Summary: "The Life God Blesses" is an exposition of the prayer of Jabez recorded in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. It celebrates the fact that God is still in the blessing business. The outline of the message argues that the life God typically blesses is marked by (1) purit
THE LIFE GOD BLESSES
In the year 2000, BRUCE WILKINSON of WALK THROUGH THE BIBLE MINISTRIES turned the obscure character in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 into an international phenomenon with his little book, The Prayer of Jabez. Not only did it become a runaway hit and a longtime New York Times bestseller; it became a franchise. During it’s heyday, you could go to a bookstore and buy the Jabez book, and The Prayer of Jabez for Women, The Prayer of Jabez for Teens, The Prayer of Jabez for Kids, The Prayer of Jabez Devotional, The Prayer of Jabez Journal, and The Prayer of Jabez Leather Edition, not to mention Jabez music, T-shirts, hats, posters, coffee mugs, calendars – and even a Jabez mouse-pad for your computer. Without a doubt, this obscure Bible personality is now a bona fide star. But even though Bruce Wilkinson has done much to affirm the divine blessings that come to righteous people who practice believing prayer; there have been some unfortunate side effects to Wilkinson’s remedy for pain. One of the issues is the fact that The Prayer of Jabez has put the spotlight on the wrong person the text. I submit to you that this text is about God, not Jabez. It’s not about the prayer of Jabez; it’s about the sovereign, holy, wise, faithful, and gracious God who answered Jabez’ prayer. And the message about God that this text proclaims is good news for every believer, not just Jabez: The Lord God is still in the blessing business!
Before we discuss divine blessings any further, let me put a couple of footnotes here. First, let me affirm that God is sovereign, which means he has absolute control, complete authority, and full discretion over everything. R.C. SPROUL has said that the sovereignty of God is God’s favorite doctrine. And it would be yours too, if you were God! God is God all by himself. Consequently, we must remember that the blessings of God are the blessings of God. That means that the prayer of Jabez must not and cannot be used as some magical mantra that guarantees that God will grant whatever you ask, desire, or pursue. God is God and we are not. So we must pray, trust, obey, wait, and thank God no matter what. Likewise, the blessings of God are directly and intimately connected to your personal relationship with God. You cannot know the blessings Jabez received if God is not your father through saving-faith in the bloody cross and empty tomb of the Lord Jesus. However, if Jesus is your Savior and Lord, you are already blessed. Ephesians 1:3 says that God has “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” But even though you occupy a blessed position in Christ, you can fail to appropriate the blessings of God in your daily life. So I want to show you how to walk in the blessings of God by retelling you the story of 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. This biblical snapshot of Jabez reveals three marks of the life our sovereign and gracious God normally chooses to bless.
I. GOD BLESSES THE LIFE THAT IS MARKED BY PURITY.
Notice the first thing 1 Chronicles 4:9 tells us about Jabez: “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.” The text does not tell us in what sense Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. But the meaning of the word and the context of the passage indicate that the honor of Jabez was spiritual, not physical, material, financial, political, or social. Jabez was a godly man of strong moral character, convictions, and conduct. His motives were pure. His character was blameless. And his ways were upright. Jabez was honorable. And the honorable lifestyle of Jabez was a key reason why God blessed him. God blesses those whose lives are marked by purity. Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planed by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” I repeat: God bless the life that is marked by purity.
In his book Finishing Strong, STEVE FARRAR tells of a famous author who was attending a lavish dinner party held in his honor. He was seated next to a very sophisticated and stylish young woman. She was stunningly beautiful and elegant. At one point during the meal, he leaned over and discreetly whispered in her ear, “Would you be willing to sleep with me tonight for $25,000?” The woman smiled coyly and silently nodded a yes. He leaned in once again and whispered to her, “How about $50?” The woman was horrified. She lost her composure and yelled at the author, “Just what do you think I am?” The author replied, “We’ve already established what you are. We are simply discussing the price?”