Just what is this saying?

Have you ever read something and you have to stop and scratch your head to try to figure out what the author is trying to communicate?  That happens to me a lot.  Especially when I read the scriptures.  For instance, 1Chronicles 4:10 states: Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

The words seem plain enough, however the meaning is somewhat elusive.  The word Jabez is used three times within the entire bible, all in the first book of Chronicles.  The first time it is used in chapter 2, it seems to be referring to a location rather than a person.   The following two times is referring to the person.  The name Jabez means ‘He causes sorrow’.  Possibly, his mother named him this as it must have been a difficult childbirth.  And maybe, because of the difficult birth, or an event later in his life, Jabez must have become injured and suffered with a lot of pain throughout his life.  So Jabez, (a name which did not evoke very positive thoughts), was calling out to God so that he could be blessed, rather than reminding everyone of pain. 

Enlarge my territory.  Do you think Jabez was asking God for more real-estate?  No, he was asking God to let him have more influence on a greater area or a greater influence on more people. And he wanted to be free from the pain he was experiencing. And God granted him his request.  Basically, his prayers were answered. 

Sometime, when we want God to use us more, we don’t know how that would come about.  When God was instructing Moses how to confront the Pharaoh in Egypt, Moses came up with excuses.  Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”  I like that scripture because when I don’t know what to do, I start taking inventory of what the Lord has given me.  Then I usually see what I have and how it can be used for the Lord.  Lord, help us to count or take account of the blessings you have given us.  Then help us to understand how we can use those blessings for your glory.  Additionally, help us to know how we can increase or be more effective for you.  In your Son’s name we pray.  Amen. 

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