?9 Now Jabez was more honourable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.”
10 And 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. (Emphasis supplied)
[1 Chronicles 4:9&10]
? Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: Nabal is his name, and folly is with him!… (Emphasis supplied) [1 Samuel 25:25]
As we said previously, names have significance. Throughout the Bible, people acted just as their names suggested.
In the first scripture above, we see a man called Jabez. “Jabez” means “He makes sorrow”. This was the name his mum gave him as a result of circumstances surrounding his birth. Indeed, sorrow was his portion in life until he took steps to break the curse by prayer to the Almighty God.
Please look at verse 10 again. Among the many things he asked God, the last was, “That I may not cause pain”. The New Living Translation (NLT) puts it better. It reads “And keep me from all trouble and pain”. I like the way the verse ended. It says, “So God granted him what he requested”. Praise God! Jabez didn’t have literal change of name like Abraham. However, God changed his circumstances. There was a whole city called “Jabez” in the Bible (1 Chronicles 2:55). Scholars believe it was named after this very man. Praise God forevermore.
The second Scripture deals with a man called Nabal. “Nabal” means “foolish”. I wonder why his parents would give him such a name among all names under the sun. I also wonder what a wise woman like Abigail was doing in the house of a fool. Why would she marry such a man? The words we see in the second Scripture were her very words. She knew the man she had married-a fool. But for her wisdom, the foolishness of Nabal, her husband was going to cost the entire family. David, who was at the receiving end of Nabal’s foolishness was going to wipe out the entire family. Thank God for wise and godly women like Abigail.
Parents, guardians, teachers, pastors and mentors among others should be particularly careful with the words they use to describe the young ones. You may be giving them names unwittingly. Research has shown that many jailbirds have turned out exactly the way their mothers in particular described them. One said, “Mum said I would end up in jail and that’s exactly what I’ve become”. Isn’t that sad? *Words have power, let’s use them wisely. Let’s use words to build and not to destroy.
God changed the names of Abraham and Sarah. He changed the circumstances of Jabez. May He do great things in our lives as well in the Name of Jesus. Amen