Jan. 19. Bildad, Zophar and Job Continue to Speak

Job 18:1-21:34

Bildad rebuked Job for his many words of denial. In his eyes, Job had rejected their counsel as foolishness. However, even they were serving Satan by adding to Job’s mental misery. He then renewed and repeated the charges that he and the other two friends had leveled against the suffering Job. Truly, the punishment of the wicked as Bildad described it is certain and universal as it includes all sinners from the far east to the far west. He continued to ignore the fact that many times innocent people do suffer hardships and afflictions.

“But I don’t know a thing in this whole wide world That’s worse than being alone.” Those words from a popular hymn describe the feeling that Job expressed as he replied to the scathing words of his “friend” Bildad. As a once respected patriarch, he lamented his position as being alienated from God, family, servants and friends. Even in his lamentation, Job remained hopeful that his innocence would result in the Redeemer eventually rescuing him from his torment. He had faith in a future new body with God. In closing his reply, he warned his friends of the danger of their being punished for their persecution of him.

“This is the portion from God for a wicked man, The heritage appointed to him by God.” Even without openly calling Job a wicked man, Zophar strongly intimated in his reply to him that his misery was the direct result of his wickedness. The wicked may seem to prosper, but that prosperity will eventually be cut off short and he will be soon forgotten. Sin has a sweet taste, but as sweet food turns sour in the stomach, the results of sin turn sour and become as poison as a viper’s venom. In the end, there is no permanent joy in a sinful life—only misery. Zophar refused to accept Job’s belief that a Redeemer would rescue him, but instead God had rejected him and that the heavens would reveal his iniquity.

Job asked his friends to listen carefully and to let him speak. After that, they could continue if they wished. He began by pointing out that the wicked do often live long and powerful lives. Everything that they do seems to prosper and that they live a life of pleasure. When the time of death comes, they die without prolonged suffering. They accomplish all of those without knowing God in their lives. Job inferred that conversely the opposite could also be true for the righteous—that they could suffer hardships and go to an early grave. It is all in the hand of God (Mt. 5:45). One’s wealth and status do not determine his final destiny. He also refuted their idea of the wicked being punished in this life, as he stated, “For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; They shall be brought out on the day of wrath.”

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