III. Bildad’s First Speech and Job’s Response (Job 8:1–10:22)

8:1-22 Bildad, another of Job’s friends, confronted him with the same basic accusation as Eliphaz had: Job had sinned against God and was suffering righteous punishment for it. Bildad was big on justice (8:3) and appealed to the experience of previous generations (8:8-10). The principle those ancestors taught is that suffering is the result of sin. Thus, the hope of the godless will perish (8:13). Therefore, because Job was suffering, he must have acted godlessly. God does not reject a person of integrity (8:20), he said. Therefore, if God had rejected him, Job must have lacked integrity. Here, too, we can find truth in the proverbial statements made, but we can’t build a rigid system that allows no exceptions. God’s ways are mysterious and hidden from us unless he chooses to reveal them: “The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever” (Deut 29:29).

Job was so distraught that he believed that, even if he were in the right, God wouldn’t pay attention (9:15-16). We have to remember that sometimes God is silent. But, don’t count his silence as neglect. When God gives us the silent treatment, it’s not because he’s in a bad mood or careless. It’s always because he’s trying to teach us something we wouldn’t otherwise learn. That doesn’t mean we just forget our problems and put on a smile; Job knew that (9:27-28). Instead, it means we trust our God who knows what we don’t know, can do what we can’t do, and never fails.

In the end, Job realized he could not defend himself before God. He is not a man like me, that I can answer him (9:32). Thus, Job wished there was someone to mediate between them (9:33). This is an important biblical concept. A mediator is a go-between, someone who can stand between two parties who are at odds with each other and bring them together. Job was struggling and hurting. He was desperate for help as his three friends accused him of sin. But, he knew a human could never effectively argue with God. Job was in no position to plead his case before a transcendent God. Thus, Job wanted an umpire—a judge who could listen impartially to both God and him and make a ruling. Yet, Job knew of no one who could fill this role.

To be an effective mediator between sinners and a holy God, someone would have to be like God and like human beings—knowing how he feels and thinks and how we feel and think, too. The mediator Job wished for would have had to understand Job so he could accurately represent him. Yet, he must be as great as God himself to accurately represent God. In time, this perfect mediator who could stand between humanity and God would become flesh in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is God himself, yet he also knows the human condition intimately because he became human. He has a divine nature and a human nature. He experienced everything we have experienced. We needed a God-man, and only the Lord Jesus Christ uniquely fulfills that requirement. On the cross, Jesus hung between two estranged parties, his Father and the human race, to reconcile us. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human” (1 Tim 2:5). He is the only mediator who can stand between God and us. And he does this every day as our resurrected high priest who lives forever and intercedes for us.

Job continued his answer to Bildad in chapter 10, wondering aloud why God allowed him to live when his days were filled with nothing but pain and agony. He’d become so disillusioned that he believed God would not reveal the charges against him even if he could take God to court (10:1-7). Then, Job asked God an interesting question: why would the hands that had so skillfully shaped Job want to destroy him (10:8)? If God had created him merely to destroy him, Job concluded that it would have been better if he had died at birth (10:18-19). And, out of that place of deep pain, Job said to God, Leave me alone, so that I can smile a little before I go to a land of darkness and gloom, which is death (10:20-21).

Job had fallen into a deep pit, and there was no one to lift him up. He needed brothers to give him biblical insight and help him think clearly. He needed believers to walk with him and put their arms around him while he suffered. However, his third so-called friend was about to push Job deeper into the pit.

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