Job 18:1-21

Bildad first speaks in chapter 8, begging Job to repent from the sins that caused his calamity, so that God might restore him. He now aims to convict the unrepentant Job of his wickedness. Perhaps, though, he overreaches. The you in verses 2-4 is plural, implying a defensive attack. He screams at Job and anyone else who would question his theology—the moral foundation of the earth shall not change because of you

Over the next seventeen verses, Bildad raves about how the wicked lose everything. He points the finger at Job, who has very recently lost everything, and at anybody else that has suffered tragedy. He believes God makes the righteous prosper and the wicked suffer, and Bildad defends his theology at the top of his lungs. To be fair, portions of the Bible support his theology. Deuteronomy operates from this way of thinking. Proverbs is steeped in it. Psalm 1 could be its cover page.

The book of Job was written during the Babylonian exile, when the Jewish people had lost everything. Job’s story was their story. Like Bildad, some prophets and priests said that God was punishing them for their sins. Job tried to kill this theology, yet it persists even today. When Rabbi Kushner wrote, When Bad Things Happen to Good People after his son died, it sold millions of copies because people long to be free from this oppressive view of God. Kushner used Job to declare that God does not cause bad things to happen in our lives. 

Remember this from reading Job: God is not the cause of the bad things that happen to you; God cares for and cures you from the bad things that happened. God loves those who suffer and works to relieve their suffering. Contrary to what Bildad says, you are never Godforsaken. 


Where do you see God at work when bad things happen?


Good Shepherd, when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, help me to trust that you will lead me to green pastures and still waters. Amen.

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