Sunday, October 29, 2023

Wrong Assumptions (Job 8)

“If you would earnestly seek God and make your supplication to the Almighty …” (Job 8:5).

Bildad’s response is similar to Eliphaz’s in that much of what he says is generally true: God’s providences are never unjust, the wicked are punished by a righteous God, and hypocrites will receive their due while the righteous will be restored. However, like Eliphaz, Bildad wrongly assumed that Job should be counted among the wicked because God would never cause a righteous man to suffer. Bildad ignores Job’s cry for compassion and simply asserts that Job should repent of his sin.

He also harshly admonishes Job for accusing God of perverting justice—something Job did not do. Job was guilty of questioning God’s wisdom, but he had not yet accused God of being unjust. He maintains from the very beginning that God was just in allowing his children to die. “It is true that we and our children have sinned against God, and we ought to justify Him in all He brings upon us and ours,” Henry wrote, “but extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces; and in our judgment of another’s case (unless the contrary appears), we ought to take the more favorable side, as our Savior directs, Luke 13:2–4.” This is simply one more instance of how Job’s friends misunderstood his situation.

Secondly, Bildad’s counsel concerning the hypocrite is correct. It is true, as we learn from Scripture that “The hope of the hypocrite shall perish, whose confidence shall be cut off, and whose trust is a spider’s web. He leans on his house, but it does not stand” (8:13–15). Job was guilty of crying out against God for not ending his life, and he failed to rely on God’s strength in his overwhelming suffering. But this was not sufficient evidence to cast him among the hypocrites as Bildad was so willing to do.

God brings Bildad’s own words back to haunt him when, later, He restores to Job everything he had lost. Bildad said that “God will not cast away the blameless.” This is true. While the blameless may suffer for awhile, God will not forsake them forever. So it will be with Job. God will not forsake him. This, however, is unforeseen to Bildad who assumes that Job is a hypocrite and maintains that unless he repent of that sin, he will be cut off forever.

Go through chapter 8 and mark all of Bildad’s statements that are generally true. How does he apply these “truths” to Job? What does he say that is blatantly wrong? Do you err in the application of truth? Ask a friend or your spouse if they discern any way in which you take a fundamental truth and wrongly apply it.