Originally published Tuesday, 22 August 2017.
Week Seven Study Overview: Today, we will look at Job Chapters 8-10, meet Bildad, and look at Job’s response.
Key Point of Struggle: Sometimes God feels far away.
Key Proof of Comfort: 1 John 2:1
It’s not easy to sit behind my keyboard today. With the click of every button, anxiety tries to clutch my fingers and steal my message. I’m having one of those weeks where grief seems blinding. I can’t catch a break. Frankly, I have no idea how Job did it. Only God.
In this week’s study we meet Bildad. From a parental perspective, this man’s argument about Job’s condition is far worse than the one his buddy Eliphaz communicated. Bildad had the audacity to suggest Job’s children were killed as a result of sin. He acted as if he could read the hearts of those gone too soon. He also used the word if a lot, which seems very passive aggressive. He said things like:
“If your sons have sinned against Him, He has cast them away for their transgression.”
“If you would earnestly seek God and make your supplication to the Almighty…”
“If you were pure and upright, surely now He would awake for you, and prosper your rightful dwelling place.”
Job must have been much calmer in nature than someone like me, because this mama bear wants to come out with fists flying. I can’t believe Job didn’t respond with something like “If you don’t shut it I’m going to punch you square in the nose!” True friends are careful what they say about their close friend’s children. They love, pray, and guard their tongues. Not Bildad.
Here’s the thing: Bildad kicked Job when he was down and Job was having a really tough time processing. I do need to mention that not everything Bildad said was completely off base. There were nuggets of truth mixed in with foolishness. He said one particular thing I love: “He will yet fill your mouth with laughing, and your lips with rejoicing.” (See Job 8:21) This is so true, and it’s a hope we can all hold tightly.
However, through it all, Job had a question: “How can a man be righteous before God?” He couldn’t rationalize how there could be laughter without righteousness, and moreover, he couldn’t fathom how to truly become righteous. In Job 9:33 he made it clear there was no mediator to help bridge the gap. Job saw a divide between himself and Father God. He couldn’t begin to picture having the ability to cross it.
Friend, I’m feeling the divide. I don’t feel it every day, but today as I’m writing I feel absent of Holy Spirit help. This is a terrible time for me and there are other disappointments happening all around me. They are minor in comparison, but they are painful just the same. It’s easy to feel cast aside and far away from God, but there is good news: Job couldn’t fathom crossing the divide, but we can. Because of an old tree, rugged and chopped, that was strong enough to hold the weight of a perfect Savior, we can travel over the great divide with hope fueling each step. Jesus is our mediator. Even better, Jesus is our advocate.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
-1 John 2:1
The Righteous One gave us the ability to become righteous. When Job lived this promise hadn’t yet been fulfilled, but because of the power of the cross we can breathe in new life each day. We now have an answer to the same question Job asked: “How can a man be righteous before God?” The answer is Jesus. Only Jesus.
The truth is, I might feel far from God, but I’m not. He’s right here. His Holy Spirit resides in me whether or not I feel Him. My Father in heaven is active in my life, and though it seems I’m standing in the dark, Jesus is here. He is light.
I don’t know your situation, but I do know it’s not too big for God to intervene. He is God of the impossible and nothing can separate you from His love. NOTHING. He is rich in mercy and an expert at filling mouths with laughter… even after deep sorrow.
In our Word for Your Weekend subscriber content, I discussed Jehovah Rohi: The Lord is my Shepherd. A good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. Jesus is the good shepherd, and He gave His life for us. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. I don’t have to want for anything because He fights for me. My mediator, my healer, my Jesus is my Good Shepherd. There is promise in pain!
May you trust in your Mediator more today than yesterday and more tomorrow than today.
- Today in your journal, write 1 John 2:1 and list all the ways Jesus has proven to be your advocate throughout life.
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