Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blog through the Bible: Bildad and the last gasp of the three friends

Job story continues in Job 25 with Bildad’s 6 verse speech. In essence he says, “you can’t question God”.

He starts by holding up God’s greatness (at this point you get an “I recognize that tree” feel- you’ve been there already). Dominion and fear are with God; he makes peace in his high heaven”. Is there any number to his armies? Upon whom does his light not arise? God has dominion; therefore He should be respected. God rules over mighty armies and “his light” (which seems to be a statement about his omniscience) is everywhere. Behind these words, you can see the same argument looming. Job doesn’t respect God and is rebelling, and that’s why he’s in this situation.

Then he continues. “How then can man be in the right before God? How can he who is born of woman be pure? Behold, even the moon is not bright, and the stars are not pure in his eyes; how much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!" Rather than responding to Job’s concerns in 23-24, he just repeats Eliphaz's theme from the last chapter. It's clear that he’s not listening. 

This has been a problem all along. Bible Scholar Roy Zuck notes that:
"A review of the speeches of Job’s friends shows that they were poor councilors. They failed in several ways. They did not express sympathy for Job in their speeches. They did not pray for him. They seemingly ignored Jobs expressions of emotional and physical agony. They talked too much and did not listen adequately to their advisee. They became defensive and argumentative. They belittled rather than encouraged Job. They assumed they knew the cause of Job’s problems. They stubbornly persisted in their views of Jobs problems even when their ideas contradicted the facts. They blamed Job for expressing grief and frustrations.
He ends by saying:
“Counselors today would do well to be sure they do not fail in similar ways”.
This is a fitting and sad end to the speeches of Job’s friends, a final, sputtering end that has accomplished only harm.

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