Bible Topics
in the Christian Library
Personalities Of The Old Testament
JABEZ – Disabled But Not Disqualified!
1 Chronicles 4:9-10

 1. One of the most amazing studies in the Scripture is examining the “notable unknowns” of the Bible. The odd names of those who lived thousands of years ago is most intriguing. Many valuable lessons are discovered in the lives of these people. Such a study is exciting because it prods one’s curiosity and with eagerness asks the anticipating query – “What will I discover about this person that will help me live more godly?”

 2. The inspired Chronicler is giving a register of names. From this register we discover a description of a man that gives a welcomed change to the mundane reading of name after name. The name is “Jabez.” The mention of Jabez caused one to refer to him as “the oasis in the desert” of this list.

3. What do we really know about Jabez?

  a. Little is actually known about this man. All we know is what inspiration saw fit to record in these brief passages.

  b. Jabez is known as a man of prayer and has become famous for directness and simplicity in prayer. His goodness lives and speaks to us in these brief passages.

 4. The GOODNESS of Jabez. Romans 15:4 – From this Old Testament personality we will be able to see many applicable lessons. For the purpose of our present study we want to focus upon his goodness. Why was he so good? Contemplation of Jabez offers these points:

 a. The SUPREME IMPORTANCE of one’s character.

   1) Jabez was “honorable.” Inspiration saw fit to record this one quality at the beginning. 

   2) Good and honorable men/women are long remembered – why? Those who are evil and lack integrity are soon forgotten – why? (Cf Pr 10:7; Ps 112:6).

   3) What are the qualities of true “honor” that causes one to be known as Jabez was known – a “honorable” person?

    a) There must be up-rightness in our dealings with others. 
    We must be known as honest and true to our agreements; prompt in payment of our debts; fair in trades. Cf Lv 19:35-36;Dt 25:15-16; Ps 24:4; Pr 11:1; 12:22; 15:1-5; Is 33:15-16; Lk 6:31; 1 Pt 2:12).

   b) There must be respect for God. 
    Those who do not seek God’s respect will never become “honorable” (cf Lk 18:2ff). In the truest sense an “honorable man” is a man of God; one marked by constant association with God.


   1) The birth of Jabez was in an unknown sorrow. His childhood was overshadowed by his mother’s sorrows. His first memories were those of grief and a mother’s tears. Through this sorrow the mother’s heart was touched and made more loving. The influence of a godly mother helped mold this son into a man of honor, faith, and grace.

   2) What a far-reaching lesson is found in this “notable unknown” man. Whatever the adversities of life, a mother can still train and plant deep within the child’s heart a love and fear for God. This is one of the greatest things a mother should do for her child! (2 Ti 1:5).

   3) Do you think the mother of Jabez lived to see the “honor” of her work? If so her heart must have delighted in the mature fruit of her care! What a wonderful joy must have filled her life. Think for a moment on the aspects of “training” that must accompany a mother’s love as she struggles through sorrows to instill honor within her child’s heart. What specific things should a mother do to instill faith in her child’s heart?


   1) Jabez was a spiritual person. His life was characterized by a special piety. He entrusted his entire life to God and earnestly desired that God would richly bless him in all things. He truly committed his way to the Lord!

   2) Of all traits in Jabez, it is his faith in God that is most prominent. He believed in God, trusted in God’s goodness, relaxed in God’s powers, and found comfort in God’s concern for human affairs.

   3) “When Jabez grew into manhood he has learnt to estimate rightly the value of God’s blessings. He invokes it and depends upon it. His language implies the confidence that he had in the reality of providential blessing” (The Pulpit Commentary, Vol 6, 43).

   4) Jabez challenges all Believers with understanding the urgency to demonstrate steadfastness in their spiritual lives (cf Gal 5:1; Col 1:22-23; Philip 1:27).

5. The PRAYER of Jabez.

 A close study of this man’s prayer is rewarding. Such a study helps us to understand what elements are essential if we are to practice praying that brings results. Notice these following aspects associated with powerful praying.

 a. It was addressed to God.
  He speaks to God as one intimately familiar with the mighty Jehovah God. Here was a man who knew God. He did not pray to some abstract or unknown Deity. He knew God as the covenant God; the Almighty God.

  This is a critical point of praying that is often overlooked. Many think they know God, but they do not. When one truly KNOWS God then praying changes dramatically. Our prayers are to be addressed to the Almighty God, the loving Father (Mt 6:6-9).

 b. It was well-defined.
  Jabez knew for what he was praying and he asked with earnestness! “Indeed” is the emphasis. How often are our prayers aimless; misguided? Many pray to God without any idea of what they are to ask. In the midst of vague words or trite expressions, they actually pray for nothing! What do you think God’s attitude is toward such prayers? (Cf Dt 1:45; Is 1:15; 59:2; Mal 2:11-13; Jas 4:3; 1 Pt 3:7). Let us carefully consider our prayers and be earnest in our asking (Lk 18:1-7).

 c. It asked for blessings.
  Of those who fail to ask for blessings do so because they have grown accustomed to God’s blessings. An integral part of any prayer ought to be beseeching God for His divine favors.

 d. It was a prayer for prosperity.
  Here we find biblical support for asking God to help us prosper in material blessings. Jabez was pursuing some kind of material gain and he asked for God’s help.

  Some feel that asking God to help them prosper is wrong. “If you omit to ask for bread, you may be pretty sure it is not the greatness of your spirituality that omits the request, but only the littleness of your faith, which makes you imagine God can do nothing so substantial as to bless you in your common needs” (The Pulpit Commentary, 62).

  Jabez believed that God’s rule extended even to the common affairs of life. Our Lord taught us to pray that God would give us “daily bread.” We should pray for material advancement (3 Jn 2).

 e. It was a prayer for God’s guidance.
  This aspect of his prayer modifies the request for material blessings. Material prosperity without God is deadly. Those who pray for successes in business should also pray for reminders of one’s total dependence upon God.

  God’s guidance is critical. How often have we trusted in our own guidance only to meet with failure and find misdirection. One is blessed if s/he recognizes the great need to lean upon God and not personal understanding!

 f. It was a prayer for safety and purity.
  Jabez did not ask to be kept from all sorrows in life. He did request that God would keep him from the effects of evil in his life!

6. The LESSONS learned from Jabez.

 a. Prayer offered in true spirit is never offered in vain!
  There was no hesitation in his prayer and no withholding in God’s answer. This is always a willingness on God’s part to hear our pleas and to answer our needs (Philip 4:19). If we ask we shall have. God’s answers will come – if not sooner then later; if not in the way we seek, then in the way that God has determined is best (Lk 18:1-7).

 b. Happiness results from steadfast/faithful praying!
  God granted Jabez all that he wanted. He had success in life; evil was warded off; God richly blessed him! 

 c. All aspects of life should be taken to God in prayer!
  Every detail of earthly life should be included in our prayers to God. Even those things we consider unimportant. Take all of life to God – hopes, aspirations, trials, joys, and blessings.

7. Final thoughts about Jabez.

 Even though we do not have much biography on Jabez, we can learn a great deal about him. God has preserved the history of this man so that you and I can learn how we can be surrounded by great sorrows yet become a great success! Jabez is an example of the amazing vitality of how goodness results from an inward dedication to God’s will.

 Let us cherish the thoughts of Jabez and follow his example in our daily lives!

Copyright 1999 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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