3:1-4:23 – God answers prayer – ‘Jabez called upon the God of Israel, “Oh that You would bless me…”. And God granted his request’ (4:10). Behind the name, ‘Israel’, there are many other names, many faces, many people, many prayers rising up to the God of Israel, many believers calling upon the Name of the Lord, looking to Him for His blessing. The story of ‘Israel’ is a story of ‘disobedience’ and ‘mercy’ (Romans 11:25-32). This is the story of our life. We have been disobedient to God. He has been merciful to us. How are we to receive the blessing of God? Pray to God for His mercy: ‘Have mercy on me, O God, a sinner’ (Luke 18:13). Come to Him with this earnest prayer: ‘Oh that You would bless me…’. How much does the blessing of God matter to you? How much do you really want to be blessed by the Lord? Make it the most important thing: ‘Oh that You would bless me…’.
4:24-5:26 – God wants to lead us in the way of victory (5:22). We dare not take His victory for granted if we are not willing to walk in the pathway of discipleship. As well as the promise of victory, there is also the warning against disobedience. If we are disobedient, we will be defeated (5:25-26). God doesn’t want us to be disobedient and defeated. He wants us to be obedient and victorious. With the promise of victory – ‘From victory to victory His army He shall lead’ – comes the call to discipleship – ‘Stand up! Stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the Cross!’ (Church Hymnary, 481). God is calling us to be faithful. He is warning us – ‘Do not love the world…If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him’. The Lord`s way is better than the world’s way – ‘Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind’ (1 John 2:15; Romans 12:2).