"KEEP ME FROM EVIL"
Jabez was "more honourable than his brethren". As we read the words of his prayer In 1 Chronicles, 4, we gain a glimpse of his honor. We feel to know much about the man, his character and his vision from the words that ascended from his lips as he approached the most High. Among those we find a noble petition: "Keep me from evil."
It is wise to ask the Lord to keep us from evil. Without the hand of God we are no match for Satan. He will sift us as wheat and bring much pain into our lives. Is it not evil that causes so much pain in our world? That was the reason of Jabez's petition: "that it might not grieve me". The request might at first seem selfish. It seems as though Jabez would protect only his own honor and conscience from grief. Yet, we see more to his words than a selfish request. Jabez knew that evil in his life would not only wound his own conscience, but also inflict pain upon the people around him, people that he loved. Children, family, those that would look up to him, trust him and depend upon him would be grieved by any evil actions on his part. Therefore as we examine his request, we will discover a triad of blessings: a blessing upon his own head; a blessing for those around him and a blessing to God and His cause.
TO THOSE AROUND HIM
When I see a drunk or a beggar on the street I wonder what home they might have come from. I wonder if their parents were involved in evil which caused them to flee far from the comforts of what a home should have been. I wonder if they even knew their parents. Yes, evil hurts those around us. Many a mother and father have suffered body and soul from the evil of their own offspring. Son, daughter, your evil will harm the hand that cared for you more than you will ever know. Many a child has suffered from the evil of their own parents. I am sure if we asked the fragile child the source of their greatest joy they would answer, "Godly parents and a Godly home". Jabez realized that his lifestyle was not his own. It would impact others for good or for evil. Society in general, is molded by good or evil. Perhaps Jabez had been injured himself. To those who have been injured by the evil of others, we encourage you to seek the great physician who cares for wounded souls. Read His book. It has the answer to unravel many messes. For the sake of others, let us approach the throne of God's grace with this petition today.
A PERSONAL BLESSING
Some of the greatest grief known to man is the result of personal evil. I am sure that many who have given their lives to drugs, alcohol and sin have become so because of personal grief from sin. They have been sifted by Satan. I have heard some preachers talk of personal preservation and boast that the child of God can not sink to such a state. The latter end of Lot will not agree with such a doctrine. Even Paul said that he could become a "castaway". John 15:5 speaks of branches that men gather and burn, branches that were once a part of the Holy Vine. Surely, they are a picture of what evil can bring upon God's children to silence a good testimony. Jabez's prayer was a sober one. He was wise enough to realize his potential to sin. Therefore, he sought strength from above. Let us do so as well!
A BLESSING TO GOD
Can we bless God? According to the psalmist we can, "Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul"- Psalm 103:20-22 "Doing his pleasure", avoiding evil, is one of the ways that we bless God. This is an honorable request for leaders in God's kingdom! When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He encouraged them with words of much the same sentiment: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Lord, this is our prayer today! May we be answered like Jabez: "And God granted him that which he requested". Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 each Sunday morning.
By His mercy and grace,
Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor