Let’s begin by reading  1 Chronicles 4:9-10, “And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. 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!”  In verses 9-10, Jabez, in this genealogy of Judah, is singled out as a man who was more honorable that his brethren.  There have been books written about Jabez’s prayer in verse 10.  Plaques have been made that spotlight this short but powerful prayer of Jabez.  However, the only mention we have of this man is in verses 9-10.  So, we know very little of him.  Although he was very honorable, his mother had named his Jabez, “because I bare him with sorrow.”  The name, Jabez, means ‘sorrowful.’  Perhaps she gave him his name because of the pain of childbirth that she had to go through because of him.

After introducing this man, we have a prayer that Jabez prayed.  This prayer, as short and as simple as it is, is most interesting in its simplicity and earnestness.  This prayer can easily be divided into two parts.  We begin verse 10 with these words, “And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying…”

  • “Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed…”  Jabez’s first petition to the Lord is for happiness, which is the meaning of ‘bless’ here in this verse.  All men long to be happy.  It’s our desire that we can be happy in whatever circumstance we are in.  Men often turn to alcohol, gambling, women, drugs, etc. to find the happiness their hearts yearn for.  Jabez, in his evident wisdom, took his need to the Lord and asked that He would bless, or make him happy.  Spiritual blessings are the best blessings, so we don’t find Jabez coming before the Lord with a list of things that he wanted that he believed would make him happy.  No, he just laid this burden at the foot of the Lord.  We are encouraged in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”  We should also take advantage of this gracious offer of the Lord to give Him ALL our cares, not matter how big or how small.
  • “Enlarge my coast…”  Jabez, while an honorable man, was not content to stay within the confines of service that the Lord had blessed him with already.  It seems that as maturity began to set in, Jabez desired to be of greater service to the Lord.  Thus he prays, “enlarge my coast”.  In other words, “give me more to do for you.”  While Jabez may have literally desired more land on which to live and serve the Lord, the type for us is obvious.  May our desire be to look to the Lord to increase our labors for Him.  When will the Lord ‘enlarge our coasts?’  When we faithfully serve Him with what we have.  So many people declare that if they had more education, or more patience, or more money they would serve the Lord.  Let me be plain with my words here:  If you are not serving the Lord with what you have right now, you probably would not serve Him if there was increase in your life.  The Lord will ‘enlarge our coasts’ when we serve Him, when we live lives of obedience to Him, when we take time to study and learn His Word, and when our heart’s desire is to please Him.
  • “That thine hand might be with me…”  Rather than move forward on his own, Jabez asks the Lord to place His hand upon him.  He prays for the Lord’s hand of comfort, strength, guidance, and righteousness.  A few psalms that speak of the Lord’s right hand are: Psalm 16:11, “…at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”  Psalm 18:35, “…thy right hand hath holden me up.”  Psalm 48:10, “…thy right hand is full of righteousness.”  There are many, many more verses that deal with the value of having the right hand of the Lord upon us.  May we also pray for this!
  • “That thou wouldest keep me from evil…”  What wisdom!  How often do we think we would NEVER commit a particular sin?  That is foolish pride which will eventually lead us into a life of terrible.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, may we be wise enough and humble enough to realize our weakness and put our dependence upon our Lord to keep us from the evil in the world and keep us from committing evil in our own lives.  (193.8)