Title: BLESS ME, O LORD, INDEED
Text: 1 Chronicles 4:10
The shortest biography on a person in the Bible is about the radically change your life. Perhaps it will alter your prayer-life to something that will convince you that God is surely alive and looking down upon you. The shortest biography in the Bible is two verses long (1 Chr. 4:9-10) and it’s about an unknown man named Jabez (Ya'bets, yah-bates'; from an unused root probably means to grieve; sorrowful).
The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles are about listing the family tree of the Hebrew tribes beginning with Adam and proceeding through thousands of years to Israel’s return from captivity. Most of the names are unfamiliar – more than 500 of them. Forty-four names into the chapter there is a break among the seemingly endless names of people which states: “And Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, ‘Because I bore him with pain.’ Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be upon me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ And God granted him what he requested.”
Something about this man, Jabez, caused the historian who was writing to pause and give us a glimpse of someone who stood out in the family line…someone who caught his attention…someone who caught God’s attention. He didn’t do any great feat. He wasn’t a hero that rescued anybody. He just prayed a one sentence prayer and it had enough of an impact that the historian wanted to record it. Why record it? Because it condenses God’s powerful will for your life, revealing what your Father longs to give you.
Let’s explore this little prayer in detail.
1. How did things start for Jabez? (In pain for his mother at birth; so much so she named him “Grief.”)
2. How much do names impact children during the formative years? How do you imagine Jabez’ name impacting him?
3. What was Jabez remembered for? (His prayer; there is nothing else stated as to why he was remembered other than his prayer.) At first glance, do you think there is anything unusual about this prayer?
4. When was the last time God worked through you in such a way that you knew beyond a doubt that God had done it? Would you like to experience that frequently?
“Oh, that you would bless me indeed!”
5. Does that phrase of the prayer seem selfish to you? Is Jabez asking for something specific, by name? Or is he asking for God to decide what the blessing to be? What’s the difference? (He left it entirely up to God to decide what the blessings would be and where, when and how Jabez would receive them.)
6. What do the following passages teach us about what God delights in?
7. What do you think the word “indeed” at the end of the first phrase means? (In Hebrew, adding “indeed” to a prayer was like adding five exclamation points, or writing the request in capital letters and underlining it. “Oh, Father, please bless me a lot!”)
8. “Blessing” is not about sneezing. What is it about? (To bless in the biblical sense means to ask for or to impart supernatural favor. When we ask for God’s blessing, we’re not asking for more of what we could get for ourselves. We’re crying out for the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has the power to give to us.) Prov. 10:22
Insight: This prayer focuses on wanting nothing more and nothing less that what God wants for us. Throw yourself into God’s river of His will, power and purpose He wants for you! Mat. 7:7; James 4:2
9. Do you think there are blessings that could be ours, but we missed them because we did not ask for them?
Insight: Moses was bold enough to ask to see the glory of God, and God granted it (Ex. 33:18). In response, God described Himself as “the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth” (Ex. 34:6). The very nature of God (from His own words) is to have goodness in so much abundance that it overflows into our lives!
God’s bounty is limited only by us, not by His resources, power or willingness to give. Jabez was blessed simply because he refused to let any obstacle, person, or opinion be greater than God’s nature. And God’s nature is to bless.
His kindness in recording Jabez’s prayer in the Bible is proof that it’s not who you are, or what your parents decide for you, or what your “fate” is that counts. What counts is knowing who you want to be and asking for it.