In The Word
Read: Job 8:1-9:24
Bildad Says God Rewards the Good
8 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered,
2 “How long will you say these things,
And the words of your mouth be a mighty wind?
3 “Does God pervert justice?
Or does the Almighty pervert what is right?
4 “If your sons sinned against Him,
Then He delivered them into the power of their transgression.
5 “If you would seek God
And implore the compassion of the Almighty,
6 If you are pure and upright,
Surely now He would rouse Himself for you
And restore your righteous estate.
7 “Though your beginning was insignificant,
Yet your end will increase greatly.
8 “Please inquire of past generations,
And consider the things searched out by their fathers.
9 “For we are only of yesterday and know nothing,
Because our days on earth are as a shadow.
10 “Will they not teach you and tell you,
And bring forth words from their minds?
11 “Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh?
Can the rushes grow without water?
12 “While it is still green and not cut down,
Yet it withers before any other plant.
13 “So are the paths of all who forget God;
And the hope of the godless will perish,
14 Whose confidence is fragile,
And whose trust a spider’s web.
15 “He trusts in his house, but it does not stand;
He holds fast to it, but it does not endure.
16 “He thrives before the sun,
And his shoots spread out over his garden.
17 “His roots wrap around a rock pile,
He grasps a house of stones.
18 “If he is removed from his place,
Then it will deny him, saying, ‘I never saw you.’
19 “Behold, this is the joy of His way;
And out of the dust others will spring.
20 “Lo, God will not reject a man of integrity,
Nor will He support the evildoers.
21 “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
And your lips with shouting.
22 “Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,
And the tent of the wicked will be no longer.”
Job Says There Is No Arbitrator between God and Man
9 Then Job answered,
2 “In truth I know that this is so;
But how can a man be in the right before God?
3 “If one wished to dispute with Him,
He could not answer Him once in a thousand times.
4 “Wise in heart and mighty in strength,
Who has defied Him without harm?
5 “It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how,
When He overturns them in His anger;
6 Who shakes the earth out of its place,
And its pillars tremble;
7 Who commands the sun not to shine,
And sets a seal upon the stars;
8 Who alone stretches out the heavens
And tramples down the waves of the sea;
9 Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades,
And the chambers of the south;
10 Who does great things, unfathomable,
And wondrous works without number.
11 “Were He to pass by me, I would not see Him;
Were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him.
12 “Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him?
Who could say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’
13 “God will not turn back His anger;
Beneath Him crouch the helpers of Rahab.
14 “How then can I answer Him,
And choose my words before Him?
15 “For though I were right, I could not answer;
I would have to implore the mercy of my judge.
16 “If I called and He answered me,
I could not believe that He was listening to my voice.
17 “For He bruises me with a tempest
And multiplies my wounds without cause.
18 “He will not allow me to get my breath,
But saturates me with bitterness.
19 “If it is a matter of power, behold, He is the strong one!
And if it is a matter of justice, who can summon Him?
20 “Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me;
Though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty.
21 “I am guiltless;
I do not take notice of myself;
I despise my life.
22 “It is all one; therefore I say,
‘He destroys the guiltless and the wicked.’
23 “If the scourge kills suddenly,
He mocks the despair of the innocent.
24 “The earth is given into the hand of the wicked;
He covers the faces of its judges.
If it is not He, then who is it?
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
Job’s “friend” Bildad insensitively claims that Job’s children died because they sinned, thus deserving their fate. He assumed that all suffering is punishment for sin. Sin does cause suffering, but suffering happens for other reasons.
So why does God allow suffering? Many people ask this, and some use that as their excuse to reject God. Suffering can bring several benefits. First, it opens the door for God to move so His power can be readily seen. When the disciples assumed that a man had suffered only because of sin, Jesus corrected them, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him (John 9:3).” Nothing pushes people to God like suffering. No one likes pain, so when it comes, we want it to end quickly. We correctly turn to God in prayer and ask for His intervention, trusting Him with the best method and timing.
Paul gives a second benefit of suffering in Romans 5:3-4: “tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.” Similarly, James said, “the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2–4).”
If you are suffering, first examine your life to make sure it is not a result of sin. If so, take that issue to God with a repentant heart. But if not, then use it as an opportunity to run to God and grow in character and endurance.