Job’s reply to Bildad
Job seems to have been soothed a little by Bildad’s humble attitude and gentle reasoning, and he quietly answers him: “Yea, Bil, I know that it’s all true.”
“Everything you have said about God not upholding the evildoers is quite true,” he seems willing to acknowledge. But the words of Eliphaz seem to be hanging on, especially the question that the spirit-voice asked: “How can a mortal man be righteous before God?”
That question probably never even occurred to him before. All he knew was that he had walked with God with a sincere heart and God’s friendship and companionship was just given to him. He didn’t know how or why, he simply enjoyed the benefits of it without thinking about it. It was just in obedience to the Lord that he had offered sacrifices but how he was justified before Him, he had no idea.
I know in my own life that for years I enjoyed the benefits of the law of gravity yet I didn’t really understand it. I did not even know there was such a thing. The only thing I knew was that when my brother walked beneath my bedroom window and I dropped a water balloon, he got wet (if I was on target!). One thing I love to do on nice sunny days is to get one of my kites out and fly it as high as I can. Ever since I was little I have been fascinated by kites and model rocketry. For years I never understood, or for that matter cared, why they flew or what laws of physics and aerodynamics governed their flight, I simply had fun with them!
That is the way it usually is with our friendship with the Lord. Satan is the one who throws in the questions of “how” and “why.” His one object is to sow doubt and confusion into your mind in order to prevent, or even break, your communion with the Lord. If you let your mind try to figure out the “hows” and “whys,” you will generally fail to experience an intimate relationship.
Evidently, that is the position Job is in. Here he has been enjoying happy and close fellowship with the Lord and all of a sudden, someone asks “How?”
That can be a tough question to someone with a trusting heart that has walked in a child-like faith with God. To be honest, I have no idea why the Lord would want to mess around with me, there is nothing in me that warrants it. Nevertheless, he not only accepts me, He even tells me to call Him “Abba—Daddy!” How can I define an indefinable? I am just content to take the word of the Lord and enjoy it.
This is all part of the refining fire. The very foundations are being tested. Eventually each of us should learn how to give “with gentleness and confidence, the reason for the hope we possess.”
Job has been rolling this question of “how” around for a few minutes and in answer to Bildad, he starts pouring out the thoughts in his mind.
“Gee, I don’t know, Bil. How can a man be just? Even if someone wanted to dispute with Him, he couldn’t answer one out of a thousand. His wisdom is so vast . . . Who’s ever resisted Him and come out unscathed? He’s so mighty in strength that He can overturn mountains; shakes the earth from its place; commands the sun; stretches out the heavens; treads upon the sea; makes the stars; He does marvelous things, things that can’t even be fathomed and miracles that can’t even be numbered. Our God is so great, so invisible, so all-powerful . . . who can hinder Him or say, ‘Yo, what are you doing?’
“So how can I speak to him or reason with Him? Even if I was righteous I couldn’t answer Him because He’s God and I’m just a man. If I did call and He answered me, I don’t know what I’d do.”
My impression is that Job really did not know God as the One who fellowshipped with him. He knew Him more in his heart as the great Holy One before whom he was simply a servant and he walked in integrity and held Him with great respect and awe. Job could not fully understand that this time of suffering would eventually end up in a greater revelation and experience of the Lord. It would lead to a fellowship richer and fuller than anything he ever conceived of, in his days of prosperity.
As I said, Job didn’t realize what lay ahead of him. Although, if you will remember, Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus did! That was the reason he was able to endure the cross by remembering the joy on the other side! That is exactly what the Lord plans for us, so quit complaining and set your sights on that. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess. Don’t throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. God disciplines us for our good that we may share in His holiness. Sure, no one said it was pleasant at the time, however, it does produce a harvest of righteousness and peace if you will allow yourself to be trained by it.”
[If you refuse to be trained and instead wallow in misery and complaining you will lose your peace and prolong your misery]
Without intentionally sounding cutesy, you have to realize that yesterday’s dung can be tomorrow’s fertilizer! Ed Cole is the one who said it first. What he meant was that, regardless of events in your the past, whether financial failure, or a horrible childhood, time you spent in jail for a crime that you committed, or any of the many things you did in the past—it doesn’t matter—God can take that dung and, by his transcendent glory, turn it around and convert it into fertilizer for His honor.
Unfortunately, Job doesn’t understand that. When he compares himself with the omnipotent God, he is brought to despair. If he looks at their relative strength, there is no hope; if it is justice, who is going to appoint the place for him to plead? “Even if I was innocent, my mouth would condemn me!” No, it is hopeless in his eyes. He cannot justify himself. He simply despises himself and his life.
“Bil, you say that God will not cast away a perfect man, but as I think of His omnipotence, and I see all of my pain and my loss, I say it is all one. No man can be just before God if it depends on his justification of himself. The ‘perfect’ and the wicked stand in the same place.
“You tell me to ‘cheer up,’ but if I try to forget my complaint and ‘be of good cheer,’ I’m afraid of all my sorrows and that God still won’t hold me innocent.
“You tell me that if I were pure and upright He would surely work on my behalf, but what more can I do? I have appealed to him to pardon any transgression; it is stupid to try and wash myself. If I were to cleanse my own hands with lye, He would, so to speak, plunge me into the ditch again.”
And there my friend is the secret to your life! He has already worked on your behalf. He has already pardoned your transgressions. Your own efforts to prove your worthiness is useless and will thwart to liberty He is offering to you. Relax and enjoy His life that was freely given to you!
If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.
Other Bible Studies and Commentary are available at Doulos Studies.