I like to think that they were sincere. But, honestly, they were sincerely bad. They each came from their own place to be with Job in order to be his comforter. But instead of bringing solace, they only added to his suffering. Instead of bringing peace to Job’s soul, they thought it better to give him a piece of their mind.
And here’s the thing about these guys, some of their observations were right on. It was their application that, for the most part, kind of missed the target. And, though their answers were mostly out to lunch, they did ask some pretty good questions.
A couple of great questions caught my attention this morning. Though they were asked as rhetorical questions, Bildad thinking the answers were obvious, I find myself in awe afresh as I chew on the answers none of those guys could have imagined.
Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said: “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? 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!”
(Job 25:1-6 ESV)
“How can a mortal be innocent before God? Can anyone born of a woman be pure?” (NLT) They can’t. That, for Bildad & Co., was the obvious, no-brainer answer.
But I find myself, like a kid in a classroom waving his hand wildly so the teacher can see it, wanting to shout, “Ooh, Ooh! I know, I know! Ask me! Ask me!”
How can those born of woman, but maggots and worms (a tad dramatic I think) when compared to God’s holiness, be without spot before Him? How can any man or woman hope to plead righteousness before the awesome God who alone has eternal dominion over all things? I know! I know! Sunday School answers for 100, Alex. Who is Jesus!
The same God who makes peace in His high heaven has made provision for peace on sin-stained earth. And that, through Himself. By sending the Christ. His blessed Son, God even God, taking on flesh in order to make peace through the cross. Making redemption possible. Making release from sin attainable. Making regeneration–worms and maggots of earth becoming new creations as sons and daughters of heaven–available.
How then can a man be right before God? By being in Christ. Because “for our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2Cor. 5:21).
How can an ordinary Joe, or ordinary Job for that fact, stand guiltless before a holy Judge? Through an eternal Mediator. One who not only advocates on their behalf but who, Himself, has paid the price in full for their transgression so that God no longer sees them in their sin, nor deals with them according to their iniquity. Pure before God because God has removed their transgression from them.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
(Psalm 103:11-12 ESV)
He who makes peace in heaven has brought peace to earth by laying on His Son “the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6).
Because of a couple of great questions, what wondrous recollection. What soul-satisfying reflection.
And we’re only getting started. December isn’t even here, but the anticipation of celebrating God’s great answer to the Bildad’s unanswerable question has begun. Oh, that I might maintain that focus over the next days and weeks with all that’s going to compete for my attention and affections.
Lousy comforters. Poor application-makers. But great question-askers. A catalyst to reminding us of a great salvation and a great, great God!
By His grace. For His glory.