Many are familiar with the story of Job, a man whom God recognized above others. A man whom God trusted enough to allowed Satan to hurt him that He might prove that Job did not serve God only for the good that God did for him. We’ve heard of the patience of Job while his “friends” took potshots at him.
But in the beginning of the book of Job we see Job, the father.
“And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.” – Job 1:5
Job prayed for his children. Job sacrificed for his children. Not the type of sacrifices that we often think of making for our children, but sacrifices to God to intercede for any sins they may have committed.
I see some things about Job concerning his children that I believe would be good for every father (or parent) to understand:
1. Job realized that his children were not perfect.
Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned.” How refreshing to hear a parent who can readily admit that their children may have done wrong. I know every parent wants to believe the best about his or her child, but some seem to truly believe that their child is incapable of doing wrong.
The best of men are men at best, and the best of children still have some foolishness bound in their hearts. Job accepted that he could not know everything about his children; and as parents we should not be fooled into thinking our children might not have a secret life we are unaware of. Walk guard around your children, but pray a hedge about them as well.
When our children are accused of wrong, may we not immediately jump to their defense without considering that it could be true that our child may have sinned. It doesn’t make you a bad parent that your child is a sinner, remember, “for all have sinned.”
2. Job did not ignore his children’s sin.
To realize our children are not perfect is not to throw our arms into the air and give up on trying to make them do right. It does not mean that we excuse their sin either. We have too many people excusing themselves of wrong with that old adage, “nobody’s perfect” or “humans make mistakes.”
I have no reason to doubt that Job was a father who taught his children to do right, and the difference between right and wrong. I believe he insisted on their adherence to right. I don’t believe for a moment that Job excused his children’s sin.
But Job took it a step farther. He understood that the ultimate judge of sin is God, and Job did what he could to intercede on behalf of his children to stay God’s hand of judgment in their lives. Sin was real to Job. Sin was really bad to Job, and thus he saw the need to come continually to God to make sure his sin, and the sins of his children were confessed and dealt with before God.
3. Job was concerned about his children’s relationship with God.
Job’s concern for his children was that in their hearts that they had not cursed God. He understood that the real issue is a heart issue. We can make our children do all of the right things, and we should, but if in their heart they are against God, against His Word, against His will, they may eventually rebel when they realize they can no longer be forced to conform.
Many a good child on the exterior is a rebel in the interior. The appeal of Solomon is what I believe to be God’s appeal to us, “Son, give me thine heart.” I want my children to give their hearts to God, so that He becomes the reason they do what they do.
I want to walk right, so that I do not become the reason they may curse God in their hearts; but if they do, I still want to intercede on their behalf. I want God to have their hearts. Parents, are you turning their hearts toward God? Do they see that God has your heart? Or, are you imparting to your children a heartless Christianity?
4. Job believed his children would turn out, but didn’t take it for granted.
It takes work to raise children for the Lord. We hope, we pray, we sacrifice, we spend, we educate, we do all of the things we believe are necessary to raise them properly. But we should not for a moment believe that there isn’t a chance for them to go astray.
At this stage, I believe all of our children are headed the right direction, but I will not allow myself to believe that they are immune from sin, or that it’s a done deal. I still want to take every opportunity to teach and to train. But above all, I want to take every opportunity to bring their names before God, to seek His forgiveness and mercy for where they may have sinned, to petition His grace in their daily lives, to ask that He grant them wisdom and understanding as life begins to peel back the scales from their eyes and they are met by a cruel and sinful world that they’ve been largely shielded from.
I want to believe they will do God’s will, but I will not stop praying that they do. Job’s children were already grown and married with houses of their own while Job offered these sacrifices for them. Let’s not wait until they are out of the nest before we show this concern for them.
My children are not perfect – so I am not done being a parent.