Chapter 18 (ESV) - Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:
“How long will you hunt for words?
Consider, and then we will speak.
Why are we counted as cattle?
Why are we stupid in your sight?
You who tear yourself in your anger,
shall the earth be forsaken for you,
or the rock be removed out of its place?
“Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out,
and the flame of his fire does not shine.
The light is dark in his tent,
and his lamp above him is put out.
His strong steps are shortened,
and his own schemes throw him down.
For he is cast into a net by his own feet,
and he walks on its mesh.
A trap seizes him by the heel;
a snare lays hold of him.
A rope is hidden for him in the ground,
a trap for him in the path.
Terrors frighten him on every side,
and chase him at his heels.
His strength is famished,
and calamity is ready for his stumbling.
It consumes the parts of his skin;
the firstborn of death consumes his limbs.
He is torn from the tent in which he trusted
and is brought to the king of terrors.
In his tent dwells that which is none of his;
sulfur is scattered over his habitation.
His roots dry up beneath,
and his branches wither above.
His memory perishes from the earth,
and he has no name in the street.
He is thrust from light into darkness,
and driven out of the world.
He has no posterity or progeny among his people,
and no survivor where he used to live.
They of the west are appalled at his day,
and horror seizes them of the east.
Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous,
such is the place of him who knows not God.”
Question to consider: What kinds of assumptions do we tend to make about people based on their circumstances?
In Job’s response, he had said his friends’ view of calamity only falling upon the wicked was simplistic and unwise. Bildad took offense to this and inferred that Job had called him stupid and had treated his advice as if it were coming from a sheep or cow. He then spent the rest of his monologue giving examples of what comes to those who don’t know God and offering them as evidence that Job fits that description.
For Job’s light was dimming and in danger of being put out. The darkness in his tent was a reference to losing his family and possessions. Like someone caught in their own snare, Bildad thought Job was experiencing judgment for his own sin. He was thrust from blessing into despair, light into darkness, and was being driven out of the world in death. How could Job know God when he has lost all posterity and progeny among his people?
In Bildad’s eyes, it must have seemed like the evidence was overwhelming that Job was guilty, and it shocked him that Job would not admit to it. However, Bildad and the others still were not able to point to a specific sin that Job had committed.
This is something that should give us pause as a reader. We live at a time in which people are judged in the court of public opinion because of social media, and instead of investigating a crime looking for a person, we investigate a person looking for a crime. Job’s friends assumed he was guilty by his circumstances and were making guesses at what he had done to deserve it.
Dear heavenly father, please give us the humility to see the grace You have given us in letting us go through what was necessary to realize our need for Christ. May we reflect that same grace to others in the name of Christ. Amen.