The Book of Job-Chapter Eighteen:
"A Dark Vision"
He's back! Bildad, that is. Remember him from chapter 8? Bildad has been standing by on hold for a long while now, and he's not happy about what he has been hearing from Job:
Verses 1-4: "Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak. Wherefore are we counted as beasts, and reputed vile in your sight? He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place? "
Bildad is consistent -consistently wrong- unfortunately. Yet, here he is again, about to amplify his message from chapter 8:
Verses 5-6: "Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him."
Religion can be very confusing. Who is saying what and about just whom are they saying it? I want to make this very clear for you, at least to the best of my ability as the Lord provides. Bildad is saying that Job has been wicked and has fallen into the righteously angry hands of the Lord. And not just as a wicked individual -and this is the big clue that his remarks are targeted and tailored just for Job- but the "tabernacle," the house and family, of this type of person will suffer and fall with them, Bildad says. Job knew that Bildad was talking about him, I'm sure.
Verses 7-10: "The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down. For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare. The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him. The snare is laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him in the way."
We get mice sometimes on the property where I live. The damage a little mouse can do gets expensive. One even ruined an expensive engine on a lawn mower of mine by building a nest in it. And so we have to set out traps for them. Many, if not most, wind up in the traps sooner or later. It's no fun to watch, but it seems to be the fate of those rodents that try to live in where they don't necessarily belong. What I'm trying to say is that this is how Bildad views Job and Job's troubles. To him, Job is like a rat that's been deservedly caught in one of God's massive and fatal traps.
This is scary stuff and for Bildad that's by design. Listen to this:
Verses 11-15: "Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet. His strength shall be hungerbitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side. It shall devour the strength of his skin: even the firstborn of death shall devour his strength. His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors. It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation."
I usually can't help but feel some compassion for Bildad. His vision of man's relationship to God must scare him, too. And even when he's not attacking his friend, it must have always been there in the back of his mind, even if unspoken. This torment, I think, is behind his attacks on Job. Next he says that Job is not only like a trapped animal, but like a weed or thorn that must be obliterated:
Verses 16-18: "His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off. His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street. He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world.
...or as a person unfit for any remembrance on the earth except as a frightening and notorious example of failure:
Verses 19-20: "He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings. They that come after him shall be astonied at his day, as they that went before were affrighted."
O, Bildad, you show no benefit at all from all Job's revelations and preaching since your first speech in chapter 8. Have you heard anything? Job has shared his visions of Christ (a real Mediator between man and his Creator and a real source of hope). Your friend willed a Savior into existence thousands of years before Bethlehem or Calvary. And yet, this is all you can say in conclusion to him:
Verse 21: "Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God."
You need to keep listening, for what you are conjuring up is not a vision of salvation, but one of the Law. Job has shown us that the Glory of the New Covenant was present, at least to some degree, in Man's heart from the beginnings of history. But here in Bildad we also see that the tragic tendency to try to earn God's favor by ones own abilities and determination was present as well. And, quite sadly I think, Bildad was a prophet. He's crying out for the legalism of the Old Covenant. And this is long before Moses ever descended from Mount Sinai or the Temple in Jerusalem was even thought of. Bildad, your vision will lead us all into bondage and condemnation. Your way is, ultimately, the way of spiritual death.
Much closer to our own time, the Apostle Paul wrestled with this same basic conflict at Galatia when Jewish believers in Christ began to drift back to dependence on the law:
"Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two
sons, the one by a bondmaid (Hagar), the other by a free woman (Sarah). But he who was of the bondwoman (Ishmael)
was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman (Isaac) was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are
the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar (Hagar). For this Agar is
mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is
above is free, which is the mother of us all."
Bildad and the others must have confused and hurt Job, but as for us we should know much better, beloved. We must live according to Job's best prophesies and hopes, now Gloriously fulfilled for us in God's Son, and not continue to seek out the dark visions of Job's friends.
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