There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. (Job 1:1)
This month’s reading will have us in the Book of Job quite a bit. Job is an ancient figure, some say a great king, in the Land of Uz. Tony Arsenal has done a great article on genealogies of the Bible and what they tell us about Job.
As we work through the book of Job, we will be using the Lectures on the Book of Job by Puritan James Durham (1622-1658) as our guide, which is available at Napthali Press in a beautifully re-typset edition at a remarkably low price. Many of Durham’s other works can be found in digital format here along with a short biography.
The story of Job is quite familiar and is set up in chapter 1. God claims that there is none as righteous as Job and Satan asks God if he may tempt him to prove otherwise. God permits this and all of Job’s children and property is destroyed.
We must first remark on what it is about Job that makes him a righteous man. We see this explained in v.5:
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.
Durham comments on this that
He knew there was sin in them in the root, and that they had their own infirmities, and were in hazard to break out in sin; therefore, he goes to Jesus Christ to prevent that, or if acted, to have it done away. And, though he knew no particular sin, yet he (as is commendable in David, Psa. 119, and in others) remembers secret sins, for which he and they need to be humbled. Folks would make use of Christ for doing away of these, though they know them not (there are many errands to Christ, our own sins, and children’s, to pardon them, and prevent them, and for secret and open sins).
Unlike the dispensationalism so prevalent in our day, we must recognize that Job both had and knew Jesus Christ. He offers sacrifices in prayer to God and recognizes that the secret sins of the heart are just as detestable to God as outward actions.
We see here that Job offered sacrifice for the secret sins of his children and – in that – he is an example for us. Too often, we pass over the secret sins of our hearts and the hearts of our children, imagining that God treats them as a slight thing. While it is true that the knowledge of God’s holy law increases trespasses all the more, it should not be concluded that God overlooks secret sins or juvenile sins entirely.
Do you struggle before God in prayer for the secret sins of your heart? Do you weigh them against the law of God to show the depth of your need for Christ? Do you intercede for your children, praying for their salvation and for their sanctification, asking God to forgive their sins? Job gives us an example worthy to follow; not only that, but he as intercessor for his family is like unto Christ, who intercedes for us before the throne of grace to our Heavenly Father.