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I Chronicles 4:10 "And Jabez called on the God of Israel . . . ."

I Chronicles 4:10 "And Jabez called on the God of Israel . . . ."

Jabez literally means "he makes sorrow," according to Dake's Annotated Reference Bible. Jabez was a living, breathing monument to the pain his mother endured during labor. Jabez's mother then made the unfortunate decision to bequeath, not just a name, but a destiny to her offspring in naming him "maker of sorrows." Just think about what you would do. In making invitations to birthday parties, weddings or holidays, would you invite "Mr. Sorrow Maker?" The stigma, status and stereotype of sorrow could have been Jabez's lot --if he allowed it to be. Thanks be to God that even in the darkest of our sorrows, we can reach the throne of God through our prayers and find joy! Psalm 34:17, "The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles."Jabez prayed to "the God of Israel." We know of the special place that the Israelites occupy in the sight of God. But why would the Chronicles' writer seemingly limit the authority and scope of God's sovereignty by referring to Him as just "the God of Israel?" Did the writer not believe God also had authority over ancient Greece, Assyria & Samaria? In this particular context "the God of Israel" had less to do with defining God's scope of authority or geography and more to do with relationship. Many of these other countries did not acknowledge or accept the "Lordship" of God. Luke 6:46, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?"Before we examine the substance of Jabez's prayer, we should recognize that there was a foundation of relationship. We are often tempted to move quickly to our favorite part of this prayer with God "blessing us" and "enlarging our coasts." In doing so, we sometimes gloss over whether we have allowed God to be Lord over our decisions, thoughts and behavior. God is ready, willing and able to bless us -- but there is an order. Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." May you have a blessed day!Andrae P. Crismon, Sr. is the pastor of Higher Ground Worship Center, Church of God in Christ, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and the author of "Lord, Keep My Mind Clean: A 31 Day Devotional & Accountability Journal."

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