A Study in Wisdom:

Job 1:5-6 (pt. 2)

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[Here we continue a reprint of a small portion of Joseph Caryl’s study in Job.  Mr. Caryl wrote twelve volumes on the book of Job.  His study is a great example of how deep one can dig into the truths of the Bible.]


Job 1:5-6 (part 2) -

Job’s Offering, by Joseph Caryl


5And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings, according to the number of them all. 6For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.”  Thus Job did continually.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.


Yet there is a third query upon this passage:  Suppose that there was an institution of God for sacrificing; why did God call for sacrifices? What is his meaning? “Doth God delight in the blood of bulls and goats? Thou delightest not in sacrifices” (says David) “Thou desirest not burnt offerings” (Ps. 51:26). And what was the sacrifice unto Job, or unto his sons? Could the killing of a beast take away sin? Why then does Job, when he fears that his sons had sinned, go presently and offer sacrifice?

For answer, it is true that the sacrifices in themselves were nothing, either to God or man; they could do no good, they had no power in them, either to pacify God or to purge the souls of men.  But look upon the sacrifice, as it was an institution, and then God saw His son Jesus Christ in it, and was well pleased: and likewise man beheld and believed Christ in it, and was purged.  When the sacrifice was offering, man saw Christ suffering, this took away his sin and pacified his conscience.  A sacrifice in itself, as it was the killing or burning of a beast had no virtue in it, but as it had respect unto Christ, so God saw the death of His son, and that satisfied Him, and man saw the death of his Savior, and that justified him. 

Again, it was not the bare sacrifice that was effectual, but the faith of Job, and the faith of his sons carried up in prayer; these mingled with the sacrifice wrought the cure.  Therefore we find in the time of the Sacrifice still the people were at prayer, they knew the sacrifice, the incense, could do nothing, but as joined with the faith of the sacrifice in prayer.  We read, when Zechariah the priest was offering the incense within the temple, the text says, “that the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense”.  The incense might burn long enough, and yet the anger of God burn too; the incense might burn, and yet the people be not purified, but consumed.  But while the incense was burning, while the sacrifice was offering, the people were praying and believing.  These actings of faith, and pourings out of prayer made the sacrifice as effective for man, so acceptable to God. 

Then, in that he offered burnt-offerings, which burnt-offerings were made when he feared that his sons had sinned, these offerings typing out and leading them to Christ and His death; we may note this,

That Christ was ever the only remedy and cure of sin. 

As soon as ever there was any fear of sin, presently they had recourse to a sacrifice; and what was that? They went to Christ.  Christ has been the help against sin in all the generations of the world from the first, and will be to the last.  “If any man sin” (says the Apostle John) “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins, He is the propitiatory sacrifice for our sins” (I John 2:1).  It follows,

“According to the number of them all”: That is, he offered for each of his sons a sacrifice.  There were some sacrifices which did serve for the whole congregation, as we may see in Leviticus 4:13-14, and in many other chapters of that book.   Besides these there were personal sacrifices, where the laws about sacrifices are set forth; if any soul had sinned that particular soul must come to the priest, and bring a sacrifice for his sin.  So here, Job does not offer only one general family sacrifice for them all, but he offered up a distinct sacrifice for every particular son.  This teaches us,

First, that everyone is saved and pardoned by the special and particular actings of his own faith, every soul must believe for itself.

Every one must have a sacrifice.  We have congregational prayers, and we have personal prayers; it is not enough for people to pray in public with the minister, or for the minister (who is the mouth of the congregation to God), to offer up a prayer for the pardon of the people. But everyone must apart and by himself sue out his own pardon, which is, as it were, his own sacrifice, by offering up and tendering of Jesus Christ unto God for the pardon of his sins. 

Then again, you may note, in that Job offered a sacrifice for every one of his sons, that it is not enough for parents to pray in general for their children, but they ought to pray particularly for them.

As parents, who have many children, provide portions according to the number of them all, and proportion out their care personally, according to the number of them all; and the family they provide meat and clothing, according to the particular number of them all.  So likewise they ought to be at a proportional expense in spirituals, to lay out and lay up prayers and intercessions, according to the number of them all; not only to pray in general, that God would bless their children and their family, but even to set them one by one before God, and so beg and sue out a special blessing upon the head of every one of them, as without all question Job did. When the sacrifice for every son was made, he sent up a prayer to God for the pardon and acceptance of every son. That for the opening of the second act in the text, first he sent and sanctified them, and secondly, he offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all.