Dr. Dave Burnette
1 Chronicles 4 - The Prayer of Jabez
1 Chronicles 4 1The sons of Judah; Pharez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal. 2And Reaiah the son of Shobal begat Jahath; and Jahath begat Ahumai, and Lahad. These are the families of the Zorathites. 3And these were of the father of Etam; Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash: and the name of their sister was Hazelelponi: 4And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah, the father of Bethlehem. 5And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah. 6And Naarah bare him Ahuzam, and Hepher, and Temeni, and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah. 7And the sons of Helah were, Zereth, and Jezoar, and Ethnan. 8And Coz begat Anub, and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum. 9And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. 10And 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. 11And Chelub the brother of Shuah begat Mehir, which was the father of Eshton. 12And Eshton begat Bethrapha, and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of Irnahash. These are the men of Rechah. 13And the sons of Kenaz; Othniel, and Seraiah: and the sons of Othniel; Hathath. 14And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen. 15And the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh; Iru, Elah, and Naam: and the sons of Elah, even Kenaz. 16And the sons of Jehaleleel; Ziph, and Ziphah, Tiria, and Asareel. 17And the sons of Ezra were, Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon: and she bare Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. 18And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took. 19And the sons of his wife Hodiah the sister of Naham, the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite. 20And the sons of Shimon were, Amnon, and Rinnah, Benhanan, and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were, Zoheth, and Benzoheth. 21The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were, Er the father of Lecah, and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, of the house of Ashbea, 22And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem. And these are ancient things. 23These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work. 24The sons of Simeon were, Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul: 25Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son. 26And the sons of Mishma; Hamuel his son, Zacchur his son, Shimei his son. 27And Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters: but his brethren had not many children, neither did all their family multiply, like to the children of Judah. 28And they dwelt at Beersheba, and Moladah, and Hazarshual, 29And at Bilhah, and at Ezem, and at Tolad, 30And at Bethuel, and at Hormah, and at Ziklag, 31And at Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusim, and at Bethbirei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities unto the reign of David. 32And their villages were, Etam, and Ain, Rimmon, and Tochen, and Ashan, five cities: 33And all their villages that were round about the same cities, unto Baal. These were their habitations, and their genealogy. 34And Meshobab, and Jamlech, and Joshah, the son of Amaziah, 35And Joel, and Jehu the son of Josibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel, 36And Elioenai, and Jaakobah, and Jeshohaiah, and Asaiah, and Adiel, and Jesimiel, and Benaiah, 37And Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah; 38These mentioned by their names were princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly. 39And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks. 40And they found fat pasture and good, and the land was wide, and quiet, and peaceable; for they of Ham had dwelt there of old. 41And these written by name came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the habitations that were found there, and destroyed them utterly unto this day, and dwelt in their rooms: because there was pasture there for their flocks. 42And some of them, even of the sons of Simeon, five hundred men, went to mount Seir, having for their captains Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi. 43And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.
Today's Scripture Meaning Genealogies. - In this chapter we have a further account of Judah, the most numerous and most famous of all the tribes; also an account of Simeon. The most remarkable person in this chapter is Jabez. We are not told upon what account Jabez was more honourable than his brethren; but we find that he was a praying man. The way to be truly great, is to seek to do God's will, and to pray earnestly. Here is the prayer he made. Jabez prayed to the living and true God, who alone can hear and answer prayer; and, in prayer he regarded him as a God in covenant with his people. He does not express his promise, but leaves it to be understood; he was afraid to promise in his own strength, and resolved to devote himself entirely to God. Lord, if thou wilt bless me and keep me, do what thou wilt with me; I will be at thy command and disposal for ever. As the text reads it, this was the language of a most ardent and affectionate desire, Oh that thou wouldest bless me! Four things Jabez prayed for. 1. That God would bless him indeed. Spiritual blessings are the best blessings: God's blessings are real things, and produce real effects. 2. That He would enlarge his coast. That God would enlarge our hearts, and so enlarge our portion in himself, and in the heavenly Canaan, ought to be our desire and prayer. 3. That God's hand might be with him. God's hand with us, to lead us, protect us, strengthen us, and to work all our works in us and for us, is a hand all-sufficient for us. 4. That he would keep him from evil, the evil of sin, the evil of trouble, all the evil designs of his enemies, that they might not hurt, nor make him a Jabez indeed, a man of sorrow. God granted that which he requested. God is ever ready to hear prayer: his ear is not now heavy.
Today's Scripture Application Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of 1 Chronicles with Chapter 4. In our text today we see see the descendants of Judah and Simeon as the tribes of Israel are expounded upon. What catches my eye is the prayer of Jabez as he asks for the Lord to bless and protect him in and evil world. In making application we see the need for prayer in our lives. Not to use God as a "Drive thru Window" to meet every fleshly desire we have, but to call upon the Lord to do His Will in our lives as we walk through an worldly system that is ungodly and full of snares and deception. How about you? Do you see the need to pray to the Lord to guide and protect you as you walk in this world? Let us learn from our text today and the Prayer of Jabez to seek God in Prayer to guide us through a world that is far from the heart of God.
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Sincerely, Dr. Dave Burnette Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.