The name ‘Jabez’ is only mentioned thrice in the Bible. The first time in 1st Chronicles 2:55 as a town where the clans of Tirathites, Shimeathites and Sucathites , as well as Kenites who intermarried with Rechabites, resided.
It is then mentioned later on in chapter 4 as a man who cried out to God. The Bible says that he was the most respected man in his family. He was so honorable that Ezra, the author of Chronicles, had to stop outlining the descendants of Judah to write a snippet about him, something that is not done anywhere else in the book.
He was given the name due to the great pain his mother felt during his birth, giving meaning to his Hebrew name “he makes sorrowful”. Jabez was labelled with sorrow from birth. It has been known that a name may carry our character or/and destiny. Imagining that Jabez may have had a life filled with a great deal of sorrow and pain due to his given name is very unfortunate.
Looking into Jabez’s prayer, he first acknowledged God as the God of Israel. He acknowledged and stated out who he was crying out to. This is also a confirmation of who he believes in and worships. He then asks God to bless him. He recognizes that God alone can bless him and seeks this from Him.
Jabez goes ahead to ask God to enlarge his territory. This was not only in physical land or money but also in spirituality, his relationship with God and having many generations through him. Having many generations come from you as we see in the first few chapters of 1st Chroniclesmeant that God had blessed you greatly.
He then asked God to be with him. This simple line acknowledges the importance of talking and walking with God daily, at every moment of your life.
Lastly, he asked God to keep him from evil and anything that may cause him pain. It is very ironic because his name means sorrow, something that already puts him in a setting of pain and suffering. Here, he speaks against the power his name had over his life and what it had caused him till then.
This prayer was granted by God.
In two verses, Jabez teaches us that God can grant and change things in our lives that may have previously been believed to be unchangeable, that we can be vulnerable with God and put our weaknesses and shame before Him, that whenever we need something we should submit it before God and that is not only enough to acknowledge God but also to have a relationship with Him.