Rev. Toh Nee Lim | On 20, Sep 2016
Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
‘And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.’
The devil told Jabez that his destiny is to suffer pain and disease and defeat. He is to give up and resigned himself to the position that nothing can be done about his situation. There are millions of people who believed the lie of the devil that their destiny is to suffer pain and disease and defeat. But you can do what Jabez did. He changed his destiny. You thought that there was no hope, but you come into the light of God’s word and found that by daring to believe the promises of God you could revolutionize your life.
Jabez’ very name tells of the condition of his life. Now names in the bible have much meaning. They are meant to communicate a message in many instances. A person’s name in the bible often conveyed the type of person they were, or what they were to do for God Take the name of Lily for instance. In Hebrew the meaning of the name Lily is: Lily. We all know that Lily is a flower. People with the name Lily have a deep desire to serve humanity and to give to others by sharing money, knowledge and experience, or creative and artistic ability. People with this name tend to be a powerful force to all whose lives they touch. They are capable, charismatic leaders who often undertake large endeavors with great success. They value truth, justice and discipline, and may be quick tempered with those who do not. If they fail to develop their potential, they may become impractical and rigid. When I read this definition while preparing this message, I just called Pastor Lily to my room and we both giggled because it was such an accurate description of her. During Kate Middleton’s royal wedding, lily was the royal code. It was said that Kate Middleton’s homegrown lily of the valley followed the royal code. Her bouquet of Lily was plucked from her garden. It is such a beautiful flower. Recently Pastor Lily was ministering to a young man in her office. God told her that his life is like a wasteland at the present moment but it will be a crocus. Honestly I have never read about crocus in the bible. Then Pastor Lily read to me Isaiah 35:1-2 from the NLT which says ,’Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days, The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocus. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the Plain of Sharon. There the LORD will display his glory, the splendor of our God.’ Note the word deserts (plural) and not desert (singular) was used. All the deserts of our lives will be green and lovely. Our lives are meant to be beautiful like the Lily and the Crocus. Now let’s study the life of Jabez.
1. He changed his destiny
Going back to the name Jabez, it means sorrow, pain and trouble. Now that is not a very nice name. In my imagination, I picture this man Jabez to be always confined and limited to weakness, sickness and pain. He was told by the devil that this has to be his destiny for his very name spells it out. Many of you are in the shoes of Jabez concerning life: sorrow, pain and trouble. A very young man just passed away recently. When I visited his home, I can only say that his life was literally confined and limited to weakness, sickness and pain until the day he died. Sorrow, pain and trouble literally defined his life. When the mum of this young man heard the voice of Pastor Lily, she just cried hysterically. She has taken care of him and it had taken a toll on her: sorrow, pain and trouble. Jesus said, ‘The thief (Satan) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Your sorrow, pain and sickness and trouble are from the devil. Get really angry at the devil! We had a wonderful essential commission with our DJCG in Janiuay. During one of the session, we were supposed to pray for the sick. And a lot of people came out to the altar for healing. Some were in tears as we prayed. They laid hand on their own head and some laid hand on their chest. To be honest, I was angry with the devil when I see the sicknesses on these bodies. Get angry at the devil at what he has already done to your life. Rebel in your heart against what the devil has brought into your life. If you don’t do that you are not going to come out of it. A minister conducted a meeting in a city auditorium. During his mean time he saw a crippled woman in one of the restaurants. The minister introduced himself to her and told her of the story of Jesus who longs to heal the sick as said in the Bible. When he finished sharing, the crippled lady said, ‘Why Brother, I am a Christian and if God wants me to be this way, I am perfectly willing to suffer for Him. She felt that God had given her the crippling disease and that she was pleasing Him by suffering. Instead of being angry, and rebelling against what the devil had brought into her life, her attitude is God allowed it, so accept it. This is the mental attitude of millions in this world. You must not have this attitude because you will never come out of your sorrow, pain and heartache if you submit to it. However that evening service the minister told the same good news about Jesus and someone there took a different attitude. There was a young girl who was afflicted with a club foot. She heard the truth. She realized it was the work of the devil. She rebelled against him. She cried to the Lord. Jesus healed her instantly and she hurried to the platform to tell of her miracle! She changed her destiny from being a hopeless cripple. Many of us are like the first woman at the restaurant in our reaction to our sorrow, disease, pain and troubled. We feel that God is the one who has given us the suffering. Unless we changed our thinking, we will go to the grave in that condition. Please, I have seen enough members in this church who literally go to the grave in sorrow, pain and heartache. Rise up in faith and rebel against the sickness, pain, sorrow and suffering. Jabez changed his destiny by rebelling and being angry at what the bad things are doing to his life. When I was a young man, there was such a cry in my heart to rise above the pain, sorrow and heartache in my family and when I had Jesus I was determined to change my destiny through Jesus. I can safely say that God has changed the destiny of my life, my family and even people I came into contact with.
2. Jabez called upon the name of the Lord
I Chronicles 4:10 says, ‘And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed.’
Jabez’ mother bare him in sorrow. How? Maybe he was afflicted with some weakness or disease from the beginning. Maybe he was constantly in the atmosphere of sorrow, trouble and heartache. When he enters his house the environment was unhappiness, problem and distress. When he goes out of the house to his working place, the surrounding was sorrow, trouble and heartache. Whatever the case, his very life cried out ‘Pain! Trouble! Sorrow! There must be a constant struggle before he gave in to the fact that there was no hope. But then most likely someone or his parent’s God has impressed upon him of God’s power. Are you in Jabez’ shoes today. Then I speak to you of God’s power. As you listened to God’s word, you hear of the God who delivers people with signs and wonders. You hear of water coming out of the rock. You hear of how God miraculously healed two million sick, weak and downtrodden slaves as they came out of Egypt. And Psalms 105:37 says, ‘There was not one feeble person among their tribes.’ Just imagine how powerful this verse is. There is not one weak, sickly, pathetic, frail, thin, shabby person among the tribes. And I declare to this church. God has never intended even one weak, sickly, pathetic, frail, thin, shabby person in this congregation.
What did Jabez do? And what must you do? Jabez called upon the name of the Lord. You hear the preacher said ,’Ah Lord God! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.’ (Jeremiah 32:17). This morning God shouts out ‘Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3). Jabez’ whole life was changed because he called upon God. Take these promises of God and climb up into the presence of God. Change your destiny by calling upon the God of miracles.
Yesterday, our DJCG met a lovely couple. But we were shocked to hear of what they had gone through for 20 years before they had to finally leave their former Christian organization. This lovely couple is pastoring a church in Janiuay. His name is Bobot and the wife is Andrea. Immediately one week after they were married, his senior pastor from Manila, demanded the wife, Andrea leave him and go to Cavite to assist his Senior Pastor. So one week after the wedding, Bobot and Andrea were separated for one year and two months. He shared that in his church, all the church’s offering and his tithes had to be sent to the church in manila. Every Sunday, there are at least a few boxes of offerings; all to be collected and sent to Manila. I was stunned to hear that. They had gone through a lot of pain, sorrow and trouble. But God delivered them when they called upon God. They dared to change their destiny even though it means being cut off completely from the mother church in Manila. Today, they had just finished building a concrete church, totally supplied by God and they have a membership of around 80 people. You can see his church building on our Evangel Facebook.
But the reason I am sharing this is because it brought back memories of what Pastor Lily and I and this church had to go through. Because the enemy tried to do the same thing to us. I was told that this land is a cursed land. I was told to sell this property and Sis Kabayao can testify to that because I approached her agent to help us sell this land. Pastor Lily and I and this church were literally left on our own in 2012. We were sacked but they told the congregation in Singapore we went independent. They believed that we will not survive and maybe we will humbly go back to them to ask them to take this church. The rental for our church in Quezon Street was 45,000 pesos every month. Without exaggeration, we had no one to turn to and in desperation, we called upon God. We were literally in sorrow, pain and heartache and suffering. But God heard our cries. And he delivered us. Not only he delivered us, but this church is thriving. For Evangel Tabernacle, 4 years have passed. And God heard our cry. I totally agree with this statement; ‘Jesus is all I need when I realize he is all I have.’ The same goes for Jabez and the same goes for you.
3. Jabez approached Jesus for deliverance.
Jabez said, ’Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.’
He came to Jesus with his needs. You cannot have deliverance without the deliverer. This morning you have to approach Jesus for deliverance. Be not tired of always coming to him. Be not tired of telling Jesus your needs. Jabez came humbly to Jesus. His prayer is recorded here. He prayed for God’s blessing. He prayed for God’s extension of his territory. He prayed that God’s hand would be with him. Maybe at that period of his life Jabez has entered an important and critical service or juncture of his life and the successful execution of it he cannot depend on his own prowess but he looked anxiously for the aid and blessing of God. His name means sorrow but he asked that he may have no more sorrow (that it may not grieve me). The bible says, God granted him that which he requested. God wants to answer your request. Whatever was the kind of undertaking which roused Jabez’ anxieties, Jabez enjoyed a remarkable degree of prosperity, and God, in this instance, proved that He was not only the hearer, but the answerer of prayer. The bible said he was more honorable than his brethren.
I want to dissect the phrase ‘And God granted him that which he requested.’ I have been praying for a long long long time for this church and like Jabez, I asked that God would bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that his hand might be with me and that he would keep me from evil, that I would not be grieved by life. And God gave me specifically a few verses just this week that surprised me and I shared it with Pastor Lily and we hold hand together to believe the promises. I approached Jesus for deliverance and this is what he gave me. When I talked about me, you are always included because you are part of my life and this church is part of me. The blessing includes people in this church.
Remember I prayed for this followings:
God would bless me
God would enlarge my coast
God’s hand might be with me
Keep me from evil
I would not be grieved by life
And this is what God said.
Ezekiel 36:8 says, ‘But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come.’
The mountains of Israel refer to God’s restored people, to the leaders. I feel it was referring to us and also to this church people. The mountain of Israel refers to the body of congregation in this church. So it definitely includes you. The mountains of Israel, not mountain but mountains (plural) of Israel refer to people of morality. We shall shoot forth our branches. They are at hand to come means they are about to come. It is here to take place. It will not be long.
Ezekiel 36:9-12 is a detailed description of what will happen to us when we approach Jesus for deliverance. ‘For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be built: And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the Lord. Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men.’
God told me specifically that YHWH is for you. It means the covenant relationship with YHWH is restored. If there is ever a time of God’s grace and favor it is now. It is the acceptable time. It means YHWH will be with and for his people again. And If YHWH is for you, who can be against you. Sometimes you wonder whether God is on your side and maybe you even believe the lie of the Devil that God is not for you. Well, here specifically God spoke clearly He is for you. Actually YHWH will turn into you. You shall be tilled and sown. It means you will be matured. God will multiply men upon you. God’s blessing will involve numerical growth, for the number of people will be multiplied. The waste places will be rebuilt. The waste places have reference to the land. I want to emphasize that this land where we meet together; the land and you belong together. Rather than being a cruel wilderness with drought, famine and death (Remember Jabez’ name means sorrow, pain and heartache) it will be a place of blessing. Here is the interesting part. YHWH will settle after your old estate. You will inhabit your old estates again. In another translation it means you will inhabit your former estate. We shall increase and bear fruit. Actually we will do better than at the beginning. YHWH will treat you better than at the first. YHWH will put people over you. These people over us will take care of you. God’s people will take care of you. God told me the people in this church will take care of me. You will be their inheritance. We will no more be bereaved of men. We will no more bear the approach of men or be reproached anymore. God will remove the reproach. The mockery, the taunt, the humiliation, the scorn, which we have been forced to endure, will cease. We will be more honorable than our brethren. We will once again be restored to our position of prestige as God’s chosen people. We will no more be sorrowful. And YHWH is doing all these not for our sake but for God’ holy name sake. Then the heathen (people) shall know that YHWH is sanctified in you before their eyes. We will have no more insults from our enemies and the heathen. The heathen will see us as an especially blessed people.
Remember God granted all the Jabez requested. I believe God is answering all that we have been praying for so many years.