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Posts Tagged ‘The Past’

A wise person theologian … one once said,

I think that our inner compulsion is to run from it. That gives us complete separation, and immediate relief. But does running from it have positive, long-lasting results? I do not know for sure that answer, but I tend to think it might chase us, and when we least expect it, re-surface again.

Then there is learning from it. Oh, how slow that process seems, and painful for to learn is to look at the pain and face it. But could more, long lasting good come from that process? I do not know for sure that answer, but I tend to think it is the better way.

There is a man in the Bible, of whom little is known, but one thing we do know is that he did not run from his past.

This man is Jabez. His one entry in the Bible is in the Old Testament book of 1 Chronicles. He shares his name also with a town near Bethlehem, but I am not sure if the town was named after him.

The accounting of Jabez, and his life is:

“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.
His mother had named him Jabez,saying,
“I gave birth to him in pain.” 
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel,
“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!
Let your hand be with me,
and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”
And God granted his request.”
1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Jabez was named by his mother, and I would guess that would not have been the norm, in such a patriarchal society. Now either his birth was horrific, or the timing of his birth was, or something else dreadful must have accompanied his entry into the world for his mother to have named him as she did.

The name Jabez is Hebrew, and it means sorrowful or pain. In those days, and within that Hebrew culture, a name was almost a prophetic statement, or a foundation for who this baby was to become. Andpas his mother saw his future as sorrowful or painful.

Whatever the reason his mother named him as she did, Jabez past followed him everywhere. Imagine the teasing of his childhood peers down by the well, “hey Sorrowful, having a good day? Oh, that’s right you NEVER have a good day, you are Sorrowful!”

He had a choice, run from it, or learn from it.

Well, it would appear that he did not run from it, heck, he didn’t even change his name, nor did God as He had of others in the Bible (Abraham, Sarah, Paul, etc.).

Instead, he somehow knew that the only hope he had of a future that was not sorrowful, was to pray. And pray he did:

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel,
“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!
Let your hand be with me,
and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”

His prayer was for a future complete with a relationship with the God of Israel, complete with blessing (perhaps the blessing he did not get from his parents), complete with God’s protection, complete with freedom from … pain. The prayer of Jabez is the desperate cry of a man born with a curse, with a past, and he knew it well. But, he also knew that he did not have to stay in his sorrowful state, and he knew the only one who would hear his cry … the God of Israel.

“And God granted his request.”

And, He will hear our cries to be freed from our hurtful pasts,
we just need to learn to cry out to the One who will hear us,
to change the direction of our lives.

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