The Father As Intercessor
- Thursday, April 05, 2001
"When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, 'Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.' This was Job's regular custom."
What a beautiful picture of a man in whose heart the fear of God dwells! His greatest concern is that his children not sin against God or forsake Him in their hearts. He is so deeply conscious of the weakness of their nature that, even when he does not know of a positive transgression, the very thought of their having been in circumstances of temptation makes him afraid for their souls. He so fully realizes his position and privilege as father that he calls for them to be sanctified and takes upon himself the continual offering of the needed sacrifice. Job is another example among Bible saints of a servant of God in whom faith makes its home and by whose intercession and fear of God his children are redeemed. God could hardly have said of him, "There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil" (Job 1:8), if this element of true holiness had been lacking. The book might have been complete without it as far as the record of Job's patience and faith is concerned, but we would have missed the much-needed lesson that a man's entire consecration to God implies the consecration of his family life too. Let us study the lesson his example teaches.
l. A deep fear of finding sin in himself or his children is one of the marks of a godly parent. It was to conquer and make free from sin that God entered into the parental covenant with Abraham. It was because of sin, and to deliver from its root, that the blood of the lamb was sprinkled in the Passover. It was to lead out of sin and into the service of God that parents were appointed instructors of their children. In all God's dealings with us in redemption and in grace, in His revelation through Christ and His cross, He has had one objective: to save us from sin and to make us partakers of His holiness. If the parent is to be God's co-worker, if the authority God delegates to him is to be used correctly, and if the blessing promised him is to come to pass, God must find the parent in harmony with himself, hating sin with a perfect hatred and seeking, above all, to keep it out of his home.
But our views of sin are often superficial. How easily we are satisfied that all is well! Under the appearance of what is good and loving, sin may be lurking. Our children may be growing up quietly renouncing God in their hearts! Parents must ask God to give them an accurate sense of what sin is in their children-its curse, its dishonor to God, and its power.
We must ask Him to work in us a very deep and clear conviction that His great objective in taking us into covenant as His ministers to the children is that they may be delivered from sin. This is His one aim: that the power of Christ's victory over sin may be seen in the children, and our homes may be holy to the Lord.
2. Careful watchfulness where there is certain to be temptation will be the natural result of such an aversion to sin. Job knew that at a time of feasting there would be certain temptations for his sons. When these days were past, he sent for them and sanctified them. These young men surely received a strong impression of the awfulness of sin by the action of their God-fearing father, such that a kind of watchfulness would be awakened in them and a fear of forgetting God. Every thoughtful parent knows that there are times and places when the temptations of sin will be more apt to surprise even the most well-behaved child. Such are the times, both before and after a child goes into a situation or circumstance where he may be tempted, that a praying father and mother should do what Job did, bring the children before God in repentance and faith and where possible to confront them with questions concerning their behavior.
A Christian man, recently converted, told of the indelible impression made on him by his mother when she sat him down, just before he was to happily embark on his first long journey away from home, and prayed with him that he might be kept from sin.
Let us ask God to make us very watchful and very wise in availing ourselves of opportunities to admonish our children and to pray audibly with them. There are times when the conscience of a child is especially sensitive and a word fitly spoken will sink deeply into the heart. There are also occasions when the conscience has been ignored and a word of prayer will help to awaken it and restore its authority. A parent in sympathy with God's purpose for destroying sin, and who holds himself at God's disposal, will be guided as to when and how to stir and strengthen in his child the consciousness of sin and its danger.
3. A godly parent has power with God to intercede. Job not only spoke to his children but he also sanctified them through burnt offerings, as was the custom. The parent who has accepted the sign of the sprinkling of the blood for his child and who has applied the blood on the doorposts of his home, has a right to plead with God on behalf of that blood covering. His faith obtains pardon for the child-he can intercede for the grace that can save and sanctify.
We have, through the whole course of God's dealings with parents, from Noah forward, seen that God gives the parent the right and the power to appear and to act on behalf of his child and that such representative action is accepted. To grasp hold of the power of this is the very essence of parental faith; to act upon it is the secret of parental authority and blessing. The whole family dynamic is based upon this. All other influences a parent exerts depend on his being clear on this point: I am the steward of God's grace to my child; I represent my child with God and am heard on his behalf. This gives him confidence to say, I represent God to my child; I have authority and influence with my son or daughter because of my relationship to God. I have overcome the power of my child's sin by pleading with God for him, and together we shall conquer its manifestation.
Dear parents, let us earnestly plead that God by His Spirit will enlighten our hearts to understand our calling to intercede and prevail for our children. In our family's life, the first thing of importance must not be our earthly happiness, or even the supply of our daily needs, nor seeing to the children's education for a life of prosperity and usefulness, but rather the yielding of ourselves to God in order to be conveyors of His grace and blessing to our children. Let us live for God's purpose: deliverance from sin. Thus our family life will forever be brightened with God's presence and with the joy of our heavenly home to come, of which our earthly one is but the nursery and the image.
Prayer of Consecration
Gracious God, I humbly ask you to stamp deeply in my heart the lessons your holy Word was given to teach. May Job, who has taught your saints so much about patience in the hour of trial and of your wondrous grace in delivering from it, be to all parents a role model of one who fears God.
Impress on us, we pray, the fear of God in its full extent and power, sorrowing over the sins of our children and interceding for them as for our own soul. Teach us, Lord, to abhor sin, the one thing you hate, and may we make it our aim to keep our children from its enticement and destruction.
May we realize our God-given position as intercessors and plead the blood for them as we do for ourselves, having full confidence that our prayers are heard.
Teach us to bring them with us in prayer, praying at the right time and in the right way, that from us they may learn both the fear of God and the confidence of faith. O God, if we are indeed your children, may these traits produce holiness in us and thus mark our home and family life as belonging wholly to you. Amen.
Excerpted from: Raising Your Child to Love God Copyright 1975, 2001, Bethany House Publishers ISBN: 076422462X Published by Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.
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