Centering the Family upon Worship
“Job would send and consecrate them”
The book of Job is well known for its focus on the problem of pain and suffering. While suffering, Job’s four friends came to provide counsel and instruction from their perspective on why Job was suffering at the hand of God. For three of his friends, Job suffered because of his sin and unconfessed rebellion against God. The fourth friend, who appears later and unannounced, points them in a different direction, arguing that the focus should be on the vindication of God rather than ourselves when confronted with the paradoxes of life. While we rightfully focus on the narrative of Job’s suffering, we often overlook the insight the book gives regarding Job’s character and righteousness. In a remarkable act, God draws attention to Satan of Job’s unparalleled righteousness. Yet we find within the book very little about how Job lived that made him unique and the pillar of godliness. He remains an enigma. We do not know when he lived and where he fits in the rest of the biblical narrative. Although he is mentioned by James as an example of suffering (James 5:11), he is surprisingly absent from the list of people of faith in Hebrews 11.
What marked Job as a man of faith and righteousness? Even the book of Job gives us little insight into the daily life of Job that distinguished him for his righteousness, except for one brief description in 1:5. The one feature the narrator highlights to illustrate the depth of his righteousness was his spiritual leadership in his family by leading them in the worship of God and the confession of sin. Even though Job was a man of great wealth and renown, the focus of his life was upon the spiritual wellbeing of his family. In this brief insight into the daily life of Job, we find several important principles governing Job’s spiritual leadership. First, he took the initiative to lead his family in worship. He would send for them and dedicate them to the Lord. In other words, he functioned as their priest, leading them in confession and blessing. He was concerned about their spiritual welfare, that they would walk purely before God. Second, he would offer burnt offerings for each of them. The burnt offerings were the offering done on as an act of acknowledgement God’s rightful ownership of us and our dedication to God. Job provided a continual visual reminder to his children and family of his desire that they live a life dedicated to God. Third, he was not just concerned that they perform religious activities, he was concerned about their inward transformation, for it states that he was fearful that they may have cursed God in their hearts. Last, this was habitual. Job would continually lead his family in worship and dedication to God.
This is a far cry today where we often regulate these roles to the church. We even hire “youth pastors” to oversee our children. While it is certainly beneficial to have a youth pastor, the tragedy is that in doing so we often abrogate our responsibility to be the “pastor” of our home. We leave the spiritual development to the church and fail to take responsibility ourselves. To develop worship in the family means that we, as parents, and especially as husbands and fathers, become spiritual leaders of the home and take responsibility for the spiritual health of our children, even our adult children. Instead of looking to others to be the pastor of our family, we become the pastor to them. When we do this, then our families will thrive even when we have to be socially distant from the rest of the church.