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Summary: Bildad believes that the way to respond to difficulties is to recognise that we have stepped out of line and that God is getting us as a result. Bildad’s answer is that we get back in line. What does the Scripture say?

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Job 3:1-25:6

“The Answer of Bildad:- Get Back In Line”

When it comes to crowd control and keeping people in line there are many different theories on how to achieve this.

Example of Mrs Gognait (give your own example)

- what lunch time was like when she was not on duty (chaos).

- what lunch time was like when she was on duty (orderly and quiet).

- everyone knew if you stepped out of line with her that you would soon know it.

- basically we were all scared of her.

It’s an approach that can be very effective in certain circumstances. But is it an approach that God uses?

Bildad the Shuhite seems to think so.

Bildad is trying to help Job deal with the terrible losses he has gone through. Bildad’s basic assumption is this:-

Job you stepped out of line. Now God has got you.

Let’s read some verses from Job to show you what I mean.

Job 18:1-21

It is pretty clear that by this stage Bildad is starting to lose his patience with Job.

As far as the friends are concerned they are right, and Job is talking nonsense.

So much for compassion and care.

But is Job the one who is talking nonsense?

Listen to the way Bildad describes the path of the wicked.

8 His feet thrust him into a net

and he wanders into its mesh.

9 A trap seizes him by the heel;

a snare holds him fast.

10 A noose is hidden for him on the ground;

a trap lies in his path.

Work though the 5 different “trapping” words.

• net vs.8 – something spread across a path to entangle feet, the mesh is a description of the design.

• trap vs.9a – branches over a deep pit.

• snare vs.9b – noose that springs when it is touched catching one leg.

• noose vs.10a – circle of rope hidden on the ground pulls animal off the ground when set off.

• trap vs.10b – different Hebrew word for trap than the one in verse 9. Bildad has in mind here a general description of any devise that catches prey.

Bildad has pulled out his thesaurus and is using it to bring to mind every trap word he can think of. As he does He obviously believes that Job’s situation is one of these traps.

Job has been playing a game of Survivor

Outwit ... Outplay ... Outlast.

Bildad’s point is that you can’t play a game like that ... with God ... and expect to win. God will out-manoeuvre you every time. You think you have deviously side-stepped the calamity, only to discover that God knew exactly what was going to happen and you walked straight into a trap.

So what is Bildad’s solution to Job’s current difficulties?

5 But if you will look to God and plead with the Almighty,

6 if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place.

Job 8:5-6

Job, just admit you have lost to a greater opponent. You stepped out of line and you got caught. Stop all these protests about your innocence. Stop treating us like stupid cattle because you think you can hide the truth. Respond to my God, my way, and all will be well.

And that is the moment when the truth comes out.

Respond to my God, my way and all will be well.

I can tell you – it won’t all be well.

For us to really understand the sort of God being advocated by Bildad I want us to imagine what life would be like for a person who lives in the country of Kampuchea – you might also know it as Cambodia. In the 70’s this country had a brutal civil war and was eventually under the dictatorship of a cruel leader called Pol Pot.

One tactic used during the war was to bury land mines. Even in the mid-90’s there were 10 landmines for every person of the population. Until recently death as a result of standing on a landmine was the highest cause of fatalities in that country.

Imagine what it would be like to live there (expand)

The result would be fear wouldn’t it.

• fear when walking.

• fear when building new houses or new roads.

• fear that you might have them in your back-yard.

It would paralyse you in some ways. Every step you take has a small bit of hesitancy, or doubt. Am I walking into a trap?

And isn’t this exactly going to be the result when we take Bildad’s approach to who God is? The portrait of God which Bildad has is completely based on fear.

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