“Comfort yourself with something to eat . . .”
After Bildad makes his appeal to tradition, he starts to draw a picture of the ungodly. He takes all of his illustrations from a very limited area: the withered grass, the spider’s web, the house, the garden, the dust; all showing that his insight and understanding was very limited and narrow.
Despite all that, I still think Bildad was an okay guy who, in his own way, feels sorry for poor Job. He would love to ease Job’s pain, even cheer him up. With everything he says about the godless is true, but “if Job was right with God after all He certainly wouldn’t cast him off but would fill his mouth with laughter and shouting.”
I hardly consider that to be a suitable word for someone of Job’s former position, called by one commentator “the once grave and dignified patriarch.”
Bildad’s idea of encouragement reminds me of other well-intentioned friends today who say, “Come on, cheer up! Go on, give me a little smile.”
Can you imagine going to a person who lost all his children in a car accident; lost the job he worked at for 32 years or perhaps owns his own business that is failing; who found out that he has cancer; his wife has had a nervous breakdown; his friends won’t talk to him anymore because they think he is too depressing; and you say: “Cheer up! Jesus loves you!”
Shoot, he may as well have sent him one of those shallow sympathy cards with rhyming words and gold-glitter greeting. Job needs more than a “slap on the back” or a quick “cheer up” bit of advice.
Sure, Bildad was just trying to be nice, but deep soul anguish is not soothed with a Pick-Me-Up Bouquet®. Bildad’s problem is that he does not understand what is happening, nor can he relate to this sincere man of God. He is just not capable of realizing the depths of a man like Job.
When you find yourself counseling someone, it is not necessary for them to forget their problems, but they do need to grow stronger and increase their dependence on the Lord. He has to be their true source of comfort and joy.
Then Bildad concluded by assuring Job that “those who hate him will be clothed in shame.” That may be a comfort to Bildad, but not to someone of Job’s ilk. Anyone that has had such a close fellowship with the Lord would never be cheered by the humiliation of someone else, even an enemy.
Now before we go too far, that is something we Christians forget. We rejoice when we talk about the return of our Savior, and we should, but we should also understand the full impact of His return . . . today we Christians sing joyfully of the coming of Jesus and pray that today is that day, but somehow we cannot connect that the same Messiah who suffered and died as a meek lamb for our sakes, will be leading this final battle for the conquest of Canaan. He will be as ruthless as Yehoveh expected Joshua and those who followed him to be (but who refused), and not one person who withholds their allegiance to the God of Israel and His Messiah will remain alive on the face of this planet when Yeshua finally lays down his sword of vengeance. The Conquest for the Land of Canaan is not over, it is happening right before our eyes; the worst is yet to come. Even more, its effect is expanding to include the entire earth.
So when you see the suffering of the world, don’t rejoice but offer the mercy and compassion of your Lord while it can be given. Be His ambassador of Grace of Mercy to those in need.
If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.
Other Bible Studies and Commentary are available at Doulos Studies.