Now it’s time for Bildad to try to counsel Job. And again, he fails to understand the situation. Much of what he says is good but ironically the point he makes is exactly the opposite of the truth in Job’s case.
It is true, as he says in verses 11-19 that those who do not hope in the Lord really have nothing to hope in at all. What they build their lives on, what they rely on is like leaning against a spiders web. It reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed. He talked about the seed that fell among rocky soil. These are people who hear the word and believe it but they have no depth to their faith and so when testing comes they fall away. There’s a really good example of this in a lot of American Christianity today. So much of it has become self-help with Jesus slapped on the cover. So much of it has become about you, how your life can be better, how Jesus can make your life better now. That’s not real Christianity. And this kind of doctrine makes it impossible for people to spread their roots down deep so that when testing comes they whither and die. After all, if you believe that the purpose of Christianity, that God’s will is to make things better for you now in this life, then won’t ever tragedy prove that God hates you or doesn’t really exist? Won’t every misfortune prove that your faith is worthless?
Deep faith is the kind of faith that Job had. Even when testing came, he held fast to the truths of the gospel, he held fast to the promise of life in His savior. He longed for death because he knew that was where heaven waited. What’s ironic is that Bildad got it all turned around. He is essentially claiming here that the reason why Job has lost all his stuff is because he had a shallow trust in God! But in fact it was the deep faith that God had planted in Job’s heart which weathered this terrible tragedy in his life.
It has been well said that you can test the genuineness of Christian doctrine (to a point) by seeing what it would sound like coming out of the mouth of a martyr or someone suffering like Job. Peter essentially said the same thing, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:3-7).
May God grant us each such deep faith in the promises of God in Christ Jesus that we may hold fast in times of testing and at last receive our unfading inheritance. Amen.