The Prayer of Jabez, Modern Day Gospel Challenge (2) – My Daily Bread!
Our reflection today is found in 1 Chronicles 4: 9-10 and it reads: “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez saying ‘Because I bore him in pain’. 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.”
Yesterday we completed Part 1 of a two-part series relating to the Prayer of Jabez. In that discussion we focused on his actual prayer and the beauty of his bold request before the Lord to (1) bless him, (2) enlarge his territory, (3) be with him, (4) Keep him from harm/evil and finally (5) that he not be the cause of other’s pain. The Lord granted his prayer! Please refer to yesterday’s post to share in that discussion.
Today we are going to discuss if this passage supports a prosperity doctrine, a ‘name it claim it’ theology; namely the belief that God wants us to possess all we desire in this life, that all we need to do is ask for it.
Modern Day Significance
Yesterday we learned that God’s blessing to Jabez (an increased portion of the territory or the land) and the benefits (increased productivity or yield from the land and ultimately increased wealth) that accrued to him were directly related to God’s promise (land) based on the original covenant with Abraham. He did not ask for land in a different country, he did not ask for the equivalent value of his land in cattle. He asked for the Lord to give him more of what he was already promised. Hold on to this thought, it will shed light on how we evaluate the significance of this prayer in our lives today.
If we fast forward to today Saints, we must consider what are the blessings that the Lord has promised us? For us it is salvation through the blood of Christ which results in eternal life in the presence of God. For we are told in Titus 3: 4-7: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
The question for us today is what would ‘enlarging our territory’ look like in light of our promise of salvation? Since our Salvation in Christ is our blessing, can it be increased to something more? Can God give us something more precious or valuable than our salvation? I would say not. By even thinking it, we nullify Christ’s sacrifice on the cross! Saints, our promise of salvation is complete; there is nothing to be increased. Well what about our benefits that accrue to us as a result of our salvation? Can they be increased?
Our benefits include reconciliation and fellowship with the most High God, forgiveness of sin, adoption as heirs into the Kingdom of God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, eternity with God and the opportunity to glorify Him through the earthly life that we live and the sharing of His gospel message. Can we get more reconciliation? Can we get more Holy Spirit? Can we get more eternity? Can we be more adopted? The answer of course is no to all of these questions.
However, can we seek to enlarge our opportunities to impact as many lives for God and His kingdom by the way we live and love and share His gospel truths? Now the answer to this question is yes! So when you pray for increase, ask Him to increase your opportunities to witness His gospel to a lost generation. Ask Him to increase your ability to recognize when He has placed an opportunity to witness for Him in front of you. Ask Him to increase your boldness in your witness. And we would all do well to remind ourselves that we are the Fathers workers in the field of life; the world already is our territory! Unlike Jabez who enjoyed a physical harvest; we today are called to share in the spiritual harvest of the world!
Now Jesus did suggest one thing we may wish to approach the Lord for more of: He said “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38) Let us commit to keep this prayer before our Great God daily!
Incidentally, in addition to blessing us with salvation in Christ; like Jabez God has also promised to ‘never leave you, nor forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5); and to ‘strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3: 3) Try and you may, but nowhere in the Word will you find God promising us material wealth in this life. But in His infinite mercy, so we would not get distracted with this world, He has promised to “meet all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
Paul said “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15) The emphasis is on God’s will, not our will. Our lives are about what He wants for us. So when you pray, pray that He “equips you with everything good for doing His will, and that He work in us what is pleasing to Him.” (Hebrews 13: 20-21)
So does this passage hint at a prosperity doctrine? Not really. Saints, the prayer of Jabez is symbolic of the blessing of our salvation! It is a message of hope to a lost generation. It is a reminder of God’s loving provisions for those He has redeemed. And most importantly it is a gospel challenge that calls us to live impactful lives for God’s glory that someone might come to know the manifold grace of the Lord and be saved!
Copyright© 2011 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved.