JOB AND BILDAD’S SECOND DEBATE

(c).  Bildad’s Second Speech             <18:1-21>

“You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger, is the earth to be abandoned for your sake? Or must the rocks be moved from their place?” <18:4 (NIV)>; He starts off by revealing that the unchanging order of things cannot be overturned because of Job’s anger <18:1-4>, and continues to describe five stages of a sinner’s downfall.

  • <18:7-10> Instability and failure because of personal strategy compared to those that are led by God; and is trapped by ungodly activities. “The vigor of his step is weakened… His feet thrust him into a net….” <18:7-10 (NIV); cf Prov.4:11-12>.
  • <18:11-14> Terror, calamity, and disaster is experienced; “the firstborn of death”, which Bildad considers to be more terrible and dangerous than all other disasters, “He is torn from the security of his tent and marched off to the king of terrors.” <18:14 (NIV)>; speaking to the frailty of life <cf 18:11-14; Isa.38:12; 2 Cor.5:1>.
  • <18:15-19> “Fire…burning sulphur”; an expression of severe punishment and destruction <cf Psa.11:6; Ezek.38:22; Lk.17:29; Rev.20:14-15>, dried roots and branches leaving no descendants to remember the past.
  • <18:20-21> Shock and horror is expressed by friends and acquaintances for “Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man; such is the place of one who knows not God.” <18:21 (NIV); cf Isa.57:20-21; Hos.4:1-2, 6>.
  • <18:5-6> “The lamp of the wicked is snuffed out; the flame of his fire stops burning.” <18:5 (NIV)>. The Lamp representing life is extinguished or ended and  everything becomes dark <18:5-6; cf Pr.13:9>.

(d).  Job’s Response                           <19:1-29>

“How long will you torment me and crush me with words?” <19:2 (NIV)>. Job is now completely crushed by the several relentless attacks of his friends; “If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone.” <19:4 (NIV); cf. 19:22>. His friends should not pretend to be God by judging him for his apparent sinfulness. Another lesson for us today is that we should not attempt to judge especially where we do not, and cannot, know the reason for the difficulty of a person that we are attempting to help. If they really need to know the truth, it is that “God is responsible” for the difficulty he is experiencing <19:6> and they should accept that explanation, for he is not a wicked sinner. They insinuate that he has been attacked by God since he cries out to God and gets no response <19:6-12>, he asks for help and receives no justice; “His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies.” <19:11 (NIV)>. He is forsaken by his friends and family <19:13-20>; although he pleads for their compassion and understanding <19:21-22>, desiring that the words of his complaints be recorded in stone forever until he is finally vindicated <19:23-24>.

Job voices his confidence, even though he may not have fully understood the concept of his expression, that on a future day he would be fully vindicated for his faithfulness in his Redeemer: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes — I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” <19:25-27 (NIV)>. Words that have been the theme of all believers in Christ for thousands of years, as we have been the subject of various forms of suffering by the design of a sovereign God, we have the confidence of our Lord and Saviour that the work He has begun in us will be completed for His glory! <cf Phil.1:6; 1 Pet.1:3-8>. Job then warns his friends to be careful for they could experience the judgment of God for their unbelief in accusing him of sin <19:28-29>. “you should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, and then you will know that there is judgment.” <19:29 (NIV)>.

 

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