A Man Named Pain
Also Known as, Jabez...
"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." (1Chronicles 4:9-10) [New King James version of the Holy Bible].
For the most part when dealing with this scripture, we concentrate on the "bless me indeed, enlarge my territory" part. We count verse 9, ["Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, "Because I bore him in pain." ] and the latter portion of verse 10, [that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!"] as having lesser importance.
It is of course human nature to want the "bless me" part more than the "fix me" part.There is nothing wrong with that at all. Jabez wanted the "bless me" part too, but he was a little different than most of us because, he wanted the "fix me" part with equal passion. He seemed to put equal emphasis on both parts.
What Kind of Man Was Jabez?
His mother named him Jabez, (translated pain), because she bore him in pain. We generally think that this means she had hard labor or that she had a painful time carrying him. Perhaps this is true, but what if it means something else or more than just that?
Jabez came from the tribe of Judah. The ruling tribe of the twelve tribes of Israel. They were a ferocious people who often were the first sent into battle; the other tribes following. No doubt, Jabez was raised to be a fighting man. Even if he never fought physically, (which I doubt), he was exposed to fighting mentality.
How do I know this? Well, it really is conjecture, but if your name meant pain, don’t you think you have a few mental and emotional battles. Surely your friends would have teased you, your family would say things like, “Well, that’s just how Jabez is…”
Just imagine, every time your name would be called, you would be reminded that you caused your loving mother so much pain that she had to name you “pain”. Do you think that would put a smile on his face?
In trying to get a glimpse of what Jabez was like between birth and honor, my thoughts go to the latter part of what he prayed; "...that Your hand would be with me, and that you would keep me from evil, that I might not cause pain." (NKJ version).
This portion of his prayer makes me wonder what kind of man he was. He acknowledges that he can cause pain and is asking to be kept away from circumstances that would lead him to cause pain. Was he a "Hell-raiser". Was he a "gang-banger"? Maybe he was a ruthless avenger of the helpless? Perhaps he was a bully or an obnoxious person who irritated everyone.
I really don't think he was a pitiful, weak man or someone to feel sorry for. I can just see him, just like some of us; cocky, high-minded, a know-it-all, probably without compassion and always ready to fight about something.
Perhaps he was disobedient and rebellious. I wonder if his mother spent many hours crying because of how he acted. I wonder how long it took him to realize that he needed to change? I wonder if his mother lived to see him change.
Jabez Cried Out for Help
Whatever the case, Jabez was tired of causing pain to others and pain for himself. He recognized that whether he wanted it or not, pain was a part of his legacy. And, as such, he knew that he needed help. If he was going to change...he couldn't do it alone. This is why he cried out to the Lord.
Jabez cried out for a blessing from and Lord and for an increase in territory. Both of these requests require a responsible hand to maintain. Jabez was apparently ready to change his way of living and the reputation of his birth name.
With the blessing of the Lord on the inside and an increase of territory on the outside, Jabez would have an opportunity to show the world that his birth name did not have to be his life’ description. Jabez asked the Lord for help and he received the help he asked for.
The transformation in his life must have been very dramatic and pleasing in the sight of the Lord because of the 886 male names, 25 female names, and 25 names for nations or people groups listed in the book of 1Chronicles, Jabez is the only one that is distinguished to have a personal account of events attached to it. Not only him, but both he and his mother are quoted.
His is an account of great of conversion, notable, worry of mention. Rather like an “emotional rags to riches” account. Not unlike many of our testimonies, our conversions, our lives; Jabez began in pain and ended in honor.
Where has the Lord brought you from and where is He taking you?
What Should Come First? The Blessing or the Preparation?
Would you give someone a car if they didn't know how to drive? What about a fortune? Would you give a fortune to someone who didn't know how to count? Of course not. These would be at the very least ridiculous decisions.
The blessing should not precede the preparation. The preparation strenghtens the receiver to be able to sustain and maintain the blessing. If not properly prepared to hold onto the blessing the receiver will lose the blessing and blame it on God.
We all know those people who have pled with God or with some other person for a blessing. The asker makes promises like these:
- "Lord, if you bless me to hit the lottery, I promise I will pay my tihes and offerings." (Really?? This person doesn't pay his tithes or offerings now.What makes him or anyone else believe that he would pay them if he received millions of dollars?)
- "Honest Dad. If you do this for me one more time, I promise I won't ask you again." (Another self-deception... This person starts off believing God by faith and when times get perilous they cave and seek assistance from others.)
- "Please Lord, please! I promise if you get me out of this, I will never, ever call Susie or Johnny again!" (If this person is driven by lust, this promise will only last a few days at most.)
In these cases, the promised change should come before the blessing.
Case #1 - Pay your tithes and offerings off all of your increase. Someone gave you $5.00, pay your $.50 tithe and give an offering. If you get in the habit of tithing off a little, you will have no problem tithing off of much.
Case #2 - When you are standing in faith for a move of God, hold on to the very end. Don't give in! God will come through for you if you keep standing and don't waiver.
Case #3 - Get into the Word,praise and worship. Spend time praying in tongues. Jude says that praying in the spirit will build you up and make you strong. You will be able to fight lust.
These are just a few examples to express the point that no matter what kind of blessing you need, you (we) have to be prepared for it. If we are not prepared to hold onto it we will be subject to lose it; or worse have it stolen from us.
Jabez had been prepared.
How Do You Become Honorable?
The beginning of becoming honorable is through the acknowledgment of the truth. Jabez did not deny that he could walk in evil and cause pain; pain to others and pain to himself. His relationship was secure enough that he could see himself truthfully.
Sometimes, we see ourselves and immediately deny what we have seen. We make excuses for what other people have seen in us for years. If we are to go from “pain causers” to honorable persons, we must look in the mirror of truth.
We must recognize that if the opportunity arises we can cause pain; pain to others and pain to ourselves. As Jabez found, the only solution is that leads to change is to humble our minds and cry out to the Lord for help. He will come.
This real life event speaks to each of us. No matter where we begin, no matter when we begin, we can end, like Jabez, in honor. But, we cannot do it alone. We have to acknowledge where we are, we have to take responsibility for what we have done and for what we are doing.
The Lord wants to "bless us" and "fix us" more than we want to be blessed and fixed. Won’t you trust Him today?
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