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What Did You Call Me? (Job 18) March 15-16

Bildad takes offense at what he believes Job has implied about him and the other two counselors: So you think we're beasts. So you think we're stupid (compare verse 3). He then lashes out in a rather vicious diatribe. Bildad paints Job as the wicked punished with disease and loss of family—and whose memory and posterity is to be wiped from the earth.

Why was Bildad really here? Was it to comfort Job? Or was it to feel good about himself—to be able to congratulate himself for doing some good deed? If the former, he should have expected a suffering, grief-stricken person to say some highly emotional things. And he should have been ready to roll with the punches, as it were. Yet Job had offended him—this noble man who was here to help. How dare someone put him down?

Furthermore, Job's words were probably causing Bildad to question some deeply ingrained beliefs. Indeed, Job was demanding that these beliefs be questioned—and overturned. Bildad was incensed at the audacity. And rather than face the disturbing questions, he did as Eliphaz had done and reacted emotionally—basically more forcefully trying to ram the same old argument that the wicked receive total retribution in this life down Job's throat.

In all likelihood, Bildad still justified his approach with the notion that he was helping Job in leading him to a proper understanding. Previous arguments hadn't worked—so now it was time to put some fear into Job. Of course, this was ridiculous considering how much Job had already lost and the fact that he had no doubt completely mulled all of this over already for the past several months. Moreover, it was cruel and insensitive considering what Job had gone through and was still experiencing. Did Bildad truly think this was going to fix the problem?

For all of us, Job's three friends are a tremendous example of what not to do and how not to react when trying to comfort a suffering, grieving person.

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