There is an interesting story tucked in the Bible. The story of this man’s life could make for an interesting movie. Yet it occupies just a few verses of scripture. In fact, you could be forgiven if you wondered what it is doing where it is placed. It is tucked somewhere in between “boring” genealogy. If you one of those that often “zone out” or skips genealogies when reading the bible, you can miss this account because of this. It is however a beacon of light and redemption. In just 2 verses of scripture, with a bit of meditation (and imagination) we have a powerful account of the unfairness of life, the power of character, the power of prayers, the goodness of God, new beginning and more. In just 2 verses!
Jabez – A Cry for a New Beginning
Jabez started life with the chips stacked against him. His mother called him “pain bringer, sorrow maker”. His own mother! She took a look at pink bundle of life she had just given birth to and didn’t feel joy or happiness. She didn’t feel love for him. Looking at him and for reasons not told to us, she placed on him a negative label to haunt him all his life. This is unlike the case of Benjamin whose father was on hand to give him a new name when with her dying breath Rachel was going to give him a label of sorrow. Jabez had no such luck. He got stuck with “pain bringer, sorrow maker”. I can imagine the taunts, “yabs” and insults he must have endured growing up. But something interesting happened, despite his name, Jabez grew up and was honorable!
Unbelievable! “Pain bringer, sorrow maker” was more honorable than all his brethren! This includes the guy called Faith who always had his birthday party and always went to the temple; the sister with a sonorous voice called Blessing; the tall bloke down the street with long hair and great beards called Dominion; Jabez was more honorable than all of them! How did that happen? I don’t know. But I can guess. I think it is because Jabez knew the “God of Israel”. He had a covenant intimate knowledge of God. God to Jabez wasn’t just an abstraction. He saw him to be the covenant keeping God. Therefore, rather that live up to “his name” and be a wreck of a human being, Jabez lived above board.
There was just a problem – and not a little one. Jabez realized his life was whack! Yes he was honorable but he was not blessed. He was limited. He was struggling and he always had a cloud hovering over him. The cloud of danger. He needed a New Beginning. He wanted a New Beginning. So he did something about it. Rather than blaming his mother, rather than becoming bitter and giving up, He turned to the only one that could turn things around. He turned to Elohim. He prayed to God. Because of this, Jabez got his New Beginning. The rest as they say is history.
He didn’t even need to change his name. Still bearing Jabez, God so blessed him and enlarged that a city was named after him and people moved there! Can you imagine that! Moving in to stay in a city called “pain bringer, sorrow maker” (1 Chronicles 2:55)! What a mighty God He is!
I don’t know where you are today. I may not know what life has thrown at you. But a few things I do know. First, you have no excuse. You have no excuse to be any less than all you can and should be. You say “…but you don’t understand! You have not walked in my shoes.” Yeah! I truly may not have walked in your shoes. But scripture says:
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)
Do you understand what this verse says? Let me help you paraphrase it so it is clearer:
“Therefore we also, since we have no excuse…”Hebrews 12:1 (Gbenga’s Version)
That in essence is what it is saying. No matter what life has thrown at us, our personal individual race can and must be run. We must run our race and win the prize.
The second thing I know and want to say to you is you can begin again. No matter what has happened. No matter the challenges and issues confronting you – whether self-inflicted, people induced, or demonic in origin or environmental in character, you can have a New Beginning. The word of God to me this year (and to as many as will key in with faith) is 2021 is a Year of New Beginnings.
Welcome to 2021. It is time for New Beginnings. God bless you. Remember to clean up and stay clean ?.