Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 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. (1 Chronicles 4:9, 10 NKJV)

So often I associate Jabez to his prayer of expanding his territory and growth – be that physical prosperity or spiritual. But today, it caught my eye the last part of his prayer, “… that I may not cause pain.”

Verse 9 tells us that he was named Jabez because he was a painful birth (like any of them aren’t…) and his mother named him a name that became a lifelong reminder of the pain he caused her.

What a curse.

I wonder if Jabez’s prayer wasn’t a cry out to God in desperation to get out from under that curse. “God – make me able to bless others and don’t let me become evil so that I won’t cause anyone anymore pain!”

What if his prayer isn’t a prayer based on prosperity, but on trying to break away from the constant reminder of the pain he caused.

I’m a nickname kind of guy. I shorten or morph almost everyone’s name that I know. It makes me wonder, as a father, what words have I spoken over my kids. What nicknames have I given them and what do my kids think of that nickname? Will they grow up with a complex always trying to get out from under that name? Or have I given them names that they want to live up to… names that strengthen and encourage them… names that call out the giftings that God has blessed them with?

I think I will reevaluate what nickname I call my kids, my wife, and my friends.

The Ministry of Worship

Why do I worship? It’s my life-sentence.

As many of you know, I’ve been on the worship team at my current church for several years and was on the worship team for 9 years at the church before that. At our current church, being on the worship team is a fairly demanding endeavor and when you’re “on” for the weekend, it literally can consume 6+ hours on Saturday and 4+ hours on Sunday, not to mention the required practice before and any mid-week commitments of 1-2 hours each.

I say that because I’ve often been asked how I can make such a time consuming commitment with 4 active teens, and while “it’s my passion” suffices for most people, I found something in yesterday’s reading that really anchored it for me.

1 Chronicles 6:31-32 (NKJV)
‎31 Now these are the men whom David appointed over the service of song in the house of the Lord, after the ark came to rest. 32 They were ministering with music before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they served in their office according to their order.

Interesting words here translated as “served“, “office“, “order” and “song” in v32.

“served” – amad – 308 of the 521 references are translated as “stood” or “stand” and the implication is the same as in Ephesians 6:13-14 “when you’ve done all you can do to stand, stand therefore…” What is the implication of this service called worship? It is persistent and enduring…

“office” – abodah – “‎1 labour, service. 1a labour, work. 1b labour (of servant or slave). 1c labour, service (of captives or subjects). 1d service (of God).”

I love this! A labour of service of captives or subjects – what a fitting description of our condition! We are forever captives of the love of God who sacrificed himself to save us. We are subjects to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

“order” – mishpat – the implication of this word is that of a sentence mandated by a Judge. A legal remedy or decision. An edict handed down by a greater authority.

“song” – sir – ‎1 song, i.e., music including lyrics and instrumental elements (Ps 28:7); 2 singing, i.e., the act. of using the voice in a melodic and rhythmic manner, usually expressing verbal content (2Ch 23:18); 3 musical instrument, i.e., an object of any kind that produces a musical sound (1Ch 15:16; 16:42; 2Ch 5:13; 7:6; 23:13; 34:12; Ne 12:36; Am 6:5+);

1 Chronicles 6:48 goes on to state that these men were called from the Levites – so it is part of the Levitical calling. The word translated as “brethren” means “of the same father or tribe.”

So what is the ministry of worship?

The Ministry of Worship is a persistent, enduring, edict of service to our Conqueror and King – for we are voluntarily both captives and loved subjects to Him – to sing and play instruments in expression to who He is and what He has done and is doing and will do.

Why do I worship? It’s my life-sentence.

Running After Papa…