So far in this series on the Prayer of Jabez, we have considered first of all, that Jabez asked the Lord to bless him; Jabez wanted God’s best for his life so he could be a blessing to others. He wanted to be a channel of God’s blessings…and his motive was right. Second, Jabez asked the Lord to enlarge his territory …To expand his realm of influence…He was asking God to do something through him that was too big for Jabez to do it alone. And, Jabez also knew that nothing could be accomplished unless God’s hand was upon him…so he prays “Let your hand be with me”. He knew that if God’s hand was upon him he could not fail. Perhaps this is the same insight that inspired the pen of Paul to write; “I can do all things through Christ who lives in me.” Without God’s blessings; Without God working to enlarge our ministry; and Without God’s hand being upon us, we cannot accomplish anything.
But, there is one more part; Jabez asks God to “keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” The Living Bible says “keep me from evil and disaster”…does that sound familiar? Perhaps Jesus was thinking of Jabez when he gave us the Lord’s Prayer which says; “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…” And what about when Jesus prayed for his disciples in John 17:15 saying; “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.”
Jabez knew, as we should know, that evil or sin in his life would rob him of the very blessings he was praying for! He knew that sin and evil would bring only harm and destruction and pain as consequences, so he prayed that God would keep him from these things. The sin of the pastor or even one of the leaders in a church will quickly destroy any and may-be all the blessings God has provided. We have witnessed it many times.
I believe that because of his willingness to allow God’s blessings to flow through him, and his willingness to look beyond himself…And because of his willingness to work alongside of God whenever a direction or opportunity presented itself to expand or enlarge his ministry… Because God’s hand was upon him and he trusted God to keep him from evil and ever alert to Satan’s schemes to distract and destroy…the result was God answered his prayer.
Just as a little side note here; I want us all to know that God answers prayer in three ways…and I am sure we have all experienced His answer in one or all of these three ways;
1st. God has a way of carrying or bringing us to His answer. He will work in and through our thoughts, our desires, our circumstances, our health, our wealth, whatever it takes to bring us to His answer.
2nd. He has a way of bringing His answer to us. He will work in the lives and circumstances of others to bring His answer to us. God will work in their thoughts and circumstances to provide the answer. And,
3rd. God will just bring it to pass. Usually when this happens we say words like “out of the blue”…God personally ushers the answer to our prayer. He will confound the critics! He will dumbfound the doctors! He will upset the odds! He’ll just do it! Even if your life has not warranted special arrangements, If He desires that we need it, He will bring it to pass.
This is what prayer is all about. It’s a way of laying hold of the greatness and the glory and the power and the wisdom of God, in quiet, daily ways. And, God will work through the normal everyday circumstances of our lives to accomplish His purpose and at the same time fulfill our needs and desires.
We may call it living out our faith, or we can call it our ministry, but whatever it is, we are to use our gifts, our talents, our knowledge, our education, our vocation, our physical and material blessings to accomplish wonderful things WITH God! Remember that the Bible says “with” God all things are possible.” Once again, let me repeat that we most often have the equation wrong; Our abilities; plus, our experience; plus our gifts; plus our finances; plus our knowledge = What we can do. We say that we want God to work through us, but what we really mean is that we want God to put his stamp of approval on what we are doing.
The right equation of course is; Our weakness plus our willingness plus God’s supernatural power = What God is able to do through us. Faith is believing there is a greater reality beyond this reality! …And that God works in and through both to accomplish the impossible. I think this is something Jabez understood and it transformed his life and his ministry.
This part of the Jabez prayer is of equal importance with the previous three requests. The reason is because when we are blessed, and when our ministry and our influence begin to enlarge, and when it becomes obvious that God’s hand is upon us, who do you think is going to get a little upset? (Satan)… And he will attempt to do everything in his power to cause us to take our eyes off what God is doing! A tiny indulgence of pride or self-confidence or jealousy and envy or gossip can spell disaster. We need God’s protective power to keep Satan at bay!
You know, it’s really encouraging to find few “super saints” among those through whom God has worked throughout history. They were all just ordinary – even easy to overlook – people who had faith in an extraordinary and miracle working God. They came to find, know, and believe that God is who He says he is; And that God can do what He says he can do; They decided that they were who God said they were and what the world had to say or even Satan’s resistance and constant attempts to bring fear and discouragement wouldn’t change the fact that they were – as Joel Olsteen likes to say – victors and not victims… And finally, that they – and we – can do all things through Christ.
Our weakness + plus our willingness + plus God’s supernatural power = What God is able to accomplish in and through us! This is the formula we have taken a stand upon… And it’s the only formula that works.