Bildad continue the conversation by agreeing with Eliphaz. He rebukes Job for his words being “a great wind”, i.e. meaningless. He then says what seems, on the surface, to be praises of God’s justice, but then reveals that his thinking is as wrong as both Satan’s and Eliphaz’s – he claims that God metes out ultimate justice in this world, going as far as to tell Job that his kids got what they deserved because they were obviously transgressors! In 8:11-19 Bildad very poetically makes his case: surely, where there is calamity, there is sin. Like Eliphaz, Bildad calls Job to repentance and promises him that if he does right, God will reward him and restore him (vv. 20-22).
Job begins his answer by referring back to Eliphaz’s vision (1:17) – who is right before God? And then he extols the greatness and sovereignty of God (vv. 3-12) – who can resist God’s will? Job knows that as a man, he is a sinner, but that what has befallen him is not due to his own personal sin, but the unsearchable will of God. There is nothing he can say to God about it.
Then notice in 9:29-35 that Job speaks some important theological truth. His works cannot save him (v. 29). He cannot cleanse himself of sin (v. 30), but on his own deserves hell (v. 31). God is not a man who can go to trial (v. 32). There is no arbiter (the word in the Hebrew can also be translated “mediator”) between Job and God that can span the gap between them morally (v. 33). If God would take Job’s punishment from him and remove the fear of His justice (v. 34), then Job would have nothing to fear (v. 35). Yet Job knows that, of himself, none of this is possible (v. 35).
And we see here what the Old Testament teaches us about ourselves and about sin – and about our need. We cannot save ourselves and have no way to cleanse ourselves of our sin. We all deserve hell. It is as if we need God to be put on trial and found guilty. It is as if we need a mediator between us – One Who could span the gap between heaven and earth, God and man. It is as if we need God to take our punishment away and remove our fear of judgment. Only then would we have nothing to fear. But we know that, on our own, none of this is possible.
And of course, we see here exactly what God did by coming as one of us. Jesus Christ saved us, cleansed us from our sin, and took what we deserved, because He was (literally and spiritually) put on trial and found guilty for our sake. And He is the one Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5), and has bridged the gap between heaven and earth (John 1:51), and God and man. He took our punishment on Himself, and we no longer have any fear of judgment, so we have nothing to fear. He did this, because on our own it is impossible.
In chapter 10, we see Job’s tone change a bit. He determines to voice his complaint, but now to God. He asks God why “bad” things happen to “good” people and why “good” things happen to “bad” people (v. 3). Job asks God if He knows what it’s like to be human (vv. 4-5) – and He will. Job then wonders why God would charge sin to someone who is innocent (vv 6-7) – which is exactly what God would do to Jesus Christ.
In verses 8-9, we see Job say what he said in 1:21, but in verses 10-17 begin to do what he did not do in 1:22. In verses 18-19, he repeats his desire from 3:3-10, but now questions God about it. Job closes with a plea for God to just leave him alone until he dies and goes to hell (vv. 20-22) – almost giving in to his wife’s suggestion from 2:9, while forgetting his own words from 2:10.
Indeed, we are seeing Job’s friends and their words incite him to forget what he so firmly believed. And we are seeing the hopeless plight of man if God were to give us what we deserve. And we see how considering this present age more important than the age to come leaves us without hope.
Let us never forget the truth. Let us never waiver in our hope. Jesus Christ took what we deserve.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. – Titus 2:11–14 (ESV)