There is something else essential that we must learn from the story of Job, from the father's heart he reveals to us as he purifies his children after their parties - and that is the trust and love that his children had for him.
In order for Job's desire to purify his children to be fulfilled, his children have to come to him when he calls them. They have to show up the next morning and stand before him, ready to be cleansed. They have to confess what they may have done, accept responsibility for their choices, and desire what it is that their father is offering them.
They didn't have to. It would have been easy for Job's children to make excuses. After partying all night, they were probably tired; who wants to get up bright and early and face the music? No one. maybe they would insist that they had only partied; they hadn't really done anything wrong or sinful. After all, don't we make our choices based on what we think is right? Most of us don't intentionally do what we know is wrong, so Job's kids could have said, you know, I didn't make any bad decisions last night. Nothing to be purified from. Simple as that.
But they don't. The way Job tells the story, it implies that his kids show up faithfully when he's ready to purify them. When he's ready to offer a sacrifice to cleanse them, they're there. When he's ready to pour oil on them and anoint them anew, they're willing to stand and receive it.
This is a posture that we must learn as children of God.
Our Father's heart toward us is good. It is perfectly good and wonderful and blessed. But there's something in us that shies away from it, something that turns and runs and hides. Some of it is our own self-righteousness. It's easy for us to make excuses or to justify ourselves, claiming that we don't really stand in need of God's tender mercies and so refusing to stand before God at all. After all, we make our choices based on what we believe to be right. And if we believe ourselves to be right, why even entertain the possibility that we might have been wrong? Why even bother confessing that we may in some ways be blind to our own iniquity?
Some of it, too, is our fear of God. We don't understand the pureness of His heart toward us. We are ashamed. We are nervous. We spend a lot of time thinking He's going to be disappointed in us, that He's going to disown us. We saw yesterday, from Job's perspective, how this is not the case, but we worry about it anyway. If we are sinners, how can we possibly be God's children? And yet, God sent His Son to die for sinners to make them all His children. So He already knows this about us and loves us anyway.
So then our greatest battle really isn't with knowing or not knowing the Father's heart, no matter how much we try to pretend that it is. Our greatest battle is with ourselves, with humbling ourselves and becoming the kind of children who come when their Father calls. With being willing to confess the blindness we have for our own sin. With being willing to acknowledge that although we do our best, we still falter and fumble sometimes. With knowing that we stand in need of purification, of atonement, of redemption.
Job's kids show up when he offers to purify them.
As children of God, do we?