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1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Live the Blessed Life Well

  • Jean Marais
  • Weekend Messages
  • December 31, 2023

Our relationship with Jesus Christ is the foundation of what we hope for in the coming year. As we look to the future and we have this excitement for the new year coming, we can all also see that there is potential for great trouble on the world scene as well. Yet, in the midst of trouble, we are blessed because we are in the household of God.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Live the Blessed Life Well
1 Chronicles 4:9-10
December 30-31, 2023

As we head into the new year, there is always a question of what we are heading into. What will the new year bring? Some people have great expectations and things to look forward to. Others are more worried as they have some challenges they see on the horizon.

A saying that everyone normally uses is the words of the song ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.’ Seeing that we are done with Christmas, we are now looking towards the happy new year part.

For us as Christians though, these two concepts are closely tied together. Last week at our Christmas service we focused on the fact that Jesus is our hope, our wonderful counselor, our mighty God, and our Prince of Peace. Our relationship with Him is the foundation of what we hope for in the coming year.

As we look to the future and we have this excitement for the new year coming, we can all also see that there is potential for great trouble on the world scene as well.

Yet, in the midst of trouble, we are blessed because we are in the household of God.

God told Moses to give this command to bless the house of Israel with these words.

Numbers 6:24-27, The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”

If you are in Christ, you are now part of the household of God. His name, the name of Jesus, has been called out over you. We pray, invoking the name Of Jesus over our lives, and through His work on the cross, we are blessed.

Part of receiving God’s blessing, is to live under His blessing well. We find another prayer and blessing in scripture I want to focus on this morning.

In 1 Chronicles 4, we read of Jabez. Many people might have heard of this passage, because there were a lot of books and teachings on the prayer of Jabez a few years ago. Yet many people applied this wrong and for the wrong reason.

This morning I want to look closely at this Scripture because it speaks of the blessings of God, but we will see that this is a story of God changing the trajectory of a person’s life because He was seeking God. How does this impact your life? What would the fruit of this blessing be?

As we head into this new year, our prayers and the reason for our prayers are essential. We will see that the heart we pray from has a great impact and we will get a glimpse into how to live a blessed life well.

I. Pray from an Honorable Heart

  • Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. This line speaks of a man with a different heart. A man of honor. A man grounded in what is right. A man of integrity.
  • Sometimes the problem with the heart is that it is deceitful. The Bible says that man’s heart is deceitful above all else.

Illus- Have you ever met a person who tells you one thing, but you know he is not totally truthful? You just get the feeling that he is working an angle. Friends of mine told me that a while ago they were out for dinner in Seattle. They had some food left over and as they walked out, a woman was sitting outside who said she was very hungry and asked if they had some money for her for food. They offered her some food, but she refused, saying she was on a special diet. This is a sad illustration, but we can see that there was a different agenda at play here.

          Now in this type of scenario, the answer is not to only be truthful, as I have seen others be very truthful when begging with a sign saying, need money for drugs.

  • People can say one thing, but deep down think something else or have a different motive. The answer is to change the heart.

A. Pray for the right reason

  • Before you pray for a blessing, it is good to first discern the motive of the heart. What drives the prayer? Is the prayer aligned with God’s word, His kingdom, and His heart?

James 4:3-4, You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? 

  • God saved us from this world which tries to destroy us with greed and all the adulterous things that lead to death. That’s why He will not supply that which He knows will lead us down the wrong path away from life.
  • You can go your own way, following the way of the world to try and create your own blessing, and might even succeed, but outside of a relationship with God and living in God’s plan, this inevitably leads to stress, anxiety, worries, and the road of death.
  • To ask is good, but keeping the real reason for asking front and center is important. Jesus taught us how to pray and keep what is important in focus.

Matthew 6:9-10, Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

  • Ultimately, God supplies with that which is aligned with His kingdom. If it is His vision, He will pay His account. If it is your vision, you will pay the account.
  • How do I know what is God’s plan then? Now from our point of view, this can become muddled.

Illus – Let’s say you ask for a car. God knows what you need. If he supplies a Porche, maybe there is a plan with it. Maybe you one day connect with a person who has a Porche who needs Jesus and he uses it for His glory. But if a Porche would make you a proud, horrible person, it would not be good. God knows the end of the story.

  • Seeing that the heart of man is deceitful above all else, and it can convince itself that anything can be good, it is very difficult for us to really discern and know what is truly right for us.
  • This is why Jesus prayed, ‘…Your will be done.’ I can ask, but my deepest desire is that I want nothing that will be detrimental to my relationship with God or what His purpose is for me and the part I play in His kingdom.
  • So when I ask and God does not answer, I am at peace with it because he knows best.

Matthew 6:8, … for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

B. Pray from your new identity

  • Jabez means ‘sorrowful, born in pain’. So although Jabez was an honorable man, every time someone said his name, he heard ‘sorrowful, pain’. It was tied to his identity. We see this weighed heavy on his heart because he asked in verse 10 ‘… that it may not pain me.’

Illus – in Africa, it is very common to have people give their children very literal names. So there are a lot of people called Grace, Love, Happiness, and other nice names. One day I had a plumber come to work at our house. I asked him his name and I was shocked when I heard him say, “My name is Disappointment”. Can you imagine having a name like that? Every time people call you, they speak that over you. ‘Disappointment, go get the laundry.’ ‘Disappointment is your schoolwork again not done?’ ‘Disappointment, stop bothering your sister.’

  • I believe this was part of Jabez’s cry to God. God, change my identity. God, don’t let my past, my family disposition, or what people spoke over me become the direction my life heads towards. Change my identity.
  • This is the struggle many people have. They say, ‘You don’t know what my house was like growing up, you don’t know what my year was like, you don’t know what a disappointment I was and what earth-shattering mistakes I made. My future is hopeless.’
  • Although our past can to a degree affect our current situation, and the decisions we made might have consequences, God can turn it around if we submit it to Him. It does not have to continue down the road of destruction.
  • What is needed is to be anchored in faith and pray from our new identity.
  • This is why Jesus said, ‘Our Father…’. Paul said in Romans 8 that we are now adopted into His family, and we can call Him Abba, Daddy, Father.
  • God becomes the one who defines you.

Illus – Many years ago, God revealed this truth to my heart. As I sat in front of the piano, wrestling with my own identity, I heard these words whispered in my heart,

When you feel you’re not worthy, you are.

When you feel you’re alone, you’re not.

When you feel it’s too much,

can’t handle no more,

Remember when you are weak, I am strong.

When you feel you’re the tail, you’re the head,

Because of the blood that I shed.

You will never be too small,

because I have given My all

  •  I know that this is true for every child of God, because this is what He declares over each of us in His word.

II. Proclaim God’s Blessing

  • Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Just as it has an impact on someone and changes the course of their life when you call them “Disappointment” and they believe those words, it also makes a tremendous impact when you start to speak blessing and the truth of God’s word over your or someone else’s life.
  • Again, it is important to speak blessing in the light of the purpose we need the blessing for.

A. Enlarge my Territory

  • Territory speaks of the sphere of influence. In the old days, it was the land area over which you had authority. Although this is still true, many people today live in smaller settings but have a lot of authority-territory.
  • The territory that grows can be in your work scenario, family responsibility, or spiritual life.
  • Whatever area it is, if you are doing it from a heart that is not selfish, it comes with added responsibility.
  • Many when they are young, see the ‘perks’ of having the job with the corner office, but when you get older and gain more understanding you realize that it comes with the added weight of stress and responsibility.
  • You also find that responsibility and territory growth asks for growth from you and ‘stepping up’ your game.

Illus – Many years ago, I was involved in a business where we had the privilege to get great input and leadership training. One principle that stuck with me was this thought: Your business will never grow past your personal capacity and growth. If you can only envision a small one-person store, you will never dream of a multi-site franchise company. But dreaming is also not enough, you need to be stretched in your experiences, and be put in difficult situations to grow in the areas you don’t even yet know you need to grow in.

Illus- A great example of this is Moses. He thought he knew a lot. Trained in the greatest knowledge of Pharoah’s household, living with the privileges of a prince. But after forty years in the wilderness tending sheep, when called by God, he did not feel ready for the task of leading the people out. Maybe it was because he saw how difficult it was to lead his sheep. How about millions of people going through the desert?

  • God wants to increase your territory, and God wants to grow you, but your want for it should not be from selfish ambition. It should be something birthed by God. When it is His vision, He supplies what is needed.

Philippians 4:19, And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

  • Like when Moses didn’t feel ready, God supplied the ones around Him to help in his weak areas.
  • Like Solomon who understood the gravity of his responsibilities, when he called out to God, leaning fully on God, understanding his dependence on God, God gave him the wisdom needed.
  • God will even put you in scenarios that will prepare you for what you will need in the future.

Illus – Peter on the boat had to step out in faith on Jesus’ command. It was a faith-building experience. Later Jesus would use him to be the first leader of the church, doing many things in bold faith trusting Jesus.

B. Live contently under God’s hand

  • Jabez added to his prayer, ‘and that Your hand might be with me’
  • He understood the favor of God’s hand over his life was worth more than all the gold and silver.
  • Many think their wealth and success is their solid foundation, but it is as solid as sand on the seashore in the waves. It is an illusion.

Proverbs 18:11, A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall in his own imagination.

  • What is needed is a heart that is willing to stand under God’s authority. A heart that grasps that, no matter how much authority is under you, for a successful life, you have to stay and want to stay under the authority and direction of God’s hand.
  • God knows best. He is already in the future, and if we allow Him to lead us, He will lead us to a beautiful life, where at times we will have mountaintops, but where we will also experience valleys.
  • But it brings such peace, even in the valleys, when you know that you are standing under the hand and authority of God. When you know that you are following Him, you are safe and secure even in the midst of trouble.

Proverbs 18:10, The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.

  • He goes on to say in verse 10 – Keep me from harm that it may not pain me.
  • Jabez comes full circle in his prayer. His name means “pain”, but he asks God to keep him from harm so that it will not pain him.
  • The ‘it’ he mentions can be interpreted in a few ways.
  • ‘It’ can be the blessings. Let the blessings you bestow on me not hurt me. Let my heart not become prideful because of my successes. Let me not walk in your blessing and, in the end, it is detrimental to me and leads me away from You, like with Solomon.
  • ‘It’ can also mean his name. That which defined him. let my past and that which defined me not hurt me, Let me not be held back by my past. Let the curse of my name not come to fruition.
  • In Christ, this is a promise we can with confidence take with us into the new year, the knowing that our past has been dealt with.

2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

  • People experienced many different things this past year. Some had great victories, some had great defeats. Some might say, I cannot believe I did that. Some made mistakes or had experiences with less than favorable repercussions.
  • I know one thing. With God, it is never the end. There is nothing he cannot forgive, nothing He cannot make work together for your good, IF you will surrender it to Him.
  • Your past does not have to define you. You might carry the consequences of your past, but you have a choice if it will break you, or become a stepping stone to go higher, to drive you away from God, or bring you closer to His care and leading in your life.

Illus – Most of the heroes of faith went through this. David with Bathsheba, Moses murdering the Egyptian, and Samson with his unfaithfulness towards God. The list goes on and on. But God can turn it around if our hearts are turned or turn to Him.

  • And God granted him his request. When you call out to God with a sincere heart, a heart without reluctance, a heart not trying to work an angle, but a heart that really surrenders to His love and faithfulness, He will take your life, as the potter did with the clay, and transform it.

Illus – I have had many opportunities arise in the past. Many slipways the enemy presented, which for the moment looked full of promise, but looking back, it would have totally wrecked my ministry life. I remember a time I went out with a girl who also sang. Her father was very wealthy, and he said that he would bankroll our music career if we decided to become a duo and start to perform. But my heart belonged to God. I was a worshipper and called to give and reflect glory only to Him. That discussion was also the end of my relationship with her because I knew that it would also impact ministry in the future. I wanted God to present the right woman needed for the purpose He had for us.

  • Make this your prayer for the new year, ‘God I want to grow into a closer walk with you, cause that will grow me into the person you want me to be, which is best for me, and which will be a blessing to me and others.’
  • I want to walk under your blessings well.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10     NASB 

9Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10 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.


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