1 Chronicles 1-10, Psalm 65
In the early 1960's, Pastor Chuck Smith, began to pastor a small church in southern California, Calvary Chapel. When it began to grow in 1965, a new group of young, poorly dressed, often poorly washed people were coming and sitting on the floors because the pews were full. The Elders came to Pastor Chuck to complain that the dirty barefoot youngsters were ruining the carpet. Chuck's reply was that it would be better to remove all the carpet than to remove the hippies that had come to hear God's Word. This was the beginning of the "Jesus Movement". What Pastor Chuck realized and what so many miss, was that though the world looks on many as worthless, God sees the value of each and every individual. There is a book called Harvest which describes many of the names that are familiar to us, who have become prominent leaders in the Calvary Church movement, many who came from a dysfunctional past.
We read in this long list of genealogies a short story about a man named Jabez. In 1 Chr 4:9-10, we read, "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." We read in 1 Chr 2:55that a city dedicated to him, Jabez, was dedicated to the scribes, the intellectual community of the day. His name also means sorrowful. We don't really know why, perhaps he was born with a birth defect, was unwanted, was the last of one born in an already crowded home. But Jabez sought God in prayer, and God answered.
How many of us never become all that God wants us to be because we consider ourselves unimportant, unable, worthless in the eyes of society. When Samuel was looking for the next king of Israel and was in the house of Jesse, after considering the older brothers of David, we read in 1 Samuel 16:7, "But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." If we would only realize how valuable each of us are in God's eyes. The only thing that limits our walk with God is ourselves. God is ready to empower those who commit themselves to Him, even if the world has marginalized or discarded us. If we only realized this and turned to Him in prayer, like Jabez, we would literally have a Christian army ready to reach the world with the hope and salvation of Jesus.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: