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.
‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’1
The search for justice is an inner human desire and can be seen in every human society since records and writing began. Most ancient civilizations built their concepts of an afterlife on the fact that we would we be judged at the end of our life. If the scales tipped in our favor then we might live out our days in paradise. Job 8 continues the setting of the courtroom as Job’s friend Bildad introduces the concept of justice to the discussion. In Bildad’s first response to Job, we see that justice is fundamental to his understanding of God. Just as Eliphaz held to the principle that good things must happen to good people, Bildad is convinced that justice goes even deeper, to the very heart and character of God (vs 3–6).
Whereas Eliphaz is softer, Bildad is blunt as he takes the concept of a just God to its logical conclusion. Job’s children must have died simply because they sinned (v 4). Now Job has an opportunity to return to prosperity if he is pure and upright (v 6). Bildad’s words echo the accusation of Satan in chapters 1 and 2. If God is like this, is the only reason for good living to try to receive prosperity in return?
Just as Christians understand God as both powerful and personal, so also we trust our God to uphold justice while abounding in gracious love. Bildad’s limited view of God’s justice means that it becomes mechanical, not about relationship and love. Instead, we believe in a God who maintains justice while holding us in love. Romans 5:8 tells us: ‘while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’
Pray for places in the world which are in deep need of God’s trustworthy justice. Pray also that God’s gracious love will permeate every part of your life.
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.
1 Rom 5:8