Spirit of the living God: So direct our hearts to Christ that gratefully our whole families revere Him as our Redeemer, humbly make Him the head of our homes, and then, both in joy and in sorrow, find heavenly assurance in His self-sacrificing love! Enlightening Spirit, without whom we cannot call Jesus our Lord, show each of us clearly today that by receiving the Son of God as our Savior and Substitute, believing that on the cross He died in payment of our sins, we not only escape hell and eternal death, but also are blessed by Him in each earthly struggle or affliction! Oh, bring many to the ever-living, ever- loving Savior, who has promised, "Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out"! Comfort especially the homeless and hungry, the beaten and bereaved. Strengthen us, who love Thee, to study sacred Scripture, which is able to build us up, and, as we follow the precepts of its pages, to spurn the lusts of the flesh! In a world crowded and cursed with unfaithfulness, divorce, and frightful degeneracy, make our homes Thy dwelling place, the habitations of peace and rest and joy! As we thank Thee for Thy measureless and unmerited mercy, we plead: Abide with us, purifying Spirit! Cleanse us! Fortify our faith! Keep us in Thy truth! We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior. Amen!
Authorities in Columbus, Georgia, have been placed before a curious problem. They built a large $900,000 housing unit, especially for families living in filthy shanties. The rents were set at prices ranging from only ten dollars to twenty-five dollars a month, according to the size of the dwelling. However, many of the families refused to move in, not because they could not pay these low rentals, but because conveniences, cleanliness, sanitation, meant nothing to them, and they actually preferred living in the squalor of their old surroundings. Officials declare themselves helpless, since they cannot force these people to accept the homes which the government built for them.
"What thanklessness and stupidity!" you exclaim. Before you begin to focus your criticism on these Georgians, let me tell you that highly educated, upper-class men and women are often guilty of far more serious error. The Almighty offers them happy, peace-blessed homes, households in which parents and children cherish one another, in which they can find consolation for every hour of grief, strength for every sadness. Yet not only do many refuse God's bounty and bliss; they also ridicule it and choose the old surroundings of sin instead of the glorious newness in Jesus Christ.
Today, as by divine promise I hold before you the assured plan and pledge of a happy home, I pray that you will not reject the Lord's grace and goodness. For many of you domestic life has brought mounting difficulties. Some, especially you veterans, still have no home of your own; instead, you live in furnished rooms or share space with other families. What problems you face! A Chicago court fined the owner of overcrowded tenements $15,000 because of unsanitary conditions. Thousands of others with comfortable quarters have perplexities of another sort -- the deeper pains of body mind and spirit. Quarrel and strife have entered their doors; trouble is developing between parents and children; the love binding husband and wife is growing cold; unfaithfulness, the threat of desertion or divorce, are driving away rosy wedding-day dreams. Even where the Almighty has spared you this anguish, some are harassed by sorrow and suffering. A loved one sick of an incurable disease or permanently injured by accident; a devoted wife or a self-sacrificing father snatched away by death; the loneliness many of you God-fearing wives know when Heaven does not give you a child of your own; a marriage with one who persists in unbelief and rejection of the Savior -- these are some of the pains and penalties you endure in daily home life.
Where, then, can you find
help and hope? Certainly not in the
mass of modern anti-Scriptural theories, which leave no room for the
A widely heralded Pacific Coast authority on questions of domestic
was hurrying to deliver a lecture on the subject "How to Make Your
Happy," when he was handed legal papers announcing that his own wife
suing him for divorce. In all the world there is one, but only one,
way to household happiness, and that is your heavenly Father's way,
way, Scripture's way. Learn today that your family can be blessed in
and prosperity as in want and adversity, if following Job, the
of patience and prayer, you
Scripture gives Job the testimony that he was "perfect and an upright man, one that feared God, and eschewed [shunned] evil." Right at the outset let us be clear on this basic truth: Job possessed these qualities and was "perfect" in the Lord's sight, not because he never did wrong. He confesses his own shortcomings in the plain statement "I have sinned." Hear him cry penitently: "How many are mine iniquities and sins! Make me to know my transgression and my sin!" Job realized, too, that he could not secure forgiveness of his failures by his own efforts, good works, and good intentions. Listen to him exclaiming: "How should man be just with God? If he will contend with Him, he cannot answer Him one of a thousand"!
How, then, can Scripture say that Job was "perfect"? In the same way the Bible calls those who believe in Christ as their Savior "perfect" and "saints." By becoming our Substitute and Sacrifice for sin on Calvary's cross, the Son of the Almighty has blotted out all our transgressions. When we accept Him, these charges against us no longer exist; we are pure and holy in His Father's sight. The eternal Word promises that through faith in the Redeemer our sins are "blotted out," and that we are "made free from sin," that we are "dead to sin," that our "sins are forgiven." It declares that Jesus has "taken away" our sins, "purged" our sins, "put away" our sins, "washed" us from our sins, "suffered" for our sins, and "died" for our sins. Now, if the Son of God paid the full penalty of our transgressions, then we have no guilt for which we can be sentenced. Long centuries before his Messiah appeared, Job realized this precious truth, when his conscience was burdened by the fact that he needed a heavenly Helper to redeem him from the curse of evil and its wages, death. Leaping over the ages to Calvary and the open grave, he speaks one of the most glorious truths in the Old Testament. Job was keenly aware of the magnificent message he was to bring, for he breaks forth in exaltation: "Oh that my words were now written! Oh, that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and led in the rock forever!" His wish has been fulfilled. His words are written in our Bible. Here they are in the climax of Old Covenant faith, the triumph of every believer's trust: "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Far away in the land of Uz, more than a millennium before Calvary and the opened grave, Job knew more about his Savior and the resurrection of the body than many high and mighty do today. Job was sure of the one way to pardon, peace, and Paradise, because he clung to his divine Redeemer, the ever-living Son of God.
Scripture gives Job more praise than most other Old Testament figures. This recognition, together with the fact that he was married, ought to be telling testimony against those who contradict the inspired truth that "marriage is honorable in all" and mistakenly insist that the single estate is far to be preferred as the more sacred, happier existence. Mistaken minds have declared that the unmarried person is freer to follow a career, unhampered by family cares. They have claimed that according to Holy Writ one can serve the Lord better without matrimonial obligations; but these objections contradict the Bible. The early record of Genesis plainly proclaims: "It is not good that the man should be alone," and Washington Irving confessed that because he was a bachelor, he regarded himself less fitted to bear life's adversities. The believer knows, of course, that his heavenly Father loves both the single and the wedded; that Jesus gave Himself for both; that both have peace with God when justified by faith in Christ.
We should not overlook the fact that Job, Scripture's hero in those early days, was the father of ten children. No artificial birth control for him! Neither, the Church teaches, should there be any today. Heaven's Word again is clear and decisive. It directs: "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." It describes as truly blessed the husband whom the Almighty has given children, whom Psalm 127 calls "an heritage of the Lord." Today, of course, in widespread attack on Bible truth, men claim to know more than God. They deny that babies come from the Lord; they contradict the Psalmist's teaching that sons and daughters are a sacred trust. Newspapers throughout the country recently printed the announcement that more than one thousand clergymen had approved a program of planned parenthood, which we used to call birth control. However, the majority of American churches still stands with the Bible against the practice of birth control, which is anti-Scriptural and often harmful to health, as outstanding physicians have testified, hostile to family interests, as divorce records show, a menace to our American prosperity, and a powerful factor in promoting immorality, as many experts concede. You young folks who are planning marriage should not let anyone tell you that large families are unfair to parents and children; that they overburden mothers and do not give the youngsters a chance to develop properly; that the only child or the boy and the girl in the two- children system have better opportunities in life! Some of the world's most distinguished leaders have come from generously large households. Listening in today out in Iowa is perhaps the largest family tuned to our radio. It has twenty children, strong, stalwart, many of them six feet tall. A friend who visits them writes how she marvels at the system, co-operation, and speed with which the work is finished in their home. This large group has learned the lesson of mutual forbearance, of putting personal interests behind those of the whole household -- something that the pampered, petted, only child never grasps. The average American family has fewer than two children. If that rate had prevailed in the past, most of the thirty-one men elected to the presidency of our country would never have existed. Don't ever be ashamed of following God! He is always right, while those who attack Him are always wrong.
Job was a "just" man not only in theory, but also in fact. The practice of his faith started for him where it should start for you, in the home. Regrettably too many publicly claim to promote domestic life, but privately oppose it. The Michigan preacher who left his wife to run away with a married woman in his choir shows you what I mean. Nothing like that for Job! He wanted to give his children a good example and a good training. If only all elders were driven by the same desire to help young folks! What destructive life pattern older folks often show their own boys and girls! Must we not expect that if certain leading families are highly publicized for divorce; if socialites are constantly pictured before cocktail bars; if front-page names revel in profanity and cursing; if political leaders are found guilty of enriching themselves by war profits, youngsters who see and hear all this may conclude that divorce, heavy drinking, cursing, war profiteering, are achievements instead of crimes?
As we read the record of the ancient patriarch's interest in religion, we find that he never sought to escape his responsibilities. He did not say: "I am just a layman; I cannot teach my family anything about religion" -- the dishonest subterfuge many of you employ. Some of you men go to church to sing: "Am I a Soldier of the Cross"; but in your own homes prove yourselves tin soldiers, hardly interested enough in your children to tell your own flesh and blood the story of Christ's salvation. Everyone who knows the appalling agony which God's Son suffered on the cross when He sacrificed Himself for our redemption from ruin, must be ready to testify to Jesus -- and first in the family circle.
Nor did Job neglect the religious training of his household and claim: "I am certainly busy with this big place. It takes all my time to look after my business and to provide for the physical needs of my wife and children." In the same or similar words too many fathers today have set aside the Heaven-given blessing of instructing their own offspring. How altogether contrary to God's Word this is! In scores of Old Testament passages fathers are directly entrusted with teaching their boys and girls; and the New Testament cries out: "Ye fathers" [not in first instance, ye mothers], "bring them" [your children] "up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord!"
Here, however, we meet one of the most glaring faults in present- day family life. The weakest element in our social order today is the father who is unconcerned about his children's religious training or who is unable to bring his own to Christ. Many of you men restrict yourselves so that your sons and daughters may have opportunities you were denied. You give them good clothing, generous allowances top educational advantages, careful guardianship of their health; but the most vital responsibility, leading them to Jesus, you leave unnoticed and untouched. I cannot see you this moment (that is not important), but God can (and that is all-important), as I ask you: Have you told your own of Him who says: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me"? Have you prayed for your children? If not -- may the Holy Spirit burn these words into your heart -- if you must admit that you have failed as fathers, that you yourselves have never taken time to confess Jesus your Christ and your God, may this Sunday not close before you give yourselves to the Lord, confessing your sins and pledging yourselves, as Job did, to be Heaven's representatives in your own families.
Why push this privilege off on the churches? Thank God, we have thousands of pastors who proclaim the pure Word! Thank God, we also have thousands of Sunday schools where the nation's youth can receive instruction! Thank God, too, hundreds of our Christian day schools throughout America will welcome your boys and girls, daily teach them to love Jesus, show them the privileges of prayer, and give them an increasing treasury of beautiful Bible passages! (We hope that many thousands of you will let us send further information as to how your own children may be enrolled in these Christian schools.) All this together, however, does not give our youth full spiritual instruction. They need happy guidance in the home.
Job recognized this. He might have said: "I will send for a teacher of the truth." Instead, he, a big businessman, himself taught his children. I pray the Holy Spirit that many of you fathers, supported by the encouragement of your believing wives, will resolve that from this day on you will follow Job and become priests and prophets of the Almighty in your own households, obeying the Apostle's direction: "Learn first to show piety at home!" Then, as you come to Jesus, if you have never known Him before, or as you rededicate yourselves to Him, if you have failed in you responsibilities, you can teach your loved ones the marvelous mercy of a Savior who died to free you from your sins, and bring the whole family into heaven with Him.
See how Job fulfilled his duties in the home! First of all, the text tells us: "Job sent" for his children "and sanctified them," that is, he set them apart as dedicated to the Most High. He gave his family to God. Probably each of the ten children swore allegiance to the Almighty. Then, perhaps, Job presented his sons and daughters to Heaven with words like these: "Ever-living God of our fathers, here are my children. I give them to thee for service to thy holy name." Today we need a similar presentation of the family to the Lord. An increasing number of believers consecrate their new homes to Jesus. Even more important, however, is this, that our families, every member in them, sanctify themselves to the Savior in true, trusting faith. If, on the great Day of Judgement, when you stand before the Redeemer, who cleansed you by His blood and delivered you by His death, you fathers are to say: "Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me," then the family must be spiritually united here on earth. How necessary that you Christ-dedicated young folks avoid marriages with unbelievers, or with members of other churches which deliberately oppose yours! How essential that the whole family worship together in the Redeemer's precious name, of which Scripture itself testifies: "There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved"!
In his wisdom and understanding of human nature, Job was not satisfied with sanctifying his children and then forgetting their spiritual needs. That is one of the deep-rooted difficulties of our age. In a momentary flare of emotion people raise their hands at revivals to acclaim Christ. Then they walk out of church, do nothing about keeping the Savior with them, and soon set the Lord aside. Or, New Year comes, and resolutions are rapidly formed, only likewise to be forgotten, as too many of you know well, before January closes. None of that for this man of faith! Rather do we read "that Job . . .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."
It was a long, costly procedure in Old Testament days, even in the Temple, to kill a sacrificial animal and prepare it as a burnt offering. But what were time or money for Job when the welfare of his family's souls was at stake? Nothing you parents can do to help your children come to Christ and stay with Him is too costly or requires too much self-denial. The day on which your sons and daughters accept the Lord Jesus will be far more important in eternity than the day when they receive their high school diploma or college degree, or the time they develop successful business or professional careers.
In the fullness of New Testament grace we today need no burnt offerings, no slaying of sacrificial animals, no blood of rams or bullocks. These Old Testament ordinances, showing that "without shedding of blood is no remission," pointed to the high altar of the whole world's central, final sin slaughter -- Calvary's cross with Christ, crucified as "the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Without the shedding of his blood, too, there is no remission of sin; but because the Son of God, nailed to that accursed tree, cried out: "It is finished" and then died, we no longer need the blood of animals slain on ancient altars. We have Jesus, the all-sufficient Savior, of whom it is written: " This man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God."
Moved by gratitude toward the Son of the Highest, who gave Himself for us, we should, however, bring our loved ones before the Almighty in an even more direct way than by burnt offerings, when parents and children meet in quiet reverent devotion -- at the family altar, that is, in prayer, praise, and Scripture reading, to bring before the Lord every issue confronting their home and their loved ones. Ten or fifteen minutes each day in which the entire household gathers happily to hear the inspired instruction of God's Word, to pray earnestly for the family's needs and for those who require our intercession, to raise voices in soul-warming hymns, will be a sure method of helping those closest us reach heaven. Will you refuse? Dare you refuse, if you want to be reunited with your loved ones in eternity? If you require help in beginning this service to the Savior in your house, write us at once!
However, don't start only to stop! Our text records: "Thus did Job continually." Day after day and year after year he brought these heavy costly sacrifices just as some of your beloved parents, now asleep in Jesus, earnestly pleaded for you from the very moment you were born. Will you do less for your children? Can you risk another week without Christ crowned the Head of your house?
This faith brought Job's
family rich blessings. In the verse
preceding our text we have a picture of his ten sons and daughters
and rejoicing together. No jealousy there between brother and sister,
greed frequently produces heavy crime! No fighting, such as we often
when inheritances are divided or indulgent parents prefer one child to
another! Instead, harmonious happiness in open demonstration of the
which your family can have, if, like Job, you sanctify your whole
to the divine redeemer, daily invoke his cleansing blood on all sins,
unfailingly meet in worship of the true, triune God.
You are wrong however if you think that money must bring happiness to a home. If wealth becomes an idol, it can wipe out all blessing. A Brooklyn, New York, family lived on the third floor of a dingy house; and recently, when the sister painfully made her way downstairs to the first floor for her morning cup of coffee from a kindly neighbor, the sister was asked: "How's your brother?" "I don't know," came the listless reply. "Sometimes I think he is dead. He hasn't moved for a long time." The police were summoned; and in a dreary, dusty room they found the lifeless body of the brother, who had been dead for three days. In another room lay a relative, seriously ill, but medically neglected. Everywhere the officers saw evidence of poverty and privation. Can you imagine their astonishment when on a table cluttered with papers they discovered bank books showing deposits of $67,000? Even where money is not hoarded, but freely spent, it can never buy joy for the family. Right here in Saint Louis County, which is an above-the-average community, with higher financial rating than the rest of the State and the country, the records for last year reveal two divorces for every three marriages. The more money our people make, the more frequently their homes are broken. The United States now has its best income and its worst divorce rate. Only national reverse or religious revival, a foundation-shaking depression or a Christian conscience can check this assault on American marriage morals.
It was not Job's money that brought happiness to his home; it was his trust in God. You will agree when you see him clinging to the Almighty even after he lost everything he had. That happened this way: Satan subtly came to job, seeking to tear him from his faith. The evil one is constantly on the warpath for souls. According to Scripture he goes about "as a roaring lion . . . seeking whom he may devour." He comes to young folks and coaxes them to forget the purity command. He comes to preachers and urges them to follow their ambitions, rather than the Lord's leadings. He dazzles the eyes of world figures with the prize of personal power, the enticement of conquest by bloody war. Satan came to Christ Himself, promising Him the rule over all the earth, provided our Savior fall down and worship him. The Enticer comes to you, but particularly to those among you who stand up for Jesus, and plans to lure you from your divine Deliverer. If you value your souls, for which the blessed Redeemer shed His lifeblood, ask Heaven's strength to follow Scripture's command: "Resist" Satan, "steadfast in the faith"!
With Job, however, the Evil one used not soft, sensual enticements, but hard, crushing blows which struck him down to the dust and made him scream in the agony of his soul. On a single day Job's 500 yoke of oxen and 500 asses were captured by marauding enemies. While this messenger was announcing the bad news, another courier staggered in with the report that fire from heaven had killed his 7,000 sheep. While this courier was still speaking, a third breathless servant fell down before the patriarch to tell him that enemy bands had suddenly seized his herds of 3,000 camels. Besides, in each of these three catastrophes, Job's men had been slain.
Then came the heartbreaking news. Before the third bringer of evil tidings had finished, a fourth rushed in with the most crushing report. Job's children were happily gathered in the eldest son's house, when a great wind from the desert roared in to tear down the building and kill all of his sons and daughters.
People have turned insane at losses far smaller than any of these. Suicide records in our country show that men and women have destroyed themselves for missing trains, for being forced to stop playing golf, for having their hair cut the wrong way, for losing a quarrel over a cat. Grammar-school children have ended their lives because they were punished; high-school pupils because their parents refused to give them an automobile; college students, because they received low grades. But when Job lost everything, his fortune and his family -- what did he do? Not: ram his head against the wall and scream out blasphemies! Not: clench his fist against the Almighty and curse His name! Shaken by sorrows, he fell to the ground, worshipped God, and cried out: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!" "In all this," Scripture testifies: "Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly."
You are hardly ready for the fact that this was not the end or the worst of his agony. Satan was not satisfied. He never is! He destroys young folks' physical purity and then seeks to ruin their souls. Give him a little finger and he will snatch the whole body. Angry that Job had withstood these heavy afflictions, before which ordinary men would have wilted, he now tortures him with his most fiendish device, short of death itself. We are told, "Satan . . . smote Job with sore boils from the soul of his foot unto his crown." Doctors have often sought to identify this disease, and some have suggested loathsome leprosy. I doubt whether his sickness will ever be diagnosed and explained. Leave it to the devil to use the most diabolical disease, perhaps one which no other sufferer has ever endured. Poor Job! The man who had trusted the Lord, sanctified his children to the Almighty, daily sacrificed burnt offerings to the Highest, so His book records, took a potsherd (a rough jagged piece of broken pottery) "to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes." Gone were his riches, gone his children, gone his health!
How strength-sustaining for Job to have had the comfort of counselors, you say. Three of his friends hastened to the sorrowful, sick man from their distant homes, but disease and distress had so altered his countenance that they did not recognize him when they saw him, and they were so dismayed at his pain that they wept, tore their garments, sprinkled dust on their heads, sat down with him for seven days and seven nights, unable to utter a word. When later they could speak, their statements, often untrue, added to his agony. Be careful what you say when you visit a sick person!
Perhaps the hardest blow Job endured came form his own wife. She alone of his entire family had been left alive; and who could more truly help her heartbroken husband than a God fearing wife? Many a man crushed to death by life's cruelties has been raised and restored by a loving helpmeet. Now what does Job's wife say when she sees her husband feverishly scratching those big boils bloody? Does she express her sorrow, speak a prayer, suggest help, offer comfort? You will recoil with horror as you hear her sneer: "Curse God, and die!" We wonder why she was not struck down on the spot for such blasphemy. We wonder, too, why many modern wives who systematically oppose their husbands, work against family interests, ridicule their faith, are permitted to live on easily and pleasantly. A day of terrifying judgement awaits them. Women of America, particularly you who are without Christ, why bring damnation on your soul and despair into your husband's heart by ridiculing his religion? It is bad enough when a man brazenly spurns the Almighty; but how immeasurably more revolting when a woman, as Job's wife, tries to pull the last prop of hope from beneath her husband, and in effect repeats these blood curdling words: "Curse God, and die!"
Did Job follow her evil counsel? Did his faith finally collapse? Stand in awe of his trust! Pay tribute to a mighty hero of the faith as he reproves his wife: "What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" How deep the spiritual wisdom in those sixteen short words! First Job shows that every believer is in God's hand; that whatever befalls him, good or evil, comes with the Lord's knowledge; that the faithful must be ready to receive both the pleasant and the painful, since everything that happens in his life comes to him ultimately with our heavenly Father's permission.
Of course Job had moments of weakness, as statements in his book clearly show. He would not have been human had he been able to bear those grinding afflictions without question or protest; but the light of triumphant faith always shone through every darkened moment to drive away blackness.
Probably none of you, thank God! will be called upon to suffer as Job did; but you certainly will meet sorrow in your family circle. Scientists will never learn to conquer every disease; therefore sickness will lay some of your loved ones low. Accidents, at home and on the highway, are increasing. More young folks are going wrong now than five short years ago. The devil is working ceaselessly to increase the mounting sins of impurity and unfaithfulness. The time can come for each household in this mission of the air, when overnight, or even more quickly, hopes will suddenly be blasted to pieces. Several thousand Americans who have begun this day will not finish it here on earth; and tens of thousands with us this Sunday will not be here the next. What are you going to do if the Lord permits you to lose everything; if death, unannounced, swiftly crosses your threshold; if you are thrown flat on your back by a torturing disease? I know what some of you will do, because you have written me. You will cry out: "How can there be a God and permit me to suffer such anguish? How can anyone say: 'God is good,' when I am tortured in this way? How can the Almighty be cruel enough to snatch my dear one away in death?" Some of you will even join Job's wife -- we shudder as we think of it -- in cursing the Lord of truth.
Why let Satan have his way by such surrender of your faith? Rather sanctify your family, as Job did; then, whenever afflictions and agony seem to make life unbearable, all within your home can find divine comfort and the Savior's solace in the deepest woe. Study Job's book carefully, and you will learn precious, sustaining lessons concerning your family sorrows. One of the triumphant truths of this profound volume is this assurance that for the child of God all agony is finally evidence of his Father's love. Listen as Elihu teaches Job and us: "Lo, all these things" [namely, the Lord's dealing with the individual, the reverses and rebuffs we suffer] "worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living." In other words our loving Father has a remedial, helpful purpose in permitting us to endure pain. We meet afflictions so that we need not meet eternal sorrow and everlasting death. Had Job continued in unbroken prosperity; had his flocks and herds increased, his land spread far wider, he may have lost his faith. That happened to David, and he regretted that "in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved." That happened to Solomon when wealth and foreign wives lured his heart from the Lord. That can happen to you in more moderate circumstances, who are pillars of the Church, but have been weaned away from full reliance on the Savior by the ease of wealth. The adversities which burden you, as his own, are part of Heaven's design to protect your soul. Instead of screaming out charges against the Almighty, learn the patience and resignation by which Job could say: "What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" Believe that once you are Christ's, your father has provided a pattern for your life, by which, as the New Testament emphasizes, "all things work together for good to them that love God." Looking to his living Redeemer, Job could say: "He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Be assured that by faith, no matter how you suffer, your pains are never a punishment for your sins. God cannot, does not, penalize the same transgressions twice. If Jesus died on the cross to pay the full penalty of all your sins forever, no punishment remains for us to bear, when we cling to Him.
Again, Job's sufferings were to teach that the true belief does not question divine dealings. A large section of his book, some of its most majestic portions, are to show the Lord's magnificence and might, so far above everything human that in comparison man is but a helpless mite. Therefore, after the Almighty appeared to him and Job began to know the heavenly wisdom, he says: "Now my eye seeth Thee, Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes." Having beheld his Maker, he is sorry for the thousand questions he asked and the thousands of doubts and problems which arose before his mind. Similarly let us pray for the faith which unquestioningly accepts everything God permits us to suffer as evidence of His grace and, refusing to debate His mercy, await the full revelation of His love in eternity. Then, when we see God, we shall know, "even as also" we "are known." Christ gave His disciples and us who exalt Him as our Lord and Savior this divine comfort: "Ye now . . . have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask Me nothing." Face to face with Jesus, we shall see all the mysteries of life unravel. Now as you wonder why the Almighty permitted death to snatch away your little boy; he could let an accident crush the life out of your dear husband; what purpose he may have had in calling your parents so early to their everlasting home. Human council and reason, the explanation of false religions, leave you hopeless before a blank wall; but when you have full confidence in your heavenly Father and know that, despite your sins, He loved you with such burning devotion that He sent His own Son to be your Substitute in suffering for sin, your Redeemer in paying for sin, your Savior in delivering you from sin, you can trust Him without question as He assures you: "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways." Then, too, you will be able to wait for the indescribable rejoicing in heaven, where seeing divine mercy in the mysteries that now perplex you, you can join the angelic choir in exulting: "He hath done all things well."
Finally Job was to understand that He who permits reverses to overtake us is the same God who grants us His rebuilding grace. We can invert the order of his well-known words to say: The Lord hath taken away and the Lord gave; "blessed be the name of the Lord." He is master over our miseries; and as Job's sorrows did not last forever, so our tribulation must end. There came a day when Job was completely healed; life began anew for him, and he lived to be 140 years old. The Almighty doubled the size and value of his original estate; Job became a millionaire. He was given seven other sons and three other daughters. "So," our text concludes, "the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning."
Learn from this that no
loss is too great for your heavenly
Father to restore! True, He will not bring the dead back to life here
this world; but what are the few years of this earthly span in
with eternity and its reunion of those redeemed by the Savior's blood?
Work and pray so that none in your family will be missing in the
assembly before the throne of the Lamb! Give your family to God now!
parents and children to Christ! Make your home His dwelling place! What
a priceless privilege for you fathers to serve as priests of the Most
in your own household, for mothers to lead your little ones to the
for your sons and daughters to maintain the daily sacrifice of family
at the family altar with the sweet incense of your prayer ascending to
the Almighty! Then, when the whole family is sanctified through the
come good times or bad, wealth or poverty, health or sickness, gain or
loss, life or death itself, you can find guidance, courage, and
as you join Job in exulting: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in
The preceding Lutheran
sermon first aired in January 1947