Bildad's venom

Job Sees The Light - Nineteenth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job asked, “Who can see any hope for me?” (Job 17:15b previous post) Does Bildad respond with a word of comfort? No, he reacts instead to Job's remark, “I will not find a wise man among you.” (Job 17:10) He scolds Job as one as one rebukes a child, and upbraids him for making too much of his miseries.

Job 18:1-4 NIV We could see this coming. Job insulted Bildad so he is getting what he gave.

Job 18:5-10 NIV Could we not expect better from Bildad? Considering he is older and not suffering anything other than the insults of a man who has experienced the most extreme tribulation imaginable, could he not be less judgmental and more forgiving?

No, Satan will not give his victim a rest. Once he has worn down his composure, he is close to achieving his end, namely the defeat of his resistance. Without resistance to the wiles of the devil, a man can be seized and carried away by his suggestions. Bildad will not let up.

Job 18:11-15 NIV To resist the devil in his specific campaigns against us it is helpful to discern what he wants to accomplish. From Bildad's words we see Satan's accusation that Job brought his terrors on himself by his own wrongs.

Such condemnation could evoke several possible responses from Job. He could begin to doubt his own experience and accept these accusations as true. One Christian author has pointed out that if we accept the devil's attacks on our character or lives as valid, we will suffer as much as if they really were true. We will condemn ourselves and hate our lives for no reason.

Another response might be to defend himself as he has been doing. In this he is letting Satan win by focusing him on himself. A self focus is a noose. A third response would be retreating into depression and discouragement, and Job has exercised this option, too. The right response is to resist the devil.

Job 18:16-19 NIV It would not occur to Bildad that the wicked could experience anything but calamities, nor that the righteous could know anything but cheer and ease. Thus he believes that Job deserves the condemnation of his words.

When the Lord rebukes a man, he is strengthened and helped, but Satan's rebukes are designed to weaken and hurt us.

Job 18:20-21 NIV When Satan provokes us to speak in an ungodly way, he is only stirring up what is already in our hearts, not putting something new or different there. This verbal bile that Bildad has spewed on Job is from his own heart even though Satan inflamed him to deliver it. He, too, must learn to resist the devil.

Can mortals stand against the flaming darts of Satan? When those arrows bored into Bildad urging him to slander and accuse Job, and to particularly spotlight the death of his descendants, could Bildad have resisted? In a category 5 tempest it is very hard to stand, but with God all things are possible.

Hope may fail

Job Sees The Light - Eighteenth in a series

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In stark acknowledgement of his condition, Job cries out to God for deliverance. Whatever it takes to get me out of this death I am in— please do it! He asks that God would completely resolve things by putting up whatever ransom is required to gain his freedom. No one else could or would do that for him. Job did not know he was crying out for Christ, but we know Jesus, the Son of Man who did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45 et al)

Job 17:1-3 NIV God creates the longings we need if we are to cry out and receive the gifts he would give us. Through the terrible trial Job is under, God is creating in him an ache that only He can heal.

Job 17:4-5 NIV Job believes his friends lack discernment because God has blinded them. They cannot succeed in their concerted assaults on his character or God would severely punish them.

Job 17:6-9 NIV Yet, though Job does not believe that God is on the side of his friends, he realizes that God is not his side either. Nevertheless the one who is righteous will prevail.

When we are not able to discern God’s whereabouts or purposes, it is time to stop babbling and instead pray. The righteous man shall live by faith (Heb 10:38), not by striving to do good or by insulting other men.

Job 17:10-12 NIV Job has considered that he may grow stronger because he is a righteous man, but that notion dies. He angrily mocks his friends who believe he has only to repent to see a new day.

Job 17:13-16 NIV It is dangerous to embrace hopelessness. Hope, by definition, is the expectation of good things for our lives, and it is a confident expectation. To turn away from hope colors our faith with dark stains of despair. We believe there is a God but he has nothing in store for us but misery. How to put away despair and have hope? Remember that God is love and he has plans for our future.

Kept from falling

Job Sees The Light - Seventeenth in a series

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The reader of the book of Job may ask the question that Job asks as Chapter 16 opens.

Job 16:1-3 NIV What is the purpose of these lengthy monologues? Job and his friends should stop bickering. They have been sparring for 12 chapters — and they will continue for another 16. Then a younger man will attempt to teach them for six chapters until at last the Lord speaks and has the final word.

A total of 36 chapters of God's Word are a debate or discussion over Job's righteousness and God's mysterious ways, which is why this book is set among the Bible's wisdom books. Chronologically it could be near the beginning, but by its content it belongs with the Books that seek to answer man's deepest perplexities such as why God permits human suffering, and with those writings that praise Him for who He is.

Job 16:4-5 NIV Christ said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mat 4:4), so we know that each word in each chapter of Job has eternal import. One great result of suffering is that it creates in us a heart of compassion. Job is being converted from a sympathetic friend to one with empathy.

Before his deep trials he could comfort the afflicted with a sincere word and a twinge of understanding, but now he can truly feel the pain of the bereft, the mourner, the depleted, the disenfranchised, the forsaken. He understands how it feels to be the one in need– the one without hope, whose brokenness is beyond repair. Now he would know exactly how to comfort the most miserable sufferer; his compassion is real.

Job 16:6-14 NIV Neither defending himself nor enduring the insults and accusations of his friends brings Job any relief. The pain he feels is not lessened by answering their charges nor by quietly ignoring them. He views their venom as God's further tearing at his heart.

It is understandable how Job has identified the Lord in this aspect of his long trial. He has accepted that his devastation is God's doing. Therefore, the cruelty of his friends is also God's work.

However, while God is permitting all these influences to wear away Job's inner strength so that he might attain a new way of seeing, it is Satan, not God, who is provoking Job's friends to attack and wound him. In similar straits, we must be clear on who the enemy is. Confusion and emotional instability quickly take over when faith in God's goodness is lost.

Job 16:15-18 NIV Job is suffering and grieving profoundly, and he views himself as an innocent sufferer, pure in heart and clean in his prayers. He sees his plight as unjust and challenges the earth — "Do not cover my blood —"! This reminds us of God's words to Cain after Cain had murdered his brother Abel. "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cried out to me from the ground…"(Gen 4:10-12) It is as though the earth refuses to be an accomplice to an unjust death.

Job likewise wants the earth to testify for him, for like Abel, he has been murdered —but wait —is Job saying that God has murdered him?

Job 16:19-22 NIV On the brink of rebellion, a prophetic word is shared. Job is rescued from harsh thoughts about God by the concept of a special friend interceding on his behalf. He then returns to crying out to God, seeking the help he needs to be restored.

We are reminded the Lord is our shepherd; our souls will be restored and we will dwell in his house forever.

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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