Job 18

In Job 18, Bildad takes the charge.  He rebukes Job for the way he is speaking to the trio of friends.  “Why are we counted as cattle? Why are we stupid in your sight”?  At this point, everyone is tired of hearing each other talk.  The words have been flying and nothing is changing.  So we begin to slip into spewing insults back and forth.  There is not a lot of love or understanding left in these conversations.  It’s what happens if we take our eyes off the only One who can guide us through challenging times.

Bildad tells Job that much of his problem is the guy in the mirror.  He is tearing himself to pieces.  Bildad challenges Job around what he believes is Job’s attempt to change God’s laws.  “Shall the earth be forsaken for you” refers to what Bildad interprets as Job’s desire to change things for his sake.  But God’s laws don’t change.  They are unchangeable.  Bildad was referring here to the laws of cause and effect that tell us Job has caused his own crisis by his sin and refusal to repent.  He had that wrong, but it was his perspective on what Job was trying to do.

Bildad shares the path that the wicked go down.  By association, he is including Job loosely in this group.  Bildad here described the wicked man as someone with shortened steps, unable or unwilling to continue the journey of life. He felt this accurately described Job and set him among the wicked men.  Ultimately, Bildad paints the picture of what happens – the light goes out.  “Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out, and the flame of his fire does not shine”.  Job needs to repent so he does not receive this fate.

Bildad insinuates that Job is among the wicked – those who are in conflict with God because of their actions.  But as he ends his words in this chapter, he takes it further.  He accuses Job of not knowing God at all.  “Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous, such is the place of him who knows not God”.  This was a cruel and false statement to make against a man who was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.  Yet the circumstances drive the three friends to believe that Job doesn’t know God.  The plan of God is not related to wickedness at all, but his faithfulness to God himself.  Those watching without that understanding come away with the completely wrong perspective.

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