Here the Chronicler lists more descendants from the tribe of Judah (v1-23) and also from the tribe of Simeon (v24-43).
The two names that stick out the most in this chapter are: from Judah, a man called Jabez (v9-10); and from the tribe of Simeon, the men listed in verses 34-37. Let’s look at them more closely.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NIV) 9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
On verses 9-10: What made Jabez so outstanding that God would bless him especially? One of the important lessons we can learn from Jabez’ life is the importance of bringing your pain to God. Jabez, whose name in Hebrew resembles the word for pain, did the wisest thing when he brought his pain to God and asked God to bless him. When Jabez asked God to bless him, hal him and expand his territory, God did just that.
Likewise, when you are in pain, the best thing you can do is to go to God. Don’t run away from God. Run to Him. Is there a pain or problem in your life that you have yet to bring to God? God expands the territory of those who look to Him.
1 Chronicles 4:38-43 (NIV) 38 The men listed above by name were leaders of their clans. Their families increased greatly, 39 and they went to the outskirts of Gedor to the east of the valley in search of pasture for their flocks. 40 They found rich, good pasture, and the land was spacious, peaceful and quiet. Some Hamites had lived there formerly. 41 The men whose names were listed came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. They attacked the Hamites in their dwellings and also the Meunites who were there and completely destroyed them, as is evident to this day. Then they settled in their place, because there was pasture for their flocks. 42 And five hundred of these Simeonites, led by Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, invaded the hill country of Seir. 43 They killed the remaining Amalekites who had escaped, and they have lived there to this day.
On verses 34-43: The other group that sticks out in 1 Chronicles 4 is the men identified here in verses 34-37: Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah, Joel, Jehu, Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, and Ziza.
Why were these men so outstanding? It’s because they took initiative. When the tribe of Simeon was in need of pasture, they didn’t wait for that pasture to come to them. They went to the outskirts to look for that pasture. Once they found rich, good pasture and quiet, spacious, peaceful land (v40), they led their people in possessing that land and ousting out the Hamites and Meunites who occupied it (v41). Their courage inspired 500 other Simeonites to take the hill country of Seir as well (v42-43).
What can we learn from this? To be a leader means to take initiative. Don’t wait for your problems to solve themselves. Be proactive, not reactive. God expands the territory of those who take initiative.
What is one area or one relationship where you need to take more initiative? If you want to see God expand your territory, like Jabez, run to God and look to Him for help, and like the leaders of Simeon, be proactive and take initiative.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would be a person who takes initiative, who is proactive and not reactive when dealing with situations. May my first instinct be to run to You when I’m in pain, knowing that You bless those who look to You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!