Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, So that I am a burden to myself? Why then do You not pardon my transgression, And take away my iniquity? For now I will lie down in the dust, And You will seek me diligently, But I will no longer be.” Job 7:20-21
Here’s the scene: a painfully tormented Job is sitting in the dust scraping at his crusty, worm-infested, oozing flesh with a piece of broken glass, while simultaneously mourning the loss of ten children, his wealth, and his business. Months have gone by and in come his three good friends: Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar to cheer him up.
Eliphaz speaks first and mercilessly charges him with unspecified offenses against God that brought about all his suffering. Somehow Job musters up a response, but then wisely (and still in the company of his three friends) turns to God in prayer. No sooner does the Amen cross his crackled lips, friend number two chimes in.
Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said: “How long will you speak these things, And the words of your mouth be like a strong wind? Does God subvert judgment? Or does the Almighty pervert justice? Job 8:1-3
Job’s loving friend just called him a windbag. If that weren’t enough, Bildad would go on to tell Job that his sons and daughters were dead because they were sinners, that he (Bildad) always knew his empire was on the verge of collapse, and that when he (Job) was gone ‘nobody’ was going to miss him.
How does that expression go, “With friends like these who needs enemies?”
To make matters worse, Bildad implied by way of his comments that God was on his side. The fact is the only thing Bildad got right is that God is just; everything else he got wrong. The reality is neither Bildad nor Job had a clue what was going on. In their darkness Job’s friends turned on him, but to his credit Job turned to God. Bildad, having heard Job’s prayer, erred in two ways in his response: supposing his need to defend God’s sovereignty, and disposing of an opportunity to exhibit mercy.
But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. Matthew 9:13
There are only three times in the Bible that Jesus tells His disciples to go and learn something. In addition to the lesson of Matthew 9:13, He tells us to take His yoke and learn from Him in order that we may find our rest (Matthew 11:29) and to learn the parable of the fig tree (Matthew 24:32), an admonishment to be cognizant of the times.
In that regard, Bildad struck out on three pitches—he was oblivious to what was going on around him, he had no serenity, and worst of all, he was merciless. Why–because he placed his entire weight upon justice; that is to say that he set mercy aside so he might insure the justice of God was intact (as if He needed us to do that).
Then He struck the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord. He struck fifty thousand and seventy men of the people, and the people lamented because the Lord had struck the people with a great slaughter. 1 Samuel 6:19
Nowhere in the Bible is that better illustrated then in the account above. The Philistines had just returned the Ark of the Covenant to Israel and the first thing they do is pop off the cover to see if the Ten Commandments are still inside. Did you catch that? The removed the ‘Mercy Seat’ to see if the Law was still intact.
Where does God choose to meet His people–at the seat of mercy, that’s where! Enter Jesus. Here’s the truth: those who bypass mercy and rely upon the law for their salvation, die–God used the death of fifty seven thousand Israeli men to emphasize that point very clearly.
Don’t misinterpret what’s being said, the Law has its place; it is the road sign that brings us to His mercy and grace. Know the Law, embrace the Law, use the Law to bring lost souls to a place of redemption, then swiftly allow it to be covered-over by the gracious blood of Christ Jesus at the Mercy Seat. Bildad forsook that opportunity and God forever made him an example of what not to do. Let us endeavor to bring every conversation back around to the loving embrace of our Lord and Savior.
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21
These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands