Jabez is an example of someone who redefined his entire life by looking to God for change. There are only two verses in the entire Bible devoted to him,
yet in these two verses is an abundance of life-changing truth. Jabez discovered how to redefine himself and change his life for good.
“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ And Jabez called on the God
of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my 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” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV).
To his credit, Jabez followed his heart beyond the words of his own family and turned toward God to boldly receive blessing, increase, and freedom. And
as a result, God granted him everything he requested.
The only limits that prevent us from stepping into greater blessing, increase, and freedom are those we continue to allow.
Jabez’ prayer demonstrates this very principle. This young man changed everything about who he was and created a new future and destiny for himself.
To understand how powerful his prayer is, we must notice some important insights.
First, there seems to be no father in the picture. In Hebrew society during biblical times, the father would always give a child his name, yet Jabez was
named by his mother. When a mother gave the name to a child born into the family, it usually meant the father was absent.
Second, the name Jabez’ mother gave him reveals something about this mother. The name Jabez means misery, pain, or sorrow. Who names their child
“Misery”? Some parents look into their newborn’s face, and from the joy they feel, they name their baby Joy. By giving Jabez the name Misery,
she reminded him every day what he had brought into his family: misery and pain.
This kind of rejection would have a painful impact on anyone. In such an environment, a child’s personality can be stifled, causing him to be handicapped
for life. Words like these can also tend to be self-fulfilling prophecies. Jabez could have grown up to become a man who actually did bring a great
deal of misery.
The sins of mothers and fathers continue for generations when they pass on negative ways of thinking, attitudes, unbelief, and fears that have contributed
to their problems and failure. The patterns that surround children as they grow up and the environment they live in can affect the way they make their
decisions and can even influence how freely and deeply they are able to love people.
Jabez faced the challenge of breaking free from the pain his mother passed on to him, and he made a decision to choose a very different path from the one
being thrust upon him. He faced the problem and replaced it with a better way.
In the end, every one of us must make the decision that Jabez did. No matter what anyone else around us chooses to do, we must stand in our resolve to
break free from the defining issues that have held us captive.