Bildad gets in his last few words. He begins by extoling God’s virtues and power (25:2-3), and then ends by declaring the one point of agreement between them all: no man is righteous before God (vv. 4-6 – Eliphaz agrees in 4:17-19 and 15:14-16, and Job agree in 9:2 – see Rom 3:9-18). In his agreement, Bildad is, of course, implying that Job sees himself as righteous. So his final attempt to urge his friend to repent of his sin contains some truth, but also some untruth.
In verse 6, we can also see an answer to Bildad’s question. There is a man Who is right before God (1 John 2:1). He was born of a woman (Gal 4:4), He is the Son of Man (Matt 9:6 and many others), and like a worm before men (Ps 22:6). And He alone can make one right before God (2 Cor 5:21). Yet he suffered so that God would be “just and the justifier of the one who has faith” in Him (Rom 3:26).
Job’s final answer begins with overt sarcasm (26:2-3). In verse 4, Job asks a rhetorical question to show his friends that what they have spoken is not of God. Bildad spoke of God’s power in heaven (25:2-3), and here Job asserts that His power reaches all the way to hell (26:5-6). He then expounds on this absolute power with poetic references to God’s creative power (vv. 7-10), and then His providential power (vv. 11-13). Job ends by saying that all of this power revealed in God’s creating and sustaining power are but the tip of the iceberg – we cannot comprehend God’s power (v. 14).
Tomorrow we will see Job’s conclusion of the matter. For now, let’s summarize what has happened in the conversation with his friends. Throughout, his friends have argued mostly from an earthly point of view: surely, Job is being punished greatly because his sin is great. And they see Job’s defense as proof of this. His very words condemn him because he declares himself righteous before God. As the conversation as progressed, we have seen Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar turn to defending themselves, part of which is accusing Job even more harshly, to the point of almost taking joy in his suffering.
This is what fallen people do. Just look at our world today. People (even many Christians, at least functionally) believe that what we can see and touch is all there is – or at least the most important that is. As we’ve seen, most of us are much more concerned with being right, than being righteous. And Job’s three friends would fit right in with us in 2022, because we all love to point out how wrong others are so we can feel more righteous then them. And many take joy in the sufferings of those who disagree with them.
And then there’s Job. A man of faith in God. A man who complains against God. A man who relies on God. A man who defends himself. A man who hopes in God and the world to come. A man who hopelessly laments his condition in this world. A righteous man. A self-righteous man. A man who wants to hold fast to His Savior. A man who is influenced by the company he keeps.
Sin hasn’t changed. Our fallen nature hasn’t changed (except for falling even further from God’s original design for us).
But neither has God changed. He has all the power. He has all the authority. He is sovereign over all. Nothing falls outside of His gracious providence. And yet, suffering is an ever-present reality in our world, as the whole creation falls further and further away from God’s original design.
So is there nothing that can be done?
Yes, there is. And God did it. The righteous took on our unrighteousness. The all-powerful sovereign God Who created the universe stepped down into it and entered into our suffering – and worse. And He “reversed the curse” for those who believe.
And yet, in the here and now, we – like Job – get carried away with the ways of the world. We get our eyes off of God and onto what we can physically see. Sometimes. Maybe often. But the fact of the matter is that God does not change. And though we are still weak because of our sin nature – our all-powerful God is sovereign. Like the book of Job, it isn’t about us, it’s about Him. And it doesn’t matter what “it” is!
We all have a little Eliphaz in us. And a little Bildad. And a little Zophar. And a little Job.
But we also have Christ in us.
So the question is: when we suffer in this world, when our rightness or righteousness is challenged, when the going get’s tough, who will we be most like?
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – 2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV)