The Book of Job-Chapter Eight:
"Seduction of False Hope"
Now a second neighbor of Job pipes up. His name is Bildad. He will bring another message to Job. But the hope he offers is unfounded and false:
Verses 1-2: "Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?"
Calm down, old boy, Bildad affirms with condescension and confidence. Like Eliphaz, Bildad's poor theology produces a spiritually hollow assessment of events:
Verses 3-4: "Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice? If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;"
It sounds Holy in a way, but if you read the early chapters of Job you realize how wrong Bildad is. God didn't kill Job's children. Tragically, they became casualties of the War with the devil. How cruel it must have been for Job to hear Bildad's statements. But was he tempted to believe that God was behind all the horrors? This philosophy of pinning all human suffering and tragedy on God and by default ignoring (and thus exonerating) Satan is still quite current and pervasive today. And, I must say regrettably, still very tempting to believe.
Verses 5-7: "If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase."
Abandon suffering and disassociate from all who have suffered. Separate yourself in this way and grovel before an angry God. It's not too late, Job, to get back on the "gravy train" of blessings. This is as wrong as the day it tumbled from Bildad's lips and we mustn't fall for it.
Verses 8-10: "For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers: (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?"
As we listen to Bildad appeal to their ancient history (possibly oral at that stage), we are reminded why we should study the ancient texts of the Old Testament Bible for ourselves. Their misinterpretation can twist the meaning, instructions for practice, and understanding of our Gospel as much as any attack on Acts, Ephesians, or Luke. These issues are too important for you to totally trust anyone to interpret for your: not Bildad, or me, or even the Pope. Study the Word for yourself and let the Lord teach you.
Old Bildad thinks he understands it all so well. Now he appeals to lessons from nature:
Verses 11-19: "Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water? Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb. So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish: Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web. He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure. He is green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden. His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones. If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee. Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow."
In the next chapter Job will put this little illustration to spiritual shame as he tees off with some grand and sweeping images of God's true work in our natural world. Bildad is just spinning some oratory until returning to his main point in the next verse:
Verse 20: "Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers:."
He's contradicting common sense. What he means is that the righteous always prosper, and that the wicked never do. There are some innocent and suffering children around today that KNOW how untrue this philosophy is. Anyone with much life experience should be able to see it. It's certainly nothing to build the Church on! And yet we see and hear it over and over again. Believers are to be enjoying constant physical and spiritual prosperity:
Verse 21: "Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing."
All others will be constantly harassed, if not utterly destroyed by a most vengeful God:
Verse 22: "They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought."
O, Bildad's speech sounds true in spots. Perhaps he was a believer, but don't be seduced by it. Please, beloved. What we will see next, in chapter 9, shows that even from the bottom of the despair pit, Job can still serve God. He is about to reply to Bildad with an amazing sermon, even prophesying about Christ before any other book of the Bible was written down. And that is the point: Job's relationship with God was not directly dependent upon his physical prosperity or lack thereof. Job COULD STILL serve God even though his life had taken some horrible turns. And so can you and I. Even if you are in great suffering right now, we do not follow Bildad and turn away from you and fear association with you. To the contrary, we can and must embrace you and even urge you to seek the Lord in your suffering and seek to serve Him as He leads you through it all. That is how Jesus overcame the world (read it in John 16:33) and it is the ONLY way that we ever will.
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