His Name Was Jabez


Don’t attempt to live up to the expectations of others, tell God what’s in your heart.

In honor of last week’s National Day of Prayer,

maybe Jabez could give you some direction!


He was just a kid with an unfortunate name. Living in a time when your name carried the imprint of what your life would become, you wanted your parents to name you well.

Some parents didn’t!

Take Jabez for example. In the Bible’s Year Book section of First Chronicles (chapter 4) we find Jabez tucked between Anub and Hazzobebah and Kelub and Shuhah. (None of which, by the way, was ever voted the “Most Likely To Succeed” by their classmates.)

The name Jabez means, ‘He Makes Sorrow’ and we can’t be sure why his parents named him that. He may have been the unexpected child who put more stress on the finances than could be handled. Maybe the pain of his birth was off the charts. We don’t know.

His name did not portend a great future for this man. So he did something about it. In the midst of whole chapters giving unpronounceable name after unpronounceable name with scarce additional information on any of them, the narrative skids to a stop at Jabez. He gets an entire verse for himself!

“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers … (and he) cried out to the God of Israel,

‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!

Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm

so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”

I Chronicles 4:10 NIV

He’s got the reputation of being more honorable than the rest of his family … a standout in a field of mediocrity and obscurity, and the only clue we have as to why this distinction is that he prays! Jabez is saying, “God, everything in my past is pointing in the wrong direction. My parents don’t see potential in me. Everyone seems to have low expectations of me.

And so I’m asking you to ‘bless my socks off!’ Multiply the work of my hands. Give me larger quarters and room to maneuver. Keep your hand of blessing on my life and on my family. Don’t let me live up to my name!”

And God say, “Great prayer. I’d love to answer it.”

This week, remember … God sees potential in you that others have missed. He isn’t limited by the limitations that have been placed on you by family or circumstance. His job is to make something very special of your life.

Your job is ask for it and expect it.

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