Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jabez - Take off the Cloak of Invisibility

1 Chronicles 4:10b Let your hand be with me.

I hated school. Hated going to the bus stop. Hated walking into the building. Hated finding my classes. I hated leaving my mom. I knew my mom still loved me when I was at school, I knew it wouldn't matter what I did or what I got on a test, my mom would be waiting for me at home, always happy to see me. But if I had a choice, I would've had her hold my hand all day long - from the time I got onto the bus until the walk home.

Not too much has changed. I still don't like to do new things alone - it's always nice to have someone next to you, supporting you, loving you. Doesn't go over too well to have mommy sitting next to you during your job interview though. It's socially unacceptable to have your best friend come to your business meeting while you're speaking. I think Jabez had these same feelings.

Jabez prays for God to be with him. I don't think he's actually asking God to be with him, because we know that He is always with us - I think Jabez is asking God to let him feel His presence. We all have the knowledge of understanding that God is omnipresent, but emotionally feeling Him beside us is another thing all together. Jabez wanted to feel God there with him.

This is what having a relationship with God is all about. God knows we need a friend - He wants to be our friend. He wants to be the One that goes with us on that job interview, that first college class, that doctors visit - but if we don't ask Him to let us know He's there, we're putting Him in the corner. I want to know God is standing right there beside me and I want Him to know that I want Him to be there. It all happens through prayer.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jabez - Can I get fries with that?

1 Chronicles 4:10a Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!

My two daughters were in the bathtub. They were probably 2 and 4 at the time. We had lots of fun splashing and washing hair and playing with bubbles. When I told them it was time to get out - they were fine with that. I had forgotten the towels. In the moment that I had said "sit still", to the time I had gone to the closet for the towels - there was a 'thud'. Then tears. I quickly checked what was going on because they were both crying (when one cried, it spurred the other) - my two year old seemed to be fine - my four year old had somehow punctured herself and had a bloody hole at the top of her nose in-between her eyes. I cried out for my husband, we quickly dressed the girls and gathered the rest of the children and headed to the emergency room.

What reminds me of this story is not the cute little scar that was left on my daughters' face, but the feeling of helplessness. The need to call out for someone (my husband) to come to the rescue.

I don't know what was going on with Jabez at that exact moment - but it says he "cried out to God". The Bible doesn't tell us his situation - we only know that he was a righteous man and something in his life had caused him to seek the immediate help of God. The odd thing is what he was asking of God. Bless me. Bring me happiness. Bring me pleasure. He wasn't dying of an illness and asking to be spared his life, his wife wasn't leaving him and he was going to be alone, his company wasn't being downsized and he was out of a job - his cry was for God to make him happy. THEN, he asked for more responsibility. Asking for enlarged territory was not a cry for more acreage to build his in-ground pool - it was for leadership over a larger group of people, and in essence - more power.

If Jabez can cry out to God for power and happiness and be heard - why are we so hesitant to talk to Him on a daily basis, won't He meet our needs as well?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Jabez- What's in a Name?

1 Chronicles 4:9b His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain."

There is nothing more painstaking in a mothers' life than to choose the name of the child. It is the first decision we make for our children that will directly affect them the rest of their lives. Should their name be one of the most common names of the day like Jacob or Emma (registered as most popular in 2008) or should you go with a family name like Grace or Charles? Could a nickname be derived from their name that might cause teasing or ridicule? What name might look good on a resume for a doctor or lawyer - certainly Patricia or Jonathan would look better than Breasia or Damontae on that diploma.

I was never thrilled with my name. Not that I didn't like it, I just wasn't thrilled with it. It was old-fashioned and no one else in my school had my name. I was named after my grandmother - whom I loved - but it was her generation that frequently bore the name "Dorothy". The meaning of my name is another matter indeed. Dorothy means - "Gift of God". It certainly does give weight to the feelings my mom held about having a little girl. I was certainly her gift from God. She loved me to pieces, and still does - I can't imagine a childhood in which one does not feel the unconditional love of their parents. I also realize, I am blessed.

Jabez grew up with a different interpretation to his name. The constant reminder of the sacrifice his mom had to make in order for him to be alive. The reminder that everyone with whom he was introduced would know the suffering his mom went through to give birth. Why would someone put that type of a burden on their child? Isn't it nice to know that we have a Father who has called us His own and who does not dwell on the past, but only offers us a better future? That the only reminder we need is that He loves us so much He sent His son to die on a cross - so that we could be with Him forever. No wonder they call Him - Saviour.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jabez - Honor Roll.

1 Chronicles 4:9a Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.

If you could choose one word to describe yourself - what would it be? If you could choose one word to compare yourself against other people - what would it be? Sounds like those awful job interview questions, doesn't it?

The first time Jabez is ever mentioned in the Bible - and let us take note that to even be mentioned in the Bible means we should 'take note' - he is described as "honorable". And not just plain 'honorable', comparatively MORE honorable than his brothers.

I did my Webster search to find out just exactly what this word entails, here it is: characterized by integrity : guided by a high sense of honor and duty.

Today begins my look at Jabez and why God would give such high praise to Jabez - a man who is only shortly mentioned in an obscure area of the Bible amidst the tedious geneology verses.

Final question, if God could choose one word to describe you, what would it be?