RIGHT in the middle of a list of names from I Chronicles is this snippet about a man named Jabez. Here is what was written about him: "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, 'I gave birth to him in pain.' Jabez 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." It's an interesting statement about who he was, "More honorable than his brothers," his name and why he was called Jabez, "I gave birth to him in pain," and then his wonderful prayer to God, "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."

            AS far as Jabez being more honorable than his brothers, we are not given any details, other than he was willing to pray to God, which may have been the very reason for his honorability.

            THE reason his mother named him Jabez is pretty clearly spelled out for us, she gave birth to him in pain. What is interesting about the name Jabez from the Hebrew, is it literally means to grieve, be in sorrow or in pain. Now I've heard of some bad labels in my life for people, but this one is pretty bad, especially when it was your loving mother who gave you the label. His name didn't really set him up to be an honorable man. Maybe this is another indication for God saying he was more honorable. He rose above his family's label and made something of himself. He must have been quite a man.

            NOW let's look at this wonderful prayer that we can apply to our lives. First, he asked God to bless him and enlarge his territory. The word "enlarge" means to multiply, increase or to make abundant. Obviously, because most of these people either raised crops or tended livestock, more land would be a valuable thing. If his territory was enlarged he could expand his "business" by growing more or tending to more. This, in the long run, would make him more successful. It was an honorable thing to seek God for this blessing because it was his recognition of the source of his eventual success, God.

            JABEZ also asked that God's hand would be with him. He knew that just as prosperity came from God, so did protection. This is more than likely the meaning of Jabez asking for God's hand. He wanted God to keep him from harm. It can also signify a partnership with God. Jabez did not want to walk alone. Again, an honorable thing to request.

            FINALLY, Jabez asked that God would keep him from harm SO THAT he would be free from pain. This is a very interesting prayer. It's as if Jabez is asking God to free him from himself... his label. This tells us that God is the one who can truly set us free from who we are and what we've been known as. He restores our reputations.

            SO what about you? Is God your source or answer to prosperity? Is He the God of blessings for your finances or are you assuming that your increase will come from somewhere else? And then about that increase, is God the one who will protect what you have been given or are you going to be able to keep it all safe? Furthermore, do you need a partner in life or are you going to choose to go it alone? I don't think there is anything honorable, from God's perspective, about us being independent of Him. He created us and loves us and wants nothing but the best for us. So why wouldn't we do the honorable thing and cry out to God, as Jabez did, and simply ask for His help? I'm not too sure his brothers did.

            PROVERBS 19:3 says, "A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord." Recognizing that I am my worst enemy is a valuable thing to see and understand. I do some unwise things at times and I need to be delivered from myself. Sometimes I do dumb things because I have assumptions of me based on the labels I have received in my life. Like Jabez, I have been called things that are not helpful to my success. But God can free me from those if I ask. But if I don't ask for His deliverance then I can't really blame Him for my misfortune. To rage against the Lord for the things I have done gets me nowhere. But to seek Him as Jabez did is the honorable thing to do.