Lord, Keep Me From Evil!
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: 1 Chronicles 4: 9-10
Sunday 06th July 2014
Today, we conclude the series, ‘Prayer That Changes Circumstances’ with an examination of the final aspect of Jabez’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 4. Previously, on our journey of understanding we have learned that Jabez refused to be limited by his background and his birth, and instead cried out to God for more. Jabez’s life is a reminder that prayer changes circumstances and that we are called to live by the power of prayer. It is a lesson for each of us that irrespective of past experience, there is no substitute for prayer, a truth that Jesus alluded to in Matthew 6: 5 when He taught the disciples about prayer with the words, “When you pray”; here, He did not give the impression that prayer was optional, but in recognition of the necessity of prayer said, “when” not “if”. Until and unless we pray, nothing happens.
Jabez cried out to God and asked Him to bless him, increase him and empower him. He went further however to reveal to us that once God is pouring out His blessing on you; enlarging your territory and empowering you, you need to be aware that the devil will not be happy with you. Jabez is saying, once you are a threat to the devil, you must recognise that there will be opposition and thus he asked God, “Lord keep me from evil”. He understood that he needed God’s protection. Many of us fall into the trap of relaxing when we are experiencing God’s blessing and things are going well for us when in fact, whenever God is blessing you, the devil is warming up and gearing up for destruction. Complacency often sets in when we need to be more active and vigilant than ever. When we are experiencing the blessing of God on our lives, we tend to stop praying, trusting God and walking in faith; we become complacent. Jabez is saying you need God to activate your blessing and you definitely need God to keep the blessing. Jabez knew that he had become a threat to the enemy. When he had nothing to his name, the devil never bothered him; but when God began to bless him, the enemy began to close in for attack; Jabez in this aspect of his prayer, recognised that he was in need of God’s protection. You have waited on God in prayer and fasting for 30 days and enlargement is an inevitability. You must not lose sight of the fact that the enemy is not celebrating your blessing; Satan does not bother with those who are not making progress. Do not let down your guard. There is a greater degree of faith that is needed to sustain the blessing. In Genesis 26: 12-13, we see that Isaac prospered and became more and more prosperous and it is at this point that the Philistines envied him. When he had been ravaged by famine, the Philistines were not bothered with him but the moment that he began to make progress, he became the focus of their attention. This is not the time to kick back and relax but instead, you must be protective and vigilant in protecting what you have received from God. In 1 Peter 5:8 we are instructed to be sober and vigilant as our adversary is prowling about seeking whom he may devour. Church, the harvest has come. This is your season of Harvest; and this season calls for a different posture: vigilance.
Looking in more detail at Jabez’s request, we discover that the Hebrew word translated as ‘keep me’ from evil is the same word used in Genesis 2:15 when Adam was put in the Garden of Eden to ‘tend and keep’ it. The word used connotes preparing, forming and fashioning. The term ‘evil’ in this context refers to adversity, wretchedness and sorrow. Essentially therefore Jabez was asking God to fashion him in order that there would be no more sorrow or evil within him. Jabez understood that his name was synonymous with pain and sorrow and that his mother, in naming him as such had essentially cursed him. He understood that although he was asking God to bless, enlarge and empower him, the curse that his mother had laid against him could hinder and compromise the effect of God’s blessing. He understood that he was blessed but he also knew that unless the root cause of the problems in his life were dealt with, the blessing, the increase and empowerment would not be effective.
There is much to learn from this. The truth is that we are blessed. However, the reality is that for many of us, our experience is that the manifestation of the blessing is limited and hindered by unseen forces. Many of us are struggling as a result of negative words spoken over our lives, perhaps by those with relational authority over us. It is almost as if, as much as we try to advance and move forward, there are unseen ropes holding us back. Today, my mission is to enforce the counsel of God and declare that every curse is broken; every yoke is destroyed and every burden is removed.
Jabez knew that a cursed person such as himself could only bring pain to others as he understood that you can only give what you have. We cannot be a blessing unless we are first blessed. Jabez had come to a place of complete recognition and honesty with both himself and God. We 21st century believers, often have great difficulty in being honest with ourselves and similar difficulty in being honest with God. We often confuse faith, which calls things which are not as though they are, with denial. Walking in faith does not demand that we go into denial about things which are as though they are not. Jabez was completely honest with God as to his situation and therefore asked God to re-fashion him in order that he may not cause pain. In Genesis 32:27, the angel of the Lord met with Jacob and asked him, “What is your name?” Jacob was by then a very rich man indeed, however he confessed “I am Jacob.” The true significance of this response is discovered in the meaning of his name, being supplanter or cheat. The language of faith does not mean that we hide from God. Of course God already knew what Jacob’s name was; He knows who we really are too. The place of self-awareness and recognition of our challenges is the place of deliverance. Jacob owned up to God whom he really was and as a result, God re-named him as Israel, or prince with God. It is time to stop hiding who we really are; hiding behind titles, image and position will only prolong our challenge. It is time to confess to God the reality of our challenges and receive deliverance from Him.
I declare today that every curse is broken; the things holding you back are destroyed in Jesus Name! According to Galatians 3:13 which states ‘Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith’; I declare that you are free from the curse of the law! I declare that every negative pronouncement over your life is null and void. I declare that the blessing of Abraham is manifested in every area of your life and from today onwards, you will begin to experience the reality of enlargement. You will walk in victory; you will walk in favour; you will walk in influence in Jesus’ Name!
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