Day 5

Bildad’s First Speech and Job’s Reply

from the Job reading plan


Job 8:1-22, Job 9:1-35, Job 10:1-22, Nahum 1:3, Romans 3:23-26

BY Rebecca Faires

One of my kids got into trouble last week, and it was that kind of interesting trouble all the other kids love to talk about. Juicy trouble is everyone’s favorite kind of trouble. So his siblings talked, and he was furious at the humiliating injustice of being talked about. I overheard my husband trying to explain to him that if he had acted justly in the first place, the others would have nothing to say.

My little fella isn’t alone. We are all inclined to think that we are right and everyone else is wrong. We like our own version of justice. We are quick to condemn the faults of others and justify ourselves. But we cannot be our own standard of justice, because we are finite and fallen.

This is why it’s hard to understand the book of Job. Bildad’s perspective is more familiar than Job’s, because like Bildad, we redefine righteousness to suit our own ends and try to treat justice like karma. Want to know who has sinned? Look and see how they “got what was coming to them.” But justice isn’t karma. It’s a mistake to assume that when something good happens to us, it is because we’ve been good. When we hum along with The Sound of Music’s Fraulein Maria, saying, “Nothing comes from nothing… I must have done something good,” we are singing the same tune as Bildad.

Instead of basing our outcomes on our actions, Job points out two things. First, justice is God’s, not ours: “Even if I were in the right, I could not answer. I could only beg my Judge for mercy” (Job 9:15). God is the righteous one. When He acts, no one can condemn Him. No one can contend with Him. This is uncomfortable, because we like justice to be defined our way.

Second, God is sovereign. Whether things go right or seemingly wrong for us, God is still in control. Nothing happens outside of His will. “If it isn’t he, then who is it?” Job asks rhetorically (v.24). We’ve already glimpsed into the heavens at the beginning of Job, where God gives Satan permission to torment a righteous man. God’s sovereignty is uncomfortable, especially when the wicked seem to succeed and the righteous suffer.

So we struggle with questions like these: “Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right?” (8:3). The clear answer is a resounding “No!” God’s thoughts are higher than ours, and His ways higher than ours, and we cannot answer or contend with Him (Isaiah 55:8–9).

Like Job, we want to know why God allows bad things to happen (Job 10:18). But there are a lot of things we don’t get to know in this life. It shouldn’t surprise us that we cannot fully comprehend the Almighty, that He doesn’t bow to our will. But there is good news: God is good, and we are safe in His care (v.12). We need not fear. When we, like children, don’t see the whole picture, we can still trust that God’s justice is good because He is good, and He cares for us.

 

Post Comments (52)

52 thoughts on "Bildad’s First Speech and Job’s Reply"

  1. Gina Cano says:

    This was part of the first reading from mass today from Jeremiah chapter 17:
    7“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
    8He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
    and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
    and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
    I have struggled with truly trusting the Lord and giving everything to him, and that has been what I have been trying to focus on during Lent. This passage has been encouraging me all day. We all suffer in some way, though it may not be as intensely as Job, but what a gift to have God always there filling us from the spring of living water.

  2. Amanda MarieO'Malley says:

    God is good all the time!! Yes we will go through things, hard horrible things, but we have to remember that Jesus got victory over it all!!!

  3. Kate Robinson says:

    Timely words from over here in New Zealand, I’m reading this just after one of our darkest days as a country… so thankful we can unequivocally trust in His Sovereignty. Xx

  4. Ashley Perkins says:

    It struck me when Job said in chapter 9 v 33 that “there is no mediator between us,” that now we have Jesus as our intercessor. Hebrews 7:25 says, “Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” Praise God!

  5. Andrea Joksch says:

    The first few days of this study were hard for me, reading Job seems so confusing and I can’t help but get stirred up inside thinking “how is Job still praising? How is this fair? Why did God literally allow this to happen?”. I think it resonated with me because I’ve avoided the place in my mind that recognizes that God has allowed my trials and hardships to happen. It just doesn’t seem loving. But today, reading the Romans 3 verses at the end of the devotional, something changed in my mind. I’ve never looked at the verses following 3:23 as intently as I did today and I saw them in a new light.

    Not only do I sin and fall short of Gods glory (confirming why I feel I don’t deserve and shouldn’t expect be surprised when I face trials because I feel I deserve it). But the verses go on to say that we all fall short and sin… “AND are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

    For some reason the following verses hit me more than ever before. God was reminding me that there is more to the story. He knows we can’t match up to Him, but he’s already got us covered through his gift of grace. I’m overwhelmed with this loving God that I can barely grasp the thought of. But I’m so grateful for this encouragement.

  6. Kelle Anne says:

    This is SO good!

  7. Jennifer Penney says:

    I love the line “God’s sovereignty is uncomfortable.” How true! My belief about who God is so often defined by the outcome. But how much more do we truly see who God is when the outcome is not “good.” That’s when we see even more of His character! Because of the outcomes in Job’s life, God is seen as merciful, gracious, righteous, just, powerful, judge, sovereign, etc. May I look for who God is even when the outcome isn’t good (my definition). Yet He is good (His defintion) because He reveals Himself to me through those outcomes. This concept was so convicting and really challenged my thinking.

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