January 29, 2015.
Daily Reading: Job 8.
Background: Job 6-7.
After Job has given his response to Eliphaz, Bildad makes a plea to Job that he should repent.
Concepts and Connections.
1. We have all the answers when we aren’t the one suffering: Sometimes when a friend or family member is suffering and comes to us for comfort, it is hard for us not to see point out what we think the mistakes are that they made to lead them that situation. Being on the outside looking it, it is easy for us to see things in an “objective” manner. Things often seem so clear to us, and we want to comment on the bad that we see instead of comforting the hurting soul, though our intentions be pure. It just seems we have all the answers when we are not the ones actually going through the situation. Bildad takes this attitude when making a plea to Job. It is so obvious to him what Job has done (sin) and the solution is very simple: Job should repent of whatever it is that he has done. It didn’t matter that Job said he hadn’t done anything, because it was apparent that he had in Bildad’s mind. The whole situation was simple: Job was a righteous man, thus he was blessed by God. Job sinned. Thus everything was taken away from him by God. Job should then repent, and the latter end of him will be better than the beginning. Bildad had all the answers. Or so he thought.
The problem was, Bildad was wrong. As has been said many times before, Job’s misfortune was not brought on by any sin that he had committed, but rather by his righteousness and ability to withstand this test from Satan. God actually pointed to Job and suggested that Satan try him. Neither Job nor Bildad had this information; they just had to try to interpret the situation from the information around them. Yet both men were quite arrogant in their stance, as are all of the men in the story. Job knew he hadn’t sinned, and thus things didn’t make much sense to him. Bildad was convinced that Job had sinned due to his situation, and thus the answer was clear. The difference between the two men was that Job was right in the fact that he had not done something to bring this upon himself, though he would say some things that he would later regret saying.
The lesson that we can learn from this story is that we don’t always have all the answers, even when it seems like we do, especially if we are not the ones who are going through the situation ourselves. It is best to try and understand the complete situation before insisting that we know what is wrong and how to fix it. Sometimes we may be right. Bildad said some things that had truth in them. But his overall concept was flawed. Sometimes we simply need to show grace and mercy to the one suffering, and try to help them through whatever it is they are going through without outright condemning their actions and discouraging them.
2. Speaking for God: Throughout his monolog, Bildad speaks for God quite often. He tells Job what God does and does not do, and what He will do if Job repents. He tells Job to go by the wisdom of their fathers and get understanding from them as Job and his friends have not been alive for very long to get wisdom. The problem is, though Bildad likes to speak for God, he is not right. He tells Job what God will do, but then he tells him to look to the words of their fathers as opposed to the words of God. Bildad had spoken for God where God did not speak. And this was a problem, for he did not fully understand the situation. We are not told of any instance where any of Job’s three friends actually inquired of God what was going on or how they should assess the situation. Job doesn’t even directly ask God, though he does allude to wanting an audience with God so that he could plead his case (see Job 23:3-5). Bildad thinks he knows exactly what God would or would not do without inquiry or revelation. We should take this as a reminder that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (ref. Isaiah 55:8-9). We do not need to speak for God where God has not spoken, for we very well could be wrong and misrepresenting God as Bildad was here. May we ever look to the Lord for what He says and what He wants us to do and not lean on our own understanding (ref. Proverbs 3:5).
Tomorrow’s Reading: Isaiah 18-22.
Learn to comfort the mourning.