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The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life Hardcover – January 1, 2000
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My personal issue is I am the type of person that needs things to get to the point quickly before my A.D.D sets in. And this book took its sweet time in getting to the point. So, it took me a while to read it to its end. But the information in it is worth gleaning from. As I am sure the author had some grief in gaining this wisdom,
Great book for a gift!
At the age of 75 memorizing the powerful dayly prayer has been the challenge.
Except that Jabez may have meant something else. Since Jabez lived in a time prior to prophetic notions of social justice or the concept of an afterlife, his idea of blessing is more materialistic than any gospel or post-gospel understanding. His expansion of territory is literally a land grab at the expense of his neighbor's lives, which he felt he was taking with the approval of God, something so close to today's West Bank settlements that it ought to cause us some ambivalence to use this prayer at all. The hand of God that Jabez sought was more likely to have been as a military power with which to overthrow and kill his neighbor. And since it would have been many centuries after Jabez that the concept of an evil Satan developed, that can hardly be the evil he asks to be delivered from here, although it is what Wilkinson seems to think is the entire focus of this last request. It may be rather from the magical implication of his name that he asks deliverance, something in which moderns would put little stock.
There is much ambiguity in this book as one passes from a request for a blessing that is left up to God to a specific request that the individual decides on some basis or other must be God's will (like Trinidad, a DC-10, or the delay of a flight that will inconvenience hundreds of other people). Wilkinson should say more on how to distinguish between God's will and our own desires that we too easy mistake for God's. He also touched too briefly on the notion that a person's business is the way in which one serves God and so an expansion of business becomes a growth in divine service; more guidance needs to be provided Christians who mistake corporate greed for doing God's will and earthly success as a sign of God's good pleasure, and who may possibly have picked up this book to find a way somehow to serve both God and mammon. For all the talk of Satan in the book, there is little talk of other evils we need to be delivered from, like the religious self-righteousness that convinces us that our wants are God's will and our understanding God's revelation, and also the greed that enriches the wealthy Christian while impoverishing the rest of the world. The book is a best seller, probably because there are so many who are searching for spirituality and for God. If it has helped some find what they seek, well and good; but I suggest that if you are looking for a daily prayer to say, try the suggestion of Jesus that begins "Our Father ..."
Purely this is dangerous teaching for only the fact that it seeks to turn our attention away from Christ and upon our own relentless seeking what we want.
Scripture is replete with examples against such "name it and claim it" theology. Further, the English translation here of 1 Chronicles 4:9 "and Jabez was more honorable" is faulty and misleading. The preferable Hebrew trnalslation here would be "more honored." See a reliable source such as Keil-Delitzsch, Volume 8, pg. 88.
This coupled with the interpretative guideline of scripture interprets scripture will not permit this incorrect application as the book suggests. What about taking up our crosses and following Jesus? What about he who exalts himself I will humble and he who humbles himself I will exalt?
Prayer disconnected from our relationship to Christ crucified is what is critical, and is avoided in this book. Further to its false teaching, the author exhibits Pelgiansism (look it up to find out what's involved) on pg. 85 -- speaking of what to do about sin, he writes "I encourage you to rush back into God's presence and make things right, whatever it takes." What about giving it to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?
This is certainly commendable that Christ's people pray and strengthen their walk of faith, but putting people under the law in his human-centered way and not the way of Christ's cross is unbiblical and dangerous to faith, no matter how high it is on the best-seller's list.
For biblical teaching on prayer and life of faith, see either Harold Senkbeil's excellent book "Dying to Live: The Power of Forgiveness," Chapter 8 and Gene Veith's "Spirituality of the Cross."
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The book condition is excellent, in fact you'd never know it was second hand.
And then the content!!
To have a seemingly small and insignificant passage in the old testament, a prayer, explained so completely has bought it alive and it has become both understandable and a life changeing experience.