TEXT: Job 1:1-22
INTRO: The toughest job in all the world is parenting! The greatest education your children will receive in their lifetime is not what comes through the school system, but what comes through the home by way of example!
The greatest responsibility dad that you have is to be a man of God for your children. There will be no greater fulfillment in life than to know that the example you gave your children will lead them to Christ and teach them how to handle the difficulties of life.
ILLUS: It has been said that "a child is not likely to find a father in God unless he finds something of God in his father." Recently I asked the preschool class in our Sunday school to draw a picture of God. I intended to use them as an illustration for my Sunday sermon. Toward the end of class the children were excited to show me their work. They came up with rainbows and men with big hands. Finally, my daughter showed me her picture: a man with a suit and tie on. "I don't know what God looks like," she said, "so I just drew my daddy instead." What an awesome responsibility. -- Al Serhal, Oakford, Ind. "Lite Fare," Christian Reader. Leadership.
There may be times when you wonder if your faithful living for God is having any impact on your children's lives, but give it time, it is not something that will ever leave them.
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that fatherhood is a great responsibility and is a high calling from God.
I. JOB - THE FATHER 1:1-5
A. Reputation 1:1-3
1. Job's reputation before God and before man was the same!
a. What a testimony of consistency!
b. Every man should be the same before God and others.
2. The name "JOB" comes from an ancient word that means, "Where is father?" Job was an answer to that question as these early verses reveal, for he is right there for his children day and night!
3. Job's reputation reveals the reason for his greatness spiritually, he practiced two great things that will make anyone a great man or woman of God: (1:1)
a. "he feared God"
b. "he shunned evil"
4. Job had the perfect family, 7 sons was considered perfect in antiquity, and 3 daughters made the number total 10 which was considered the number of completeness.
a. The statement here about Job: "he was the greatest man among all the people of the East" (1:3b) indicates the quality of this man's life.
b. Such a reputation takes years to build, and takes character to make!
5. Such a father would no doubt have influence on his children, whether they acknowledge it or not, children often reflect their parents example.
ILLUS: Little Billy was allowed to sit in his father's place at the dinner table one evening when his father was absent. His slightly older sister, resenting the arrangement, sneered at him and said, "So, you're the father tonight, all right, if you're smart then how much is 2 x 7?" Without a moment's hesitation Bill responded by sitting up like his father and said, "I'm busy, ask your mother!" How well he had learned to be his father already! – Source Unknown
B. Responsibilities 1:4-5
1. Job took his responsibilities as a godly father very seriously.
a. The fact that his children held some kind of feast from time to time in their homes does not necessarily mean that bad things were happening during them.
b. However, Job understood the vanity of youth and realized that like many young people they can make poor choices all too easily.
2. So Job took responsibility to intercede for his children just in case they sinned.
a. Job's priestly instincts are realized here, he knows he cannot control them, but he can intercede for them and ask God's covering for them.
b. As a father it is his desire to see his children's salvation above all things!
3. Job understood that they can still be influenced by his godly example.
4. There is nothing greater that we can do as parents than to seek for our children's spiritual well being.
a. We can build all kinds of other securities into their lives like finances, education, etc., but we must not neglect the influence of righteous living in our own lives or all the other stuff will prove useless in the end.
ILLUS: In ancient China, the people desired security from the barbaric hordes to the north; so they built the great Chinese wall. It was so high they knew no one could climb over it and so thick that nothing could break it down. They settled back to enjoy their security. During the first hundred years of the wall's existence, China was invaded three times. Not once did the barbaric hordes break down the wall or climb over the top. Each time they bribed a gatekeeper and then marched right through the gates. The Chinese were so busy relying upon the walls of stone that they forgot to teach integrity to their children. – Source Unknown
b. Building godly character in our children's lives starts with living godly character in our own!
5. Job understood that the greatest loss he could experience would be the loss of his children's salvation.
ILLUS: The tragedy of my life is that although I've led thousands of people to Jesus Christ, my own sons are not saved. -- Billy Sunday, Leadership, Vol. 2, no. 4.
6. Job's concern over his children were more important to him than all his wealth, the first part of this book is devoted to the man Job was as a father!
a. It was the first thing on Job's mind in the early morning after his children had one of their celebrations to go and make a sacrifice for their possible need of cleansing.
b. Job was concerned that they might grow up and "curse God in their hearts." if they didn't stay right with God - ironically this will be the test Job himself will soon face!
II. JOB - THE FAITHFUL 1:6-22
A. Righteous 1:6-12
1. Job now faces the test of real spirituality that few of us will ever face!
a. Satan attacks Job's faithfulness by stating that the motivation for his faithfulness to God has to do with God's blessings on him.
b. Satan is quite irritated over Job's example ... any godly father is enough to make the devil mad!
2. God's confidence in Job's faithfulness is so great that He allows Satan to take from Job all his worldly goods, including his children, but not to harm Job directly.
a. God was confident that Job's faith was not based on worldly blessings, but out of love for God Himself.
b. Why do we love God?
ILLUS: Good men avoid sin from the love of virtue; wicked men avoid sin from a fear of punishment. -- John Wesley, in The Almost Christian.
3. Job's love for God was about to undergo the hardest test of all.
B. Ravaged! 1:13-19
1. The series of tragedies begin:
a. The first is news that Job has just lost all his oxen, donkeys, and servants through the Sabeans that at times may have had raiding parties attack in that area - only one servant makes it out alive to give him the news.
b. The second news comes on the heels of the first bad news, now his sheep and servants were burned up with fire, possibly from lightning, and only one servant escaped to tell him.
c. While this one is still sharing the bad news the third servant comes in with the bad news that the Chaldeans too had formed raiding parties and taken all his camels, then put to the sword all his servants guarding them, and only this one made it away to tell him.
d. The fourth bad news however was the most disturbing, for a servant arrives to inform Job that a wind storm blew down the house his children were beginning to feast in and killed them all!
(1. Now one can understand the importance of Job's intercession for his children.
(2. Job's faithfulness as a priest in the home would be comfort in his loss here.
2. What would Job do with all this bad news?
a. Most would turn away from God.
b. Many would become angry with a God that permitted such losses.
3. Job however is too righteous to lose his salvation over the gain or loss of stuff from this world...he remains righteous even in all this loss!
a. His sense of righteousness was not based on what he had.
b. Job did what was right no matter the cost.
ILLUS: Facing arrest as an Anabaptist, Dirck Willems fled for his life across a frozen lake. When his pursuer broke through the ice, Willems gave up his chance to escape by turning to save his persecutor. He was then captured, imprisoned and burned at the stake in 1569. -- "The Radical Reformation: The Anabaptists," Christian History, no. 5.
4. Job still had his Lord, even if he had lost all his finances and family.
a. He didn't serve God to get, but to give.
b. He didn't base his salvation on what God blessed him with, but on God Himself, and this could never be taken from him.
5. Job had to make a choice on how he would respond to all this tragic news, we have that choice too when tragedy strikes our lives!
ILLUS: In every tragedy you can look at what you've lost and be hateful, or you can look at what you have left and be grateful. Joseph (Old Testament) was a grand example of choosing to be grateful instead of hateful in the face of betrayal. -- Gerald Mann, When the Bad Times Are Over For Good, p. 150-152.
6. What is the basis of our love and service for God?
C. Resolute! 1:20-22
1. Job responds in an appropriate way as a man of God:
a. The first thing he does is react with appropriate emotions - he tears his robe and shaves his head as a sign of deep emotional grief.
(1. Job is not without sorrow and pain over these losses.
(2. It is natural to be broken and grief strickened with this kind of loss.
b. The second thing he does is to fall down AND WORSHIP GOD!
(1. This may seem strange, how can he be so grief strickened and yet worship God?
(2. He does not blame God for all the disasters, his love and confidence in God is so great that he will not accuse God of evil!
(3. It is a testimony to his faith that he can worship while even broken emotionally.
2. Now he faced the test he worried his children would face: to "curse God in their hearts" (1:5b).
3. If he had prayed and sacrificed that his children would not do this, how could he now allow himself to curse God?
4. Job stays resolute in his faith in God, in spite of the loss of everything.
5. Dad, our children will learn more about faith in God from our example than from our preaching ... is our faith so resolute that nothing can separate us from the love of God?
6. We must choose carefully the path we walk dads, so our sons and daughters will know where to go too.
ILLUS: A man and his young son were climbing a mountain. They came to a place where the climbing was difficult and even dangerous. The father stopped to consider which way he should go. He heard the boy behind him say, "Choose the good path, Dad; I'm coming right behind you!" Author unknown -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 202.
7. Our mission dad is NOT IMPOSSIBLE!
CONCLUSION: The greatest thing about Job was not his wealth, it was his testimony as both a man and as a father! He demonstrated the two characteristics of a godly father:
(1. he feared God above everything,
(2. he shunned evil at all costs!
Though life was full of difficulties Job was not destroyed by them, in fact, his faith actually grew! God give us men like Job, our children need them today!