Text: Job 8:1-4
Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?
Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?
If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;
Job's three friends had come to comfort him; but when his friend Eliphaz spoke, Job found little comfort in his words. Following Job's honest response, another friend began to speak. His name was Bildad, and he seemed to be upset that Job was claiming to be innocent. Bildad was blunt in his opening comments toward his hurting friend. He was not sympathetic and kind to his friend, not believing that Job and his children were innocent; however, that did not give him the right to be hurtful. Job had poured out his heart and shared his frustrations and feelings with God and with his friends. Instead of validating Job's feelings and being a good comforter, Bildad was derogatory, accusatory, heartless, and hurtful. He tactlessly told Job that his words were like the blustering wind. Bildad's next words cut his suffering friend even deeper. He heartlessly accused Job's children of sinning, implying that they had paid the price for their actions. It is difficult to imagine being in Job's place and hearing a friend say such a thing. That must have been infuriating even to a patient man like Job.
Bildad essentially gave Job the same advice Eliphaz had given: He suggested that Job confess what he had done to cause these calamities. Some of Bildad's advice is biblicaily accurate. All of us should "seek God," and all of us should ”implore the compassion of the Almighty." James 5:16 teaches that, when we sin, we are to confess our sins and pray so that we might be healed. However, Bi ldad tried to practice similar spiritual principles, but he drew some faulty conclusions that hurt Job. He implied that Job had not been seeking God, imploring His compassion, or living a pure and upright life.
Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water?
Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb.
So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish:
Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web.
He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure.
He is green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden.
His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones.
If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee.
Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow.
Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers:
Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing.
They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought.
We need to be tactful in giving sermons to others. Bildad began to preach, trying to give Job a good history lesson. It is good to look back and study what has happened in previous eras to learn from the past in order notto repeat the mistakes of our predecessors. However we need to be tactful so that our sermon to others will make necessary impact in people's lives. Bildad was right to advice Job that God will not reject a man of integrity and punishes those who do wrong, his sermon however missed the mark when he said that Job had done wrong and was being punished by God for his sins.
Bildad's sermon missed the mark when he implied that his friend was "godless," that Job was like a plant that could not grow without water. Why would Bildad make that faulty assumption? It was because Bildad believed that bad things do not happen to people of integrity. Job-like Joseph, Paul, and Jesus-was a man of integrity. Each of these endured trials that they did not deserve. We are supposed to know what people need at any point in time so as to take advantage of the opportunities to comfort and encourage them. Job did not need such a sermon given by his friend at that time, nor did he need tactless and hurtful accusations made against him. Job did not want to be taught by illustrations from history or from the world of nature. He longed for a friend to comfort and console him in his distress, even someone who would suffer with him. Job wanted a friend who would "weep with those who weep". By trying to make a point, we should not miss the point and the opportunity to comfort ourselves as Christians.