Bildad offers his worst condemnation, so far, against Job. He labels him as wicked and one “who knows not God” (verse 21b).
These men are supposed to be Job’s friends. They know him. They have spent time with him and watched his life. NOW Bildad says he must have always been wicked! For to never have known God Job’s whole life must have been one great pretense.
Job has counseled other in their time of distress. His friends thought enough of him to drop whatever they had going when they found out he was ill and come to his side. YEARS of Job offering sacrifices and offerings to the Lord have been recorded. His children’s lives testified of their father’s hand in their upbringing. Job’s business dealings were ALWAYS above board and just. ALL Job’s life testified of his commitment to God! But because he refused to acknowledge sin in his life, his ‘friends’ have labeled him a godless man.
And not just his friends have come to this conclusion. His neighbors, those he did business with, and even the people of the town where he lives shake their heads at him and pronounce him guilty. NONE can say WHAT he is guilty of, but “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.” They see the calamity in Job’s life and the illness he is suffering and conclude that he MUST have brought this on himself.
I want to shake them and ask they how they could be so blind. They KNOW this man! Are they really saying that they were so gullible that they wouldn’t have been able to detect that Job was pretending ALL HIS LIFE? Or are they saying that one act, whatever it was, has wiped Job’s past away? If so, it must have been something big to bring down a whole life lived for God and reduce it to “one who knows not God.”
God is NOT that fickle!!! Even in the Old Testament we see God give man MULTIPLE chances to clean up his act. If it weren’t so, mankind would have been permanently erased from the face of the planet. Even Cain, who committed the first murder, was still watched by God. He promised to strike down anyone who struck Cain down. God waited YEARS for Noah to finish building the ark, giving all those who witnessed it a chance to repent before the door was shut fast. He even gave Adam and Eve continued life on this planet when they committed the first sins of man. “But is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (1 Peter 3:9b).
So we have three possibilities. 1) Job’s friends were so fooled by Job’s pretense that they never realized he was always wicked; 2) Job’s current sins were so grievous that God has to smack him down HARD and completely abandons him; or 3) something else is going on. Because we were privy to the conversation between God and Satan we know it is option number three but Job’s friends can’t even conceive of that option.
They have gone from, you must have done something to, you were ALWAYS wicked and no one knew it. I’m voting them out of the ‘support group’! Somehow God is going to turn this around. I wonder what their response will be when that happens. Will they fall on their knees and ask Job’s forgiveness for their characterization of him? Or will they say, “He must have gotten away with it at some point, so this was for then.” That’s how my mom would justify her dad spanking her for something she didn’t do. She would search her heart for something she had gotten away with in order to justify the ‘correction’ of the moment.
Little do Job’s friends realize that this ISN’T a punishment but a prelude to a lesson that will take Job even deeper with God. He was NOT a godless man but a man destined for deeper things with Him.
Father God, I want to grow in relationship with You ALL the time, but I DON’T want Job’s experience! I know it has taken pain to get my full attention in the past. I trust You have moved me beyond needing quite so much of it. I LOVE spending time reading Your word and learning about You. This book hasn’t been easy for me though. I want to speed Job onto the end of his lesson. Maybe I’m learning a little patience here with him.