Bildad continues the rant against Job, “When will you end these speeches? Be sensible, and then we can talk” (Job 18:2), then provides a list of attributes to support his argument. In particular, I found this statement to be cruel:
He has no offspring or descendants among his people,
no survivor where once he lived.
That’s a little too personal Bildad! Here’s a man who love his kids and just lost them all in odd circumstances and you dare to toss this in his face? But just in case Job doesn’t understand your position, you clarify it with:
Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man;
such is the place of one who does not know God.
Job responds by pleading with his friends for pity, for an ounce of appreciation for all he’s gone through, “If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone” (Job 19:4). Job provides evidence that he is left alone, disowned by his family, his servants don’t listen, and even “My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own family” (Job 19:17).
Job wraps up his response to Bildad with this wonderful thought:
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on 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!
Job refuses to give up on God, though he is confused about the methods employed, he looks deep within for the Lord.
From their perspective, Job’s friends see the worst of all possible scenarios. Their digs are getting deeper and their words more harsh and personal. If they were trying the tough-love approach before, now they seem to have placed themselves in lofty places and cast Job among the dogs of earth. Sad.
These words provide a warning to look introspectively when we descend into an argument with friends, at the very least, we should set limits on our words, though James reminds us that,
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:6
Lord, help us to remember! Tame my tongue, my thoughts, even these words I type this morning.