Oh that you would bless me oh lord
Some of us no matter how old or young would benefit from understanding more about prayer. And whilst the Lord’s prayer is very famous, that should lead and guide us in all our praying, there is a prayer in the Old Testament that I would like to to look at this morning; and it comes from the strangest of places you would imagine in the bible.
Lets have look at 1 Chronicles Ch 4:1
The first thing you will possibly say to me is, Tim you have sent us to the wrong book, or reference; maybe you meant 2 Chronicles or 1 Kings or something. This is just a list of names!
No it’s definitely 1 Chronicles 4 and before you groan at the thought let’s just realise that the strong message we gain from these long lists of names is that they are people individuals with lives and hopes and dreams and more than that they were loved by God and included in his word..
He wants us to know that He loves each one.
I have a Church Directory with a list of names and I can say the same that these are the people of God….
and He wants us to know that He loves each one of you very much.
But then right in the middle of this list the writer chooses to single one name out more than the others. 1 Chron 4:9
‘Jabez was honored more than his brothers’
So here right in the middle of the names we meet Jabez; and whilst he is described as being honorable, he started life with a massive disadvantage.
Most of you, I think, have pretty staightforward names, We haven’t got any Chelseas or Brooklyns or Arbuthnots have we?
Jabez would have had a really hard time at School cos his name was literally ‘pain’. You can imagine it can’t you
‘ Hi there pain where does it hurt today?’
Why do some parents do these things huh.
Anyway back to the point
It was this Jabez who’s prayer I want us to look at today.
So 1 Chronicles 4 v 10
Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from hurt and harm!" And God granted what he asked.
Now I am going to look at just his first bit today and if we get the opportunity over the summer we will look at the rest.
But what an opening –Oh that you would bless me
This is a heartfelt and passionate cry to God. This is no cold formula prayer He is pleading with God in a way that I know many of you will have done.
Oh that you would really bless me or that you would bless me indeed in some translations.
What is a Blessing?
Bless me- That doesn’t look like a very specific prayer to me it seems a bit vague. After all its not like
But no it is Oh that you would bless me and because of this Jabez gets singled out in that long list and as we see that God answered his prayer- he must have been doing something right.
Now its very important to say that those other prayers are fine great specific heartfelt prayers that God is very pleased to hear from us. But it is not what Jabez prays
God please bless me
So what do you get. What is a blessing?
What’s in the box marked- The blessings of God?
It’s not really the kind of word we use today except perhaps if you sneeze then you might get a Bless you.
But it must be good cos the word bless gets mentioned lots! Numbers 6
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 23 Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
So where can I find out what God’s blessings are? Whats in the box? If they are from God they must be pretty good
Ok let’s go to Ephesians 1
These are the blessings that we have that you have
V4 Chosen and considered Holy & blameless
V5 Adopted not because He had to or out of duty, but because He loved us & it pleased him
V6 Given Grace freely lavishly
V7 Redeemed by the what Jesus did on the cross. (Explain redeem book token or ransom)
V9 Reveals His will and purpose to us- because that pleases Him too. (You don’t have to pry it out of him!)
V13 We are included in all He intends to do and given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of that.
Now if that’s what’s in the blessings box if that’s really what they are then I’m with Jabez- Oh please bless me. These are the first things the best things the things I would gladly receive today.
You might be saying but they don’t pay the gas bill or heal my back pain.
These are as Paul says spiritual blessings the blessings of the Kingdom of God, but this is the important bit to remember, Jesus said
Seek first the Kingdom of God and whats the next bit? …all these things will be added.
So the challenge is to realise
How very much we HAVE been given and to receive that gratefully and wholeheartedly
These other things (and yes I DO know that they can be massive in our lives but by comparison with God’s blessings they are far less significant)
If we truly grasp the enormity of His blessings then we would trust Him for all the other stuff
Gratitude for what God has given us is the Hallmark of God’s people, not to be preoccupied what we do not have yet.
Trusting that as we ask Him to bless us that He will give us wahat we need rather than what we want.
There is a question for small groups to wrestle with.
If what God knows we need is different to what I desperately want but do not need, what is it that God should give us?