Monday, February 25, 2019

Blessings = Responsibility

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.  1 Chronicles 4:10
Blessings = Responsibility
Many of us are familiar with the story of Jabez, and how he rose above his circumstances to become a man of honorable and noble character. So noble, that He caught the ear of God in praying a bold prayer.  The Prayer of Jabez became a popular and well-known passage a few years back. This prayer asks for God’s blessing, His provision, His presence, and His protection.  Having received the blessings of GodJabez understood he now needed to live safe. He boldly asked God to enlarge his borders and for His blessing on him and God did it.  He gave Jabez what he asked for, a powerful example for us of praying a bold prayer that we believe God will answer.  Blessings tend to make us presumptuous to think we don’t need to depend on God so much now that things are going wellBut Jabez was wise enough to realize that receiving great blessing and having an enlarged territory would mean facing a whole new set of challenges along with opportunity.  Failure to grow and remain alert to the dangers of increased position and power could mean disaster; especially if he lost God’s direction and protection.
When blessings come, and added responsibility follows, our ability to hurt more people goes with it. Our area of influence increases.  We are going to focus on the last part of Jabez’s prayer.  This part of the prayer is a direct plea for God to intervene in his personal life, his heart.  Though he had received honor, blessings, and influence, Jabez knew he was not above making mistakes, andbringing harm and pain to himself and those he loved.   So he prayed, and that You would keep me from harm that so that I will be free from pain.  Bruce Wilkerson says of Jabez’s last request It is a brilliant strategy for sustaining a blessed life. 
Different translations have seemingly different perspectives on how to translate the Hebrew in this passage.
New American Standard - and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!
King James- and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!
New King James Version - and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!
English Standard Version - and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain! 
New International Version -and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.
So, which is it “evil” or “harm”?  Is it “that I may not cause pain” or “that I will be free from pain”? When studying the text in the Hebrewboth seem to apply.  I believe that Jabez didn’t want to cause pain to others, because in bringing pain into another’s life, it would also cause him pain. And isn’t that true in life, whenever we hurt someone we care about, we end up feeling a good deal of pain?
Jabez had experienced enough pain in his life and now he wants to be rid of causing pain and experiencing pain. I don’t think any of us would disagree with that being an appropriate prayer. None of us want to experience any more pain than we consider necessary and we don’t want to inflict pain upon others.  But when we pray in boldness, such as Jabez did … we threaten Satan … we step on His turf and that ticks him off and he is not about to make our life easy.  Satan knows that an uncommitted believer is little threat.  It is one who is being blessed that is a challenge to him.
Scripture to Claim:
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  2 Corinthians 9:8

Devotional Archive