Job’s Reply to Bildad
“How long, how long, Bildad, are you going to torment me and crush me with your words?” Job realizes that all these descriptions of the fate of the wicked are directed against himself. He is wondering why his friends are not ashamed to deal with him like this. “If it is true that I have gone astray” he exclaims, he alone is responsible, “my error remains my concern alone!” His friends had no right to magnify themselves over him, and to take a position of authority and reproach him. However, in defense to Bildad’s evident hurt at being counted unable to help Job, he would once more plead his case and let his would-be comforters see whether they were dealing kindly with him.
Bildad had talked about the wicked being cast down into a net by his own doing, but “Know now,” Job solemnly says, “God has wronged me, and thrown his net around me.”
Job’s friends keep encouraging him to get his heart right, and stretch out his hands to God, but he has cried out: “I’ve been wronged!” and gets no response. He knew God was dealing with him; he knew God fenced up his way and set darkness in his paths so that he could not see one step in front of him. God had stripped him, taken the crown from his head and broken him down on every side so that even hope seemed gone, uprooted like a tree. God had severed him from his brothers and his friends, and left him to suffer his sorrows alone.
“My kinsmen have gone away; my friends have forgotten me.” They were glad to know Job in the days of prosperity, they who have eaten his bread and sojourned with him now “count me for a stranger.”
His servants also treat him like a stranger. When he calls, they do not answer; he has to beg where once he commanded. “I am repulsive to my wife and loathsome to my relatives, even the little boys scorn me; when I appear, they ridicule me.”
Worst of all, the “men of my council, my most intimate friends,” the ones who know him intimately, and those who he thought would cling to him and believe in him whatever came, even the ones he tenderly loved “are turned against me, detest me!” Could any man be in a more desolate state?
“What do I have left? Look at me, friends, I have nothing left, but skin and bones. I am escaped with only the skin of my teeth.
“Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me.”
Job did not know anything about the scene in heaven when Satan said, “Put forth your hand and touch every thing he has . . . touch his bone and his flesh and he will curse you to your face.”
Well Satan did it, and there is no sign yet of Job’s renunciation of God. True, he has wept, groaned, kicked, screamed, and whined, but the loyalty of his heart has never been shaken. Sadly, in his mind all of it was coming from the hand of God. He could not understand why the Lord would deal with him like that, why he appeared to be judging him, but he knew that his conscience was clear and that his friends should have given pity and sympathy to him.
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