Job 1:4-5 [Job’s] sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.
Thank God for the Book of Job! What a blessing it is for us to hear directly from the Sovereign Creator himself exactly what s going on in the spiritual realm – something that we could otherwise only guess at from the ‘wisdom’ of our very limited human perspective.
Through this story God makes it very clear that during our life on earth we are all involved in a constant and fierce spiritual battle in which Satan, the Devil, whom Jesus calls ‘the PRINCE of this world’ (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), is actively “roaming through the earth and going to and fro in it.” ( see verse 7), and making as much trouble for us as he possibly can.
As parents and teachers we would love to be able to shield our children from his influences in the world that try desperately to lure them away from God. But this is impossible. Even in Job’s day – and some scholars place this very early in OT chronology – the temptations to ‘party’ to escape reality were great; but today they are far greater. In addition to this, the availability of electronic social networking and the sexual revolution can make parenting/teaching teenagers a nightmare.
Job knew that the blessing he had received from God was a ‘double-edged sword’: it provided his children with resources and freedom that rendered them much more vulnerable. We are part of an affluent society that revels in God’s blessing (even though so few of us actually acknowledge him as the source of the blessings). So what example does Job give us in dealing with this problem?
Firstly, he didn’t hide his head in the sand and pretend that only other people’s kids would do this. Secondly, he made it his REGULAR CUSTOM to bring his children to the LORD in prayer, earnestly and sacrificially pleading before the throne of grace for their salvation and spiritual welfare. Do we follow his example for the children God has entrusted to our care? And, as we pray, are we actively TRUSTING our sovereign God to look after them, protect and guide them?
Let us reflect on what the Apostle Paul says of this spiritual battle: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God [the sword of the Spirit, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, etc] so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:10-13).