1 Chronicles 3-4: Jabez
July 2, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The genealogies continue—precious records for those wanting to trace their lineage back beyond the exile and so authenticate their God-given promise to the land, and establish their own connection to that promise in their particular families and persons. David’s family, especially exalted, is given extended attention (1 Chron. 3), weighted by his significance in God’s economy.
In chapter 4 comes the famous (famous then, and more recently renowned through a book written about him) Jabez (4:9-10). Matthew Henry, a commentator writing long before any more recent publications on Jabez, said this about him: “The way to be truly great is to be truly good and to pray much.” Such a judgment, of course, needs to be modified (as Henry in his commentary does) by the reality that not all of us are as blessed as Jabez was. We may wish a blessing, but we cannot command one. It also needs to be carefully divorced from our rampant materialism that sees an extension of physical property as greater than an extension of a spiritual heart for the lost, compassion for the needy, having more joy and peace and patience and Christ-likeness.
All that said, we should not spiritualize away the lesson Jabez is evidently intended to teach. More attention is given to him in this genealogy than would seem likely unless he was intended in some way to be exemplary. Despite the pain of his rearing, he cried to God, sought God, made a covenant with God, and God blessed him. Learn this lesson then, Christian: commit your way to God, trust him, and he will act.
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday” (Psalm 37:3-6).
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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