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God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25 - 1 Chronicles 3-5: Genealogies of the Jews, Part 2 of 4 - The Prayer of Jabez and the Tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh

Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 3-5

The Message

English Standard Version

Today's reading has a few places of narrative. Read 4:9-10 and 5:1-2, 17-26 and scan/skip the rest. I will summarize only the narrative parts.

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Those who trusted God were helped; those who disobeyed God were punished.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Jabez (meaning "Oh, the pain!"), a righteous man, prayed that God would help him. So God did.
Reuben was the firstborn son of Jacob; however, he was demoted when he slept with his father's wife. Joseph's family received a double portion instead—two tribes named after his sons Manasseh and Ephraim. Judah became the strongest of the tribes.
The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh trusted God to help them defeat their enemies and God helped them. Later, though, they worshiped other gods and he allowed Assyria to take them into captivity.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God sets things right for Jabez because he asked.

Many of you know the popular book series, The Prayer of Jabez. It has sold over 10 million copies and probably has been equally criticized.I read the book in high school but remember little. Lost in both sides of the Prayer of Jabez argument is what God wants us to understand from this short, brief tale—ask God for what you want.
Jabez was considered more righteous than his brothers. The only other thing we know about Jabez is that he asked God for blessings, land, and personal protection from evil. And God gave him what he asked. Was Jabez more righteous because he asked God for what he wanted or did God give Jabez what he wanted because he was righteous? The answer is most likely both. What we must see is that God wants His Chosen People to ask him for what they want/need. And just as a parent would bless a child, God will bless His Chosen People. Submit to God what you want/need to set things right on the earth for yourself, your family, and your community. He will give you what you ask.
To present arguments of, "Well, what if I asked God for $1,000,000?" is to miss the previous verse—Jabez was more righteous than his brothers. If you want/need $1,000,000 to set things right on the earth, God will answer. If you want/need $1,000,000 to set things right on the earth and don't ask God to help you are being selfish by trying to do all of it on your own. Our attitude and approach to prayer is more important than our words. Often we conflate amounts with selfishness. The more you want/need, the more selfish you are. What we should couple together is trust and amount. The more you need, the more you should trust God's plan. If God does not give what you thought you needed, submit to God's ultimate plan.

God gave land to the tribes of Ruben, Gad, and Manasseh because they asked Him to help them. He took the land away when they worshiped other gods.

In a similar vein to the story of Jabez these three tribes were given land when they trusted God. Yet later when they went after other gods, God gave them to the Assyrians who removed them from the land. God blesses those who trust Him. God punishes those who do not trust Him.

What are your thoughts on asking God for physical blessings?

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