Bildad is the next friend who tries explaining to Job why he is suffering. He says if Job repents of all his wrongdoing, then the Lord will restore his prosperous state – “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.” Bildad falsely believes that living a morally good life is directly related to material wealth.
Job responds, “But how can a man be righteous before God? If one wished to contend with Him, He could not answer Him one time out of a thousand. God is wise in heart and mighty in strength… For He is not a man, as I am, that I may answer Him, and that we should go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both.” Job is right. Man can not contend with God — we need a mediator. And that mediator is on the way! Jesus Christ is coming to be the final sacrifice who will die on the cross for our sins and restore us into right relationship with the Lord. Later in the story, after Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, Paul will say, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). However, the Mediator hasn’t arrived on the scene just yet, and Job has another friend eager to share some discouragement.
Zophar, tired of Job proclaiming his innocence, says, “And should a man full of talk be vindicated? Should your empty talk make men hold their peace?” Zophar tells Job that he deserves worse than what he got – “Know therefore that God exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves.”
Since the fall in the garden with Adam and Eve, we are all born sinners deserving of death, including Job and his three discouraging friends. However, God is merciful and is sending a Savior, His Son, to pay the price for our sin – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). People in the Old Testament are saved by faith in the Lord and His promise to send a Savior, just as we are saved today by faith in looking back on what the Savior did for us on the cross. God does not operate by handing out rewards to those who act right and punishing the ones who don’t. Our worth and value is not based on performance; it is solely based on our standing with God by grace through faith.
Later in the story, Paul will say – “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes” (Romans 8:28). However, we learn from reading the book of Job, that there is way more going on behind the scenes in the spiritual realm. Therefore, we must walk by faith and not by sight, trusting the Lord with our lives in spite of difficult circumstances.
We have a few more days of listening to Job’s three unhelpful friends before a young man steps forward with some wise insight. Keep reading. (Job 8:1-11:20)