Month: March 2022

Reaping what you sow (Proverbs 12:14b) (Part 2)

Our Six Basic Responsibilities:

1. Our Words/Actions – Proverbs 14:8,14 “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way…the backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied with his” For an Individual to enjoy his spiritual and mental health, he has to take hold of his life, as a child of God, and be responsible and accountable for his words/actions, both as benefit and the penalty. He must try not to shift the blame onto others or circumstances, for his failures. Developing this attitude helps him to understand his weaknesses and strengths, and thus, take advantage of the principle of “sowing and reaping,” – overcomes his weaknesses and builds on his strengths.

2. Make Proper Choices – God created us, Individually, with a free-will with the right to choose. If we do what is right, underpinned by God’s Love, we will reap the benefits of our choice: “A prudent man sees evil and hides himself, the naïve proceed and pay the penalty” (Proverbs 27:12). The right to choose and to make decision is ours, Divinely given, and we should make the best of it.

3. Do Our Best – Proverbs 18:9 “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.” Generally, an Individual’s mindset is to do as little as possible, with short-cuts, and expects great result; whereas “wisdom’s way,” is to do our best; to work to the uttermost perimeter of our God’s given talents and abilities, – reaping the benefits of hard work and diligent – Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.” Laziness is self-destructive – Proverbs 12:24 “The hand of the diligent will rules, but the lazy man will be put to forced labour.

4. Continuous LearningProverbs 19:2 “It is not good for a person to be without knowledge.” The moment we stop learning and adjusting, we begin to back-slide in our God’s given gifting and ability. Life will not alter to suit our situation; we need to read and adjust and take hold of the best, in the situation. We are responsible to educate ourselves on the things of life – be STREET-WISEMatthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye, therefore, wise as a serpent and harmless as doves.”

5. Doing to OthersProverbs 11:27 “He who diligently seeks good seeks favour, but he who searches after evil, it will come to him” The Bible teaches that “we do unto others, as we desire others to do unto us – Matthew 7:12 “Therefore, all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you: do you even so to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets…..shall also do to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.”  Cain’s question: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Was a rhetorical question. We are responsible not to impose upon the welfare of others and to consider how our actions will affect them. Remember, we will receive back in kind the blessing or the misery we bring into the lives of others.

6. Good Conscience

Proverbs 28:18 “He whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall.” & Proverbs 21:3 “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” Our words/deeds must all be done in good conscience – Acts 23:1b “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” Thus, in the law of “sowing and reaping,” we are first and foremost accountable to ourselves. When we are faced with a choice our criteria for judging what we should do should not be based on what others will think or what is in it for us, but solely on what is right (before God and our conscience). What we say and do must be right in the sight of God based on right motives and attitude, must leave us with a comfortable conscience. One of the ways to make our lives meaningful and easier is to live within the realm God’s Word – Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word (logos) of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Reaping what you sow (Proverbs 12:14b) (Part 1)

The Statement

Proverbs 12:14b “The deeds of a man’s hands will return to him.”

Law of Nature

Sowing and reaping is a universal law of nature, set-in-place by God. Every Farmer expects a harvest when he sows/plants; he knows that, except for the unforeseen weather conditions or natural disasters, he will be able to reap for the finance, time, and labour he invested. This law of “sowing & reaping,” applies to the physical world, but God has created within His universe a spiritual ecology, a principle of recompense that governs our actions and behaviour.Scripture teaches that for everything we do there is a consequence that is commensurate with the deed. This law of recompense (reward), is stated in God’s Word (Scripture):

  • Proverbs 12:14b “The deeds of a man’s hands will return to him.”
  • Galatians 6:7 explains: “Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”
  • Proverbs 11:18 “He who sows righteousness gets a true reward.”

These are God’s Great Promise, taken in the positive aspects. To a large extent we can determine the results of our actions by what we do and how we do it; since we can choose what to sow, we can dictate what return to us

  • Newton’s Third Law of Motion: “To every force and action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” 
  • Carousel Theory: “What goes around, comes around” – What we do boomerangs – it comes back to us in kind.

In a Situation – If we cannot control our temper, in a tense situation, we will get turmoil in return as Proverbs 15:18 warns: “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife.”  But, if we take hold of ourselves even when provoked, the end-result would be different, as “The (one who is) slow to anger pacifies contention…A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:18, 1). 

First Principle

We must Sow before We ReapGalatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” A seed that is not planted will not bear fruits. Planting carries with it the expectation of harvest. The human counterpart of this law of nature is that once we have done something we can never undo it:

  1. The result is beyond our control once a deed/word has been done/spoken.
  2. The result is predetermined by our action and once begun, is irreversible.
  3. A deed, once done, cannot be undone, All, we can do is live with the consequence, be it bitter or sweet.

Peter Marshall wisely observed that “small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” The only way we can reap is to sow. Thus, we must consciously sow “God’s Goodness & Love” among us and to the people.

Second Principle

We Reap What We SowProverbs 10:4 “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” & Proverbs 10:16 “The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.” The nature of the reward is determined by what we “sow.” Righteousness is imbedded with its own reward, as with wrongful action/word. The results that are produced by our action/word will resemble those action/word. Every deed is followed by its corresponding effect. We reap whatever we sow.

Third Principle

We will Reap in Proper Time – Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Paul said that “in proper time we shall reap.” “In proper time” may be right away or a long time off because what we do can have one of two results: Immediate or delayed. This principle implies that we must consider the final, long-term results of our actions/words rather than immediate satisfactions. What we do now may affect the total scope of our life and the lives of others, months or even years from now.

Fourth Principle

We Reap More than We SowProverbs 11:24-25 “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper.” Again, this is illustrated in the physical world – “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains (just one grain; never becomes more but lives by itself alone). But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest” (John 12:24, AMP). The Word of God warns: “He who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly” (2Corinthians 9:6).

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Choice of Matthias (Acts 1:15-26) (Part 2)

1.3 Casting of Lots

It was a method allowed in the Old Testament for making decisions under God’s guidance (Leviticus 16:8; Numbers 26:55; 1Samuel 14:41; Proverbs 16:33). The “casting lots” (Acts 1:26) which may have been identical with “Urim and Thummim,” by this method officers were chosen for:

  • The Temple (1Chronicles 24-25).
  • The truth was brought to light (1Samuel 14:41).
  • Offenders were brought to justice (Joshua 7:16).
  • Arguments settled (Proverbs 18:18).
  • The Land of Canaan divided among the Tribes (Numbers 26:55).

In this way the Israelites were able to believe that the resulting decision was from the LORD. This was because of their belief in God’s Sovereignty and His Will (Proverbs 16:1-4). Casting of Lot is recognised by the Law – Leviticus 16:8 (KJV) “And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats: one for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.” Two explanations by the Expositors:

1. Grotius – According to Grotius, this was taken by means of two urns. In one they placed two rolls of paper, with the names Joseph and Matthias written within them, and in the other two rolls, one with the word “Apostle” and the other blank; and one roll was drawn from each urn simultaneously. This suggestion by Grotius is less acceptable by most Expositors.

2. Clark (Com.) thinks that the selection was by ballot, the Lord directing the mind of the majority to vote for Matthias. In the case of selection by lots there was no chance; for “the lot is cast into the lap (properly urn); but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD” (Proverbs 16:33 – KJV). The method of casting lots as expounded by Clark (Com.) is “better-in-line” with the biblical Expositors.

  • Proverbs 16:33 (Amp. Bible) “The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord – even the events (that seem accidental) are really ordered by Him.”
  • Proverbs 16:33 (NIV) “The Lot is cast into the lap, but its decision is from the Lord.”

Proverbs 16 begins with the theme of God’s Sovereignty (Proverbs 16:1-4) and ends with His control even in the casting of lot (Proverbs 16:33). Proverbs chapter 16 robustly affirmed that God is in control, even over what may appear to be mere chance events, like casting lots. The Name picked was qualified in the eyes of the Leaders and the Congregation. Therefore, any one of the nominations could serve as an Apostle. However, by casting lots, there was great trust that God would use the casting lots to see that His choice was picked. The casting of lot was the last act of the Old Testament (Acts 1:15-26) before the Coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church (Acts 2:1-4). This method was never again in use once the Holy Spirit is given to the Church.

1.4 Close of the Old Dispensation

The casting of lots was the last act of the Old Testament Era – The Last Dispensational Act was an act consistent with the close of the Old Dispensation. The New Dispensation (Church Age) begins in Acts 2, the Coming of the Holy Spirit, and the birth of the Church:

  • Proverbs 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.”
  • Acts 1:26 “And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”

1.5 The Choice of Matthias

Eleven speaks of incompleteness, disorganisation; disintegration; lawlessness (Genesis 32:22; Genesis 35:16, 18; Genesis 37:9; Matthew 20:6; Ex.26:7; Deuteronomy 1:2; Daniel 7:24). This could not be the state of the Divine Government on the eve of the birth of the Church:

  1. Divine Government – Matthias was numbered with the eleven Apostles (Acts 1:26) to bring forth Divine Government and Apostolic Fullness before the birth of the Church. Number 12 = Divine Government and Apostolic Fullness (Revelation 12:1, 12, 21; Revelation 22:2). Note the 12 in the Holy City of God (Revelation chapters 21 to 22). It was fitting that the Foundational Apostolate should be complete before the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church and its first preaching:
  2. Matthias – The choice of the Successor in place of Judas Iscariot was foretold in the Old Testament “For it is written in the book of Psalms,…and his bishopric let another take” (Acts 1:20; Psalm 109:8). What is clear about the choice of the Successor to Judas is that it was the Holy Spirit who prompted David to prophesy that the Successor to the Betrayer (Judas Iscariot) must be found who had all the qualifications necessary for the Office of Apostle, were fulfilled. God’s Word acknowledges Matthias’ appointment as a replacement for Judas Iscariot and one of the Twelve:
    • Acts 1:26 (KJV)”He was numbered with the eleven apostles.”   
    • Acts 2:14 (KJV)”But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice.” 
    • Acts 6:2a (KJV) “Then the twelve (Apostles) called the multitude of the disciples unto them” (Acts 6:2a, KJV).

      The validity of the appointment of Matthias never seems to have been questioned by the Apostles or the Church. Matthias will be one of the Twelve judging the 12 Tribes of Israel and that his Name will be inscribed on the Foundation of the New Jerusalem – Revelation 21:14 (KJV) “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”  
  3. Paul’s Affirmation – Paul recognised the Twelve in the position which they occupied – 1Corinthians 15:5, 7 “And that He (Jesus) was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve (apostles)…..After that, He (Jesus) was seen of James; then, of all the apostles.” Paul himself saw the Twelve in a different category when he compared himself to them – 1Corinthians 15:9 (NIV) “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
  4. Matthias was chosen through Prayer and the Old Testament practice of casting lots – “And they prayed, and said, thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which of these two thou hast chosen. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:24, 26, KJV; Proverbs 16:33, KJV). 
    • God alone knows the human heart
    • God alone had the right to choose
  5. Matthias fulfilled the qualifications of an Apostle – He was in the company of the Apostles during Christ ministry (Acts 1:21). He also witnessed the Resurrection of Christ (Acts 1:22). 
  6. The choosing of Matthias was by the Lord Jesus – “Thou hast chosen” (Acts 1:24b). Judas Iscariot gone to his own place, but Matthias found his place (Acts 1:25, 26). 
  7. Matthias was included in the twelve of whom Luke speaks – Acts 6:2 “Then the twelve (apostles) called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, it is not fitting that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables.” The Leader is to be appointed by the fellow Leaders with the Congregation through the Christ’s Guidance. Although the Holy Spirit had not yet come when Matthias was chosen, He was already present to guide the Disciples in their actions regarding this (John 20:21, 22). The Scripture itself does not indicate any error in this decision. In fact, three New Testament Writers appear to confirm their action:  
  8. Luke refers to the Apostles as being Twelve in number (Acts 1:26; Acts 2:14; Acts 6:2). He recorded the events concerning Matthias after Paul was saved and had become an Apostle (abt. A.D.36), whereas “Acts of the Apostles” was written in A.D.60. It seems obvious, then, that Luke did not question Matthias’ place among the Twelve (Acts 1:26; Acts 2:14; Acts 6:2) despite the addition of Paul to the Apostolic group. Matthias was recognised as one of the “Twelve:”
    • Before Pentecost – Acts 2:26 (KJV) “And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
    • At Pentecost – Acts 2:14a (KJV) “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them.”
    • After Pentecost – Acts 6:2a (KJV) “Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them.”
    • Recognised by Paul – 1Corinthians 15:5,7 “And that He (Jesus) was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve (apostles)…..After that, He (Jesus) was seen of James; then, of all the apostles.

      The principle of “threefold witnesses” is established – 2Corinthians 13:1b (KJV) “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
  9. Apostle John who was involved in the choosing of Matthias, refers to the Twelve in the Book of Revelation with no explanation, apparently continuing to accept Matthias as one of the Twelve Apostles (Revelation 21:14). 
  10. Paul – Although Paul regularly defended his Apostleship, he obviously did not think of himself as one of the Twelve. He speaks of the Lord Jesus appearing to the Twelve and then to him “as one born out of due time” (1Corinthians 15:5, 8). The idea that Paul was Divinely intended to be the Twelve, and that the Apostle Peter and the others Apostles have wrongly anticipated God’s plan, betrays a misunderstanding of the unique character of Paul’s Apostleship (Acts 9:15). 

Choice of Matthias (Acts 1:15-26) (Part 1)

1.0 Statement

Most Christian and Bible Scholars feel that Peter and the Apostles were not acting in the will of the Lord Jesus in choosing Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot because they hold the position that Paul was the replacement instead of Matthias, basically, for three reasons:

  1. Prominent – Paul has “a huge place” in the New Testament, being the Writer of 14 Books of the New Testament (if it includes the Book of Hebrews). The biography of his life and ministry is recorded in the Book of Acts. He is sometimes considered to be the greatest of the Apostles. In fact, on this basis, some have felt that Paul was God’s choice to replace Judas Iscariot among the Twelve. Furthermore, Matthias was not heard of again in the Scripture.
  2. Jesus’ Choice –Jesus Himself personally chose Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-16). 
  3. Casting Lots – Casting lots was not an appropriate way to choose a replacement of an Apostle in place of Judas Iscariot.

1.1 Divine Government

Since the fall of Judas Iscariot, it leaves the Apostles as eleven in number – number eleven speaks of incompleteness, disorganisation; disintegration; lawlessness (Genesis 32:22; Genesis 35:16, 18; Genesis 37:9; Matthew 20:6; Ex.26:7; Deuteronomy 1:2; Daniel 7:24) – this could not be the state of the Divine Government of God on the eve of the birth of the Church (Acts 2) – Peter and the Apostles have to choose another Apostle to replace Judas Iscariot, who fell, to bring it to twelve (Number 12 speaks of Divine Government) – since they did not yet have the New Testament to guide them, they followed an acceptable Old Testament practice of “casting lot” (Acts 1:23-26; Leviticus 16:8; Numbers 26:55; 1Samuel 14:41; Proverbs 16:33) and prayed that God would guide them in the choice of another Apostle.

The Writer (R/S) is of the opinion that Peter and the Apostles acted correctly under the Divine Guidance of the Lord Jesus Christ and appointed Matthias to take the place of Judas Iscariot – Acts 1:24-26 (NKJV) “And they prayed and said, You o Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell…..And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” Matthias (má-thí-ás) means “Gift of Jehovah.” Of the family of Matthias, no account is given, and of his life we have no account, excepting the record in Acts 1:15-26, viz., him being chosen as an Apostle in replacement of Judas Iscariot.

1.2 The Selection Process

The one hundred and twenty Disciples were assembled in the upper room at Jerusalem, waiting for the advent of the Holy Spirit. There was a Presbytery (Apostolic) of Jerusalem who met with the Congregation for the selection of the Successor to Judas Iscariot. The meeting was under the supervision of Peter. The Successor must be an associate. He must be in fellowship with other leaders and a Believer over a prolong period of time. Peter “laid down” the essential qualifications for the Apostolic Office:

  1. He must have been a companion of Jesus – “Wherefore, of these men who have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us” (Acts 1: 21, KJV). From His (Christ’s) baptism by John the Baptist till His (Christ’s) Ascension (Acts 1:22, KJV). Matthias was a Disciple of John the Baptist with Andrew and Simon the sons of Jonas, and John the son of Zebedee. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming to him, and saith to them (including Matthias), behold the Lamb of God.” Matthias heard him speak, and he followed Jesus, along with John and Andrew, as Peter tabled Matthias’s name on the day of election. Matthias was left out in the initial selection of the 12 Disciples (later became Apostles) by the Lord Jesus. However, Matthias did not let his heart sour. He accepted being set aside as his proper place. He continued to follow the Lord Jesus for three and a half years – “Wherefore, of these men who have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us” (Acts 1:21, KJV). Not only Matthias keep true to his Master through all these times of waiting and disappointments, but he continued to behave himself and to lay out his life just as if he had been elected. Thus, Peter was able to certify to the character and faithfulness of Matthias to the one hundred and twenty at the Presbytery meeting at Jerusalem in Acts 1:21-26. Delay and disappointments tested Matthias’ character and are extended opportunities to enable him to be somewhat ready when the time arrived (Acts 1:23).
  2. Matthias must have been a witness of  Jesus’  Resurrection  –  “Must  one  be  ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection” (Acts 1:22). Two such men were chosen, but the ultimate decision was referred to God Himself by the sacred “casting of lots,” accompanied by prayer. The two were:
    • Joseph, called Barsabas, and surnamed the Justus.
    • Matthias, upon whom the lot fell.

A momentous decision was about to be made. Immediately the Disciples set themselves to praying – Acts 1:24 (KJV) “And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen.” The Lord Jesus to whom the prayer was addressed because He had chosen the original Twelve Apostles was now asked to choose another in replacement of Judas Iscariot. Two levels of involvement in the selection process:

  • Leadership’s Responsibility – We must remember that before the lots were cast, they selected two men whom they judged most worthy to fill Apostolic position left vacant by the fall of Judas Iscariot – Acts 1:23 (KJV) “And they appointed two. Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus and Matthias.”  
  • Divine Sovereignty – Having passed this difficult screening test, they were now prepared to receive God’s Will. Casting lots to discern God’s Will was a sacred institution in Ancient Israel. The Disciples believed in God’s providence and remembered: “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD” (Proverbs 16:33, KJV). The lot fell on Matthias, and he was chosen and appointed (numbered – Acts 1:26) among the Apostles. No further records in the New Testament after the election and appointment into the Apostolic Office.

To be Continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) (Part 2)

The Prayer of Jabez

2. What He Prays

1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” Jabez is explicit in his Prayer’s Request in Four Distinctive Petitions: 

First,   for God’s Blessing1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed.” Jabez considers the Blessing from God of Israel of primary important and makes it his first request. He knows that without God’s Blessing all other things are of but little value or important. Do we? Jabez understands that all true blessings come from God. He knows that God has blessed the Nation of Israel. Jabez desires the personal blessing from God – “bless me indeed” carries an intensive force in the original, means “surely or richly bless.”  It is the language of fervent and affectionate desire. He is not content with a just feeling of general well-being but wants to experience the Divine (God’s) Blessing in a definite, personal way. If God’s Blessing is to be bestowed, it must be appropriated and experienced.

Second, for God’s Enlargement1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying…..and enlarge my territory.” – The enlargement of territory involves two aspects:

  • Enlarge his (Jabez’s) area of influence and blessing, thus becoming a blessing to others; William E. Blackstone was a man in the prime of his life, exclaimed: “Oh that God would give me a million dollars! I would use every penny for the evangelization of the world!” God knew that by training and experience that he was competent to administer such large sum of money. God also knew that Blackstone could be entrusted with such wealth. God, therefore, providentially placed in the hand of William E. Blackstone five million dollars for the evangelization purposes. He was faithful as a Trustee of this sum of money, and great multitude of souls came to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. William prayed, as did Jabez and God “enlarged his border.”
  • Jabez is praying for enlargement of the coast (border – Land) – to wrest more of the Promised Land from the Canaanites. God had promised the Land of Canaan to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 15:18-21). God renewed that promise to the Nation of Israel through Joshua just before they crossed the River Jordan (Joshua 1:2-4). Israel had entered the Land but had conquered only part of it (Joshua 13:1, 2, 13; etc). God reminded Joshua shortly before his death that “there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed” (Joshua 13:1). Thus, Jabez is asking God to give him more of that which God had promised to His people, Israel. It takes faith to believe God for the Land that is still in the hands of the Canaanites, etc., Jabez, in faith, makes the request for the Land which God had promised to His people.  

Third, for God’s Enablement1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying……..that Your hand would be with me.” – The Hand of God means the Guiding Presence and Empowerment of God. Jabez acknowledges the need for the guiding Hand of God in his undertaking of enlarging the territory (influence and land). He knows that God must lead him; but he also understands his need for the Manifestation of God’s Power and Presence in his behalf. Jabez confession is the recognition of his own limitation and ability. When he looks at himself and the situation he is in, he feels a sense of helplessness in achieving his goal.  Mother Teresa was laughed at because she wanted to build an orphanage and had but three shilling to begin with. She told her critics: “With three shillings Teresa can do nothing; but with God and three shilling there is nothing that Teresa cannot do.”

An Individual who recognizes his own inability to complete the task in his own strength and has learned to cast himself unreservedly upon God Himself to enable him to complete the task, would not be disappointed. The secret of the empowered life is to be found in continued “abiding” in Christ – “He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same shall bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Fourth, for God’s Preservation1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying……..and that You would keep (preserve) me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” – Jabez request that, in his struggle to attain the enlarged purposes of God in him; God would so work on his behalf that “evil,” or “harm,” would be kept away. Jabez desires the inauspicious implications of his name (Jabez = pains) might not be repeated in his own experiences – “that it may not grieve (pain) me.”  He has but to recall his mother’s feelings to be assured, she (mother) has suffered and experienced grief (pain) and sorrow. Jabez understands that left to himself he would inevitably succumb to the power of evil; he confesses a need for God’s Preserving Power against Evil; it is truth understood that leads a child of God to cast himself fully upon his God for preservation from evil and for empowerment to meet the trials of life; this is Jabez’s road to victory.

Logical Order – The order of the Jabez’s Fourfold Petitions shows a logical progression; he begins his Prayer:

  • He acknowledges God’s blessing as his highest good and priority.
  • This leads to a desire for a larger share in God’s Promises which God has prepared for God His People, Israel.
  • In his (Jabez’s) efforts to attain these blessings of God, he realizes his own limitation and weakness and pleaded for God’s Guidance and Empowerment to accomplish.
  • In his struggles he comes to see himself aright and is led to throw himself unreservedly upon God’s Grace; and it is here that he finds the desired blessings and victory.

God Responses

1Chronicles 4:10b “So God granted him what he requested.”   The ultimate test of every Prayer is the answer that it receives; the answer proves the acceptableness of the Prayer, and the Prayer of Jabez passed this test:

  1. God Answers

1Chronicles 4:10b “So God granted him what he requested.” God grants to Jabez his desires; his experience reveals that Prayer out of sincere heart and according to God’s Will receives God’s Answer.

2. Exact Answer

1Chronicles 4:10b “So God granted him what he requested.” – Jabez received what he has asked for; this answer is evidence that his Prayer is in God’s Will for him (Jabez) –“We have this assurance in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him” (1John 5:14,15 NIV). The lesson is that God, who knows the heartfelt desires and motives of Jabez before he expresses them, readily granted his request. It is the Prayer in accord with God’s Will for Jabez; God’s Word recorded in 1John 3:21-22 assures us that such Prayer receives an answer from God; this Prayer of Faith encourages us to wait upon the LORD as we approach Him with our needs and requests.

Jabez’s Achievement

1Chronicles 4:9a “And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren.” Jabez does not allow the implications of his name and his background to make him feel that he is a failure; Jabez’s achievement is a challenge to all who feel that they are severely restricted by an unfortunate situation and defeated by a personal “handicap.” The secret of the success of Jabez lies in his Prayer life and his Faith in God. It is upon his (Jabez’s) Prayer that the Biblical record lays special emphasis.

Prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) (Part 1)

The Prayer of Jabez

Jabez’s Prayer interposed the Genealogies, which is revelatory – 1Chronicles 4:9-10 is called the “the Prayer of Jabez” – 1Chronicles 4:9-10 “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘because I bore him in pain.’ And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So, God granted him what he requested” (NKJV). 1Chronicles 4:9-10 reveals the birth and the journey of Jabez who has the faith to ask God for blessings:

His Name – Jabez

1Chronicles 4:9b “His mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘because I bore him in pain.’” The inauspicious name, Jabez (“he gives pain”) is given to him by his mother, because it is more than the normal birth-pain, as it also involves his “painful-period” of growing up; which he overcomes – 1Chronicles 4:9a “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.” Just what causes Jabez’s mother somber reaction is not known. Whatever the cause of her grief, her gloomy reaction in giving him this name, “Jabez,” destined the son throughout his life to be the symbol of her sorrow; but how does Jabez reverse such inauspicious position??

Jabez’s Prayer

1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’  More space is given to the Prayer of Jabez than to his achievement of outstanding honor. Jabez Prayer is one of the most comprehensive in the Bible, and shines forth like a brilliant star in the midst of a Genealogical Catalogue of Names; it is his Prayer that makes him so outstanding:

  1. To Whom He Prays

Jabez Prays to the God of Israel – 1Chronicles 4:10a “And Jabez called on the God of Israel.” Jabez knows that “the God of Israel” has entered into Covenant Relationship with the Nation of Israel. The LORD (Jehovah) had chosen the children of Israel as His Special People (Exodus 19:5-6) and has given them special privileges. Jabez, being a Member of the Covenantal Nation, he calls upon “the God of Israel” in full assurance of faith that he would receive an audience with his God. We too can call upon God our Father through His Son, Jesus, with full confidence because of our relationship with God our Father through the New Covenant established in Jesus Christ. In addition, the term “God of Israel” could also be understood in two ways:

  • Israel, the Man – The reference is to Jacob (Supplanter = Deceiver) who becomes Israel; Jabez knows the story of Jacob and his transformation under the mercy and grace of God. Jacob, the Supplanter becomes Israel, ruling with God (Genesis 32:24-28); thus, Jabez could pray in confident, with the expected outcome. 
  • Israel, the Nation – Jabez knows what God has done for the Nation of Israel – God has redeemed the Nation of Israel from the Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12) and provides and preserves the Nation of Israel in the Wilderness Journey; established the Nation of Israel and settled the Nation of Israel in the Promised Land; thus, Jabez is able to approach God with complete confident.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..