New Year, New Changes
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked. 1 Chronicles 4:9-11
In this chapter we have an account of Judah, the most numerous and most famous of all the tribes; also an account of Simeon. The most remarkable person in this chapter is Jabez. We are not told upon what account Jabez was more honourable than his brethren were; but we find that he was a praying man. The way to be truly great is to seek to do God’s will, and to pray earnestly. It is only through prayers and seeking the will of God that our paths are guided and we can please God. For the whole year, you have been praying and seeking the face of God. However there might be some issues that have been a pain to you and you have been wondering what happened to your pleading with God. Jabez, being a prayerful man knew that he could change his name from pain to greatness. Jabez did not waist away in the “pain” but rather focused on God; the God who was great and from whom he could draw his strength.
When Jabez was born, the mother named her “pain” so that she could be reminded of the pain she suffered at his birth. Jabez, when he came of age and understood the meaning of his name, he was not comfortable with it and he pleaded with God so the he could change it and even more prosper him. There are many instances that you have been named according to what the world sees you and not “actually what you are”. You have suffered out of the mistreatments of the world just because the world thought you were no created with purpose and greatness. But just like Jabez you have the leeway to change from the pains of the past year to greatness and abundance in the new year and the days to come. Jabez prayed to the living and true God, who alone can hear and answer prayer; and, in prayer he regarded him as a God in covenant with his people. Here is the prayer Jabez made. Four things Jabez prayed for;
That God would bless him indeed.
Spiritual blessings are the best blessings: God’s blessings are real things, and produce real effects. He realised that his blessings would not come from any other source apart from God who created him with a purpose; and that is what he was seeking.
That He would enlarge his territory.
That God would enlarge his heart, and so enlarge his portion in himself, and in the heavenly Canaan, was his desire and prayer.
That God’s hand might be with him.
God’s hand with him to lead, protect, strengthen, and to work all our works in him and for him, was a hand sufficient for him.
That he would keep him from evil.
The evil of sin, the evil of trouble, all the evil designs of his enemies, that they might not hurt, nor make him a Jabez indeed, a man of sorrow. God granted that which he requested. God is ever ready to hear prayer: his ear is not now heavy.
May be the previous year has brought you pain and suffering. But the assurance I give you is that God has not been uncaring, He has been with you and will ever be with you to your destiny. At times God would take us through pain to mould our character and prepare us for the forthcoming blessings. Remember just after Paul had accomplished much in evangelism, a thorn in the flesh was given to him to build his character.
Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10
This year, let us focus on God who is all able to wipe away our pain and suffering and lead us to our blessings. It is only through prayer and seeking the will of God that our territories will be enlarged this year and the days to come. In our weaknesses, we shall be strengthened and renewed for another year.
The Year’s reflection!
Dear Lord, please give me, a few friends who understand me and remain my friends; a work to do which has real value, without which the world would be the poorer; a mind unafraid to travel, even though the trail is not blazed; an understanding heart; a sense of humour; time for quiet, silent meditation; a feeling of the presence of God; the patience to wait for the coming of these things, with the wisdom to recognize them when they come.