Jumping To Conclusions
March 22, 2019
The Bible teaches that no one is righteous in the eyes of God. When God examines our natural condition, that is, the condition we were born with, He doesn’t like what He sees. The Bible explains that all people are conceived as sinners so that by the time we are born, God sees dead and corrupted souls that fall far short of His glory. As a result, no one is worthy to dwell with God. None are worthy to be in the presence of God. None are worthy to receive the revelation of God. In fact, the scriptures teach that, if not for God implanting His influence upon us, we wouldn’t even have the nerve to thank God for things that He does! Since our natural sinful condition separates us from God in such dramatic fashion, we are severely crippled in this life to respond to things that are spiritually rooted. Our vision is limited. We can only see that which is before the eyes, not having insight into deeper things of the heart and soul, often times including our own. Our hearing is limited. With the noise of the world, it is often difficult to hear the voice of God and properly discern His truth and His wisdom. Our ability is restricted. The wages of sin is death, and as a result, the body is decaying and failing as we age. At some point, we all lose strength and the will to bear fruit in any capacity.
These are harsh truths for all human beings, but thankfully God has provided a solution. The Father has given the world a Savior that closes the gap that our sin causes between us and Him. The Son of God has done the work that needs to be done to address our sin and the brutal consequences of it. We no longer have to live this life without hope. We no longer have to walk this earth without the ability to see, hear, and do the things of God. Nevertheless, those who have received the grace of God found exclusively in Jesus Christ are not suddenly transformed into righteous spiritual superheroes. Though we might have eyes to see the revelation of God, we do not see as God sees. Though we might have ears to hear the voice of God, we cannot discern in the same measure as God’s wisdom. Though we might have strength and ability through the Spirit of God, we are not almighty. Therefore, even though we are made children of God and heirs of His eternally unconditional promises, we still must deal with the weaknesses of our flesh in humility, remembering that our physical frame remains the same even though we have been spiritually regenerated by God.
The testimony of Job 18:1-21 shows that it is easy for people who know things about God to respond to life circumstances with pride and arrogance. People who receive the revelation of God can tend think they can see all things like God, and then speak proudly about that which they know. People who hear the Word of God can often assume that they have heard everything God has to say and are suddenly qualified to speak on all things on His behalf. People who are used by God in one way can suddenly feel as if they are forever equipped to do the will of God as His chief servants and warriors. This was the sort of attitude that Bildad had. Bildad, one of the friends of Job who first spoke in Job Chapter 8, and was frustrated with Job’s words. Though Job spoke out of the sincerity of his heart, and spoke humbly in prayer to God, Bildad was highly offended. Bildad felt that he knew better than Job, could see into the corrupted heart of Job, and know Job’s true nature. Bildad figured that he was qualified to see that Job was a wicked man, destined for destruction by God, and as a result was one that God would ultimately reject. In other words, Bildad had rendered a final verdict against Job based on his examination of Job’s outward condition and words. He was confident in the condemnation he proclaimed against Job, and as a result, made himself out to be a fool.
In Job 18:1-21 Bildad began by asking Job when he would stop speaking. Bildad had grown tired of Job’s words and just wanted him to shut up. Though Job’s friends originally went to see Job to offer comfort, they were clearly men that struggled in the area of compassion. Job suffered and wanted to speak his heart. Bildad just wanted Job to shut up and stop as if all he heard from Job was whining and complaining. While Bildad spoke as if he knew the wisdom of God and understood the principles of His righteousness, he was unable to hear the simple words of Job and the heartfelt suffering he expressed. Bildad was able to speak some profound truths concerning the wicked, but because his ears were stopped concerning the truth of Job, the truths he proclaimed became corrupted because they were misapplied. Bildad accused Job of being a wicked man destined for condemnation. He was wrong. His knowledge of what a wicked person looked like did not qualify him to determine who was wicked. This is true of all people. Just because the Bible tells us what a wicked person looks like, doesn’t mean that we all suddenly have the ability to measure the hearts of others and determine who is wicked and who is not.
Bildad spoke with harsh words against Job because he was offended by Job. Job previously referred to his friends as “beasts” and also called them fools since they were unable to understand his words. Bildad didn’t like that. He didn’t understand why Job called them “beasts.” Job called his friends beasts because their words tore him apart. Their false accusations of hypocrisy and evil were hurtful to Job’s heart and ripped him to shreds from the inside. Bildad wondered why Job called them “stupid.” Here is an example of the inability of Job’s friends to hear the truth. Job never called his friends stupid. Job claimed that God withheld understanding from his friends, and by extension were foolish. Bildad heard different words come out of Job’s mouth because he was listening to Job through the filter or pride – figuring he already knew what kind of person Job was. This attitude caused Bildad to perceive things that weren’t true even though he was able to speak things about wicked people that were true.
Bildad’s vision was distorted too. He felt that Job was tearing himself up with anger. Job never expressed anger in his speeches. Job expressed hopelessness, sorrow, confusion, and desperation. Job never lashed out at his friends or at God. Job never expressed displeasure with his condition as if he was undeserving. In fact, Job frequently sought the Lord to know what sin of his was causing his suffering so that he could make quick repentance of it. Job knew that there was plenty that he had done to warrant suffering. He simply wanted to know what his judgment was for so that he could seek God’s forgiveness and mercy. Job expressed humility and meekness, not anger. Bildad misinterpreted Job’s tone and temperament because his vision was distorted by self-righteousness and pride. Figuring that he already knew what kind of person Job was, Bildad was unable to see what was actually true of Job. He accused Job of being a man looking for people to feel sorry for him because of the dramatic circumstantial swing in Job’s life. Bildad essentially told Job that if he indeed died, life would go on for everyone else. The world would not miss Job and life would not skip a beat for the loss of Job. Clearly Bildad’s aim was not to comfort Job, but that was because Bildad figured Job to be a wicked man based on what he knew of wicked men and what he saw of Job.
Bildad then described what is generally true of “wicked men,” comparing them to Job. He stated that wicked men have no light in them whatsoever. This is true. Since the wicked are those who deny God, and God is the source of light, the denial of God naturally results in the absence of light. This means that the wicked are void of God’s revelation, wisdom, and hope. Their dwelling places are dark and without fruitful purpose. Their ability is restricted, having no good effect on eternal things. This means that their life pursuits and efforts aren’t lasting and shallow in value. Since darkness consumes the wicked, they don’t have the wisdom of God so that their own decisions are the things that cast them down. God’s wisdom is first pure, then peaceable and gentle. Since the lives of the wicked result in destruction, it is obviously not the wisdom of God that led them there. It is the denial of God’s wisdom in order to make decisions according to self-righteous and self-defined standards of goodness that causes their calamity.
As a result, the wicked set their own trap unto their destruction. They dig their own hole. They lay their own grave. They tie their own noose. Bildad explained that the pitfalls and consequences of the wicked are the effects of their own hands. Lacking the light of the Lord, they are unable to clearly see that their direction leads to destruction. The destruction of their lives is right before their eyes and feet, but their walk is in darkness so that they can’t see. Ultimately, they’ll fall to the effects of their own efforts. God is not to blame. Bildad explained that the wicked know deep down that destruction is on the horizon. Thus, the wicked live in fear – fear of failure and condemnation. Everything that the wicked do is with the hope that their efforts will remove conviction and produce lasting satisfaction. The fear intensifies because their efforts do not remove conviction or produce satisfaction. Their efforts produce isolation, loneliness, desolation, and in the end the memory of them vanishes. Bildad explained that since their roots are dried out – having no substance from within because they reject God – they cannot produce fruit in their lives that satisfies.
Bildad then compared the wicked man to Job. Knowing what the effects and consequences of wickedness looks like, Bildad figured he could look at Job and determine the condition of his heart. The things that Bildad said of a wicked man were true. It was also true that Job suffered some unusual tragedies that seemed to line up with wickedness. Job had lost his family and wealth in a single day. Job had lost his health and his physical appearance was a spectacle and public mockery. These things were true of the wicked too, but that didn’t mean that Job’s circumstances and outward appearance made him wicked before the Lord. Job was considered upright and blameless in the eyes of God. In the eyes of Bildad, who swore he knew like God did, Job was unknown by God and rejected unto condemnation. Here, it is clear to see how a presumptuous and prideful heart can cause us to be fools. Even the devil knew that Job was cherished by God, yet Bildad said that Job was cut off from God and unknown by Him. Just because Job suffered in unusual ways like some wicked people do, doesn’t mean that Job was wicked. If Bildad had remembered that all people are wicked by nature, and thereby susceptible to suffering of various kinds, Bildad would have refrained from making judgments beyond his wisdom and rendering verdicts as if he were God. This is a dangerous attitude that Jesus warned has severe consequences!