April 15, 2019
The world is full of disputes. People argue all of the time about numerous things. Often times these arguments are pointless and harmless. However, perhaps just as frequently, there are arguments and disagreements that are damaging and cause tragic consequences. The question was posed many years ago, “Can’t we all just get along?” The question is compelling. Is it possible for people who have passionate disagreements to get along? The Bible shows that it is possible. The Bible explains that disagreements and contentions can be distilled quite simply. Thankfully the Bible shows exactly how we can end disruptions that take place on account of contrary thoughts and opinions. The Bible shows exactly how we can bring peace into relationships that are volatile. The Bible shows that when we accept the truth, the truth will set us free from the hardships of conflict.
The solution to this issue is documented in the short testimony of Job 25:1-6. This portion of scripture shows Bildad’s response to Job’s previous statements about how God deals with the wicked. Job’s points were true and Bildad didn’t seem to have any issues with Job’s statements. Previously, Job’s friends were quick to contend with everything Job would say. They didn’t like Job’s points, his tone, or his basis. In Job 25:1-6, Bildad doesn’t refute Job at all. Bildad doesn’t speak one point that was contrary to Job’s. Somehow, the argument that had gone on for twenty-four chapters of scripture, suddenly stopped for a break. Finally, Job and his friends (at least one of them) agreed with something. What was it that caused the contention to end?
The scriptures show that Bildad stopped talking against Job and for himself. The argument stopped because Bildad didn’t try to make his point seem better than Job’s point. Bildad changed the focus of the conversation so that his statements were pure truth. He stopped trying to be right. He stopped trying to prove Job wrong. The truth that Bildad stated is that God, and God alone is right. By extension, mankind is wrong. When people can consider this truth and speak words that exalt the greatness and glory of God in humility, then there is nothing to contend with. When people stop trying to speak well of themselves, there is nothing to be offended with. When people speak the truth about God and acknowledge the glory of God as true, then there is nothing to debate. Rather than find words of Job to criticize in hopes to exalt his position, Bildad just started speaking about the glory of God. When opposing viewpoints seek to just honor God, there is nothing to oppose, and believers will find that they have more in common than petty arguments.
Bildad first spoke about the dominion and fear of God. He simply stated that dominion and fear belong to God. The word “dominion” is first used in Genesis 1:18 to describe the dominance that light had over darkness on the first day of creation. When God said, “Let there be light,” darkness was immediately removed. Light was absolutely superior over darkness so that the revelation of God’s essence as light resulted in the absolute removal and destruction of darkness. As a result, the Bible says that “God saw that it was good.” The effects of God’s word and revelation produced the declaration of God’s approval. This happened because God was in charge. God had dominion to see darkness and address it with a fruitful solution. God had authority and power to do what was right and good and there was nothing that could oppose His purposes. This is the extent of God’s dominion. There is nothing in heaven and earth that is outside of the bounds of God’s control. His control is supreme in all planes of reality. Whether we like it or not, God is the authority of all things. When people can agree on this fundamental truth, we can move in a direction that places God high above our personal points of view that cause issues with others.
As a result of God’s control, He is fearful. The Bible explains that God is “terrible” in this sense. In other words, the extent of control that God has is scary. Consider Job’s previous point about his own suffering. He acknowledged that he was innocent as a hypocrite, and was a faithful child of God. Yet God did not hide Job from darkness or suffering. God did not keep Job from difficulty. Job even acknowledged that God appointed Job to suffer long before Job was born. If God’s mind was made up about Job before Job was born, Job’s suffering was evidence of the extent of God’s control. Job’s previous prosperity didn’t affect God’s decision for Job’s suffering. Though the devil was the tool that God used to administrate suffering, the devil did not exceed his bounds. Such a God that has such control to do as He pleases at any time can be a frightening concept. Thankfully, God is good. Thankfully, God is able to take the difficulties of life and produce profit from them unto His glory. God’s aim is not to use His power and control to cause us to fear Him as an oppressive slave-driver. Instead, God reveals His power and control so as to humble us, thereby causing us to honor and cherish, not just God’s power, but the way that He uses it. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God as His enemy knowing the extent of His power. However, it is a wonderful thing to know that God will use that same power to administrate blessings for those who trust His goodness, righteousness, and submit to His glory. When God’s people can stand humbly before God, considering the extent of His power, control, and wisdom, then our points of contention become small issues. Our personal differences become petty compared to the awesome nature of God and the frightening ways He can use His power at any given time. The humility that this thinking produces doesn’t make room for personal disagreements.
Bildad confessed that God makes peace in His high places. There are two major points here. First, it is God who makes peace. It is God who is called “Jehovah Shalom,” the Lord Our Peace. God and His Messiah are called the Prince of Peace. It was the Old Testament manifestation of Jesus as Melchizedek who came as the King of Salem (Peace). It was Jesus who gave peace, not as the world gives, but as from heaven. When we desire peace between people, God must be the author. No matter how hard we might strive to remove content between two people or two million people, God must be the cause because He is the source. When God’s people stop worrying about which person is right, and look up to Him in humility, confessing His dominion and fear Him, He is able to produce peace. Peace comes by the effects of God’s hands, and only His hands.
This concept is proved by the evidence of where peace can be seen. There is no true peace in this world between people, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t peace. Bildad said that there is peace “in the high places.” There is no conflict or contention before the throne of God. Even when the devil approached God at the beginning of the Book of Job, there was no argument. There was no disagreement between God and the devil when the devil was given his orders and parameters of work. Who can contend with God who has dominion over all things? Since God has absolute control and dominion, no one can contend, argue, or rebel. The rebellion against God’s will now is by God’s admission and permission. However, in the end, that rebellion will be done. Even when the wicked are judged, there is no rebellion. Everyone will agree. The angels of God worship Him day and night in perfect agreement concerning the glory and majesty of God. The saints and servants of God bow before Him in perfect praise. Even the elements of space operate in peace. Galaxies don’t collide. Destructive elements don’t affect life on our planet so as to foil God’s plans. When the skies produce storms and violent winds, they are at peace when Jesus speaks a word and rebukes their force. Clearly, that which is higher than the ground and the people who walk on it, is in peace, proving that we are the problem, and God is the solution.
Bildad explained that God’s armies are without number. God has the angels of heaven that fight on His behalf. God has the stars of the universe that speak to His sovereignty. As Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts, God is able to demonstrate absolute control over any military force on this planet, and has even used elements of His creation to fight on His behalf. The prophet Joel spoke of locust as God’s army, sent to cause destruction as part of His judgment. The plagues of Egypt show that God can use frogs, lice, and flies in the same way. God’s control over world empires such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans show that every world power is just another tool that God uses for His purposes. When we recognize the extent of power and control God has over these sorts of forces, how can we as individuals compare? What chance do we have to prove ourselves right and worthy before God? While we might seek to compete against others to prove ourselves right, what good will it do in the end when it is just us and the One True Living God on the day of judgment? Will a God with so much power and authority consider arguments that we’ve won as impressive to Him?
Bildad then asked the simple question: How then can man be righteous before God? Can we compare to God? Is there anything we can do that will impress God? What ability or wisdom do we have that didn’t first come from God? What is to stop God from exercising His dominion from ending our lives or changing our circumstances? God did such a thing for Job, and Job was one of God’s most faithful men in history! If we are all born of women, and women are human beings that sin, how can sin produce purity? Can our unrighteous mothers and fathers that have flaws and impurities produce righteous DNA? Consider the miracle of Jesus’ birth. He was not conceived by a man, but by the Holy Spirit of the Almighty God. Can any other person make such a claim? Since this is true of all people, what makes us differ from one another? Whose point is better than another’s? Whose opinion is more substantial? When we recognize who God is and who we are by comparison, our personal points should seem to be trivial matters not worth considering.
Bildad explained that the moon and the stars aren’t even pure in God’s sight. The moon is far bigger than any person. The moon is an important part of life on this planet, affecting more lives than any particular human being, let alone the personal perspective of that human being. The moon has been around for much longer than any person, yet has weaknesses that cause God to see the moon as impure. The moon has dark spots. The moon is dark in certain seasons, unable to produce light in it of itself. The stars are the same. Stars shine for a time, then die. Some feel the mention of stars refers to the mention of angels. This is true of angels too. Though angels don’t die like stars, they are not pure before God. The angels worship God and spend eternity confessing God’s superior glory and refuse to share His glory in any capacity. How much lesser are we compared to angels?
In the end, Bildad states a bitter truth about our humanity. We are but maggots and worms in the eyes of God. The Hebrew word for “maggot” refers simply to a creature that is bred out of putrefaction. Our nature is corrupt. As we age, we prove that we were born of decay. Our bodies fail and turn to dust in the end. This is how God sees us. It is our true nature. The scriptures state these things to remind us of our true nature. We are too often prone to think more highly of ourselves, which is what often causes contentions between people. We think we’re better than we are, but we are mere maggots that came from corruption and will end in decay. When we remember this truth, what do we have to argue about? Does it matter which maggot is right?
The Bible teaches that we are like worms in the eyes of God. We are creatures that dwell in the dirt. We don’t dwell in the glory of God’s presence in the heavens. We don’t dwell in the presence of space where God’s celestial elements are in submissive harmony. We don’t dwell in the sky where God’s charge is used for purposes that exalt His glory without contention. We dwell on the ground of the earth that has been cursed by sin. We dwell on the floor level of God’s work – the basement where darkness and evil seem to dominate. Though God still has dominion over this world, the way that we live shows that we are indeed like worms, inching around in filth. Praise be to God that He is able and willing to change our form and remove us from such a place. Praise be to God that He is able and willing to exercise His dominion to bring peace into our lives, thereby closing the distance that separates us from Him. Praise be to God that He prefers to use His power to build us up rather than send His armies against us as we deserve. Praise be to God that, even though we are pitiful compared to His glory and righteousness, He doesn’t treat us as maggots and worms. Instead, God took the form of flesh to die so that we can be transformed into the likeness of His own glory! When our minds are fixed on these things, what is there to argue about?