February 22, 2021
[Job’s] 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.
As we start a new sermon series this week titled “Out of the Ashes,” we begin with Job and the incredible abundance he enjoyed. Job not only had great wealth, flocks and servants, but he was blessed with ten children as well. Ten! It’s no surprise Job was considered one of the greatest men of his time.
Obviously, Job lived in a very different time and place than we do, but some of us (perhaps many?) get a little queasy at the idea of trying to bring up so many children. Any parent can tell you the challenges of raising even one or two kids! But ten? And then steering all of them to hopefully know God in a real and profound way? Yikes!
But I think Job finally got it figured out. What does our passage today emphasize about Job and his children? It’s simple: Job prayed for them. But it’s not just the fact that he prayed, look at what he prayed for. Many of us might ask God to bless our children with success, or good health, or prosperity or other good circumstances, but Job prayed for their hearts. He prayed for his children’s relationship with God. He prayed in case they were perhaps turning from God in some secret, detrimental way, or starting down roads of sin best not travelled. And Job did this “continually,” too! What a simple yet beautiful example he sets for us today.
Do you have children, family members or even just friends you regularly pray for? And what do you pray for on their behalf? Praying for things like good health, finances or relationships is great, of course! These are part of life. But in the midst of our exceptionally busy and prosperous culture, let’s not forget what is perhaps the best thing we can ever pray for: a healthy relationship with the one person who can fix anything!