Holy God, show me your mercy and forgive my sin today. I want to come to you and your Word with a clean heart.
Read JOB 8
8 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2 “How long will you say such things?
Your words are a blustering wind.
3 Does God pervert justice?
Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
4 When your children sinned against him,
he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.
5 But if you will seek God earnestly
and plead with the Almighty,
6 if you are pure and upright,
even now he will rouse himself on your behalf
and restore you to your prosperous state.
7 Your beginnings will seem humble,
so prosperous will your future be.
8 “Ask the former generation
and find out what their ancestors learned,
9 for we were born only yesterday and know nothing,
and our days on earth are but a shadow.
10 Will they not instruct you and tell you?
Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?
11 Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?
Can reeds thrive without water?
12 While still growing and uncut,
they wither more quickly than grass.
13 Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
so perishes the hope of the godless.
14 What they trust in is fragile[a];
what they rely on is a spider’s web.
15 They lean on the web, but it gives way;
they cling to it, but it does not hold.
16 They are like a well-watered plant in the sunshine,
spreading its shoots over the garden;
17 it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks
and looks for a place among the stones.
18 But when it is torn from its spot,
that place disowns it and says, ‘I never saw you.’
19 Surely its life withers away,
and[b] from the soil other plants grow.
20 “Surely God does not reject one who is blameless
or strengthen the hands of evildoers.
21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy.
22 Your enemies will be clothed in shame,
and the tents of the wicked will be no more.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face.’
I have sometimes thought I could have handled a pastoral conversation better, but I hope I have never been as insensitive as Bildad: ‘Your children must have sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved’ (v 4, NLT). Even if life did work like this, we know that Job had regularly made sacrifices to cover any sin his children may have committed (Job 1:5).
Bildad’s appeal to previous generations of teachers (v 8) oversimplifies things. Like Eliphaz, he draws the wrong conclusion about Job and his family. There is, however, some truth in this ancient wisdom. This life is temporary (v 9). Other parts of the Bible liken the span of human life to that of grass e.g., 1 Peter 1:24), a simile often used in funeral services. Jesus explores the temporary nature of life and the foolishness of forgetting God and trusting in material possessions in the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13–21). We can easily forget this perspective as we put our trust in human wisdom and possessions which will not last (vs 14,15).
Like Eliphaz, Bildad assumes that Job’s situation must be the result of sin, exhorting him to repent so that God will restore him. He is right in principle, but Job is blameless (Job 1:1). God will again bless him with joy, but we have to wait to the very end of the book to see that.
Consider carefully: what is the source of your security?
Compassionate Lord, you comfort me when I am down, you grant me strength when I suffer. You are my only hope and I praise you.
*’Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus,” Helen Howarth Lemmel 1922
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