1 Chronicles 4:1-20 (Part 4) – The Request Is A Commitment

Posted: December 9, 2019 in 13-1 Chronicles

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

Other Descendants of Judah

Yesterday, I began a new sermon series called “An Uncommon Family”. In this series, we will be looking at each member of The Holy Family (Joseph, Mary, and Jesus). Yesterday, we started with Joseph. In that sermon, I spoke about how startling it is that, in a manner of the first two chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph has a vision from the Lord no less than 4 times. The dude had a hotline to the Lord, it seems. He was in-tune with the Lord enough to have heard directly from an angel of the Lord 4 times. Even more amazing was the faith that Joseph had in the Lord such that he obeyed everything that the angel commanded each time. Because we have made the nativity story so commercialized and romanticized, we forget that Joseph had some tough decisions to make. He did not have the hindsight that we have. He was making his decisions in real time. He did not have the script to the nativity scene as we do. He was living all this out in the present moment. His choices were based on the faith that He had in the Lord. His faith led to immediate obedience to what He had been told.

I reasoned in the sermon that most likely the reason that Joseph heard from the Lord so often was that he was a man of extraordinary faith. He was a man who made the Lord a part of everything he did in his everyday life. I further reasoned that sometimes in our busy 21st century world, the reason that we do not hear from the Lord as often as Joseph is that we are less intimate with the Lord than Joseph. We let the white noise of the world around distract us from being intimate with the Lord. We let mortgages and car payments and appointments and kids sports and our favorite college or pro sports team or NASCAR or whatever it is get in the way of putting the Lord on the throne of our hearts. We are not intimate with the Lord because we don’t pay Him the attention that we should. We may say that we put the Lord first in our lives but, in reality, there are more things ahead of God in importance to us than we care to admit or mention.

That is what is striking to me this morning as I read the phrase of Jabez’s prayer where he asks that the Lord be with him in all that he does. That means Jabez wants the Lord to be part of the everyday things, the day-to-day, hour-to-hour things just like I reasoned that was the case with Joseph. In order for Jabez to have the Lord be a part of everything, he must be the focus of everything that we do from the time we get up until we go to bed regardless of what our vocation or profession is. We must make the Lord primary in everything we do in order for Him to be with us in everything we do. With that idea of making God the primary focus of everything we do, 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, we see that, in this unique side story of Jabez in an otherwise simple recitation of names in genealogies, Jabez asks that the Lord be with him in everything he does. That’s an invitation for intimacy that is more for Jabez’s sake than it is for the Lord. The Lord is with us and around us at all times. He is the boundless, timeless Creator of all things, including each one of us. Therefore, He is everywhere, all around us, all the time. He does not have to be invited to be near us or around is. He already is. He is God. We do not control Him like a valve that we turn to the open or shut position. He is there.

Thus, what Jabez is saying is that he is committing to recognizing the fact that God is there in everything that he does. He is committing to making himself cognizant of this fact at every moment of every day. He is committing to making God the primary focus of his life each and every day in everything that he does. He is going to give God glory for everything. He is going to be intimate with God in every moment of every day. That’s where deep faith begins. That’s where Joseph was in the nativity story. That’s where Jabez is in this prayer. Both men have great faith and that faith results from recognizing God in everything that we do. That comes from making God part of everything that we do. That comes from being intimate with God, recognizing Him in everything and paying attention to Him in everything. Who is on the throne of your heart today? Is it God or is it something of this world?

Amen and Amen.

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