Today’s read was Job 8-10. Bildad gives his first “speech” to Job. He doesn’t beat around the bush with what he thinks. When Job’s trials began, one of the first things that happened was the death of all ten of his children. Satan caused a windstorm that collapsed the house where they were gathered, and they all died. Don’t you know Job and his wife have had a few nightmares thinking about this, wondering if they suffered, if they were able to comfort one another, or if they were all killed immediately? As Job sat scratching his boils in pain, the mental and emotional anguish of thinking about the children he lost had to be just as painful. Bildad, convinced of his thinking, challenges Job that these things had to happen because his children had sinned, and they had received a righteous penalty (8:4).
Wow. That’s harsh. Those aren’t exactly comforting words from a friend! The fact is, Bildad was right, in that sin does bring death. But it wasn’t just the sinful actions that perhaps his children were guilty of (we don’t know if they were godly young men and women, or rebellious ones having a wild party). In chapters 9-10, Job answers Bildad by talking about his own sinful condition. As I read his words, I get the sense that he knows that God’s justice goes far beyond our actions; it addresses the heart.
“How then can I dispute with Him? How can I find words to argue with Him? Though I were innocent, I could not answer Him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy. … If it is a matter of strength, He is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge Him? Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.” (9:14-15,19-20)
So what’s the answer? What hope does any of us have, if a man God Himself calls blameless is still guilty, due to his sinful, human fallen nature – the condition we are all born into? Job gives us a glimpse…a hope of the solution. I love these words as they are translated in the NIV:
“[God] is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that His terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of Him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.” (9:32-35)
Job knew that God’s justice would not overlook his sin, no matter how “good” he was or how faithful he tried to be. Even if he did everything right according to God’s law, he was still guilty; there is no such thing as human perfection. There would need to be a mediator. Praise God, we live on this side of the cross of Christ, and we know who that mediator is: Jesus! Job looked forward in faith to Him, trusting that God had a plan for his sinful condition. We look back in faith to Him, knowing what that plan was, as Jesus did come to mediate between us and God, taking our sinfulness on Himself and giving us His righteousness in exchange. Job was saved by faith, and so are we.
“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:3-6)
How about you? Are you braver than Job to answer for your sin? More righteous than a man God called blameless? It doesn’t matter how good you are; you need a Mediator, and His name is Jesus.