Job 18: Bildad, ain't you hittin' below the belt, Bro?
JOB ARTWORK USED BY PERMISSION COURTESY OF KINGSTONE COMICS (https://kingstone.co/)
Bildad gets personal now. Maybe Bildad is feeling his oats, because according to the picture of him from Kingstone Comics, he's got a new cool mohawk haircut.
Job has lost everything, even his health, and it seems only a few servants and his wife have survived. Now Bildad hits Job below the belt. That's a boxing term, and it means to hit a man where it hurts! Bildad knows Job is already hurting, but the soft approach isn't working, so here in Round 2, Bildad goes for a sucker punch below the belt.
What exactly is that punch? Bildad threatens Job’s wife, saying, “Disaster awaits his wife.” That is, if the "man" Bildad is speaking of doesn't repent. Bildad seems to believe the world is set up one way and Job wants it to be the other. Bildad is pretty sure good deeds bring good life and bad deeds bring bad life. Job is complaining that God is unjust because Job has done good deeds but is getting bad results. So Bildad says, “Will the earth’s order be disrupted for your sake?” Bildad doesn't seem to think it's fair for Job to think himself righteous and God unjust. Uh, Bildad may have a point there. But Job persists in his claim of innocence and Bildad and friends persist in insisting Job must have messed up. You must have done something wrong, Job. Job's friends are going to start getting pretty low from here on out, no longer soft pedaling the message.
Bildad assaults Job’s progeny, his legacy, saying he won’t be remembered, which by this story indeed he has been, so we know Bildad is wrong by this memorial story to Job being preserved.
Bildad says generations will be appalled at his fate and say, “These were the haunts of the wicked; Here was the place of him who knew not God.”
Have you ever been in a conversation where someone takes the ante up a notch and things get really tense and personal? What happens? Do you get defensive? How does it go? Wait till you see what Job does next!
LORD, You of all persons know our hearts, you know whether we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with you as the prophet Micah phrases what you require. You know our hearts. You know if we are innocent or guilty. Is it really our place to press people the way Job's friends did? Are we to set ourselves as judges of our friends? How are we supposed to read this? If we've hit people below the belt, forgive us and help the person we've hit there to forgive us.
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey: A New Generation Church of Christ. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.