Bluewater Bay Community Church

Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen

From Pain to Gain

by Erik Momsen

Life is a blend of pain and gain.  Some think you need pain to appreciate joy and there are songs about "seeing the sunshine through the rain".  Whether this balance of joy and pain is desirable is not really important.  What is important is that we accept Jesus' words "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33).  Much of the trouble is of our own making as Proverbs 19:3 shows; "A mans own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord."

There is however trouble and pain that are no fault of our own and these may have a devastating effect on our lives.  We may be born into poverty and brokenness or, perhaps worse, spiritual ignorance which leads to destruction in this world and the next.

The good news is that despite circumstances the Lord is more than able to turn things around, provided He has our co-operation.

There was a man whose very name meant "Pain".  Yet through the hand of God, he became one among hundreds of patriarchs who is described as "more honourable".  In nine chapters of little more than a list of names the name of Jabez stands out.  This is the only reference to him in the entire Bible and then he gets only two verses. Two very powerful verses.

"Jabez was more honourable than his brothers.  His mother 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". (1 Chronicles 4:9,10)

Jabez, from the tribe of Judah, lived in Southern Israel in the time of the judges.  His mother experienced great distress at the time of his birth.  We do not know if it was physical, emotional or spiritual pain, but Jabez grew up with a name that reminded everyone of his origins.  He had a bad start and his name only made it worse.  A name in Hebrew, like other cultures, describes people's character and even their future.

Jabez takes his pain to the Lord and prays "Oh, that You would bless me indeed".  The "indeed" in Hebrew represents a great urgency and exclamation.  To bless in biblical terms means to impart supernatural favour.  We are not asking for what we could get or do for ourselves.  Proverbs 10:22 describes this blessing.  "The Lord's blessing is our great wealth; all our works add nothing to it".

Important about Jabez’s blessing is that he left ALL the details of the blessing to God.  He was asking that God's plan and blessing would be released.

Another vital aspect of receiving a God determined blessing, is that we must ask - NO ASK NO GET.
"Ask and it will be given to you." (Matthew 7:7)
"You do not have because you do not ask." (James 4:2)

The process and power of the blessing is seen in Genesis 27:17-40, the story of Jacob and Esau.  Isaac desires the blessing and it has great power.  Esau loses what is rightfully his because of his wayward character and a scheming brother.  Esau is devastated because he knows what he has lost.

It is important for us to ask to be blessed - NOT DICTATE THE SHOPPING LIST.  In doing so we come to understand the nature of the Father.  This is a vital part of the gospel.  The fact is that the Father wants to forgive and bless those who come to Him like children.  Which of us, as mothers and fathers, would not want to bless our children to our full capacity and with our best wisdom?  How much more does our Father in Heaven want to give us the best at the best moment and in His great wisdom?

SUMMARY

 - Life for Jabez started badly and promised to continue in this way.
 - Jabez prayed a simple, desperate, believing prayer.
 - Things ended very well for Jabez.

"Lord Bless Me" sounds so selfish that we recoil from this prayer.  However, if we pray this prayer trusting that God does bless, that He knows best, that He longs to bless His children and that His timing is right, then the fears, anxieties and pain that bedevil us are removed in His Blessing.

Date Added: 2010-04-28

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