tell you a secret that I have learned about prayer. If you ask God for the things He already wants to give you – it’s not selfish – it’s not self centered – it’s not wrong. You see God already has ambitions for your life. He wants you to be successful. He wants you to have a life above the norm. The Bible says:
'Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.' Jer. 33:3 (NASB)
So why don’t we call on Him? Why don’t we ask Him? That’s what Jabez did – he asked in faith – believing that God would answer his prayer and guess what – God answered him. Let’s look at what Jabez asked for – they are the next secrets to living a life about the norm.