Thursday, April 12, 2018

Year 8, Day 102: Job 8

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Reading this chapter gets me angry!  I’m not angry at God’s Word, I’m angry at Bildad.  Here is the portrait of a wise and extraordinarily arrogant man.  Here is a passage of good platitudes painted in an extraordinarily destructive way.

The gist of Bildad’s advice is summed up to this: If you were righteous, evil wouldn’t have come your way.  The logical equivalent to this statement is this: Since evil came your way, you aren’t righteous.

This kind of advice is loaded with arrogant religion, not true spirituality.  First of all, we do know that evil does come upon people who walk closely with God.  Was not Jesus crucified?  Were not all of Jesus’ discipled killed for their faith or condemned to exile? Did not Paul experience pain and rejection nearly every place he went?

The reality is that we cannot equate a perfect life with closeness to God.  In fact, Jesus teaches us that when we are close to Him, we will experience the rejection of the world.  What Bildad is preaching here is a prosperity gospel, not true faith in God.  Righteousness does not equate to a problem free life.

In fact, I’ve found Jesus’ advice to be far truer than Bildad the Shuhite’s advice.  Making righteous choices in this life is hard!  Making righteous choices causes us to be looked at as though we are weird, strange, or at least unusual.  Making righteous choices sometimes cause other people to look down upon us because righteous causes others to look suspect.  This can bring persecution into our life.

Of course, the reality is that we know that Job is righteous in God’s eyes.  We know that Job’s experiences are not brought upon him as punishment.  This situation has been brought upon him to make a spiritual point: that God is more gracious than human suffering and human beings can be faithful even in the midst of turmoil.

The reality is that Bildad is just wrong.  He makes points we want to believe in.  He teaches that we can equate the ease of one’s life with their sinfulness.  He teaches that God doesn’t allow bad things to happen to good people.  He teaches that problems in one’s life are evidence of sinfulness.  These things are sometimes true, but like Eliphaz they aren’t universal truths.  When we make them universal truths we become arrogant and judgmental preachers of a prosperity gospel.