Today's Word of Encouragement

A Pattern to Keep

A PATTERN TO KEEP
Wednesday, April 29, 2020

     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. 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 (Job 1:4-5).

     What a blessed thing to have a father who prays for, and sanctifies his children before God. If you did not have such a father at home when you were a child, you have one now in Jesus Christ.
     The time period of Job was long before the constitution of Israel as a covenant people of God. Most likely he lived prior to the time of Abraham, making Job a Gentile. He was a rich man, a powerful man, an influential man, an involved business man. Yet he was a godly man. Moses used four synonyms to describe as strongly as possible Job's integrity and faith: blameless (true to his values), upright (treated everyone fairly), feared God (honored God in all things), shunned evil (righteous; rejected evil things). You don't find many people like that today - they are either great in business or great in the eyes of God, not both.
     Job's family enjoyed a wonderfully close relationship. It appears each of the seven sons would host a banquet in his home for a week, so all of the children were adults and on their own. All of the brothers and sisters were invited to attend, and did attend. So this was not a salacious party where worldly indulgences were entertained. These banquets were held to further the joyful union the family enjoyed. Their love for each other is readily seen in that these week long banquets were held each week - this week in the oldest son's home, next week in the second oldest son's home, and so on. When the seven weeks were concluded, the series of banquets would start over.
     However, at the close of each week's festivities, Job would send for his kids to come to his house for a time of worship. He would get up early on the first day of the week (Sunday), and prepare ten burnt sacrifices - one for each child, and offer them to the Lord. Each child would stand by his burnt offering as Job would set each sacrifice on fire, praying with the child that God would accept the sacrifice as his or her offering for sin. Job and his children did this every Sunday.
     Now, if you think this was some kind of early, pre-Israelite, pre-church type of worship - you would be right. This is the picture of what God always desired for His people - Israel in the Old Testament, the Christian church in the New Testament. Note the parallels:

•    Each week, on the first day of the week, the family would get together for worship at Father's house.
•    Father prepared a sacrifice for his children to atone for their sin.
•    The family would celebrate their life and love for each other as a family during the next week.
•    The pattern would be repeated every week until they left this life.

     Sound familiar? This pattern is not by accident. It was given to Israel to practice. But they corrupted, abused, then ignored it. It was then given to the Church to practice. We must continue to keep it faithfully until our Lord comes for us. Many, if not most of us are waiting for that time when we can once again join together for celebration and worship. I pray that day will be very, very soon.

Pastor Martin

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