Job An Exemplary Father

by M.J. Hancock

A man kneeling and praying in the desert

God has set before us an extensive tapestry of characters throughout Biblical history for our consideration and imitation. He calls us to follow these men where they excelled and take heed of where they failed (Rom. 4:12; 1 Cor. 10:6, 11). Many of the fathers throughout Scriptures teach us more from their failures than their successes, but the Lord has preserved a handful of positive examples for our hope and endurance. One of the most outstanding examples of a godly father is briefly portrayed for us in the life of Job.

The book of Job begins describing the godly character of this man. He was “blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil” (1:1). Then Lord himself describes Job with these same terms, commending Job as the godliest man of his generation (1:8). Certainly, such a life is worthy of our consideration in our pursuit of walking in a manner fully pleasing to the Lord (Col. 1:10).

Job lived an exemplary life in several aspects (cf. Job 31), but in verse five of this first chapter, we see the fruit of true godliness exemplified in his family life. The Spirit of God specifically illustrates what it looks like to fear the Lord by showing us Job’s inner thoughts and desires as a father and painting a vivid scene of Job gathering his children to offer sacrifices.

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 1:5)

What an exemplary pattern of a godly father, in both heart and habit! We see Job’s heart as he watched and prayed for his children, and we see his habit as he continually leads his family to the place of cleansing.

The heart of a godly father: he watches and prays for his children.

Job and his wife had labored for years to train up their ten children, and now what a joy it must have been for them to witness in their grown children the fruit of their labors and the transforming grace of God. Job and his wife had disciplined their children, and now their children gave them rest and delight (Prov. 29:17). The arguing days had passed; now the kids had learned to live together in unity, welcoming one another with hospitality, serving one another graciously, and enjoying each other’s company (1:4).

Though Job rejoiced in all this, he still carried in his heart a fatherly concern for his children’s purity. His children had matured and were living morally by all outward appearance, but he still watched for their inner purity. He remained active in his children’s lives, keeping the communication lines open, observing their way of life, and trying to discern what was in their hearts. It was not enough that everything seemed right in their relationships with each other, he strove diligently to ensure that they were right with God. He knew his children were born in sin (Job 14:4). He knew they still had a nature so prone to wander from the Lord and so vulnerable to the deceitfulness of sin. He knew the dangers of youth (i.e. thoughtlessness, love of pleasure, fear of man, and pride), and he was personally acquainted with the particular temptations of the rich (i.e. self-sufficiency, forgetfulness of God, and pride). All this made Job watchful toward his children, lest any one of them take the initial steps of turning away from the Lord.

More importantly, Job’s watchfulness led to his prayerfulness. He knew his influence only went so far, so he constantly looked to the Lord for the cleansing, renewal, and preservation of his children’s hearts. He believed that God worked in powerful ways in answer to his prayers (Job. 12:4), so he continued to pray earnestly and expectantly for each of his sons and daughters. Though he no longer gently carried them in his arms, he still devotedly held them in his heart and continually offered up each one by name to the Lord. He solemnly bore this responsibility as the leader of his family. He must watch his children and intercede for them, ensuring that each one under his influence remained pure in heart before the Lord. Do we fear the Lord like this? Do we love our children like this? O Lord, give us grace as fathers to grow in this kind of watchfulness and prayerfulness.

The habit of a godly father: he continually leads his family to the place of cleansing.

After his children spent a week of feasting, Job specifically called them to the sacrifice. Though fun and games had their place, sober seasons of dealing with sin were essential for keeping the family clean before God. So, with what influence he had, Job called all of his children to rise early on that first day of the week with a mind set on seeking the Lord. Job had a lamb for each child and requested each one to be present, perhaps even inviting each to directly participate. Every son and daughter needed to witness the shedding of blood and the burning up of the flesh. They needed to solemnly consider the holiness of God, the seriousness of sin, and God’s required means for appeasing his wrath and restoring their relationship with him. As they all stood to watch the smoke ascending to heaven, they needed that assurance their living Redeemer had smelled the pleasing aroma and had made atonement for their sin.

Job did all this continually. He was a busy man, managing an estate with over 10,000 animals. But Job committed his time, his effort and his financial resources to maintain this habit. He feared the Lord and loved his family, so he refused to give up gathering them around the altar.

Do we fear the Lord like this? Do we love our children like this? O Lord, give us hearts like this and enable us to maintain family habits like this. Help us continually lead our children to your means of cleansing, the Word of God and prayer (1 Tim. 4:5; Jn. 15:3). And help us not neglect to lift up Christ before our families. Please help us to keep on pointing our children to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world–and the sins of our own family. Lord, draw near to our children to open their eyes and unplug their ears that they may respond to gospel truth. Affect their hearts with the seriousness of sin and the blessedness of being forgiven and cleansed through Jesus’ blood. Please, O Lord, let each child you have entrusted to our care grow up to fear you and hate evil, to love you and delight in living pure in heart. Hear our prayers and bless our homes, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Search/Filter Posts

Search by keyword, topic, author, Bible reference and more to find any blog article.