Bildad has grown impatient with hearing anyone besides himself speak. He vilifies everything Job has said and condemns him even more thoroughly than he’d done before.
Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:
2 “How long will you hunt for words?
Consider, and then we will speak.
3 Why are we counted as cattle?
Why are we stupid in your sight?
4 You who tear yourself in your anger,
shall the earth be forsaken for you,
or the rock be removed out of its place? ~Job 18:1-4
In his pride, Bildad is so offended that Job considers his counsel unwise and unkind that he exaggerates and twists Job’s words to be far worse than they were. This is a man who is no more able to handle the truth than to confess and apologize. Bildad may indeed have been a good man, but he was chock full of foolish pride.
Bildad goes on to imply that Job is wicked, unrighteous, without God, and most certainly fully personally responsible for every unfavorable circumstance he finds himself in the middle of. He describes in detail the condition of wicked men – which, conveniently, just so happens to be identical to Job’s condition. He’s the teacher who, from a comfortable distance, painstakingly illustrates hypothetical analogies which mirror the condition of all his listeners hoping they’ll realize he’s talking about them. He’s a wanna-be Nathan whose prompting came from Satan rather than God. He’s the guy who’d much rather spend Sunday afternoon with his real buddies than go out of his way to sit with someone who stood in desperate need of one true friend. He added affliction to Job under the guise of taking it away.
Bildad should have been asking Job where he was spiritually, taking his answers at face value, encouraging him, and praying for him. Instead, Bildad’s pride had him telling Job (and everyone else) where he was spiritually and wrongfully indicting him as the worst hypocrite on earth. Why?
Because it’s easier than taking time to listen and understand the severe complexities of an afflicted man’s life. It’s more comfortable than mourning with the man who mourns. It requires less patience than supporting and encouraging someone who is hanging onto faith and reason by a mere thread. It’s far less demanding than humility, sincerity, authenticity, and close relationship. Distance does have it’s draw, doesn’t it?
Not to mention it kept Bildad and his buddies in the driver’s seat. If Job wasn’t deserving of suffering, these guys weren’t deserving of a voice. Their ill-assumptions gave them a platform as well as an illusion of superiority. We wouldn’t want that to falter, would we? Pride feeds presumption.
You can’t sit in the driver’s seat when you’re following after a foot-washer.
Beware those who talk without listening, tell without asking, instruct without demonstrating, or illustrate without investing. As for me and my house, help us always to listen first. Give us the grace to ask and not tell. Cause us to lead by example and to invest in far more than we draw illustrations from one another’s lives. May we humbly, honestly serve the Lord and each other.