When you walk into a bank to ask for a loan, you might look a little different than you do on any other day. A gentleman likely wears his best suit and tie while a woman may don her most professional looking dress. You’ll ensure there’s not even a speck of lint or a single hair out of place. But why do we do that? To impress the person who has the power to approve your loan.
God has the power to do anything He wants on our behalf. But do we have to do anything special to impress God in hopes of gaining his favor? Do we have to do wild and outlandish things to have his all-powerful ear? Kevin Groves of Hope in the Morning explores an Old Testament example on our blog today of how one man impressed God.
HOW TO IMPRESS
In 1 Chronicles, amid family records and genealogies, we find a very interesting verse that stands out from the rest.
In this passage the first thing I see is that Jabez ‘called’ on God. The word ‘called’ here in Hebrew is ‘qara’. It can mean to ‘cry out’ or ‘proclaim loudly’. What Jabez was about to ask God involved fervency and passion. This wasn’t a passive conversation Jabez was having with God. Jabez was intense because the stakes were so high… his ability to influence people for God was the focus.
WHO TO IMPRESS
I also love that we’re told WHO Jabez was crying out to. He wasn’t crying out to the gods of Egypt. Not the gods of India or the far east. Jabez was crying out to ‘the God of Israel’, the only true God! The God of The Bible. The God whose Son is Jesus Christ.
So much of the world cries out to wooden carvings or stone statues for help. Some cry out to a person of fame or wealth while others cry out to a simple symbol painted on a wall. But Jabez’ prayer was not in vain like prayers to non-existent, non-eternal entities. He was calling on The Only True God who could actually answer his prayer.
I remember years ago seeing a video of a man who wanted to prove his loyalty to his non-existent god. He walked into a market square, quietly sat down, and lit himself on fire. The crowd watched, almost not believing what they saw. Like Jabez, we serve The Lord God Almighty who tells us it’s impossible to impress Him by self-mutilation, the giving of all our gold, or the greatest of intentions. It’s the broken and contrite heart that God accepts. That’s where Jabez’ heart was, and it’s a pretty good place to find ourselves.
Remember, God loves you, and God has a plan for your life.