This is not a well-known man in the Bible. There are only two verses about him. In one of Israel’s more trying hours he prayed a short prayer. That prayer should be for our hour too.
I Chronicles 4: 9 And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
We have so much on our plate with family and the world at large. It’s beginning to influence all of us. Jabez was born in a time similar to ours. The children of Israel had conquered the Promised Land but had problems with the heathen who still occupied the land as well as those who wanted back in. They were warned by Joshua that compromise would happen if they allowed the heathen to stay and didn’t keep them out. These were troublesome times. The heathen were like flies that you swat. They got away but always came back.
There was a time of latitude for us but no more. Evil is in our face. The objective of every form of evil is to take you and me away from God, take our happiness and satisfaction. If you gained ground this week in revival, the devil wants to take it from you.
Israel couldn’t enjoy the Promised Land for having to smite at the heathen nations. Opposition was constant. We’re under the thumb of opposition. Jabez felt this. He was from the tribe of Judah so lived near Jerusalem and Bethlehem. We have the Word of God. The devil is afraid of it. Our life was paid for by God. He cleared out our lives. Keep it clear of the enemy.
Did you think you’d be here in 2014? I didn’t. I figured the Lord would have come back. This shows God’s mercy. Souls can still be saved if we’ll witness and hold up the blood-stained banner. Hold our ground. We have a choice of what we’ll do with the times in which we live. From Washington to Hollywood wickedness pervades society. We lock our doors afraid of robberies and kidnappings. It’s all around us. Jabez had a choice. We have a choice. Call on the Lord or call it quits. Give in or give it to the Lord. Instead of calling it quits and giving up what his ancestors traveled from Egypt and fought for, Jabez did something else. What we have is a product of God’s grace through the toll of Christians through the ages. Don’t let the enemy have it. We owe it to our forefathers. We owe it to Jesus. We owe it to God Almighty to hold the fort and keep the borders.
Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed. He wasn’t praying for wealth. He was saying bless me as you want. We can still pray. Jabez asked to be equipped with what he needed. If we will say “not my will but thine” we’ll get what we need from the Lord.
Enlarge my coast. He felt the enemy squeezing his territory. Do you feel your spiritual life being compressed? Don’t give in. Don’t believe what you see and hear. Believe the Word of God. Jabez wasn’t asking for a Cadillac or a mansion or a big bank account. There is one we can trust above all else; he’s greater than any other. The Lord can make it possible that the enemy steps back, not us. We can’t hold our borders, but the Lord can help us do it. We’ll make it if we turn our borders over to God. If you’re being squeezed, turn it over to the Lord. We don’t have to be overrun. Victory has been won. I can be the same Christian—and stronger—if I trust the Lord and turn the borders over to him. You can make it. God can enlarge.
That thine hand might be with me. The hand of God is mightier than the swords of 10,000. He’s greater than all the forces of evil. What better prayer than “Lord, let your hand be with me?” If one of his hands can do it, imagine what both of them can do. He’s not hand tied. He wants to put his hand on us. If the claws of the devil are after you, ask for the hand of the Lord. The devil is afraid of God. Keep him and your request will be granted.
Keep me from evil. This was not several requests but a detailed single request. Not only do we watch out for the devil and the influence of evil, our biggest threat will be ourselves. Our old nature wants to hurt, to hold grudges, and be proud. The flesh is itching to come out and the devil knows it. We need victory over our flesh. We asked for protection from outside sources, but we need help with the force inside in our flesh. Keep me from evil. Keep me from sinning. Keep me from doubt. That’s the choice we have. We can call it quits and let our old nature come back or we can ask the Lord to keep the old man down.
That it may not grieve me. If we let it intimidate us, we’ll not have joy. We can fall away if we let it happen. The church of Laodicea was lukewarm. Jabez could do nothing about the times, but he could do something about how he handled them. He could call on the Lord. Because he did, God granted his request.
If we make the prayer of Jabez our prayer, will God grant our request? Sure he will!