Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 17 June 20:
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 — Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.
1 Chronicles 3 succinctly lists the descendants of David with very little commentary, and 1 Chronicles 4 likewise lists the descendants of Judah; but notably the chapter pauses to give commentary on an obscure person born from an anonymous mother, Jabez. Many believe his father was Kenaz who likewise is not mentioned here. So, why does the Bible stop at this point to celebrate the life of Jabez?
Jabez was born into hard circumstances – “Because I bore him in pain.” Perhaps the reason we don’t know much about his family is because the family was somewhat dysfunctional – “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.” It would appear that odds were against Jabez in life, but “Jabez called upon the God of Israel,” and God lifted him out of his life of pain. We don’t hear about Jabez’ profession, his talents and abilities, or his accomplishments in life, we are told simply about what made him different, what set him apart — he relied upon God, lived honorably, and, therefore, was blessed.
Perhaps you come from an insignificant or dysfunctional family. Perhaps you have a checkered past. Maybe you are facing huge challenges now and are concerned about the welfare of your children as Jabez’ mother likely was. Learn from the life of Jabez – turn to God and trust in Him, remembering the promise of Romans 8:28-29 – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Live “Semper Fidelis Coram Deo – Always Faithful Before the Face of God.” What matters isn’t your past, your current challenges, or your talents, skills and abilities; what matters is your relationship with God – “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness….” (Matthew 6:33)
Finally, a special thanks to those anonymous, uncelebrated parents who tirelessly endeavor to raise up Godly children – “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring.” (Malachi 2:15)
Jabez was an ordinary person who is forever memorialized in God’s word as a positive example for all generations not because of his talents, skills, abilities or accomplishments but because of his relationship with God, his prayerful reliance on God, his honorable and faithful life before God, and God’s subsequent blessings upon his life. Jabez’ legacy was his faithfulness before God. How will you be remembered, and what will be your legacy?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 June 20: Despite your circumstances, trust in the Lord, and hope in Him for the future. Diligently seek the Lord in prayer, Bible study, and obedience. Be known not by your abilities or accomplishments but rather by your powerful relationship with God and strive to leave a legacy of faithfulness to God. Live Semper Fidelis Coram Deo – Always Faithful Before the Face of God.