Shonebarger

Tucked away in the genealogies of the Jewish people in the Old Testament is a man whose life is recorded in two verses. His name was Jabez and his entire life story is recorded in 1 Chronicles, Chapter 4, verses 9-10. (I Chronicles 4:9-10). While a mere two verses in the entire Bible are not usually that significant, Jabez’s story was shared in a manner that magnified his impact and legend.

The Chronicle begins with the decree that Jabez was more honorable than his brethren.

To distinguish a person’s honor as one that exceeds all others is genuinely incredible. Jabez was exemplary in his character; his deportment and his life’s quest. When measuring a life, should we consider a person’s wealth? Should we consider their education? Should we consider their status in society or their place on the company ladder? What measurement for a legacy should be scrutinized? In other words, what makes a life distinct?

In our world, men and women are judged and evaluated every day. From a resume to an obituary, our stories are critically measured. Value is typically imparted via the lens of materialism, secularism and humanism. But, not Jabez. His life was summed up by his exceedingly superior honor. Let us learn this vital lesson: this man was listed in the annuals of history for the most significant measurement of all mankind. His honor.

Interestingly, the Bible says his mother named him Jabez, because she bore him with sorrow. The backstory of that birth was not chronicled. Nonetheless, his beginning did not impair his journey in life. Overcoming those difficult circumstances of his origin did not prevent him from focusing on his dreams, his manner, nor his achievements. He rose from the heartache and struggle of early life, to press on to embrace what God had ahead for him.

Jabez had a close relationship to God. Jabez called out to the God of Israel and boldly prayed that God would bless him indeed. This begs a question for the Bible student; what kind of man does God bless? Does God bestow His blessings on a man who is selfish, slothful or prideful? No! God blesses a man of character, integrity and faith. Simply put, Jabez was the type of man God wants to give His best gifts to, for God knows this man will bring Him glory. Jabez’s prayer was bold, but on point.

As Jabez continued in prayer, he asks God to enlarge his coast and for God’s good hand to be upon him. Jabez had a vision to attempt great things for God and to expect great things from God. He was ambitious! God uses ambitious men and women to accomplish great things for His glory. Furthermore, God is seeking those with a fire in their belly who will not be overcome with the daunting fears of failure and the tactics of their enemies. With God’s hand upon him, there was nothing Jabez could not do. Victory was assured, through faith in Almighty God.

Jabez continued his prayer. He asked that God would deliver him from evil. This portion of the prayer reminds us of Jesus’ instruction to His disciples in the Lord’s Prayer. “Deliver us from evil…” The frailty of our sinful condition is confessed though this honest petition. Jabez, the man of distinct honor, humbly sought God’s protection on the journey. The devil would love nothing more than to destroy one of God’s choicest servants. Jabez did not want to suffer from the grief his sin would bring him. Sin has consequences. Jabez had no time for the misery of sinful consequences. He had a dream that he wanted to achieve. He wanted to achieve it now.

The chronicle of Jabez’s life was concluded by saying that God granted him his request. Yes, the dream would be fulfilled, the mountain would be climbed and the achievement accomplished. This was the life of an honorable man. Jabez is distinct in history. His story is a blueprint for each of us who yearns to life a life of impact and significance. Study him. Learn from him. Follow his example. God placed his story in 1 Chronicles, Chapter 4, for a reason. May we be inspired and may we each excel in honor, faith and purpose.

Remember, God loves YOU! Have a great week.

Contact Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

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