Friday, April 7, 2017

When Bad Things Happen To Good People: A Study Of The Book Of Job. Day 33, Job Asks Why Injustice Exists/Bildad Attacks Him Again

Yesterday Job asked the question we all ask, "Why doesn't God put a stop to evil?" Today he finishes his speech about wicked men and Bildad, who has no answers, simply attacks Job's claims of innocence again.

"There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths." (Job 24:13) These are the type the Apostle John spoke of, "Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19) Job has taken note that the evildoers around him love the dark and shun the light. They rebel against the Lord and refuse to walk in His ways. Their deeds are evil and the last thing they want is for them to be brought to light.

"When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up, kills the poor and needy, and in the night steals forth like a thief. The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, 'No eye will see me,' and he keeps his face concealed. In the dark, thieves break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they want nothing to do with the light. For all of them, midnight is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness." (Job 24:14-17) Job mentions a series of crimes that call for remaining concealed from the public eye. When fleeing the scene of a crime or skulking around an illicit lover's neighborhood, darkness is a friend.

In yesterday's study we found Job wondering why God doesn't always punish the wicked during this lifetime so the godly can see it happen. Today he's feeling a bit better about leaving the timing of the punishment up to God. He believes a day is coming for the wicked. They may enjoy the fruits of their sins for a while, but they are under a curse. "Yet they are foam on the surface of the water; their portion of the land is cursed, so that no one goes to the vineyards. As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow, so the grave snatches away those who have sinned. The womb forgets them, the worm feasts on them; the wicked are no longer remembered but are broken like a tree." (Job 24:17-20) He compares the wicked to things that are temporary.

"They prey on the barren and childless woman, and to the widow they show no kindness. But God drags away the mighty by His power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but His eyes are on their ways. For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain." (Job 24:21-24)

Job issues a challenge to the three friends who have been no help to him. "If this is not so, who can prove me false and reduce my words to nothing?" (Job 24:25) His companions have been angrily asserting that bad things never happen to godly men and that good things never happen to bad men. But Job has proven to them they are wrong. He's seen many a bad thing happen to a godly person and many a good thing happen to a wicked person. Their argument doesn't hold water. They know it doesn't; they must know it by now. But they won't admit it. They refuse to agree with Job's observations of how the world works and how the ways of God are often beyond human understanding. We are now about to study the final words of Bildad. In fact, all three of these friends are done talking at this point. They can't think of any way to refute the things Job has pointed out, so now Bildad just goes back to the same old song and dance.

"Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: 'Dominion and awe belong to God; He establishes order in the heights of heaven. Can His forces be numbered? On whom does His light not rise? How then can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in His eyes, how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot---a human being, who is only a worm!" (Job 25:1-6) Bildad says, "God is so high above us, how dare you question Him? Why do you keep fighting against Him? You won't win! And as for your protests of innocence, they are false. No one is righteous. No human being, who is like a worm compared to Almighty God, is perfect. No one deserves anything good from the Lord, much less a sinner like you. The best thing you can do is repent and submit to the chastening of the Lord. Stop asking Him to give you answers for your problems. You are the cause of all your problems. God wouldn't have sent tragedies into your life if you hadn't done something to deserve them."

It's true that mankind is in a fallen state. None of us is perfect. None of us can obtain salvation through good works. Bildad is correct on these points. But how could his words comfort anyone? What help for the sinner is in his message? He takes the listener to the point of despair and hopelessness and leaves him there. He offers no solution. This is not the way to change anyone's heart. Such a speech might lead a depressed person to the verge of suicide, but it won't lead them to Christ. Bildad is right when he says we are utterly depraved and unworthy of God's grace, but he leaves out the fact that God offers us His grace anyway. God provides a solution for our sin. We do have to reach a point of brokenness before we realize we are sinners who need a savior, but Jesus doesn't leave us there the way Bildad leaves Job there. Instead Jesus says, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

If only Bildad had a heart like the Lord Jesus: gentle and humble. Then he would have been able to comfort and encourage Job. Then he might have been able to help his friend's weary mind to take rest in the Lord, even though he doesn't understand his circumstances. But Bildad takes him to the edge and leaves him there. Jesus Christ will never do that. When we reach the end of ourselves, when we totter on the edge of despair, the Lord Jesus says, "Turn to Me! I can mend what's broken in you. I can restore your hope. Never mind where you've been or what you've done; I offer you a new life. I am able to give you a good future and a life of purpose."

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