September 4, 2023
“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez and said, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’ Jabez called out to the God of Israel...”
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“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez and said, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’ Jabez called out to the God of Israel: ‘If only You would bless me, extend my border, let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will not cause any pain.’ And God granted his request.” 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (HCSB)
In the winter of 2000, I walked into a management meeting with my band, Big Tent Revival. A few weeks earlier, we had the #1 song on Christian Radio, Choose Life. The band and management expected to discuss an upcoming tour and the next radio single. But that meeting took a different turn when I announced that I felt the Lord was leading me away from the band to focus more time on raising my family. Unexpected news is often unwelcome news. While not everyone agreed that the band should break up, we eventually coped with the reality that the company was actually dissolving. We then set out like gentlemen to honor the Lord. In the months following that decision (to shut down the band), Big Tent Revival performed all of our contracted concert obligations. We paid all of our T-Shirt and merchandise vendors, sold our tour bus, semi and trailer, sound and lights, and set a target date for our last concert: New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2000. Riverside CA.
In the fall of 2000, about a month before Big Tent Revival played our last concert, someone handed me a book that had just been released by Multnomah Books, authored by a gentleman named Bruce Wilkinson. The book was called “The Prayer of Jabez,” and it centered around today’s passage, 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. I was interested in the book because I had never heard of this guy, Jabez. Growing up, I never heard anyone preach about Jabez, and none of my hip-music business friends talked about him. The book quickly became a best-seller, and then things got weird. Soon, churches all over the globe were praying the “prayer of Jabez” as if it were some sort of incantation to stir up the Lord to do whatever they wanted Him to do. As you can imagine (or perhaps you experienced firsthand), a tremendous amount of controversy was stirred up. Skeptics began refuting Bruce Wilkinson’s hermeneutic and “prosperity” theological leanings.
So, there I was. A guy who had followed the Lord and whose recent decisions had caused quite a few people a considerable amount of inconvenience. I had no plan for how I was going to earn a living after the band played its last concert. So, I read the book and was encouraged. I also asked God why He included the passage in His Word. Jabez’s story seemed tailor-fit for my situation yet did not include directions concerning how I should apply its message. In the end, here is what we know about how Mr. Jabez relates to us. If we call upon the Lord, He is available and concerned.
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NKJV)