March 5, 2015.
Daily Reading: Job 18-19.
Background: Job 15-17.
Concepts and Connections.
1. Self-centered comfort: As Bildad once again addresses Job to answer his comments, it would seem that he is more interested in his own self interest than that of comforting Job. Tensions were likely high, especially after all the back and forth between Job and his friends, as Bildad asks Job why he thinks that they are so stupid. They keep telling him the same things, and he keeps not listening to them, at least in Bildad’s mind. Bildad has taken offense at Job’s response and continues to try and prove his point rather than see the comfort of Job. It has become more important to be considered right than to help their friend. Sometimes we get to this point when we are trying to comfort someone. What we need to realize is that they might not be in a place where they can see the situation clearly, or rather we ourselves might not be able to see the situation clearly. The latter was true for Job’s friends.
2. A mistaken worldview: It would seem that Job’s three friends have a very idealistic worldview that shows through their rebukes at Job. In their view, the righteous man always thrives and is blessed by the Lord, and the wicked perish. They know that God is in control of everything, and in this they believe that He will always make prosperous the path of the one who follows Him and thwart the path of him who does not. This is why they cannot conceive any other reason for Job’s calamity that he must have committed some sin and made the Lord angry. The problem was that they had a mistaken worldview. There are times when the wicked prosper and the righteous perish. Job will later disagree with this sentiment, asking why the way of the wicked is established (see Job 21:7-15). There are several psalms that too say the opposite of Bildad’s proposition here (see Psalm 37:7, 73:3-12 and 92:7), as well several prophets (see Jeremiah 12:1-3, Habakkuk 1:13 and Malachi 3:15). Bildad and the other two friends were using a worldview that simply was incorrect, as the preacher would indeed point out in Ecclesiastes 7:15. Sometimes we might also get into this mindset and wonder what we have done wrong if things aren’t going well for us. What we have to remember, however, is that though God can indeed seed punishment to lead us back from sin, this is not always why we fall into various trials and tribulations. Often it may be for our own benefit, that we may be refined as by fire, maturing in the Lord (see James 1:2-4).
1. “God put me in this place”: Job is getting to the point where he is completely beat down by the words of his friends. He says that ten times they have come against him, and were they not ashamed? In their attempts to comfort, they had rather cast shame and reproach upon Job, for they were convinced that he had done something wrong. But Job knew that he didn’t, and even if he had done something wrong, that was not what they should have focused on. He goes on to say that God had put him in this place of calamity, stripping him from his glory and beating him down on every side. He laments the loss of his friends and the forsaking of his family, as he has become a reproach amongst the people. He has to plead for his servants to come to him and even his wife and siblings don’t seem to want to be around him. Everyone seems to be deserting him in his time of need, and his three friends who have come to comfort him have done the opposite, accusing him of wrong doing. He pleads for mercy from his friends because he did not think he was getting any mercy from God. Job felt forsaken on every side, deserted and left alone. This is a terrible place to be when you are in mourning, though it is a relatively normal feeling. May we be the type of friends who do not abandon those we love in their time of deepest need.
2. “My Redeemer lives”: Isn’t it amazing, after all that he has been through, after loosing everything including his health, after his friends have fired harsh words at him and his wife seems to have given up on him, Job still finds hope and trust in his Lord. Job knows that his Redeemer lives, and that He will stand on the earth at last to vindicate those whom He has as righteous. What a trait to aspire to, that even in our lowest point, we should look to our Redeemer and know that He lives and that He is coming back for us (see I Thessalonians 4:13-18). Even amongst calamity, Job still finds hope. Job knows that in the end he will see his God. He knows that judgment will come. Are we prepared to meet our God?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Isaiah 45-50.
Let us find solace in Him in our time of need.