A Book of Devotional Stories
Why do bad things happen to good people? Do the wicked prosper while the innocent are punished? Does God really care about us at all? These are age-old questions that are answered in the Old Testament Book of Job! During the Lenten Season of 2017, St. Matthew Lutheran Church & School in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois used the sermon and Bible study series “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord” presented by the Rev. Dr. Reed Lessing of Ft. Wayne, Indiana. This devotional book was written to enhance that series of sermons and Bible studies.
Ed Blonski began writing devotions – using stories – in 1998 (or so) – and started compiling them in paperback book and e-reader form in 2016.
To date there are five volumes in this book series. Below is one of his favorites from volume 4, I Know That My Redeemer Lives.
A Family Man
There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
In the last devotion I said that Job was an “everyman.” He was just like you and me. And he is. I stand by the statement, as we’re going to explore together in upcoming devotions.
But as I read verses 2-4, Job is a lot like other people, if those other people are the Kennedys, Rockefellers, or some other extremely wealthy family.
Job is rich. Not just rich, Job is “Bill Gates” rich. He has large flocks of sheep, large herds of camels and oxen, and apparently breeds donkeys for profit (that’s how I read that he has 500 female donkeys). Job also employs a large number of servants.
The Greatest of all the People
He is called “the greatest of all the people of the east.”
Job lives in the “Land of Uz” which some scholars say is modern day Jordan. He also lived around the time of the Israelite Patriarchs – specifically about five or six generations after Abraham. This would have been about the time that the extended family of Jacob/Israel were living in Egypt, perhaps about the time that they were enslaved by the Egyptians.
So, in this way, Job is not like most of us. He is immensely wealthy.
He also has a large family. Seven sons and three daughters. And they liked to party!
They also were a close knit family, and partied together.
Reading between the lines of these verses, I see two things.
Job was generous with his wealth. He shared it with his family. His sons and daughters benefited from his wealth, as evidenced in their regular party schedule.
Job raised his children in such a way that they genuinely loved each other. They feasted together. There doesn’t seem to be any sibling animosity in his family.
We already read in verse one that Job was a man of faith. He believed in God and did all he could to keep God’s statutes.
Part of living in this faith is to raise a family to also be God-fearers.
Living when he did, Job would have known about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He probably didn’t know them personally, but it is likely he knew people who did.
Job feared the same God (the word for “God” in the Book of Job is “Elohim” which is the same name used in Genesis 1).
Raising His Family
Job raised his family to be faithful to God. His own faith he shared by word and example with his children. The evidence of this is that Job’s children genuinely like to be around each other on a regular basis.
As a man of God, I also strive to share my faith with my family.
My wife and I have devotions and prayer time together each evening. We also lead devotions with our sons at the dinner table every night. It is our desire to do everything we can to make our schedules work out so that we can have dinner together each evening.
We also bring our sons to worship every week. That includes Bible class most of the time. Sometimes work schedules mess up the Bible class time, but we do not allow them to invade our worship time.
We can do this so far because our sons live with us. When they move out of the house – like our older son has (he’s in college now) – we pray that how we raised them will move them to also fear God.
While our sons probably won’t admit it, I know they actually love each other and want to be around each other. This, too, is evidence that they share the faith I have shared with them.
I’m not wealthy like Job. But I do share the same faith in God as Job and strive to share that faith in the raising of my family, like Job did.
Heavenly Father, thank you for my faith. I pray that I’ll be able to share my faith with others in my family that they, too, can grow in it; in Jesus’ name. Amen.