1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:
2 “Dominion and fear are with God;
he makes peace in his high heaven.
3 Is there any number to his armies?
Upon whom does his light not arise?
4 How then can man be in the right before God?
How can he who is born of woman be pure?
5 Behold, even the moon is not bright,
and the stars are not pure in his eyes;
6 how much less man, who is a maggot,
and the son of man, who is a worm!”
1 Then Job answered and said:
2 “How you have helped him who has no power!
How you have saved the arm that has no strength!
3 How you have counseled him who has no wisdom,
and plentifully declared sound knowledge!
4 With whose help have you uttered words,
and whose breath has come out from you?” – Job 25:1-26:4 ESV
It almost appears as if Bildad is growing weary. In what will be the last of his three speeches, he seems to run out of energy and words in his ongoing attempt to convince Job of his guilt. Since Job has continued to express his belief that God will ultimately vindicate him, Bildad reminds his friend that God is not to be trifled with. He describes God as a “powerful and dreadful” (Job 25:1 NLT) ruler who reigns over the armies of heaven. His power is so vast that He controls the sun and “is more glorious than the moon” and “shines brighter than the stars” (Job25:5 NLT).
This all-powerful deity is a force to be reckoned with and not to be taken lightly. Bildad is appalled by Job’s arrogant display of faux intimacy with God. From his perspective, Bildad sees Job as far too flippant in his attitude toward the God of the universe. His beleaguered friend displays a schockingly and unwise disregard for God’s holiness and transcendence. Job speaks of God as if they were best friends and Bildad goes out of his way to paint God as anything but Job’s bosom buddy in the sky. This great and glorious God is so vast and holy that no mere mortal can dare to stand in His presence, let alone hope to be called His friend. Bildad drives home this point like a dagger.
“How can a mortal be innocent before God?
Can anyone born of a woman be pure?” – Job 25:4 NLT
And in an apparent attempt to build a bridge of reconcliation to Job, Bildad includes himself in the category of all those who fail to measure up to God’s glorious standard.
“In comparison, people are maggots;
we mortals are mere worms.” – Job 25:6 NLT
While there is truth in what Bildad has to say, he is applying that truth like a sledgehammer while neglecting to factor in such things as God’s love, mercy, compassion, and desire to have a relationship with mankind. God is indeed transcendent but He makes a habit of reaching out making Himself available and approachable to humanity. The incarnation of Jesus Christ is the greatest example of God’s desire to make Himself known to man.
No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. – John 1:18 NLT
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. – Colossians 1:15 NLT
God made Himself known to Adam and Eve in the garden. Before the fall, they had daily fellowship with their Creator-God. Noah and Enoch are said to have walked with God. They both enjoyed an intimate relationship with the Almighty that He initiated. Abraham was called “the friend of God” (Isaiah 41:8; James 2:24) and that relationship was marked by regular interactions with his divine counterpart. They talked repeatedly and Abraham knew what it was like to be discipled and disciplined by his Heavenly Father and friend.
Bildad mistakenly portrays God as a one-dimensional being who is so dissimilar and distant from humanity that the gulf between the two cannot be bridged. What right does the lowly worm have to expect the God who created the universe to take notice of it. And, according to Bildad’s logic, a sinful human being has not hope of standing before the wholly righteous and sinless God of the universe. Job was out of his league and out of his mind to think that God would give him the time of day. Bildad believed ob was living in a fantasy land of illusion and false hope, and the sooner he woke up to the reality of his sinfulness and God’s holiness, the better.
But Job isn’t swayed by Bildad’s pessimistic logic. Rather than bow the knee to Bildad’s demand for abject submission to God’s trancendence, Job levels a series of stinging and sarcastic one-liners against his friend.
“How you have helped the powerless!
How you have saved the weak!
How you have enlightened my stupidity!
What wise advice you have offered!
Where have you gotten all these wise sayings?
Whose spirit speaks through you?” – Job 26:2-4 NLT
These literally statements drip with sarcasm. Job wants Bildad and his two companions to know that their lengthy monologues have been utterly useless and of no benefit whatsoever. He is not impressed with their wisdom. He has received no life-altering insights from all their pontificating and posturing. He has not been swayed by their rhetorical skills or pithy-sounding platitudes masquerading as truth. There is nothing they have said that he didn’t already know. They have brought nothing new to the table but have simply regurgitated the same old worn-out arguments about God’s greatness and man’s lowliness. But that doesn’t help to explain Job’s predicament. Job fully understood that God is God and he is not. He knew that God was holy and righteous. In fact, he was counting on it. He was so convinced of God’s “otherness” that He was willing to take his questions and concerns straight to the sole source of wisdom, truth, and justice.
Job knew God was holy, and he wasn’t taking Him lightly or treating Him with contempt. Despite the picture his friends painted, Job wasn’t stupid. But he was desperate. He needed answers. He longed for relief. And so he called out to that powerful and dreadful God who rules over the host of heaven and controls the sun, moon, and stars. He went straight to the top, not out of some misguided sense of self-worthiness or equality with God, but based on his understanding of God’s greatness and goodness.
God invites His children to call upon Him. He desires even lowly worms to reach out to Him in faith and hope.
“…call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” – Psalm 50:15 ESV
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” – Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
…everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. – Romans 10:13 ESV
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. – Acts 2:21 ESV
Job had not called his friends, but they had shown up anyway, and their arrival had brought him nothing but grief. Their answers and advice had proven unhelpul and nothing but hurtful. They were even advising Job to curtail his pitiful and pointless cries to God. It would do him no good, they reasoned. He was wasting his time. But Job knew better. Despite all that had happened, Job knew that God was his only hope. Yes, his hope was wavering and his faith was being severely tested, but he kept returning to the one piece of solid ground in the landscape of his shattered life: The greatness and goodness of God.
If Job had only had access to the Psalms, he might have shared the following insights with his friend, Bildad. These amazing words from the pen of Ethan the Ezrahite provide a powerful counterpoint to the short-sighted logic of Bildad.
O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies!
Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O Lord?
You are entirely faithful.
You rule the oceans.
You subdue their storm-tossed waves.
You crushed the great sea monster.
You scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours;
everything in the world is yours—you created it all.
You created north and south.
Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon praise your name.
Powerful is your arm!
Strong is your hand!
Your right hand is lifted high in glorious strength.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation.
They exult in your righteousness. – Psalm 89:8-16 NLT
It is God’s greatness that makes possible His goodness. Only He is all-powerful and fully capable of using His righteousness and justice to right the wrongs and bring about vindication and restoration to the hurting and hopeless of this world.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.