Psalm 71 is a great hymn of praise for every stage in life: birth to youth to old age. Twice David appeals to God in his “old age” and throughout this is a song of hope. Job didn’t have the psalms to play, no worship team to help him get back on track, just his friends. 🙂
As I awoke this morning I thought about Job, about the handful of friends that went to console him. The first wave of words crashed with a bit of a thud, but here’s the thought: they’re still sitting there with Job. Before judging his friends too harshly, at least they are there with him. Their words will continue to pelt him, but they are locking arms in support as best they know how. It seems appropriate to remember how few friends stop what they’re doing and attempt to provide comfort in times of trouble, there are few who extend a hand when their own hands are tired. I’m reminded to be careful as I cast judgment.
Rereading my epiphany above, I hear soothing sounds of instrumental music in my mind. Then Bildad ruins it all!
When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin. Job 8:4
Thanks Bildad! Just what I wanted to hear. For years Job and his big family celebrated birthdays and he followed by providing a sacrifice just in case they sinned and you slap me in the face with this revelation! Yes Bildad, I’m so glad you came! Bildad is not done yet, he’s just getting started with examples to drive his point home: just ask your parents, check out the papyrus and reeds, you’re just a spider’s web easily swept away or a well-watered plant grabbing rocks with its roots. Suck it up buttercup!
Surely God does not reject one who is blameless or strengthen the hands of evildoers. Job 8:20
Yep. You are right Bildad. Who can fight with God? I love the eloquence with which Job describes the wonder of the Creator in phrase after phrase: His wisdom is profound, He moves mountains, He shakes the earth, He speaks to the sun, He alone stretches out the heavens, and more. In particular, I find his reference to constellations appealing:
He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. Job 9:9
Years ago when I was traveling with Tops in Blue, I was crushed with personal tragedy (something I’ll think about posting later). With many weeks yet to go on the tour literally around the world, I found myself wandering out late after the show was done to gaze at the heavens and ask God why? I found Orion each night as those weeks when on. Positioned in a different places it was interesting to find when we were in Korea for Christmas, or Japan, Philippines, etc., but always there. Though I don’t know that much about constellations, I was a star-gazer in my youth. I remember seeing Orion’s belt and thinking to myself that God is always there. Back to Job:
“How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him? Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.” Job 9:15
Job is just beginning to vent with these words, his rant continues as he dives into a depressing discourse, “I despise my own life…it’s all the same…” In the heat of his argument, Job unknowingly points to Jesus:
If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together…Job 9:33
He continues with words that are often on my lips these days:
Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the plans of the wicked? Job 10:3
I’m not proud of the fact that I have sinned in uttering those words. Life sucks at times, it’s not at all joyful some days, my soul is not always well, even as the song replays in my mind. My current struggle pales in comparison to that of Job and my sinful words bite me. If nothing else, I can learn that this morning.
The story is far from over. I really appreciate the words of Job here, how God allows him space to vent and especially how his friends stay there with him, even though their words are not completely on target or even appropriate, at least they are still there.
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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.
2 Replies to “Bildad Speaks, Job Replies”
Through much failure on this point of talking with friends who are hurting, I’ve learned that silence really is key. Even during some of my own personal tragedies, I think I didn’t really want someone to give me advice. I just wanted them to sit with me, cry with me, and maybe put their hand on mine. We think we must say something utterly ground breaking and shocking to help someone in need, but most of the time what they are really needing is presence.
Indeed you are correct. Just being there with a friend speaks volumes without words. Thanks for the reminder.