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Seeds of the Kingdom

Enlarge my border

by Lambert Bariho

11 November 2017

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Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.
1 Chronicles 4:10, NASB

The story of Jabez is hidden in the middle of a long chapter of genealogy. It’s very easy to miss his name, or not even know where he’s mentioned. However, this chapter from Chronicles contains so much truth about our God and His dealings with His people.
Jabez was born in sorrow. We know this because his mother named him Jabez, meaning sorrow or trouble. Here are at least two things which would have affected his life: the circumstances of being born in pain, and the name that he was given. These two things would have followed him throughout his life.

However, he knew the God of Israel could change the predicament of his life, and made a choice to pray to Him for a change of his future. In his prayer, he asked God to enlarge his border (territory). In other words, Jabez asked God to not allow the pain that surrounded his birth and his name to set the border or limit to his life, but for God Himself to be the one setting the boundaries. The Word of God indicates that God granted him what he requested. That is why he was ‘more honorable than his brothers’, despite his painful past and the constant reminder of his name (2 Chronicles 4:9).

I come from a culture where people traditionally name their children according to the circumstances of their birth, the wish or prayer for their lives, or, at times, as a message to someone in the family or neighborhood. I witnessed firsthand how these names, and the circumstance of people’s birth, can become a barrier (a border or limit) in their lives. Today’s scripture is an invitation to us not to allow our past and painful experience to become a limit in our lives, but to pray, and allow the God of Israel to not only heal us from those circumstances, but also to have His way in our lives, and use us as He pleases.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for the invitation to come to You today. I come as I am, with all my painful experiences. I surrender my pain to You and ask for Your healing. Oh, that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!

Lambert Bariho Lambert served with a student ministry for five years before joining Ellel Ministries. Together with his wife Catherine, he currently leads the work of Ellel Ministries in Rwanda. His passion is to see people come to the knowledge of the truth of God and be set free.


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