Reading: 1 Chronicles 4:10
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
As I read the Old Testament, I am fascinated by the names that were chosen. Parents didn’t choose a name because it was trendy or pleasant to the ear. They chose names based on their hopes, circumstances, or prophetic impulses.
Sometimes the name was a blessing. The name David was an easy name to live with, meaning Beloved.
But some didn’t get off so easy. Hosea had a son he named Lo-Ammi, meaning “Not my people.” Hosea’s wife had a history of prostitution. Can you imagine what extra baggage Lo-Ammi carried through life? He might as well have carried a sign that said: Illegitimate! Jacob was a deceiver until God offered to change his name to Israel, “Prince with God.” God didn’t have to make the offer twice.
Then we have the interesting case of Jabez, whose name means “causes pain.” Now there’s a name I could have lived up to. But Jabez prayed a remarkable prayer that he “might not cause pain,” and God granted his request.
Jabez prayed as we should all pray that we might live beyond the limited expectations of others; that we might break free of family histories, bad beginnings, and poor parenting. Jabez was determined that input would not determine his outcome.
reposted with permission from onehope.net.