READ: Job 8
BACKGROUND: Chapter eight is the first speech in the book from Job’s friend Bildad. As we’ve pointed out before, Job’s friends are well-intentioned and their words always have some elements of truth to them, but in the end they are misguided because none of them truly understand what God is doing in Job’s life. It’s important to remember when reading Job that not all of the words are to be taken as Biblical truths in the way that the words of Proverbs or Psalms are. It’s a different genre, and the words of Job’s friends reveal their hearts, not God’s truths.
5-6 – Bildad is reasoning that since God cannot be unjust, Job and his family must be suffering as a result of their sinfulness. Bildad is telling Job that if he would only ask God for mercy and become righteous, God would restore him.
6 – God describes Job in chapter 1:8 as a “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil,” but Bildad is apparently confident that Job is a hypocrite. Bildad repeatedly tells Job that if he were pure and upright, God would quickly come to take away his suffering.
7 – Little did Bildad know when he spoke these words, that God would indeed give Job a tremendously prosperous future.
21 – Again, Bildad didn’t realize at the time that God was going to bless Job abundantly in the future.
THINK: A couple years ago I went through a pretty rough season of life. It seemed as though little by little God was stripping away a number of the things in my life that made me comfortable. It started with the death of my beloved Grandmother. Ten days later my “#1” Aunt passed away after a very brief battle with cancer. Within a month, I was laid off from my job and recovering from knee surgery. In the meantime, we completely drained our savings account with medical bills and taxes. Less than a year after that, my husband’s parents were divorced. During those difficult months, our hearts never even had a chance to think about recovering before the next heartache set in. Life hurts so bad.
Job was more familiar with suffering than I will most likely ever be. He was stripped of everything – family, fortune, health. Job’s friends failed miserably at being an encouragement and hope to him. They spent their time lecturing him with the false claim that he must have done something terribly wrong for God to allow all of this bad to happen to him. While there are certainly consequences for our sins (and Job was by no means sinless), we know from reading this book, that God was not allowing these afflictions to punish Job.
Unfortunately, we don’t always have such a clear picture of why such trouble comes upon us (and neither did Job, but we get the privilege of reading about what God was thinking in the first chapters of Job). We don’t usually know God’s plan through our suffering. We don’t always see the good that comes from the pain we endure. However, there are a few things we do know: God is always good. His ways are higher than our ways. And if we have committed our lives to Jesus, Bildad’s words in verse 21 are true for us, “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” We can rejoice constantly in the future hope of Heaven. In the midst of our darkest hours, no matter how hopeless our situations seem, if we have trusted Jesus for salvation, we can rejoice that we will soon be held in the everlasting arms of our Father God in perfect peace.
When struggles come, talk to God. If struggles in your life are a consequence of sin, ask God for strength to overcome the sin and be made righteous. When the hurts of life seem overwhelming, fix your gaze on Jesus and know “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”
ASK: When life hurts, what can I do to keep my eyes focused on Jesus? Memorize Job 8:21, so that you can call it to mind in the midst of struggles.
Written by: Cari Widdel