The Loss of Job’s Children

I’ve been watching a lot of Mike Winger as I stated in one of my previous posts.

This is one of his Q and A videos. One of the questions he gets, the video highlighted above should start at 43:09, is about the loss of Job’s children. The asker seems to believe that because Job lost his children and gained new ones that his previous children were rendered “disposable.”

Mr. Winger, as usual, answers the question well, but I think it can be taken a step further. The subject of this is a topic, loss and the broader implications on God truly existing, I really want to do a video over [There is a Netflix series called Midnight Mass where this issue is glossed over and this exact topic is evidence against what the series argues].

The story of Job is clouded by how we view “life” and “death.” Above all, the ending of Job gives a thought into how God might see Life and Death as well and I think its an important observation to make that might help others see death, especially Christian death, as not a big deal, at least not as big as many make it out to be.

When people die, we see it as a cataclysmic event. From our perspective, those people are gone from our lives, as we see it, “forever.” As Christians we know this isn’t true, but since we have no tangible concept of the afterlife outside of what most perceive as vague descriptions from the Bible, and many Christians don’t read their bibles, they tend to over spiritualize and frighten themselves about the concept of death. Is it a big, never-ending church service? Do we just sing all day? Do we kneel all day, groveling before God? Are we ghosts? No to all of those thoughts, but I digress for now. Most Christians aren’t looking forward to the experience of our “eternal rest” as the Bible instructs us to. They don’t examine death using the context clues put forth by the words of the Bible.

As most of you know, in the Book of Job, the titular character, Job, loses everything and becomes distraught, trying to hash out why he experienced these horrible events. As a result of his direct experience with God, Job humbles himself before the Lord and is rewarded in his faith and trust by having his life blessed, receiving more than what he had before. This last part is important because if you read the passages carefully you will notice that when the Book of Job begins, his attributes, possessions, and family composition are listed out.

Here it is for you in Job 1:1-3:

  • Perfect and Upright
  • Feared God
  • Eschewed Evil
  • 7 Sons
  • 3 Daughters
  • 7000 Sheep
  • 3000 Camels
  • 500 Yoke of Oxen
  • 500 She Asses
  • A Great Household

The final sentence summarizes it for us:

“…so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.”

Job 1:3, King James Bible

In essence, the sum of his character, family, and possessions, his sum total wealth, made him one of the greatest men. Job was given a lot, and in turn, had a lot to lose, which is why he was targeted by Satan. But, God knew that when everything would be taken from Job that he would not falter, but Satan believed otherwise. Job stood to lose much and Satan thought he would show God that Jobs faith only derived from the blessings bestowed upon him, not that his blessing were derived from his faith.

As we know, after Job’s loss of everything, Job held onto his perfect and upright nature, his “fear of God” as the old testament puts it, and he continually eschewed evil. After considering bad advice from the locals, he finally gets a direct lesson in God’s will from the Father himself. In persevering this, God restores Job to his former glory.

In Job 42:10, after Job understood God’s lesson, it says that God gave Job double what he had before:

14000 Sheep
6000 Camels
1000 Yoke of Oxen
1000 She Asses

God literally doubled Job’s possessions. The writing trick of this is that the book/ the author lists Job’s livestock before his sons and daughters, when at the beginning of the book the sons and daughters were listed first. This is to draw emphasis towards another fact shown later.

He had also seven (7) sons and (3) daughters.

Job 42:13, King James Bible

Did you miss it?

God gave Job 7 sons and 3 daughters, but the passages say God gave him double? How could Job have double if he only received the same amount of sons and daughters?

That’s the beauty of this.

Job’s first sons and daughters might be gone from this earth, but they are still alive and well. They weren’t disposable at all! Those sons and daughters are still part of Job’s family and they still count as being his sons and daughters, despite being temporarily gone from Job’s personal presence. From God’s perspective Job’s family was, in fact, doubled. This is one of the central themes of Judeo-Christian belief, in that the way we exist now is fallen and broken, but God promised to redeem all of us in the scriptures and that work was completed in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Armed with faith in him, and belief in the gospel, we will be reunited with our loved ones again and we have nothing to fear from death as believers. This includes friends, parents, brothers, sisters, and even children (among others). We need to remember that and cling to those beliefs, particularly in the days ahead. One day we will be counted among those gone from this world.

This is why our Christ given mission is an important one because without belief in the gospel, we truly are dealing in life and death. We should mourn those that are not in Christ and seek to engage those who are unsure about his redemptive work at every moment.