Reading through the Bible together
Bildad’s comments in this chapter were short. It is a mere six verses. “The light of the wicked ones shall go out and it shall not spark the light of his fire.” Job’s long list of the works of the wicked in chapter 24 was like running side by side with Bildad’s in chapter 18. Bildad had Egyptian Theology in mind but Job had biblical last day events in mind and presented the end result of the wicked. This may be the reason Bildad has less to say. His view of God leaves no room for the divine-human Christ who was higher than the highest human and made lower than the lowest.
God being thought of as so high is the thinking of Bildad and has been the popular trend of thinking in the Catholic and Protestant tradition with the altar and pulpit being build higher in architectural design than the congregation. Thus God has somewhat removed Himself from sinners. And since God is nearer at the ceiling, the pulpits were built higher and the pastor climbed the pulpit with stairs even as it still is in some cases today. Stress on the greatness and sovereignty of God can lead to a biblical misplaced of the proper view of man. Biblically the faithful are “sons and daughters of God” “written in His palms” “the apple of His eye” and to allocate them as “worms and maggots” will be out of tune with the “princely” concept of God of humanity.
Bildad’s image of God is not according to the concepts of Scripture which Bildad and Job knew as part of the biblical history passed on by word of mouth and recorded by Moses in Genesis 1-3 and 5-6. Bildad wished to say to Job that “dominion and fear are with Him” (v. 2). But in Revelation 3:21 we are told that the faithful sit with Christ and have a conversation with Him! That is the biblical concept, and in one sense is the fear of the faithful. The fear that Bildad spoke of is for the wicked who are removed from God. “The Lord makes peace only in His high places” (v. 2). Moses knew Christ (Hebrews 11:26) so he knew that Christ’s presence brings peace and that peace is coming for this world as well. Spiritual peace was accomplished at the cross. Bildad says that God has many soldiers. They are countless “and on which ones does His light not shine?” (v. 3). These points are correct about God, namely that two thirds of the unfallen angels are countless and also that His grace is falling on the good and the bad in this universe.
Bildad then asks the most important question for any human to ask, which the rich young ruler also asked Jesus: What shall I do to be saved? Bildad formulated it as such: “What shall justify a human with God? And what shall clean a newborn of a woman?” (v. 4). Truth is mixed with error by Bildad and it becomes clear when one weighs his next verse and with this very important quest for salvation.
He says, “Even the moon does not shine and the stars are not pure in God’s sight” (v. 5). Since His light is shining on the good and the bad and His reign is seen in the order of the stars and consistent path of the moon, therefore no one will be destroyed without God knowing it or allowing it. The wicked are destroyed daily and according to Bildad, Job’s present struggle is that he is on the wrong side. According to Bildad’s scenario, peace is in heaven and if it is there, it is because God willed it to be so, and if things are going bad here, it is because you, Job, are wicked and God willed this for you.
We need to see Bildad’s arguments in the light of the whole book of Job and not be carried away with some other theology superimposing it on Bildad. Job’s friend, Bildad, is wrong and we need to see that.
Humans are the crown of your Creation, worms of disgrace because of Adam but sons of God because of their acceptance of Christ, the Second Adam. Thank You for that. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea