Jabez called upon the God of Israel saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border . . . ” 1 Chronicles 4:10 ESV
Enlarge – The Hebrew word is raba. In most cases this word is about multiplying physical assets. We find it first in God’s command to His creation, “be fruitful and multiply.” It is also translated “increase,” “gather much,” “heap up,” “give more” and “be many.” In one special use it is the name for a kind of locust. That is interesting. Do you know anything about locust? When they multiply, they become an overwhelming swarm, devouring everything in their path. If there were ever a tangible picture of “multiply,” this little insect is it. They simply breed and breed and breed until they can’t be contained. Quantity in large amounts is the idea behind raba.
Jabez asks God to explode his growth. He says, “God, make my assets multiply like locust. Let them overrun their accounts. Let them burst their borders. Make them grow so much that they can’t be contained. Let them go wild.” That’s quite a request. But Jabez knew that the basis of his request was his willingness to acknowledge both parts of the word “bless” – the gift and the act of bowing down. The only way that God brings this kind of increase is if the increase serves God’s purposes. That’s like saying, “God, I acknowledge that all favor comes from you. You are the only source of my prosperity. And I know that my prosperity means that I submit to you. I bow my knee in worship. And service! So, God, make your blessing big. Give me all you’ve got for me and I will give all I’ve got for you.”
Prosperity people love this request, but what they miss are the two implied conditions. First, they don’t see that if God chooses to increase, it is never for the gain of the asset holder. It is for distribution. My gain is for you, not for me. Of course, God desires that my needs are met. In fact, as the prime directive of Genesis shows, He desires that I experience much more than my needs. But the increase is His trust that I will become a blessing-transport vehicle, not a blessing-retention container. The second thing prosperity advocates miss is this: the attitude and behavior of the one whom God uses as transport is that anything God provides is sufficient. And if God determines to provide no increase at all, then “my grace is sufficient” is still that measure of life for me. The missing ingredient in most prosperity thinking is contentment. Without contentment, all of my desire for increase becomes nothing more than idolatry.
Today you can speak the same words as Jabez. But be ready. There are obligations in blessings. Jabez did not waver in asking because He knew God. Do you know God well enough to boldly ask Him to bring the locust? Does that mean you are ready for God to consume everything that isn’t part of His increase for you?
Topical Index: raba, increase, locust, 1 Chronicles 4:10