Day 14 of our nationwide lockdown. Hoping to keep my nose in the Bible while there’s time and energy. Job’s just responded to the unhelpful accusations of Eliphaz, and now friend #2 has a go. Just a few verses today.
1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered, saying:
2 “Until when will you utter these things?
And [will] a strong wind [be] the words of your mouth?
3 Does God pervert justice?
Or does the Almighy pervert what is right?
4 If your children have sinned against him,
he has delivered them into the hand of their rebellion.
5 But if you will seek diligently for God, and implore the Almighty,
6 If pure [are] you, and you are upright even now He will awake for you,
And restore your righteous dwelling.
7 And your former days is small,
But your latter days will be very great.”
- What is the prosperity gospel? It is what Bildad is preaching to Job. If you live a good life — pure and upright — God will arouse like a genie and give you a righteous dwelling, and you’ll flourish till the end of your days (v5-7). But if your children are dead, it’s because they missed the mark spiritually (v3), and deserve the sorrow that’s come to them. Cold, callous conclusions. And totally opposite to the true gospel — we cannot life a good and upright life, yet in Jesus Christ, God graciously provides us a righteous dwelling for the end of our days.
- How are Bildad’s words different to many of the black and white statements in Proverbs though (e.g. Prov 2:20-21)? Do they not also teach this kind of retribution that Bildad shares? Perhaps we need to think further how Bildad is speaking, and to whom.
- Remember Job is already named as “upright” in the prologue (1:2). Sin brings sorrow, but it does not therefore mean that all sorrow is from sin. Job’s account teaches us that yes, even the upright will experience sorrow.
- The word “justice” in verse 3 (מִשְׁפָּט, mishpat) is important, and will pop up more and more frequently as the dialogues run (23 times total). All of Bildad and Eliphaz’s talk about what’s right and wrong will move to Job to press God about justice – to demand an explanation for why he is suffering. How can suffering be just? We too, have a deep yearning for answers to these questions.