“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters…His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, ‘It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did continually.” (Job 1:2-5)
“By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.” (Proverbs 16:6)
It is generally thought that Job lived in the days of the Patriarchs, perhaps during the lifetime of Isaac, or Jacob, or his sons, before God gave the moral or ceremonial laws to His people coming out of Egypt. However, we know that even Cain and Abel made first-fruit offerings to the Lord. The land of Uz may have been a wicked place inhabited by ungodly residents and Job’s family may have been a rare God-fearing extended household.* Job was undoubtedly blessed by God with ten children, large numbers of herds, a great staff of servants to care for his animals and, most probably, his crops, and business dealings (v. 3). Job’s wealth, position, and reputation did not detract from his “friendship with God.”
Job is an excellent example of a father who cared deeply about his children. Whether they were feasting in honor of God or some other pagan tradition, Job reminded his sons and daughters of the need for consecration, to be set apart for God’s glory. He made it his practice to get up early enough to offer sin offerings for them before they began to feast. Job did so “continually” in case his sons or daughters failed to glorify God in their feasting, in particular. It is difficult to know if his children were feasting to idols, actually speaking against God, or doing what we all do so often—neglecting to acknowledge the Lord’s grace as the reason for their feasting. Any neglect of God in training up our children to know and acknowledge him is equally sinful to worshipping idols. Doing either robs God of his glory and honor as the Creator and Sustainer of life, sovereignly working his providence, and providing for our needs, and possibly our prosperity.
Although Job’s sons and daughters were grown, with households of their own, he continued to pray for his children, and intercede for them in confession and offerings. We also have a role to play in the lives of our grown children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and the spouses of our children and grandchildren. Having established the family in the love of Christ, knowing that we all continue to struggle with sin, the elders of the household are in the best position to intercede for younger members of the family, regardless of their faith or unbelief. Since there is no mention of Job’s offerings being secret, we expect that he would have mentioned them to his children at the feast, and even spoke of God’s goodness to them, continuing the training that they had probably received when still youngsters in Job’s house.
Do you intercede and talk with family members about God’s ways, his blessings, and his presence? Do you do it frequently, even “continually?” Or, will you resolve to pray about your reluctance and ask God for opportunities to follow Job’s example?
* Background material and commentary about Job’s devotion to the Lord and his children is taken from John Gill’s commentary on Job 1:1-5, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-1.html