2 Chronicles 4:10
Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked
Years ago you couldn’t walk a foot without seeing the Jabez prayer plastered all over every christian store in America. It was written on coasters, pencils, plaques, hanging from pendants, and stenciled onto artwork. It was EVERYWHERE!
But I was a little late to the party and just watched the hoopla from a safe distance. I remember reading the scripture, but for whatever reason I didn’t pray the prayer over my life. Truthfully, I was going through my whole ‘Prosperity Aversion’ season. By that I mean I had purposed it in my heart that a prosperity focused ministry was wrong. (I’m not against any ministry, I just believe in a more balanced teaching.)
Recently, my husband Derrick and I were talking about favor. And he said something that was interesting (He’s a really interesting thought provoking guy. Check him out @ www.derrickday.com). He said, “You have to make room for your blessing”. And yet it sounds so simple, but it’s so true. Why are you asking GOD to bless you, to enlarge your border if you haven’t made room for that blessing in your life?
The word bless means to proclaim or make holy also, to request GOD to bestow divine favor upon. The Bible has over 470 mentions of the word bless and it’s derivatives (blessed, blessing, and blessings). And I didn’t add up the various synonyms you find for the word bless (exalt, praise etc.) Compare that to the 173 times we see the word curse and it’s derivatives (cursed, cursing, and cursings) and you’ll see the importance of the word.
Most of us skip right over the first definition, but skid to a stop and rest on the second part. I believe that it is important to embrace the definition in its entirety. Just as often as we ask GOD to bestow his divine favor upon us, we must proclaim His blessings upon others. Those of us in the body sometimes act as if we can’t do two things at once. I’m not telling you to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time (I struggle with this). Only to embrace the word and practice it wholeheartedly.
Jabez asked GOD, “…bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!”
What does that mean? Bestow divine favor upon my life. Divine favor is the tangible evidence that GOD approves of you. He is pleased with you, your words and actions. Divine favor is life changing. Divine favor is earth shattering.
When I think of divine favor I think of Abraham. Genesis 12:1 chronicles the beginning of Abram’s journey. “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be bless.
GOD bestowed blessings upon blessings on Abram. Why? Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should have receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Abram was faithful, obedient, and trusting. Abram wasn’t church folk. He wasn’t raised believing in GOD. He was a pagan. But…when GOD made Himself known to Abram, he embraced Him. He loved GOD and taught his family to love Him, without knowing church, or the perfect prayer, or hours in a prayer closet. Like Abram, we must fully embrace GOD. Live faithfully. Be obedient. Trust GOD. And lastly…but most important, Love GOD.
NOTE – Abraham and Lot had to part company because their combined substance was too much to be contained in one place – they had to split up for Abram to continue to be blessed. Abraham had to send Hagar and Ishmael away to make room for Abraham’s blessing to increase. Indeed, Abraham was moved to sacrifice his son because he believed this was necessary for God to increase his blessing.
When I think of divine favor I think of Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, and Moses, and David, and…I could go on and on. These were men. Flawed men who all had the same thing in common. They loved GOD. They were faithful. They were obedient. And they trusted GOD. And they walked in divine favor.
NOTE – these men all had to do things that involved making room.
GOD blessed them, he enlarged their territory/borders, and His hands was upon them, keeping them from harm. They were blessed and the evidence of GOD’s favor was upon their life. Did they escape physical harm from others? Yes. Did they escape drama? Weeeellll, that was something totally different. GOD didn’t put them through drama. They created their own. Abram had a baby mama – his own doing. Isaac favored one child over another to such an extent that he created an environment of jealousy and manipulation. Jacob was a liar, and a manipulator, and he unconsciously treated his older sons’ the same way his father had treated him by favoring Joseph. Moses didn’t fully trust GOD in the beginning. And David fell in love with another mans’ wife and sent him off to die. I said all that to say, that we are all susceptible to self-inflicted injuries. GOD can’t protect us from ourselves.
What I want you to understand is that when you pray the Jabez prayer or any prayer asking for/proclaiming prosperity and/or favor over your life, you have to be prepared for change. Matthew 9:17 says, “Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”
Just as Jabez asked GOD to expand his physical borders, we must be prepared to expand our mental borders. You can’t expect to stay in the same place, physically or mentally. Are you ready for that blessing? Have you made room in your life for change? Because that’s what happens. Things change. Your finances will definitely change. Sometimes your address will change. Your connections may change. And attitudes around you may change. Don’t be afraid of change. Learn to embrace it. Roll with the punches.
Expand the borders of your mind.