Jabez: 1

‘And Jabez called on the God of Israel.’ 1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJ

It’s a bit like the needle in the haystack. One name amongst six hundred. The first nine chapters of the book of 1 Chronicles consist of long, branching family trees. And right there in the middle of this intricate genealogy, God singles out one bloke for special recognition—his name is Jabez. There are only two verses in the entire Bible about him, yet he’s given honourable mention above the six hundred other people mentioned in these chapters. Why did God single Jabez out? What did he do to cause his name to be remembered today—over four thousand years later? What made him above average? For the next few days, let’s see what we can learn about him. ‘Now Jabez was more honourable than his brothers.’ (1 Chronicles 4:9 NKJ) So, what set him apart? He dared to ask and believe God for great things: ‘Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.’

God wants you to ask Him for great things! He told Jeremiah, ‘Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV) Paul tells us that God ‘is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.’ (Ephesians 3:20 NIV) You can’t out-ask or out-dream God, so start asking Him to reveal His will for you—and believe He will give it to you.

SoulFood: Is 30–33, Jn 7:14–24, Ps 104:1–23, Prov 28:5–8

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018

Today’s Readings

Isaiah 30–33 ()

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30:1   “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the LORD,
  “who carry out a plan, but not mine,
  and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
    that they may add sin to sin;
  who set out to go down to Egypt,
    without asking for my direction,
  to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh
    and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
  Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
    and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.
  For though his officials are at Zoan
    and his envoys reach Hanes,
  everyone comes to shame
    through a people that cannot profit them,
  that brings neither help nor profit,
    but shame and disgrace.”

An oracle on the beasts of the Negeb.

  Through a land of trouble and anguish,
    from where come the lioness and the lion,
    the adder and the flying fiery serpent,
  they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys,
    and their treasures on the humps of camels,
    to a people that cannot profit them.
  Egypt's help is worthless and empty;
    therefore I have called her
    “Rahab who sits still.”

  And now, go, write it before them on a tablet
    and inscribe it in a book,
  that it may be for the time to come
    as a witness forever.
  For they are a rebellious people,
    lying children,
  children unwilling to hear
    the instruction of the LORD;
10   who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
    and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
  speak to us smooth things,
    prophesy illusions,
11   leave the way, turn aside from the path,
    let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
12   Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel,
  “Because you despise this word
    and trust in oppression and perverseness
    and rely on them,
13   therefore this iniquity shall be to you
    like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse,
    whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant;
14   and its breaking is like that of a potter's vessel
    that is smashed so ruthlessly
  that among its fragments not a shard is found
    with which to take fire from the hearth,
    or to dip up water out of the cistern.”
15   For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,
  “In returning and rest you shall be saved;
    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
  But you were unwilling, 16 and you said,
  “No! We will flee upon horses”;
    therefore you shall flee away;
  and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
    therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
17   A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
    at the threat of five you shall flee,
  till you are left
    like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
    like a signal on a hill.

18   Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
  For the LORD is a God of justice;
    blessed are all those who wait for him.

19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. 22 Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!”

23 And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, 24 and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25 And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26 Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the LORD binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

27   Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar,
    burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;
  his lips are full of fury,
    and his tongue is like a devouring fire;
28   his breath is like an overflowing stream
    that reaches up to the neck;
  to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction,
    and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.

29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel. 30 And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones. 31 The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the LORD, when he strikes with his rod. 32 And every stroke of the appointed staff that the LORD lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them. 33 For a burning place has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.

31:1   Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
    and rely on horses,
  who trust in chariots because they are many
    and in horsemen because they are very strong,
  but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
    or consult the LORD!
  And yet he is wise and brings disaster;
    he does not call back his words,
  but will arise against the house of the evildoers
    and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.
  The Egyptians are man, and not God,
    and their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
  When the LORD stretches out his hand,
    the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall,
    and they will all perish together.
  For thus the LORD said to me,
  “As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey,
    and when a band of shepherds is called out against him
  he is not terrified by their shouting
    or daunted at their noise,
  so the LORD of hosts will come down
    to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.
  Like birds hovering, so the LORD of hosts
    will protect Jerusalem;
  he will protect and deliver it;
    he will spare and rescue it.”

Turn to him from whom people have deeply revolted, O children of Israel. For in that day everyone shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.

  “And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man;
    and a sword, not of man, shall devour him;
  and he shall flee from the sword,
    and his young men shall be put to forced labor.
  His rock shall pass away in terror,
    and his officers desert the standard in panic,”
  declares the LORD, whose fire is in Zion,
    and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

32:1   Behold, a king will reign in righteousness,
    and princes will rule in justice.
  Each will be like a hiding place from the wind,
    a shelter from the storm,
  like streams of water in a dry place,
    like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
  Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed,
    and the ears of those who hear will give attention.
  The heart of the hasty will understand and know,
    and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak distinctly.
  The fool will no more be called noble,
    nor the scoundrel said to be honorable.
  For the fool speaks folly,
    and his heart is busy with iniquity,
  to practice ungodliness,
    to utter error concerning the LORD,
  to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied,
    and to deprive the thirsty of drink.
  As for the scoundrel—his devices are evil;
    he plans wicked schemes
  to ruin the poor with lying words,
    even when the plea of the needy is right.
  But he who is noble plans noble things,
    and on noble things he stands.

  Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice;
    you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech.
10   In little more than a year
    you will shudder, you complacent women;
  for the grape harvest fails,
    the fruit harvest will not come.
11   Tremble, you women who are at ease,
    shudder, you complacent ones;
  strip, and make yourselves bare,
    and tie sackcloth around your waist.
12   Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
    for the fruitful vine,
13   for the soil of my people
    growing up in thorns and briers,
  yes, for all the joyous houses
    in the exultant city.
14   For the palace is forsaken,
    the populous city deserted;
  the hill and the watchtower
    will become dens forever,
  a joy of wild donkeys,
    a pasture of flocks;
15   until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
    and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
    and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
16   Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
    and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
17   And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
    and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
18   My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
    in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
19   And it will hail when the forest falls down,
    and the city will be utterly laid low.
20   Happy are you who sow beside all waters,
    who let the feet of the ox and the donkey range free.

33:1   Ah, you destroyer,
    who yourself have not been destroyed,
  you traitor,
    whom none has betrayed!
  When you have ceased to destroy,
    you will be destroyed;
  and when you have finished betraying,
    they will betray you.
  O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
    Be our arm every morning,
    our salvation in the time of trouble.
  At the tumultuous noise peoples flee;
    when you lift yourself up, nations are scattered,
  and your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers;
    as locusts leap, it is leapt upon.
  The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;
    he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
  and he will be the stability of your times,
    abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
    the fear of the LORD is Zion's treasure.
  Behold, their heroes cry in the streets;
    the envoys of peace weep bitterly.
  The highways lie waste;
    the traveler ceases.
  Covenants are broken;
    cities are despised;
    there is no regard for man.
  The land mourns and languishes;
    Lebanon is confounded and withers away;
  Sharon is like a desert,
    and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.
10   “Now I will arise,” says the LORD,
    “now I will lift myself up;
    now I will be exalted.
11   You conceive chaff; you give birth to stubble;
    your breath is a fire that will consume you.
12   And the peoples will be as if burned to lime,
    like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.”
13   Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
    and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
14   The sinners in Zion are afraid;
    trembling has seized the godless:
  “Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
    Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
15   He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
    who despises the gain of oppressions,
  who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
    who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
    and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
16   he will dwell on the heights;
    his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
    his bread will be given him; his water will be sure.
17   Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty;
    they will see a land that stretches afar.
18   Your heart will muse on the terror:
    “Where is he who counted, where is he who weighed the tribute?
    Where is he who counted the towers?”
19   You will see no more the insolent people,
    the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend,
    stammering in a tongue that you cannot understand.
20   Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts!
    Your eyes will see Jerusalem,
    an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent,
  whose stakes will never be plucked up,
    nor will any of its cords be broken.
21   But there the LORD in majesty will be for us
    a place of broad rivers and streams,
  where no galley with oars can go,
    nor majestic ship can pass.
22   For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver;
    the LORD is our king; he will save us.
23   Your cords hang loose;
    they cannot hold the mast firm in its place
    or keep the sail spread out.
  Then prey and spoil in abundance will be divided;
    even the lame will take the prey.
24   And no inhabitant will say, “I am sick”;
    the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.

John 7:14–24 ()

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14 About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” 16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” 21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

Psalm 104:1–23 ()

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104:1   Bless the LORD, O my soul!
    O LORD my God, you are very great!
  You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
    covering yourself with light as with a garment,
    stretching out the heavens like a tent.
  He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;
  he makes the clouds his chariot;
    he rides on the wings of the wind;
  he makes his messengers winds,
    his ministers a flaming fire.
  He set the earth on its foundations,
    so that it should never be moved.
  You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.
  At your rebuke they fled;
    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
  The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
    to the place that you appointed for them.
  You set a boundary that they may not pass,
    so that they might not again cover the earth.
10   You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
    they flow between the hills;
11   they give drink to every beast of the field;
    the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12   Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
    they sing among the branches.
13   From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
    the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
14   You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
    and plants for man to cultivate,
  that he may bring forth food from the earth
15     and wine to gladden the heart of man,
  oil to make his face shine
    and bread to strengthen man's heart.
16   The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly,
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17   In them the birds build their nests;
    the stork has her home in the fir trees.
18   The high mountains are for the wild goats;
    the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.
19   He made the moon to mark the seasons;
    the sun knows its time for setting.
20   You make darkness, and it is night,
    when all the beasts of the forest creep about.
21   The young lions roar for their prey,
    seeking their food from God.
22   When the sun rises, they steal away
    and lie down in their dens.
23   Man goes out to his work
    and to his labor until the evening.

Proverbs 28:5–8 ()

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  Evil men do not understand justice,
    but those who seek the LORD understand it completely.
  Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
    than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
  The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding,
    but a companion of gluttons shames his father.
  Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit
    gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.

Thu 01 November, 2018


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