In the middle of a very long list of genealogies, recorded in the book of 1 Chronicles, there are a few short verses about a man named Jabez who was a descendant of Judah. We never read about him again, but it appears Jabez was included in this list because of his bold request…and God’s gracious response.
1 Chronicles 4:10
“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.”
Passages on asking and receiving can be difficult to teach. For example: “How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11). These passages are full of truth, but those who preach a message of assured prosperity for Christians have abused the scriptures to say God wants everyone to be financially rich and all we must do is ask or repeat a special prayer. Although this type of prosperity teaching receives a wide following, it is far from God’s truth.
But God DOES want us to prosper: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11). And, He wants us to ask! “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives” (James 4:2-3). God has a plan to prosper us, but we often do not receive His blessings because we are asking to satisfy our own selfish desires or cover worldly fears. We ask with the wrong motives!
We also fail to prosper because we don’t understand God’s definition of prosperity. A Godly prosperity has little to do with finances or possessions, and a great deal to do with peace and contentment. A prosperous life is also one which bears much fruit and completes the work God has asked us to accomplish; “I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do” (John 17:4). How petty (small thinking) to believe that God’s prosperity only involves the riches of this world which rust and fade away.
A truly prosperous life begins by drawing and remaining near to the presence of God. Without first abiding in His presence, we won’t even know what will allow us to prosper; “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). As we draw near to God, He places the desires on our heart which lead to true prosperity – then we must ask. It’s in the asking, in the expectation of the answer, and in the process of waiting, that we exercise our faith and prove it to be real.
Let’s ask God to increase our territory – to increase our realm of influence in His Kingdom. Let’s ask Him to keep us in His protective arms, give us His abundance of peace, and accomplish great things in us and through us. Let’s draw near to God and boldly request a prosperous life.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
Dec 14 Jonah 1:1-4:11; Revelation 5:1-14; Psalm 133:1-3; Proverbs 29:26-27