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May 2 Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 3-5
The Prayer of Jabez
1 Chronicles 4:10
The story of Jabez is sandwiched between fragments of a genealogical listing of the descendants of Judah. Apparently Jabez’s mother experienced greater pain than normal during the birth of her son. Following the delivery she named her son Jabez, which is a play on the Hebrew word for “pain.” We know nothing about Jabez’s life except what we read in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. We are told that “Jabez was more honorable than his brethren” (v. 9). Then God the Holy Spirit gives us the brief prayer (v. 10) of this honorable man for our learning.
1st Chronicles 3
David’s family tree was meticulously preserved with an eye to our Lord Jesus. Still, it is difficult to read the genealogy of David’s family without connecting with it the great sorrow his children brought upon this man after God’s own heart. Surely, even this is for our comfort and edification. Where do brokenhearted mothers and fathers, who trust and worship God, find relief and strength and comfort when they think of their rebel sons and daughters who hate the God they love? They find it exactly where David found it, and only there, in God’s covenant love and covenant faithfulness. — “Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow” (2 Samuel 23:5). Troubled saint, brokenhearted mother, heavy-laden father, set your heart on Christ and have peace. God our Savior does all things well. He is too good to do wrong, too wise to make a mistake, and too strong to fail.
1st Chronicles 4
Judah was the most illustrious and the most numerous of all the tribes of Israel. It formed a separate kingdom, including Levi, Simeon, and Benjamin. When the other tribes were scattered and almost lost by the Assyrian conquests, Judah became conspicuously great and flourishing. Why was Judah preserved? Why was Judah so exalted? It was God’s purpose to bring our Savior into the world through the tribe of Judah. He who is God our Savior is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.”
1st Chronicles 5
The genealogies of Israel in the tribe of Reuben, and also in the tribe of Gad form the principal subjects of this chapter. Reuben, Jacob’s oldest son, forfeited the birthright by incest (Genesis 49:4). Therefore Joseph was given both his own portion and Ruben’s. Looking to Christ, the promised Seed in faith (Hebrews 11:21), the dying patriarch gave Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh their portion. But Jacob declared by the spirit of prophecy that the scepter would not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh (Christ) come (Genesis 49:10).
How precise the prophecies and promises of the Book of God in the Old Testament were! Rejoice, O my soul, for truly the promises of God in Christ Jesus are yea and amen. Not one shall ever fall to the ground!
Go back in your mind to Jabez and his prayer. We read in 1st Chronicles 4:9-10 that “Jabez was more honourable than his brethren...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! And God granted him that which he requested.” Surely Jabez is set before us here as one remarkably typical of the Lord Jesus. Our blessed Savior, like Jabez, was more honorable than his brethren. He was and is “greatest in the kingdom of God,” who became least when he was made sin for us. This he did for the enlargement of his coast that the heathen by his Father’s decree might be given to him for an inheritance and the utmost part of the earth for his possession.
Jabez also represents every believing sinner seeking the mercy and grace of God in Christ. What is it to be blessed of God, but to have my sins forgiven through the precious blood of Christ? Truly, our coast is enlarged if Christ has made us free! And we are assured by God’s own word that he will keep us from all evil, keep us from the evil one, and keep us forever in the arms of his omnipotent mercy, love, and grace in Christ!
Oh Lord God, as you heard and answered the prayer of Jabez, hear me and grant my request for all these spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus! Bless me, my God, and make me truly happy indeed, by making me all that thou wouldst have me to be in Christ. Make him and him alone my Portion, my Hope, my Joy, my Life, my Salvation, my All, all the days of my life and to all eternity!