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Bildad’s Faulty Solution

Today’s reading: Job 8:1-10:22

My selection: Job 8:5-7

If you will seek God

and plead with the Almighty for mercy,

6 if you are pure and upright,

surely then he will rouse himself for you

and restore your rightful habitation.

7 And though your beginning was small,

your latter days will be very great.

My reflection: Bildad chimes in that Job’s problem is his own fault and, therefore, the solution is his as well. God is just, so the suffering has to be Job’s fault. The solution? Merely seek God and plead for mercy. Then God will restore him and give him even better days than he had before.

Like Eliphaz, Bildad’s view is simplistic and, since he has no knowledge of God’s secret purposes he makes assumptions which are incorrect. God is just. This is true as far as it goes, but it is not the only attribute of God nor is man capable of judging what is just to God. Bildad further reasons that suffering comes from God, who is just, so if one suffers, it is his own fault, and he needs to repent and seek mercy. The premise is true, but the conclusion is not or, at least, not always so. Not all suffering is a direct result of one’s own sin. Jesus clarified this in John 9:2-3. God may have other purposes in suffering besides punishment for personal sin.

My challenge: We need to learn from Bildad’s error. Do not be too quick to assume you understand the purposes of God in any situation. God leads us, so we know what to do, but He doesn’t always explain to us everything we would like to know about the why of our suffering. When we suffer we tend to ask “why?” and apparently this is acceptable. God did not rebuke Job for asking “why?” But do we also ask “why?” when we are incredibly blessed or only when we suffer?

It is always wise to confess our known sins. It is always wise to give thanks and praise to God for blessings far beyond what we deserve. It is always wise to trust God when we suffer for no apparent reason. It is generally wise to remain silent in attempting to draw conclusions about God’s hidden purposes in the providential circumstances of our lives and in the lives of others.

Avoid Bildad’s faulty remedy. Beware of trying to second-guess an infinite, wise, and sovereign God.

Tomorrow’s reading: Job 11:1-14:22

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