Over three decades ago I become interested in the Bible, having drank from the heavenly cup once, I have not been tired to drink more
The first example of the person that I shall want us to see in this light is Jabez
Jabez in Hebrew is “יעבּץ”, which when Romanized becomes ya‛bêts (phonetic spelling is yah-bates') which means grieve or sorrowful.
The reason for which her mother named him Jabez was not stated in the bible, but we know from what follows from his brief history that what was associated with his life was related to the name he bears. He would have been going to the place of prayer since his childhood as God has enjoined all to be teaching their children even from their childhood phase the laws of Yahweh and how to commune with him. Therefore, it stands to reason that he has been praying to God from his early days till he grows up. But the striking thing that he noticed was that despite praying to Yahweh, his life remains as it was, not changing and this becomes a sorrow of heart unto him.
He becomes tired of the system and everything and at a point in time he did not follow the normal procedure of talking to God again which involves going through the High Priests, this perhaps may be because of his status, and he has spent and being spent with nothing to show for it. Now, he has nothing, he could not afford the money for the sacrifices, therefore, he went to a place, and cried unto God in his secret place.
“And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.
“And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” (1 Chron 4:9-10)
When he stopped seeing God as an abstract thing that cannot be touched by the feelings of our infirmities his life was transformed.
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb 4:15)
Our lives will equally remain the same if we continue to see God as an abstract person who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities. But when we see him as a Person whom we can always touch, go to, our lives would change.
(b) Illustration of Friends Interaction at Midnight
The disciples of Jesus asks him to teach them how to pray, and in the process of telling them how they can effectively pray, he has placed them side by side with their friends, saying that,
“Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
“For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
“And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
“I say unto you, though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” (Luk 11:5-8)
This man has approached his friend at midnight and has asked his friend for assistance, but his friend being a disciplined person, principled person who goes early to his bed with his family, on hearing his friend knocks at his door, he initially does not want to listen to what he has to say because of his principle, but on a second thought, he listened to him and after listening to him he told him that what he has come for he cannot do at period. Note, this man does not say he does not have what his friend wants or is asking for, but he is following his principles that once he is on bed with his family and the door has been shut it should not be opened again.
Thence, he asks his friend to leave, he can come back in the morning, he will give him double of what he wants in the morning but not at that moment, for he does not want to bend his rules.
That is how many people are in the world, they would not want to bend their rules for anything and would ask the person to leave.
What this Friend Considers for not Leaving
His friend considers what he has suggested not applicable to him, coming back for double in the morning, this is not applicable to this situation his friend perhaps says to himself. It is not applicable to him at that moment because,
(i) He is his closest Friend: he has no one to turn to apart from him, they are very close and so he goes to him for the assistance,
(ii) Lenders have closed at that period: No one to borrow from at that moment, it is late in the night,
(iii) Those selling have closed store: the man assumes that even if he can run around and meet some people and they borrow him the money, which he will receive the double from his friend in the morning, yet the people have closed their stores the money he borrowed would be useless if he cannot get a place to buy the goods from,
(iv) Shame looks straight at him in the eyes: He knows that he will be put to shame at that time if he cannot provide for the people,
The man considers it that shame will subsume him if he fails to get his visitors what they should eat at that moment. On thinking about these, after the man has turned him down, he decides that he needs to change how he addresses his friend, he needs not to be gentle again, he needs to add impudence to his asking he needs to let him know that given him double the following day would be immaterial, because that shame would be ever there, and as a friend, if he suffers shame, it means he has also been put to shame, therefore, he tells his friend that he must do something at that moment, since he has what he wants with him and it is not as if he will go to another place before getting the thing all that his friend needs to do is open his door get the thing and stretched to him through the windows he does not need to open the front door, but send it to him through the windows.
Having gone about the asking another way, and his friend being a true friend indeed has seen the reasons why he must break his principles to attend to his friend. He stands from where he lieth to attend to his friend even beyond his needs.
This our God will equally do for us when we change our format of praying to him letting him know why he has to do what we are asking him to do for us. If and when we present our cases logically, he surely will change his disposition and our lives would be changed too, what we have been seeking his face for, for long would be released unto us.
Jesus has call us his friends and so are we, when we look at ourselves as servants then we shall continue to be in problems because we shall keep ourselves in the background, put ourselves down, when he has not keep us down.
“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (Joh 15:14-15)
What I am trying to show us from here is when we pray the same way, we may not be answered if the rudiments of the prayers have not been changed. However, if we change a tittle of the rudiments of the means of our prayer it is certain that our prayers will be answered because, just like the gene in our systems that has some templates that forms it, if a template is altered through coding, nonsense coding, mis-coding and mutations, what would be the product of the new coding would be different from the original thing that has been in the system and or causing the problems, this is what is being used by the genetical engineers. In the same way, when we change our disposition, change how we pray and this time around let him see reasons for what we are asking he surely will answer us and do great things in our lives, for us and through us even beyond our own imaginations.
In the next article we shall see some other points.
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