“I know it is of a truth but how should man be just before God?”
Job has just finished being verbally accosted by the second verse of this demented and scolding chorus of men who came to comfort him. Bildad, whose name means 'confusing love' and carries the idea of one who will 'contend or strive', has now taken up his place center stage and has begun to sing a very old and familiar tune. It was not enough that Eliphaz had been out in the stable and had swept the floors in attempt to make a bed of comfort for Job, Bildad now has taken a pitch fork and dug deep into the piles of dung in attempt to make the odor more acceptable to Job and cause him to listen to reason.
He begins by insulting Job and using his words against him. Job said unto God, “O remember that my life is wind (breath, spirit)” so Bildad retorts, “the words of thy mouth are like a mighty wind (breath, spirit)”. This is not a compliment to the servant of Jehovah but an accusation of impropriety. Bildad is telling Job that he is not justified but the strength of his argument, his presentation or his lamentation, but in fact, his own words were condemning him. To prove his point he proposes an interesting question; “Doth God pervert judgment or the Almighty pervert justice?”. This may sound like good sound doctrine and a proper starting point in the addressing of the problem but Bildad is using this to rebuke and subvert rather than to comfort.
The first and only answer to this query is absolutely NO! God cannot alter or amend His standards in any way. The immutability of God is essential to all that is, especially to the security and hope of the children of the kingdom. If the cleanliness and purity of God can change than it stands to reason that it is inadequate and imperfect. If the standard of God is complete perfection the only way it could change is to lower the standard. God then would be able to accept the one who came closest to hitting the mark and measuring up to the standard of His Holiness. If He then was partial to the one who 'almost' made it, then He would be accepting sin into His presence, yet He has said that He is of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look upon iniquity (Hab. 1:13). If His law is not perfect, then His standard is not Holy. If his standards are unholy then his ordinances are unjust. If His statutes are unjust then His judgment is unrighteous and if His ways are unrighteous then He is not God. He cannot rule, command or control all things, His way is not so pure and brilliant that it appeared to John as transparent glass (Rev. 21:21) and He is a liar just like His creatures.
But God is not a man that He should lie (Num. 23:19) and the Strength of Israel will not lie or repent (I Sam. 15:29). His ways are as consistent as He is and as eternal. Never did He begin and never shall He end. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and His Word is One in Him. There can therefore be no difference in His ways, His intent or His work. “The works of Jehovah are great, sought out of them that have pleasure in therein. His work is honourable and glorious and His righteousness endures forever.” (Ps. 111:3f). He has purposed in Himself to perform His will and by His own power He has caused His commandments, which are firm and sure, to come to pass. Therefore, “the works of His hands are verity (confirmed truth) and (proper) judgment. All His commandments are firm and sure, they stand fast for ever and ever and are done in truth and uprightness” (111:7). So, although Bildad's question is an axiom of the nature and characteristics of God in that He never changes, it is intended to show Job that something must be amiss for God to bring His judgment against him. He is asserting that since God does not change and since the judgment of God has come then there must be iniquity and trespass in order to warrant God's righteous judgment.
“If thy sons have sinned (missed the mark) against Him and He have cast then away for their transgressions” (Job 8:4). It was not grievous enough for Job to have these events come upon him in such swift succession, or to have his wife turn on him and have his body racked with pain and sores, now his 'loving friend', who came to comfort him, was accusing his dead children of provoking God's anger against them. Job has been asserting that the Sovereign God has done His pleasure in all these events and that according to His will, this evil had come upon him, yet both Eliphaz and now Bildad, are searching for the cause of God turning His hand against His servant. Many have taken up the singing of this song and have spoken the proverb, “the father's have eaten sour grapes and he children's teeth are set on edge” (Jer. 31:29) in attempt to justify God's dealing with mankind. But the prophet Ezekiel rebukes the people for using these words and clearly sets forth the fact that the righteous shall do righteously and the wicked shall do evil and each shall be accountable for the labours of his hands. Job's agony was not because of the sins of his children and the judgment of God upon his children was not because of anything that Job had done or had not done. It was and is all according to the good pleasure of God's will which He does in the armies of heaven and none can stay His hand or say to Him, 'what are you doing?'.
The insult, pretentious question and false accusation are then followed by an abundant helping of duty works in which Bildad admonishes Job to earnestly seek God by establishing an effective prayer life. For this he would be rewarded by God 'awakening' unto him and making the habitation of his righteousness prosperous. All that Job needed to be was pure and upright and God would respond by making his latter end greatly increase over his beginning. Bildad's god had a bag full of goodies, slung across his shoulders, and a sack full of blessings to give Job. IF Job was a good little boy, god would shower him with blessings, packed down, shakened and overflowing. And as if these vain words needed proof of their veracity, Bildad calls once again upon the traditions of the fathers. He instructs Job to make a search of the father's, those wise old writings in which truth dwells, prepare himself to be taught a more perfect way and to investigate their words. The Word of God is not sufficient, the indwelling of the Spirit of God cannot properly teach the child of grace to know ye the Lord and the ability of man to read, comprehend and apply the old ways are the ingredients for a victorious life of prosperity and blessings. Do these things and God will cater to your beckon call for “Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man neither will He help the evil doers” (8:20). This is a garden unkept, full of weeds and a compost pile rank and putrid wherein dwells death and decay. The truth cannot be found here.
Job has no comfort in these words but rather, knowing that the way of Jehovah is truth, he asks, “how should a man be just (clean) before God” (9:2). He knows that mortal man is not clean before the judge and that if God should regard iniquity none should stand. He could not just ignore the condition he was in as the pain and grief were constantly with him. He could not go anywhere or do anything for the erupting boils on his feet and hands, he could not find God to plead with Him for He had hid Himself and unless the Almighty removed His hand even the proud helpers do stoop down under Him. Job had no words to present before the throne in his defense. He knew that if he were wicked, then he laboured in vain and that he should just eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow he would die. He had no words to pray unto God, he could not find Him though He was ever with him and if he called unto God and He answered yet would Job not reckon that it was Jehovah that had hearkened unto him. If he proclaimed himself righteous his very mouth would condemn him and if he were to justify himself and say he was perfect, even that would prove him perverse. He was completely helpless before the hand of Jehovah God and so he proclaims, “this one thing, therefore I said, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked”. This is the definition of sovereign almighty. He does all things by Himself according to His good pleasure, without influence or provocation.
Job knows, because he has been taught of the Spirit being born from above a child of grace, that even if he was to wash himself in snow water and make his hands never so white, yet God shall plunge him into a ditch and his own clothes shall abhor him because it would not merit him any favour before the throne of a just and righteous God. He knew that the collective assemblance of every work of righteousness which he had ever done by the will of the flesh, through the hands of the flesh, could amount to nothing more than a pile of filthy blood soaked rags before the perfection of Holiness of the Strength of Israel. He knew that his days were numbered and finite and his ways were ordered by the One who directed his steps and caused him to walk. He also knew that there was no one who could arbitrate his situation with God and come to an understanding in the matter. God is not a man that He can be bargained with or one with whom a deal may be struck. There is no umpire that can place one hand on God's shoulder and the other on Job's shoulder and negotiate an agreement. God's law cannot be compromised in any way and the natural man cannot be justified before God, for by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. The only way this matter was going to be resolved was if God were to remove His rod and take the fear away from Job.
Yet there is a mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ the Righteous. He did not bring God's standards down and raise man up, He fulfilled the demands of the Law in all righteousness with complete perfection. He removed the inability of man to keep the law of God into an uninhabited land and washed the vessel in His blood, cleansing it from all unrighteousness. He freed His children from the cruelty of the severity of the law, gave them the testimony before the throne of a finished work in which the Father was well pleased and caused them to keep His statutes with all their heart. The only one who may be accepted in the Beloved is one who has clean hands and a pure heart (Ps. 24:4). The heart of stone must be removed,an heart of flesh put in it's place, the law of God written upon the tablets of that heart and the indwelling Spirit to cause the perfect man to walk blameless before his God. “This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek thy face, O Jacob”. This is the generation of Jesus Christ and although from time to time they feel themselves abandoned and alone, yet He has promised, I will never leave you or forsake you.
Trials and tribulations must needs come upon those whom the Lord loves to remove the dross and reveal the truth within. The creature is in the bondage of weakness and sin and is made subject to vanity therefore it groans as it awaits the adoption, to wit the redemption of the body and the change.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
July 1, 2012