Our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, tells us, “The one important interpretation of Scripture is the spiritual.” (SH 320:24-25) What a wonderful guide the Spiritual Concepts Approach (SCA) is when searching for the spiritual meaning for a Bible passage! The Number Concepts are scientific because they are always accurate. After four years of applying them on an almost-daily basis to the Bible Lesson and our Pastor, their accuracy has never been found wanting.
When the one-verse story of Jabez (I Chron. 4:10) appeared in the Bible Lesson a couple of years ago, it seemed an insignificant tale that held no meaning to me and I was tempted to skip over it. When the Jabez story first came up in the Bible Lesson, I had only had been studying the SCA for a year, and decided to apply its principles to this citation to see if it would reveal something about Jabez. As I began to unlock his mystery, the inspiration began pouring out.
Here is the two-verse passage from 1 Chron. 4:
Verse 9: “And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.”
Verse 10: “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!”
Verse 9 gives some background to the man. Being divided by a colon, this verse has two parts.
And Jabez 1 was more honourable than his brethren:
As one learns through the SCA, the first step is to look for the word or verb pattern(s). Having the pattern of just one verb, this is a Concept of One, giving a clue that God is present with him. Jabez is also an “honourable” man. Faithful, righteous, principled, upright are synonyms of honourable. In the whole chapter, he was set apart from his brethren by his honourable qualities.
and his mother 1 called his name Jabez, saying, Because I 2 bare him with sorrow.
The second half of 1 Chron 4, verse 9 is a Concept of Two, a cause and effect or c&e with lower case letters because on the relative human level. (Through the SCA, we learn there are four kinds of citations or levels that are identified within our Pastor. See Four Kinds of Sentences. From his mother’s standpoint, Jabez’ birth was difficult at best. She was under the erroneous belief of the curse spewed on her and all women by the false god called the Lord God in Genesis 3:16 who had cursed Eve with, “in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children.” Even the name Jabez, which means “he causes pain,” seems a curse which he bore like an unhealed wound. Perhaps it made him the object of ridicule by his brethren. One wonders how his mother treated him.
One can’t help but notice the dichotomy between the two descriptions of Jabez: honourable versus causes pain.
So much for Jabez’ background.
What follows shows the pain he has endured over the years and just how honorable he is by working his way out of a problem through prayer rather than acting out in some other more destructive way which would prevent the dissolution of the “curse upon him.” (Gen 3: 16-17)
Jabez prayed: called on God, the God of Israel. Effective prayer begins with God. Mrs. Eddy assures that, “desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires…” (SH 1:11-12)
1 Chron. 4, verse 10
And Jabez 1 called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that
thou 2 wouldest bless me indeed, and 3 enlarge my coast, and
that thine hand 4 might be with me, and that thou 5 wouldest
keep me from evil, that it 6 may not grieve me!
Verse 10 includes two patterns. The six verbs indicate the Concept of Six, the subject of my previous blog. (“Saying” is crossed out because what is said is included in the count; there can be no double or redundant counts.) What does this concept mean? Both transcendence, transformation apply here, as does the Christ. Jabez is yearning for a spiritual change, to be lifted up by the Christ. Of course, those wouldn’t be the terms he would have used, but his prayers indicate his desire.
The second pattern is manifested in his five requests. Counting carefully, one sees there are five things he is requesting.
- that thou wouldest bless me,
- enlarge my coast,
- that thine hand might be with me,
- that thou wouldest keep me from evil,
- that it may not grieve me
Obviously, this is a Concept of Five relating in some way to the five senses. In this case, he needs to be lifted above their erroneous claims. Thus, he prays to the God of Israel, the One God who we Christian Scientists know well and love deeply. Does this not show his innate spiritual sense?
Again, we are working to perceive the spiritual sense of this passage. Reading on the surface and accepting the literal is to be avoided. Keep in thought the meaning of the Concept of Six, transcendence, transformation through the Christ, and that each of the five requests is mental and spiritual.
Combining the two number concepts is key to looking more deeply at the five requests. Both concepts indicate a mental reaching upward, a desire to transcend beyond the false evidence of the five-senses. His desire for transformation indicates the presence of the Christ. They also show that his requests are quite metaphysical! In fact, they can be diagramed as Five Steps .
5 That it may not grieve me
4 That though wouldest keep me from evil
3 That thy hand might be with me
2 And enlarge my coast
1 That thou wouldest bless me
JABEZ’ FIVE REQUESTS
- God’s blessing. Why does Jabez ask for this? As a father blesses his son, so God blesses His sons. Knowing that Science and Health is the best Bible commentary for gaining spiritual insights, I searched in Concord for what Mrs. Eddy says about God’s blessing. She writes (SH 13:14):
Even if prayer is sincere, God knows our need before we tell Him or our fellow-beings about it. If we cherish the desire honestly and silently and humbly, God will bless it, and we shall incur less risk of overwhelming our real wishes with a torrent of words. (The bold and underlines are mine.)
Can anyone doubt Jabez cherished his desires in those three ways: honestly, silently, humbly? Incidentally, those three qualities align beautifully with the Three Omnis : Truth (honestly), Life (silently), Love (humbly).
One gets the impression that Jabez was very familiar with the God of Israel and going to Him in prayer. This wasn’t his first time!
He also epitomizes the righteous (spiritually minded) who deeply desire spiritual sense or righteousness:
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness (spiritual sense): for they shall be filled. (Matt. 5:6)
Furthermore, the verse in John 6:63 (to:) comes to thought:
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:
If Spirit restores and invigorates life, does He not also profit (or benefit, help, improve, advance) that which concerns each one of us? God’s blessing cleansed Jabez of any belief that he had sinned by causing his mother pain. His desire for God’s blessing includes a desire to bless those near to him. The Omni-action of blessing is constant, and like the sunshine, benefits everyone.
- Enlarged coast. Because of the Concept of Six discussed above, indicating a spiritual yearning, “coast” is a desire for more spiritual sense, to enlarge and expand his mental and spiritual capacity rather than a wish for more land acreage. He is focused on breaking through the encroachments imposed on him by his given name, which falsified his spiritual nature. He was pushing back on this transgression.
We read about expanding boundaries in Isa 54:2…
“Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;”
Enlarge gives the sense of broaden, expand, spread, heighten.
Again, Mrs. Eddy further enlightens us with:
“God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.” (SH 258:13-15)
“Unfathomable Mind is expressed. The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space.” (520:3-5)
It is against man’s spiritual nature to be content with error in any form, whether it be a curse, a name, a limited selfhood!
“Blessed are the poor (receptive) in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3)
- God’s hand be with him. Hand means spiritual strength. It is a quality of Love which overcomes a sense of sin, one’s own or another’s.
“The substance of all devotion is the reflection and demonstration of divine Love, healing sickness and destroying sin.” (241:19)
Love enables one to keep error out of thought, to follow Mrs. Eddy’s advice:
“Guard and strengthen your own citadel more strongly.” (My. 213:22)
I maintain that God is with Jabez and has been all along. God has given him through Christ the spiritual sense to know Him, to go to Him in prayer, and to desire to wash away all sense of miserable history. Jabez is demonstrating Immanuel – God with him!
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Matt. 5:7)
And this leads us to the fourth request of his prayer.
- To be free from evil. What is the evil? The accusation or blame targeted at him for supposedly causing birth pain and painful memories, and the resulting self-blame. Consequently, he is the bearer of evil thoughts. He is praying his way to see his own goodness rather than a source of pain or evil to others. His own spiritual sense is naturally refuting these evils.
“In the phrase, “Deliver us from evil,” the original properly reads, “Deliver us from the evil one.” This reading strengthens our scientific apprehension of the petition, for Christian Science teaches us that “the evil one,” or one evil, is but another name for the first lie and all liars.” (SH 16: 15-19)
This request is negative. A Christian Scientist would reverse this one, and replace it by affirming there is no evil; all is God, Good.
5. To be free from grieving. This request is also negative and needs to be reversed. The opposite of grief is comfort. It is the Christ that comforts; Christ is the Comforter. (SH 332:19; 497:6) Once again, the Concept of Six proves true to the spiritual sense of this story. Jabez is reaching out for the Christ-presence which he knows as the God of Israel.
“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4)
And God granted him that which he requested.
Here is the pattern of two verbs forming the SCA Concept of Two pattern, a Cause and Effect. Which came first, the request or the grant? Because God is the only Cause, the only Creator, and His creation is complete and good, the supply is present before the need is known. (Isa. 65:24) It is very evident with each of his requests, Jabez already included the qualities he was asking for. So, granted is the Cause, requested is the Effect.
And God granted C him that which he requested E.
Scanning the entire Chapter 4 of Chronicles, even those several chapters preceding and following this chapter, one discovers that this spiritual jewel of a story has been set among pages of human genealogy. Just this placement and its two-verse spotlight on Jabez indicates he was head and shoulders above the rest.
Jabez was a spiritually-minded, God-centered man, hence he was honourable. His spiritual sense led him to reach out to God in prayer. Because of his oneness with God, he was already blessed. When one individual is blessed, so are others. Such is the nature of blessing, prayer, goodness − Omni-action coming from God to man through the Christ, then reflected back in a constant, eternal round.
This little story illustrates several metaphysical and spiritual facts:
- a false sense of heredity can be broken and healed;
- the belief that the mother’s flawed or evil thoughts influence the child is not according to God’s law and can be nullified;
- the belief of a Genesis curse is a lie and powerless;
- man is blessed even when he thinks he is not;
- man’s blessedness is his defense against the lie of evil;
- the Christ is and always has been present in every age.
- exemplifying a treatment, denying the errors and affirming the truth about himself.
This is a good illustration of the Omni-action of prayer, blessing, the Christ all going full circle. As Jabez’ prayer is answered, the healing reaches everyone involved – the whole family.
Hopefully the reader sees how applying the SCA number concepts to a passage opens the floodgates of Mind’s inspiration to reveal the spiritual sense of a Bible story.
Thank you, everyone, for reading this and sharing it with others.
Leaving your comments at the end of this is most welcome.
(C) 2017 MARY WALLS KUHL