Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Textual Tuesday

*Sorry to those of you who heard my sermon on Sunday...this is a rerun!

From 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, [c] saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." 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.

I've never been sure what to think of this passage. At first glance it looks terribly rude and self-centered. Plus, I'm not a real fan of the "fame and fortune" preachers and their lessons.
Is it OK to ask God for a blessing? Can I ask God to bless me?

Here are some other passages that have helped me to embrace the prayer of Jabez a little better, and understand maybe what he was thinking...
  1. The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. (Gen. 12:1-2) Did you catch the last phrase? "...and you will be a blessing." I believe the Israelites understood that when God blesses you, you pass the blessings on to others (and don't hoard it for yourself.) This makes it a little more palatable to ask for a blessing.
  2. Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding. (Prov. 3:13) The Bible also mentions health, long life, and children as blessings. Most Americans think of a "blessing" as money or material wealth. God gives us so many blessings other than material things!
  3. And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:16) Almost every "blessing story" in the Bible has the "blesser" laying hands on or touching the one being blessed. To ask God for a blessing is to ask to be close to God or be touched by Him. And what better blessing could exist?!

These verses make me think that it's OK to ask God for a blessing if I have the right mindset. May God give you a special blessing today!

1 comment:

Todd Brumley said...

Of course asking for a blessing is a selfish thing, but I have never thought of it as a bad thing. To me, asking for a blessing is another way of humbly saying "I cant do this on my own." or "I need help God, could you bless me?" If we go through a day and not ask for a blessing, are we more self-centered in thinking we can handle things on our own?

When you look at the Genesis 32:22 passage of Jacob wrestling with a "man", we see Jacob ask for a blessing. Jacob has lived a life of fearing God half-heartedly. Now, he realizes that he cannot win and he needs a blessing. At the start of the wrestling match, Jacob was confident that he was going to win, but after the night went on and daybreak was coming, he realized (with a dislocated hip) he needed help...he needed God's blessing.