The Prayer of Jabez is a well known passage in the Bible. But today I’d like to focus just on two areas. The first being, can you see how relevant this prayer is for today in the middle of a Pandemic? Jabez is asking the Lord to deal kindly with him, to keep His hand of protection on him, and to hinder sorrow, distress, and hardship from coming into his life. Jabez is also asking God that he could be free from physical and mental anguish and grief. Now you’d have to agree we all could use prayers like this. But look at the last sentence for the very best part of this prayer…”And God granted his request.” Jabez asked for a blessing and God gave it to him….and He will do the same for you!
The Law can never make us right with God…just as any man-made religious ceremony, ritual, or rite will ever have the ability to make us pure before Him. The forgiveness of our sins can only be atoned for by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ…making a way to mend our broken relationship with God the Father.
Today with high-definition Ultra Sounds, what was once a mystery is now very clear…you can see what your unborn baby looks like. But on the other hand, even with High Tech Doppler Radar, Meteorologists are often at a loss to effectively track and/or forecast tornadoes. When Jesus tried to explain to Nicodemus the concept of being “Born Again”, He used the wind as an example of the incapability of the human mind to understand. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” (John 3:8) So it is with Heavenly things…mysteries far above our understanding that we must accept at face value and place our trust in.
Adam and Eve were instructed by God to not eat from two trees in the Garden of Eden…the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. We all know how the story goes and how they were deceived by the serpent and kicked out of the garden. For in Genesis 3:22 we hear God saying, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” But in this verse in Revelation we see the mention of that same tree…the tree of life…but in a completely different context. For here we are invited to eat from the tree of life and live forever. We are given the right to partake from the tree of life and have eternal life.
Any Believer can be lead astray…any Follower of Jesus can find themselves deceived. And it’s our responsibility as the Body of Christ to bring them back into relationship with the Lord. It’s called restoration…but too often our response is anything but restorative. We gossip, point fingers, and shun rather than putting our arms around them…loving them back into the Kingdom.
The gist of this verse is so simple…if you’re in trouble, pray. So why is it so hard? Why is prayer the last thing we resort to rather than the first thing we think of? In Psalm 50:15 the Lord exhorts us to, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.” All our lives are full of trouble…suffering, hardship, loss, and pain…but our lives should also be full of asking the Lord for His grace, mercy, and deliverance.
It’s difficult to comprehend the concept…but God’s Word is everlasting. Heaven and earth as we know it will vanish someday, but God’s Word will be forever…ceaseless, unending, and permanent for us to cling to when there’s nothing else. This eternal and enduring quality should then give us great confidence and joy every time we read the Bible…for His Word will stand forever.
Isaiah warned the people many times about the vain and worthless objects of worship they were placing their trust in. You can start in Isaiah 44:9 and read in this Chapter about a deluded heart that misleads mankind…of placing faith in man-made things rather than the God that created everything. But this Spirit of delusion doesn’t have to be just worshipping carved images and sacred stones…it can involve being prideful of our accomplishments, arrogant in our higher education, or pompous in the titles we have. But we need to also remember, “The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty…so man will be brought low and mankind humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled.” (Isaiah 2:12)
What jumped out to me as I read this passage was, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…” Now we’ll all admit that this year has been a season of discontentment, and with the Holidays fast approaching, many of us have been forced to make very hard decisions about our usual family gatherings. Add this to the last nine months of frustration and it’s not surprising that we feel resentment and bitterness. But here we have Paul, who I don’t need to remind you is writing to the Church in Philippi from a Roman prison, telling them he is content. But how? In Colossians 1:11, again Paul is writing from prison when he encourages the Church to …”grow in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…” Paul was able to grasp and draw on the Lord’s strength when his was waning. He was able to discover the previously undisclosed ability to not only endure but to handle anything thrown his way with grace and a quieted mind.
“Ask whatever you wish and it will be given you,” is not a blank check for us to use on every whim and fancy. For here Jesus is showing us that if we first abide in Him and His Words our requests will then line up with the Will of God. This is echoed in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His Kingdom and all things will be given to you as well.” Asking in accordance to God’s Will is developed by experience and exposure…by developing a deep abiding relationship with Jesus Christ, and immersing ourselves in His Word.