“Your children must have sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved.” (Job 8:4, NLT)
There is nothing more harmful than someone randomly shooting arrows at someone else. In this case, Bildad did not know of any sin that Job’s children had committed. But he assumed that they must have sinned because they all died. But what sin had they committed? And was it really deserving of the death penalty? What kind of person would say such a thing to his friend?
People commonly assume that human suffering is the result of sin.
“And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’” (John 9:2, NKJV)
On the contrary, suffering is part of God’s curriculum. Before God can use a person, He must first wound that person. Before God could use Moses, He had to let him fail in trying to deliver the Hebrews on his own. Moses spent the next 40 years herding sheep on the backside of the Sinai desert. Then Moses didn’t think he could deliver the people and told God to get someone else! (Exodus 4:13)
Now Bildad was not an evil villain trying to destroy Job. His intention was to give Job hope.
“But look, God will not reject a person of integrity, nor will he lend a hand to the wicked. He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” (Job 8:20–21, NLT)
The problem was that Job had been a person of integrity who helped others, but where had it gotten him? Bildad’s words were hollow because they failed to account for Job’s experience. Bildad promised hope without addressing the deeper problem of Job’s heart: Job’s trust in God had been broken. Job had assumed that if he feared God and shunned evil that God would bless him and protect him from harm. But God failed to perform as Job expected, and now Job didn’t know if he could trust Him.
Maybe that is your situation today. God has not met your expectations, and you struggle to trust Him. You may even wonder if God is punishing you for your sins. But we have something Job did not have. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ. And God demonstrated His love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. When we repent and believe in Jesus, God does not punish us because Jesus paid the price for our sins. But you may still struggle to trust in God. We cannot base our faith on experiences or expectations. Our faith must be based on the Word of God.
“Heavenly Father, please search our hearts and show us where our experiences or expectations hinder us from fully trusting in you. Heal our broken hearts and restore our faith. Thank you for your abounding grace that saves us through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”