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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gleanings from Job #9

...continuing in my devotional series on Job

Hope for the Wicked (18-19)


We have been considering the severe trials the man Job experienced at the hand of the devil. After these trials devastated his life, Job's three closest friends come to him and offer comfort. The comfort, however, was really painful, because they accused Job of grievous sins he had committed. If only he would confess these sins to God, they argued, well then He would relieve Job of the disaster which had struck him. Job, of course, rightly asserted his innocence of any grievous sin for which he was being judged.

Job's friends challenge him with a series of three speeches. The last time we looked at Eliphaz's second speech to Job, this time we look at Bildad's second speech. Just like Eliphaz, Bildad becomes more harsh with his words against Job.

His main point is to describe to Job the miserable condition of the wicked.

Thus, his accusation inferred is just as we observe how miserably the wicked can suffer, so you too, Job, who is suffering miserably, must be wicked.

I. The Wicked's Starting Point

Bildad takes up an elegant description of the wicked in chapter 18, and even though his words are misplaced as they are wrongfully aimed at Job, there is much truth to his words concerning the wicked.

Most people think of a wicked person as someone totally immoral in conduct. These are individuals who molest children, rape and murder, and engage in horrific violence against their fellow men. But the scriptures through out do not describe the wicked in terms of corrupt behavior.

Looking down to 18:21, the wicked are clearly defined: The place of him who knows not God.

A person's wickedness starts with their willful rebellion against God. It is a person who knows not God. This doesn't mean the person has no knowledge of God, as if the person doesn't know any better, or spent some time seeking out God and couldn't find any suitable evidence for His existence. Rather, this is a person who with forethought of malice, turns his back upon what he knows is the truth of God. This is the picture of the "fool" as described in Psalm 14:1. Thus, his wickedness is defined by the fact he lives a life in rebellion against his creator.

II. The Wicked's Woes

Moving back up to 18:5 and following, Bildad lists a series of illustrations about the life of the wicked. Though these comments are not necessarily true of all those who seek to live out their lives against God, they do represent some specific generalities.

- The wicked are aimless (5,6). Bildad speaks about how the "light" of the wicked goes out, or the flame of its fire does not shine. Additionally, his "lamp" is also put out, as well as the strength of his steps shortened. I think the idea here speaks about the person's basic life or lifestyle. That which gives him direction and brings him joy. God's Word is said to be a lamp to the feet of the righteous, as well as the light unto his path (Pslam 119:105). The wicked, however, do not have their "path" lighted. Because they have chosen to resist God, He will in turn darken his path and put out any lamp he may have. The imagery, I believe, speaks to how there is no true direction for the life of the wicked person.

- The wicked is his own troubler (7-9). The picture here is of a person who is ensnared by his own counsel. The point being that because he attempts to live his life apart from God, the choices he makes will often times be wrongheaded and foolish; choices that will often times bring him to personal ruin.

In the past, when I have visited a doctor for the first time, I am required to fill out extensive medical forms. Some of the questions asked of my personal health are amazing, and I often wonder how many folks honestly respond to them. There will be questions about my eating habits, sexual habits, whether or not I do drugs or smoke. Many of these things are behaviors that reflect a person making poor, even stupid choices, for his or her life.

The person is said to walk into a snare. There is a part of this comment that makes it more than just an accident, but it is a deliberate, willful walking as if the person wants to walk into the snare. The terrible choices he makes is likened to a noose or a trap.

- The wicked are disheartened and weakened with guilt (11-13). The imagery describes terrors that frighten a person. The idea here could be one of expressing how the wicked person is paranoid and delusional. This is a person who knows he or she is guilty and is all the time frightened of being caught. The person can never live his or her life in peace. This is similar to how Herod acted violently against young children whom he feared threatened his throne.

- The wicked leaves no heritage for Himself (14-17, 19, 20). There is an importance describe in scripture of leaving behind a good inheritance for your family; to have your linage remain on the earth from generation to generation. Everyone wants a good name to be remember, but the activities of the wicked insures they will not have such a blessing. Instead, people remember their wickedness, the things which marked them out as a God despiser. As a result, his home is displaced. Others occupy his house or dwelling as it says in Job. And sadly, his memory fades from the earth, unless of course you are super bad and you become a cursing for all to remember.

- The wicked will be eternally judged(18). The description given by Bildad is one who is driven from living in light to the darkness and being chased out of the world. This could be an allusion to the final judgment of the wicked. In the end, once they leave this world, they will be chased from the light into eternal darkness, where they will never see light again.

Now, even though Bildad speaks truth, his words are mis-guided as he rants against Job, because Job has does nothing to earn the title of being "wicked."

Job Response (19)

I. Bildad's Counsel is grievous

Job opens his response to Bildad expressing the torment he receives from his words. God's hand is surely directing his plight, but his trials are not a result of his personal wickedness. Throughout his response as recorded in chapter 19, Job tells how he sees God's hand against him (19:7-20). Most certainly God has a hand in his difficulties, because God is sovereign. There is nothing that happens He did not decree to happen.

II. Hope for the fallen

However, after Job turns from lamenting his trials, he lifts his eyes, as it were, heavenward and speaks of his redeemer, a redeemer that can stand and advocate between God and sinful men.

There are several things we can note about this redeemer:

- He is a man (25), for he stands upon the earth. Additionally, a redeemer is one who is a kinsman. Just like Boaz was to Ruth, he not only had the ability to act as kinsman-redeemer, but the authority because he was next to kin. Hence, this redeemer here in Job will be a next of kin in that he will be human.

- He has power over death (26), because Job is certain that after his death - even after his skin rots - he will see God in his flesh. That means this redeemer can raise men from the dead.

- He is divine (26), because he too lives and raises from the dead and is mentioned along side God.

- He exercises judgment (29), meaning he not only will judge Job's situation fairly and justly, he will also bring wrath against those who mistreated and misjudged Job (his friends).

The down trodden and those who are truly wicked do have a hope of a redeemer who can genuinely stand in their place before God.

This passage has a prophetic ring to it, for there is only one individual who has the qualifications to be the redeemer Job describes: The Lord Jesus Christ.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Joe Blackmon said...

Fred

What an encouragement this passage in Job is especially regarding the Redeemer. I have refered people to this series on Job because I have found it to be so edifying.

Thanks a bunch.

6:18 AM, March 18, 2008  
Blogger Kim said...

Another good one, Fred.

Thanks.

5:14 AM, March 19, 2008  

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