Tuesday, February 27, 2024

No 44 Bildad Blows Hot Air
Bildad does the very thing he accuses Job of doing: How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? (Job 8:2). How long will you go on saying such things? Your words are like a blustering wind. Bildad accuses Job of blustering. But not only does Bildad bluster, he blisters. The heat is rising. The barbs are sharper. The intended impact more blunt. The aim more deadly. Bildad is even cruder and harsher than Eliphaz. I’m sure Job felt cut to the bone by the mean comments Eliphaz had made. Maybe Eliphaz had meant well, but his words did not make sense―his words did not fit Job's situation nor apply to his predicament. “Who is this person of whom Eliphaz is speaking? Job may have wondered. "Surely, he is not talking about me!”
Job may have wondered as Bildad the Shuhite stood to speak, “Will my friend Bildad make better sense than Eliphaz?" But no. His opening statement just picked up where Eliphaz had left off. From the git-go, Job could see that Bildad was going to be no more sympathetic than the first speaker. “Job, you’re just blowing hot air--like a summer wind on a hot day. No benefit!" said Bildad.
Bildad’s speeches break no new ground. They resurvey former ground. There is a difference, but it is a worse difference. Bildad's knife cuts deeper. His words are meant to hurt. Bildad piles on harsher accusation and blame. For example, Eliphaz had beat-around-the-bush and hinted at Job being responsible for the deaths of his sons and daughters, Bildad just blasts out saying that something was wrong with Job and his entire family. Bildad intends to mean that God had cast them away because of their transgressions and because of Job’s own sins.
If thy children have sinned against Him, and He have cast them away for their transgression; If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; If thou wert pure and upright; surely now He would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous (Job 8:4-6).
“If,” says Bildad, "You were pure and upright, surely God would wake up, take a look at your pitiful state and do something about it. Once you were righteous (again, if ever you were in the first place), then God would make your righteousness prosper. But, in order for God to do this, you must, you must, you must repent, Job. That is your first stepthe step for which God awaits you to make." Bildad pleads with Job to beg God for mercy.
Almost everything that Bildad says is a variation on these themes. Same as Eliphaz had done. Here, however, is difference of authority. 
Eliphas puts credence in his own personal observations and experiences. Visions and dreams became the yardstick by which he judged the religion of others.

Bildad refers authority back to the fatherstradition was his authority. The way we have always thought is the right way. For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers: (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart? (Job 8:8-10).  

Zophar's own wisdom and assumptions were his authority. He didn’t need justification from any other source.

Chapter 8 Bildad's First Speech Summarized:
8:1-7        Look up
8:8-10      Look back  
8:11-22    Look around
Chapter 18 Bildad's Second Speech Summarized:
18:1-4      Do you think we are stupid?
18:5, 6     You are nothing more than a light that has gone out.
18:7-10    You are nothing more than a man caught in his own trap.
18:11-15  You are nothing more than a criminal being pursued by a posse.
18:16-21  You are nothing more than an uprooted tree.
Chapter 25 Bildad's Third (and Final) Speech Summarized: 
25:2  Dominion and awe belong to God; He establishes order in the heights of heaven.
25:3  Can His troops be numbered? Does His light not shine on everyone?
25:4  How can a person be justified before God? How can one born of woman be pure?
25:5  If even the moon does not shine and the stars are not pure in His sight,
25:6  how much less man, who is a maggotwho is only a worm! 
A Bright Future 
Chapter 8 closes with a bright forecast, that is, after Job has repented.
Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man (Job 8:20).
Till He fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing (Job 8:22).
Surely God does not reject one who is blameless.
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
As there were brilliant statements made by both sides of the debate, even Bildad had insight. 

Is the Book of Job Unrealistic and a Figment of Poetic Fancy?
It seems incredible that friends would act like Job’s opinionated comforters. Some critics have even branded the entire book as unrealistic and a figment of poetic fancy. Moses, the author, took a well-known incident from his times, and under the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit turned it into a rare gem of literature. And more than that. The Book of Job can fill our hearts with laughing and our lips with rejoicing in God, if we will have it.
Job’s courage and patience make him the wonder of the ages. Against the misdirected attacks of his “friends,” Job shines.
I want it that way. Don't you?

Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359 or use the comments via Google section below. (You must be signed in to Google to do so).

Tuesday, February 20, 2024


No 43 There Will Be Many Eliphaz-like People in the Last Days
In the trying hours of the last days, the believer will be pleased to be summoned to appear before councils and governors and before prelates and kings to testify to the truths of their Saviour Jesus Christ. They relish the opportunity to stand for Him. Yet in these best of times, it will be the worst of times because the believer is immediately and painfully aware of who it was that betrayed them to the governors and kings. It was their own friends and family.  
But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles (Matt 10:17,18). While in verse 17, Jesus describes the betrayers as “men,” in verse 21 Jesus further describes the betrayers asAnd the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death (Matt 10:21). Further, in verse 36, Jesus adds, And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. Brothers, fathers, children, and parents. This inner circle extends to friends and neighbors and acquaintances and associates.
The role Eliphaz plays in the Book of Job illustrates this. As the people of God go through this deep experience of soul searching, their family, friends and acquaintances (acting as agents of Satan) will be there to remind the righteous of their past wrong doings and sins. They will attempt to break the confidence of the people of God and insinuate doubt. A doubting faith will never make it through the time of the end. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8).
Eliphaz, well-meaning at the outset, nevertheless ended up being used by Satan to try to get Job to break his confidence in God. Eliphaz came to comfort. He stayed to criticize. He came as a friend. He remained as an enemy.
How Eliphaz Illustrates the Last Days
From chapters 4, 5, 15 and 22 (the three sermons Eliphaz preached to Job) come this sampling of daring assertions:
1) “Job, your life is a sham!”
2) “Your religion is worthless!”
3) “How wrong you are!”
4) “If you were innocent, none of this stuff would have happened to you!”
5) “You don’t need comfort, Job. You need correction!”
6) “Isn’t your religion supposed to help you through trials like these?”
7) “Trouble doesn’t just spring up out of the groundyou have been sowing these seeds for a  long time!”
8) “You can dish it out but you can’t take it.” 
9) “God hasn’t done anything bad to you, you did it to yourself!”   
Eliphaz illustrates the last days. By casting such castigations against Job, we see how friends and family will turn against God’s own people in the perilous days ahead. Similar charges will be leveled against God’s true-hearted in the last days. 
The Last Days are Characterized by 
1) Those who have a faulty religion will accuse those who have a true religionof having a faulty religion.
2) Those who have misshapen views of God will accuse those who have true conceptions of Godof having misshapen views of God.
3) Those who do not know God will accuse those who do know Godof not knowing God.
4) Those who have no compassion will accuse those who do have genuine compassionof not having any compassion.
5) Those who are wrong will accuse those who are rightof being wrong.
6) Those who are bad will accuse those doing goodof being bad.
7) Those who are living apart from God will accuse those who are living closer to God than can ever be imaginedof living apart from God. 
The Last Days are Characterized by 
1) Those who are quick to judge that which they they do not know.
2) Those who act as if they know everything.
3) Those who want to talk but not listen.
4) Those who have no regard for the feelings of others.
5) Those who have no concern for sensitivity.
6) Those who feel that their senses are sharpened enough to discern between good and evil.
7) Those who appeal to the highest authority in the landthemselves.
8) Those who assert themselves to be the final authority in all matters of religion.
9) Those who appoint themselves to be the spokesperson and voice of God Himself. 
The Last Days are Characterized by 
1) Those who say, “I am out to defend God. I am going to defend God’s honor, integrity and character,” all-the-while being estranged from God themselves.
2) Those who say, “I am out to change the world for God,” all-the-while having messed up views of God themselves.
3) Those who say, “Believe what I am saying to you to be the very words of God,” when all-the-while they do not know the Word of God.
4) Those who say, “I can describe the hand of God in human events,” all-the-while being unable to see the hand of Satan in human events.   
Many Eliphaz-like People Today
The comments above typify Eliphaz’s thinking. And so many Eliphazes presently speak in our day, and, certainly, many more of them shall speak as the voice of God in the last days. Though Eliphaz sets himself up as an authority, the strengths of his arguments are based on hunches, impressions, strong-intuitions, self-willed opinions and self-proclaimed ideas. The highest authority in Eliphaz’s mind were the secret visions and whispered voices bringing private messages to him. Likewise, in the last days, people will purport spiritualism to be as the presence and voice of God.   
In the last days, when the people of God are distressed over the state of their affairs―being imprisoned, tormented, hunted, threatened, and persecuted―supposed friends and family will say the same things to them”If you were right with God all this stuff wouldn’t be happening to you.”  
Eliphaz was Wrong Then and His Counterparts are Still Wrong Today 
At the end of Job’s trial, God gave instruction for Job to sacrifice seven bulls and seven rams as a burnt offering for Eliphazspecifically Eliphaz by namealong with the other two friends. God specifically pointed out the errors made by Eliphaz.  
And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job (Job 42:7,8).
God delights in setting forth His righteous before the scrutinizing eyes of the watching ones in heaven. God delights when the righteous show forth His character. And Job was such an one! The heart of God and the heart of Job beat as one. There was nothing betwixt them. What Job enjoyed in his day-by-day experience with God is what we may enjoy. Job had nothing we can't have. Job was a settled man in his settled faith. He had come to that place in his experience where he preferred God’s ways more highly than his own ways. Trusting became his all―because God was his all. In the heat of trial, Job did exclaim, 
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food (Job 23:10-12).
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation (Job 13:15,16).
God is wishing that all His people would live as Job did. God has wished that for His people through all time. And He is wishing it still. The message of Job to you and me is―if Job could do it―we can too. All God's people in the last days will be doing it.   
The greatest want of the world is the want of men,—men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall (Ellen G. White, Education, page 57). 
I want to be such a person for God. Don't you as well?

Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359 or use the comments via Google section below. (You must be signed in to Google to do so). 

No 48 Job's Ladder Satan's Lies  One of Satan’s many lies (installed in the Garden of Eden) is that God blesses you when you are goo...