1 Chronicles 4:1-20 (Part 2) – Undeniably, Without Question!

Posted: December 3, 2019 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 4:1-20 (Part 2 of 5)

Other Descendants of Judah

As a full-time lead pastor now, I have to pray publicly quite a bit and I have to pray for families always when I visit them in the hospitals and virtually every time that I visit a family on a regular pastoral visitation in their home. Thus, prayer has been elevated in importance for me not only because I am lead pastor now but also, as a result of that, personally too. I admit prior to taking on this role as the lead or solo pastor here at my “little engine that can” church in Lamar, SC my prayer life just was not what it should have been. I tended to be a person of prayer in times of personal crisis, rather than a person who prays multiple times per day. As with anything else in my journey since the day of my salvation back in December 2001, the Holy Spirit often pushes, make that, shoves, me out of my comfort zone when it is time for me to grow further in my relationship with Jesus Christ. Sometimes, He has to use a metaphorical 2×4 up against my head to get me to grow. Then I go, “Ouch, and OK, I get it now” and start growing in the way the Holy Spirit desires me to grow. Prayer is no different. So, it is kind of ironic that we are now upon the famous prayer of Jabez in this, our walk through each book of the Bible.

The thing that struck me and always has about this prayer (and I am sure that it has for you as well) is the fact that Jabez prays for God not just to bless him but to bless him, indeed! I am not a great Hebrew scholar and we don’t have time this morning for an in depth word study so we will limit ourselves this morning to the English words presented that are in question. I think that we all understand what bless me means. So, it is the word indeed that is peculiar in this phrase. In the Webster dictionary, we find that indeed means “without any question, truly, undeniably”. Thus, Jabez is asking the Lord to bless him in a way that is undeniable and without question that it is a blessing from God.

With that idea of undeniable and without question blessings from God, let’s read the passage, 1 Chronicles 4:1-20, now:

Chapter 4

1 The descendants of Judah were Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur, and Shobal.

2 Shobal’s son Reaiah was the father of Jahath. Jahath was the father of Ahumai and Lahad. These were the families of the Zorathites.

3 The descendants of[a] Etam were Jezreel, Ishma, Idbash, their sister Hazzelelponi, 4 Penuel (the father of[b] Gedor), and Ezer (the father of Hushah). These were the descendants of Hur (the firstborn of Ephrathah), the ancestor of Bethlehem.

5 Ashhur (the father of Tekoa) had two wives, named Helah and Naarah. 6 Naarah gave birth to Ahuzzam, Hepher, Temeni, and Haahashtari. 7 Helah gave birth to Zereth, Izhar,[c] Ethnan, 8 and Koz, who became the ancestor of Anub, Zobebah, and all the families of Aharhel son of Harum.

9 There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez[d] because his birth had been so painful. 10 He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.

11 Kelub (the brother of Shuhah) was the father of Mehir. Mehir was the father of Eshton. 12 Eshton was the father of Beth-rapha, Paseah, and Tehinnah. Tehinnah was the father of Ir-nahash. These were the descendants of Recah.

13 The sons of Kenaz were Othniel and Seraiah. Othniel’s sons were Hathath and Meonothai.[e] 14 Meonothai was the father of Ophrah. Seraiah was the father of Joab, the founder of the Valley of Craftsmen,[f] so called because they were craftsmen.

15 The sons of Caleb son of Jephunneh were Iru, Elah, and Naam. The son of Elah was Kenaz.

16 The sons of Jehallelel were Ziph, Ziphah, Tiria, and Asarel.

17 The sons of Ezrah were Jether, Mered, Epher, and Jalon. One of Mered’s wives became[g] the mother of Miriam, Shammai, and Ishbah (the father of Eshtemoa). 18 He married a woman from Judah, who became the mother of Jered (the father of Gedor), Heber (the father of Soco), and Jekuthiel (the father of Zanoah). Mered also married Bithia, a daughter of Pharaoh, and she bore him children.

19 Hodiah’s wife was the sister of Naham. One of her sons was the father of Keilah the Garmite, and another was the father of Eshtemoa the Maacathite.

20 The sons of Shimon were Amnon, Rinnah, Ben-hanan, and Tilon.

The descendants of Ishi were Zoheth and Ben-zoheth.

In this passage, you will note that Jabez is asking God to bless him in an undeniable way, in a way that raises no questions as from whom the blessing came. When I pray for families and even in corporate pastoral prayers, it has been often laid on my heart by the Holy Spirit to pray that the Lord would make Himself known to those for whom I pray in ways that they will know completely and undeniably that it is God that did whatever we are praying for. That breaks down two ways, I think. One is that asking God to bless a person, a situation, a request for change, recovery, or whatever is for God to do so in a powerful way that is undeniable to us. As well, there is an aspect to that type of prayer is so that others, particularly non-believers, cannot deny or offer up another explanation other than it was God who did it.

For us, we are often dense people who cannot see the working of God in our lives until we look back in hindsight. What we pray for and what Jabez may have been praying for is for God to work his wonders in our lives in a way that we can actually perceive it at the moment. In that moment, we are praying, we are asking God to clear the clutter out of our minds and our perceptions and allow us to see His handiwork in our lives in that very moment that He does it – not some 10 years down the road when we are reflecting on how God has grown us over the years. We are begging God to give us assurance in the moment of happening that He is working on our behalf in that very moment of happening. Sometimes, we just need our Abba Father to give us, the dense human beings that we are, some extra sense of His presence in the moment. There are times when we are down and out and just need an extra dose of knowing His presence is real in our lives and that He has not forsaken us. It is not wrong to seek that from God. I think it is through regular and routine prayer that God prepares our hearts to see what’s been there all along – the way that He is with us through everything – even the darkest moments.

For others, particularly non-believers, we are asking God when we say indeed is to make His presence known to the hardened hearts of non-believers. We are asking that the Holy Spirit soften their heart and they see God at work after years or even a lifetime of having the scales on their eyes when it comes to things of God. We are asking that God make Himself known to these individuals in a way that is unique for each one and thus in a way that this person cannot explain away a true move of God, a true miracle of God in someone’s life. We are praying that such things open their heart up to the Lord. So many times in life, those who do not believe in God will explain away the things of God with such ease that they are closed off to the possibility of a Creator who is actively involved with his Creation. Indeed, undeniably, without question, we are asking God to make it impossible for a situation to be explained away by these folks. That’s a bold prayer. We are not moving God to do something that He is not already doing but we are asking for that person to be unable to explain away something of God so that their arguments are gone and they can begin now to consider that there is a God and that He is worth believing.

Bless me indeed, Lord. Do miracles in our lives and let us be attuned to what You have been doing all along.  Indeed, open our eyes and the eyes of others to what You are doing in ways that are undeniable and without question.

Amen and Amen.

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