Into the year of 2021 I’m reminded of the guy who said, “My new year’s resolution is to read more so I turned the subtitles on my TV.” I think a more productive resolution would be to have a daily Bible reading and prayer time. If you read three chapters of the Old Testament and two chapters of the New Testament every day, you can read all the way through the Bible in a year.
As you read through your Bible, especially the Old Testament, one of the hurdles you face are the lists of names encountered along the way. Arriving at I Chronicles you will encounter nine chapters of names, most of which I cannot pronounce, and I had word studies in seminary. Why do we have all these lists of names in the Bible? For several reasons, but one of the reasons is because people are important to God and God knows you by name. Jesus said in John 10:3, that he “calls his own sheep by name.” You are special to Him.
But as you are plowing through this list of names in these nine chapters, the Lord drops a little diamond right in the midst of these chapters. It’s like a gift to reward you for all the tough work you’ve done getting through those names. It is easy to miss but in I Chronicles chapter 4, God has dropped two verses which tells us a remarkable story of Jabez and his prayer.
Jabez was a man with pain in his life. Verse 9 states his mother called his name Jabez, “Saying, Because I bore him in my sorrow.” What do you do with the sorrows, problems, and pain in your life? Some are driven to alcohol and illicit drugs to hopefully medicate their pain away. Some are driven to prodigal lifestyles. These are inadequate solutions.
Jabez was driven to his Bible. Notice vs 10, “And Jabez called on the God of Israel.” Where did he find out about Israel? He found out in the book of Genesis. Jacob was Israel’s previous name. Jabez did not have as big a Bible as we do, but he had the book of Genesis. It is possible as Jabez was reading his Bible, looking for some solution to his problem, he hit upon a boy named Benoni who had a problem. It was there that Jabez found himself in the Bible. Read your Bible intently and you will find yourself along with answers to your problems.
Jabez was also driven to his knees. We see this in I Chronicles 4:10, “And Jabez called on the God of Israel.” Go to God with your problems. The hymn writer put it so well, “Oh, what peace we often forfeit; oh, what needless pain we bear; all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”