And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day…
The feasts mentioned were probably birthday festivities. The pious father, while he permitted these youthful festivities, knew the moral danger by which they were attended. So once a year, when the round of feasts was complete, he called the family together, and kept a feast unto the Lord. He "sanctified" them, that is, on this occasion he specially set himself and his children apart for God.
I. THE DANGER TO WHICH JOB'S CHILDREN WERE EXPOSED: the danger of sinning.
1. Youth is an age of ignorance and inexperience. Life is new. They have not proved its innumerable perils, its unfathomable deceits. They look at life through the medium of their own frank and buoyant and hopeful feelings. The more self-assured is the unthinking youth, the more likely he is to miss the narrow path of obedience and truth, and fall into temptation and snare.
2. In the age of youth the passions of human nature are most irregular and impetuous. Reason is too often dethroned, and lawless appetite usurps her seat.
3. In the age of youth evil example exerts its most pernicious influence. Man in all periods of his existence is an imitative creature, but more particularly so in the days of youth.
4. In the period of youth the great destroyer of the peace, and of the souls of men, is especially assiduous in his bad work.
5. This danger of sinning is never, perhaps, greater than on occasions of festivity, when luxury and gaiety reign.
6. What aggravates the evil of sin is its tendency to increase, so that a young sinner may go so far as to "curse God in his heart." Dreadful as such a sin is, it is that towards which all other sins lead.
II. THE DEEP AND ANXIOUS CONCERN OF THE PATRIARCH lest his children should have fallen into this evil. His expressions indicate great anxiety, tender and heartfelt apprehension.
1. To sin against God must of necessity be a most odious and dreadful thing.
2. The consequence of sin is misery. The parent whose heart is right with God knows well that there is no calamity like the calamity of sin; no pang like the pang of remorse.
3. Not greater is the misery than is the deep dishonour which sin ensures.
III. THE MANNER IN WHICH JOB SOUGHT TO DEPRECATE, ON BEHALF OF HIS CHILDREN, THE GREAT EVIL OF SIN. He had recourse to sacrifice — the only mode in which the guilt of sin can be cancelled, and its punishment averted. The father who felt it his duty to institute these solemn family atonements would accompany them with such faithful admonitions, such affectionate counsel, and such religious instructions, as the occasion would dictate, and as their wants required. Nor would these annual sacrifices be unaccompanied with earnest prayers and intercessions on behalf of his children. As parents we may plead in private for our children. We may give parental instructions in our customary family devotions. We may have, like this patriarch, special seasons of family consecration.
IV. THE EFFECT WHICH THE SPIRIT AND CONDUCT OF JOB MUST HAVE HAD UPON THE MINDS OF HIS CHILDREN. They could not behold the pious concern which their father manifested for their religious and eternal well-being; they could not behold the annual solemnities, which he instituted for their sake, unmoved. We may charitably hope that the effect upon them was beneficial; and that such a pious parent was rewarded by the piety and obedience of the children. The holy anxiety, the private and domestic intercessions, the kind and tender admonitions of pious parents, constitute, for their children, one of heaven's loudest calls. Conclusion — To parents. Have you been sufficiently alive to the religious and eternal interests of your posterity? Ought we not to look to God, who knows all our need, for grace to fulfil, in a more effectual manner, the Christian parent's part?
Parallel VersesKJV: And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.