Job

Day 5: Bildad’s First Speech and Job’s Reply

Job 8:1-22, Job 9:1-35, Job 10:1-22, Nahum 1:3, Romans 3:23-26

 

Every single one of us has a deep sense of justice hardwired in our hearts. Indignation stirs in our spirit when we witness the guilty go free. The football stadium roars in anger when a referee calls an unwarranted penalty on the home team. The child passionately pleas their case when a parent punishes them for something they didn’t do. These reactions to injustice are a testimony to our inner conviction that God is just and has ordered the world to reflect His justice.

In Job 8, Bildad stands as an example of this truth. In light of the suffering that has come upon Job, his friend becomes aroused by anger and asks him how long will they have to hear his lament of suffering? Bildad roots his question in the character of God: “Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right?” (Job 8:3). There must be a reason this suffering has fallen on Job, right? Perhaps Job’s children have sinned? If Job or his children were pure and upright, wouldn’t God bring restoration?

If we were to honestly read this passage with a humble view of ourselves, we would quickly see that no one—not even ourselves—could stand before the just God of the universe as pure and upright. And thus, our sense of justice condemns our own hearts. Our hearts confirm the witness of the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The testimony of Scripture is clear: the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.

How then do we respond? In despair, like Job? In anger, like Bildad? Thanks be to God, there is another way! God has not forsaken us in our sin. The suffering of Job points forward to Jesus, the truly innocent sufferer who consumed the just penalty for sin that we deserved (vv.24–26). No, God does not pervert justice! God’s Son paid for sin on the cross so that we may be forgiven. Because of this, God remains just even as He justifies those who have faith in Jesus Christ. This is the beauty of the gospel of grace. God is fair, and we deserve His justice because of the sin in our hearts. Jesus Christ takes what we deserve and gives us what we do not deserve: forgiveness.

Even if Bildad’s sense of justice is correct, his impatient anger against Job is rooted in a religious understanding that is devoid of grace, and therefore, devoid of comfort for his friend. Even if we sympathize with Job’s despair, we understand that in the bigger picture, his suffering does not have the last word! In Christ, we experience the justice of God to which Bildad appealed, and we receive the comfort from suffering for which Job longed. In Christ, the guilty go free, because He takes the punishment we deserve. Let us run with urgency to our heavenly Father and thank Him for His mercy.

Written by Matt Caps