Job 1:4-5 (NKJV)
4 And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify 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 sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.
Several weeks ago we spoke about various things that separate the men from the boys – and one of the things we mentioned is that men take responsibility. They do not point the fingers at others. They do not make excuses. They avoid undue explanations. They take responsibility.
In our text today we observe Job doing this very thing. His children loved one another and so frequently enjoyed a good time feasting and drinking together, celebrating the goodness of God and His kindness in providing them with such largesse. But Job was fully aware that whenever one attempts to honor God in feasting, there are always pitfalls: tempers can flare, indiscretions can be committed, drunkenness can rear its ugly head, relationships can be strained. And so at the conclusion of the feast Job took responsibility for their condition, reminding them of their sacred obligations to serve the Lord and to honor Him, and pleading the blood of Christ on their behalf in the presence of God.
Pleading the blood of Christ? How did he do that? Well note that after the party Job not only sanctified his children – reminded them of their sacred duties and prayed for them – but he also offered burnt offerings “according to the number of them all.” He didn’t leave out any of his children but made a sacrifice for each of them.
So what did these sacrifices mean? In themselves, these sacrifices were worthless and empty. After all, how could the blood of an animal take away the sins of a man? The animal didn’t sin. Man did. We rebelled against God; we transgressed His law; we spurned His authority. The blood of bulls and goats could never truly take away sin and this is why, Hebrews tells us, these sacrifices were repeated again and again and again. Every sacrifice pointed beyond itself, declared the need for the true Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world, pointed to our Lord Jesus Christ, the man who would offer Himself in our place.
Every time Job offered up an animal as a burnt offering for his children, this is what he was saying: “God, have mercy on my son ___________ and forgive his sin for I know that Your mercies are everlasting and that one day Your are going to send a Lamb who will truly take away all our sins. So have mercy on my son and forgive him.” This is what he said every time he offered up an animal; he plead the blood of Christ for his children.
So, husbands and fathers, have you plead the blood of Christ on behalf of your families? Plead with God to have mercy upon their sins even as He has had mercy on yours? This is part of what it means to take responsibility for them.
And children, I want you to notice this day the seriousness with which God takes sin. Sin is no light matter. The psalmist reminds us, “But there is forgiveness with You, O Lord, that you may be feared.” Forgiveness of our sin comes at a terrible price – a price that none of us, not one parent, not one child, not one friend, not a collection of them all – forgiveness comes at a price none of us could ever pay. But Jesus paid it. So children, how seriously are you taking your sin? Do you daily plead the blood of Christ for your own sin knowing that all our sin deserves the wrath of God? Do not treat sin lightly – it sent Jesus to the cross.
All these things remind us of our need to confess the seriousness of our sins and to plead the blood of Christ on our behalf. So let us kneel and confess to the Lord.
The Gospel of John is incredibly careful to emphasize that Jesus went to his death willingly. One of the ways John emphasizes this is through a small detail at the arrest of Jesus that the other Gospel writers choose to leave unmentioned. When the men came to arrest Jesus, he asked them, “Whom do you seek?” Upon hearing the declaration, “Jesus of Nazareth,” Jesus himself declares, “I AM.” The response? The arrestors become arrested in their tracks – falling back and fearing for their lives. Why? No doubt because of the majesty of our Lord shining through on this darkest of nights. And so John tells us – these men couldn’t have arrested Jesus if he hadn’t wanted to be arrested. As true as it is that Judas handed Jesus over to his enemies, it is just as true that Jesus handed himself over to them. And so Jesus tells Peter, “Shall I not drink this cup that the Father has given me?” Praise God for our Willing Victim.