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. Wendy Myers says:

    Things do not always go as God wants them. The sooner we embrace the mystery and the miracle that God is with us in the mystery, the sooner we can live in His peace.

  2. Steph C says:

    God is sovereign – He is still in control. God is good – I am safe in His care. Nothing that comes into my life surprises Him. And nothing changes Him. I can – and must – rest completely in Him

  3. Denise Richie says:

    What a wonderful read today – I received a message that I needed to hear as I am going through a pretty significant health issues that has turned my “normal” completely upside down. God does not come to us with the attitude that if we are good, only good things will happen to us and if we are bad we will be punished. I know that bad things do happen to good people. Through today’s reading I took away the fact that my current suffering may not be for me at all. God may be using it for someone else, for some other situation, for something that I may never see. He knows the entire picture and I only see a small portion of it. That give me a whole lot of peace, comfort, hope and determination to get through what I am going through. Even in the difficult times it will all be for the glory of God.

    1. Ashley Perkins says:

      Praying for you, Denise.

  4. Roxane Richardson says:

    Glory to God! What an awesome read today. I especially loved the last sentence “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.” What a blessing it is. Lord I truly love and trust in your plan. I know that times are hard right now but I am holding on to your word and your plan.

  5. Michelle says:

    @BeckyFree I know it’s hard but if you read the story of Job it’s actually true. He allows these things to happen and yes we do have free will but I would take it a step further and say God allows these things because He is sovereign and He Alone is Good! He is All powerful and All knowing and way bigger than just a loving feel good God! He controls ALL things Good and Bad. He does these things to show us Who He is. That way He is the one who receives ALL glory and honor and we see why He is worthy to receive all of praise honor and glory! It’s ok to ask why especially in Jobs situation but God saw that Job was righteous and tested his faith to show just how powerful He(God) was and is. Also further on Job learns patience which is huge in the midst of this whole story and it further shows what God does thru the suffering he allows Job to go thru. It really is a paradigm shift when you think about Gods love being shown thru pain but it really is true!

  6. Jessica says:

    I really resonated with the cry of Job’s heart. Why? Why couldn’t you have just let me die? I can remember asking the same kinds of questions as we were facing the loss of our twin babies. My second miscarriage. Why did you even let me get pregnant God? Why do I have to go through this again? But it was a real turning point in my faith—the scripture I clung to then was “but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” No matter what You are God and we choose to serve you. I see that same recognition in Job. Our darling girl who was born after those great losses is in high school now and is such a joy. We have faced many more seemingly unfair events in these past 15 years but that foundational faith that was solidified in grief has held strong.

  7. Becky Free says:

    It’s hard for me to believe that my God’s will is for me to suffer. I have free will and I make the mistakes that bring pain and suffering, even just by being a sinner! But I can’t believe it’s His will that I am hurt- or have pain. That’s the enemy, that’s sin, that’s my mistakes. His will is for me to be more like Jesus, and to experience love, joy and peace.

  8. Rebecca Walker says:

    It helps me to think that Job had ZERO clue that we would still be reading his story thousands of years later. Would that have given him the Divine perspective? To see that his story was meant for our greater good. That God didn’t hide the dingy side of the Bible, but included ALL aspects of life-the good, bad, and ugly. Depression, anxiety, and sorrow. If the Bible was rainbows and ponies, it would mock the very real pain we all experience. It gives me a small glimpse into this Divine History, “His-Story”, that all of us get to be a part of.

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