Job 18: The Greater Job
November 20, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Daniel 1-2, Job 18, John 12:20-36, 1 John 5:13-21
Bildad now returns with further rebukes for Job. The theme is still the same: Job has done wrong that is why he is suffering. This time, though, Bildad simply begins with a note of aspiration:
“When will you end these speeches? Be sensible, and then we can talk. Why are we regarded as cattle and considered stupid in your sight? You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger, is the earth to be abandoned for your sake? Or must the rocks be moved from their place? ” (18:2-4).
Bildad accuses Job of giving “speeches” and not being “sensible.” He is protesting too much to hide the truth that they are seeking to show him. Bildad defends himself against any insinuation that he and his friends do not understand accurately. “Why are we regarded as cattle and considered stupid in your sight?” And then Bildad sneers at Job’s pain—“You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger”—insinuating that it disguises a basic selfishness on Job’s part—“is the earth to be abandoned for your sake?”
This is quite the litany of attacks, especially when you consider the physical and emotional pain that Job is going through. But, I am afraid, this is how sometimes people behave when they meet someone who is experiencing “innocent” suffering. They are unlikely to express it with such poetic subtlety as Bildad (or his friends) but the point remains: the fault is yours, stop protesting, we know you are hiding something, and you are just being selfish to draw such attention to yourself.
But look, you who suffer, this is not the way the Bible wishes us to think of Job’s sufferings! If you are surrounded by your own version of “Job’s comforters,” take courage from the experience of Job. And stay faithful to God even when your friends are unfaithful to you. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. You can rely on Him.
The rest of this chapter is given over to Bildad’s description of what happens to the wicked. This is none-too-subtle dig at Job: you are suffering; now look at how the wicked suffer; therefore, you are wicked. Once again, these “comforters” display their simplistic and inaccurate theology. There are times when wicked people seem to thrive in this world. And there are times when those who are trying to do what is right do not thrive. This is an all too common fact of human experience. We should not attempt to ignore it or pretend as if it were not true.
Instead, we turn to the God of all hope, and of true comfort, and find in him the help we need in our time of need. Christ himself suffered, he was the greater Job who suffered for us, took our sin and pain, that we might live for Christ. Put your trust in Christ and follow him, even in your own sufferings, for you know that he was faithful even to the point of death, to save you from your sin. And by His Spirit you have his power at work within you. Call on him now to help you, to strengthen you, to empower you, to enable you to stay faithful to him. Even if your friends are not there for you, God will be. And you can trust him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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