Reading through the Bible together
In today’s reading we are reminded of our own spiritual heritage. The sons of Judah and Simeon were the eventual remnant of Israel. These descendants have clung to the land of their fathers throughout adversity and time, even until today. From these descendants we can trace the family tree as it descends to a little town of Bethlehem, to Joseph, and his son, our Savior Jesus.
One of these sons has been well documented in recent popular religious culture, Jabez. Short interruptions, like his story, bring a pause into the genealogies and give us insight into the religious practices of the times. We can grow our own relationship with Christ when we reflect on Jabez’s prayer.
Jabez was a man of honor—more honorable than his brothers—but apparently had not been raised with that reputation. The record here shows that he caused pain to his mother at his birth. It is not clear if this was emotional, physical or some other grief. Yet, he boldly asks for God to bless him, give him more territory and responsibility. He asks for God’s Spirit to be upon him so that he would not be sinful. Finally he says, so I won’t cause pain to others.
This son of Judah, simply but strongly, asked God for basic spiritual honor and to live for the benefit of others. And we find that God gave him the desires of his heart. What are we asking God to give us?