“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’
“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘…keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”
A lot of things have been said about this little man who appears in the middle of many chapters of genealogies. When I tripped across him in my Bible reading, I was amazed that anyone would have the audacity to ask God to free him from pain! Who did he think he was? Everyone suffers pain, so why not him?
Jabez received his identity from someone else’s pain. Just as Jabez, as a little baby, had only been viewed through his mother’s pain, so have you been viewed through your abuser’s perversion and what he wanted from you. You were not a person in his sight; you were an object, a way to feel his power. Your identity may be tied up with that sin.
God considered Jabez more honorable than his brothers. We don’t know why. I wish we did because I am curious about it. God put that information in the record before anything else about Jabez. Perhaps he was not acting out of his mother’s pain. Perhaps he was not passing it on to his children and infecting his wife with it. I don’t know. I can only guess.
Incredibly, God did not consider the request of Jabez stupid or ridiculous. Here was a man who had been identified from birth by something his mother had experienced, and now he was asking to be released from that identity. He wanted a new life based on the truth, not on someone’s perception of him, and God granted that request.
His request to be kept from harm reminds me so much of Jesus’ words in the Lord’s Prayer: “Deliver us from evil.”
“Come in, Lord,” you can pray, “and take me away from this thing that threatens to drown me with its immense weight. Deliver me from evil.” And God will grant your request.
Later, Jesus took it a step further in His High Priestly Prayer: “Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name—the Name You gave Me—so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that Name You gave Me” (John 17:11–12).
I was a Christian during my childhood and abuse. I suffered great pain, and so have you. Incidentally, most of those first disciples died a martyr’s death. So what did Jesus mean about protection? This is what I believe He meant: I am still in God’s kingdom. He did not lose Me. I am still His. Perhaps that is the kind of protection He is holding in His hand—keeping me from things that will ultimately harm me, pull me away from Him, or kill my spirit. (See Romans 8:38–39.) I know for certain that I have also experienced His physical protection at times and that God really kept the abuse from being worse than it was. I am still alive, and I am not insane. For those two things to be true, I needed God’s great hand of deliverance and protection upon my life in a very real way every day.
What request would you like to make of God? He is in the business of delivering you from evil—and the effects of it.
This a page from the book When God Roared. Each page will be published, one per day, on this website. We pray that God uses it mightily in your life to swaddle you in His love and heal your precious heart.