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 (55)

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

  1. Ebony Lancaster says:

    Soooo soooo good

  2. Mari V says:

    God is good. And I am safe in His care. These words gave me such comfort this morning. Exactly what I needed to hear. And in the midst of these uncomfortable situations I’ve been through my God continues to be good and faithful. I’ve seen this over and over. He remains faithful. I’m facing another hard thing tomorrow morning. Your prayers are so appreciated 11 AM tomorrow.

  3. Jessica Finney says:

    I was most struck this morning by Job’s words about not being able to wash himself clean permanently (even with snow) and there not being a mediator between him and God because God is not man. He is terrified of His wrath and cannot speak to Him boldly. (Job 9:30-35)
    What a clear picture of our need for Christ! In Hebrews 2:9-18, it describes Jesus fulfilling these exact needs: He had to be made like His brothers in every respect -becoming man-that He might become our perfect Mediator to atone for our sins and satisfy God’s wrath. Then we can “approach the throne of grace boldly with confidence to find mercy, grace, and help in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
    Thank you Lord!!

  4. Mandy K says:

    He is just and justifier. So thankful!

  5. Cayley Tripp says:

    It’s so convicting to realize my own twisted sense of justice. I have been so impatient with my fiancé this week…I’ve been ashamed at the attitude I’ve given him several times. Yet my heart wants to believe that I’m justified as I try to keep score and hold over him whatever I can find. But this is not fair or justice. I am so glad that I am justified by His grace as a gift, and that He is sanctifying me daily!

    1. Natasha R says:

      Dear Cayley, I can totally relate, and I didn’t even realise I have been doing till you expressed yourself. I have a tendency to keep score with my husband too, poor guy. Thanks for bringing this to light!

  6. Cassandra Stone says:

    Struggling today with some hard things. Realities that came to light in my life yesterday that honestly just don’t seem “fair”. I didn’t do anything to deserve it to be my reality and I’ve been struggling with questions as to “why” when I feel like I’ve been so faithful and obedient. These verses and words were needed today. God is in control of all and fair isn’t what he has promised. Still, I am in his hands.

  7. Victoria Rae says:

    My sisters! Life has been so crappy lately- a work thing (like a big work thing involving a trademark lawsuit) by someone who I used to call a friend and this was just so helpful to read. But also to remind me that talking about it is only going to spread the stress and the hate- I only need talk to God. (He’s guarding me.) Thanks for being here, fam.

  8. Bessie H says:

    This is an interesting week for this lesson. The cheating scandal of rich people buying their children’s admission to college is a graphic example. It is tempting to sit back with crossed arms and tut tut at the rich getting what they deserve. It is a very public humiliation for them and their families. Rather than to pile on and feel self righteous I am reminded that we all sin and fall short. They are just an example of how we must treat others who are shamed and suffering. God is full of grace and mercy and we must be the same.

    1. Lorri Stringer says:

      Bessie, thank you for this reminder!

    2. Brittany Mitchell says:

      Wow… thank you, Bessie. You’re absolutely right

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