1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV 9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name [a]Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my [b]territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So, God granted him what he requested.
I came across the Prayer of Jabez about a couple years ago. I found out that there was a book written on this tiny story in the book of 1st Chronicles. I have read these 2 verses many times and even prayed the prayer. But something happened recently, when I was studying these verses for a sermon I was preparing. I noticed the word pain. I have always known that names in the Bible are there for many reasons and usually they add to the story, because names have meanings.
The name Jabez is no exception. יַעְבֵּץ Yaʻbêts, yah-bates’; from an unused root probably meaning to grieve; sorrowful. His mother named him Jabez, because she bore him in pain. As was custom a child was named on the 8th day. She must have had a difficult labor and maybe even a tough week.
In the first part, even before it speaks about his name; the verse mentions that he was more honorable than his brothers. To me, it seems like his name caused him to try and please his mother as he grew up. He must have known what his name meant and possibly asked his mom why she named him sorrow maker.
As children of God, just like Jabez; there is nothing we can do about our past or name to make things better. The blood of Jesus is all we need to change our past and to be new creations. Just like Jabez, our prayer should focus on asking God to keep us from evil so that we will not cause any more pain.
Notice, he prayed that he may not cause pain.
Re-read the verses again with this in mind. Labeled as a painful child, he did not want to be the one to cause pain. I join all of you now in this prayer, that God can help us walk upright with Him as we live out our days of Heaven upon the Earth.
By Edgar Mendez (Listen to the message “Heaven Upon Earth”)