Front Page
Meditations Contents
Series Theme: The Anguish of Job
Series Contents:

1 to 10

11 to 20

26. A Need for Focus

27. Be Honest!

28. Created & Condemned?

29. You are sinless?

30. Prison means Guilt

61 to 68



1-10 roughly cover Ch.1-4

11-20 roughly cover Ch.4-7

21-30 roughly cover Ch.8-11

31-40 roughly cover Ch.12-15

41-50 roughly cover Ch.16-21

51-60 cover Ch.22-33

61-68 cover Ch.34-42




Meditation No. 23


Meditation Title:  Trial or Rejection  


Job 8:20    Surely God does not reject a blameless man or strengthen the hands of evildoers.


We commented previously that not only is Job being tested, but so are his three friends and so are we when we read about him – and them! In fact the truth is that we are being tested – and revealed – every time we encounter another human being. How do we ‘cope' with other people? How easy it is to be defensive about other people, or judge or assess them if they don't quite match up to what we think a ‘nice' person is, or even ‘our kind of person' is. If we are Christians it is even easier to find ourselves assessing or judging people because of how they appear to us. We each of us have our ‘theological viewpoints' (even though most of us would deny we are theologians), because we have certain understandings and those direct us how we should think about others.

Bildad is no different. We've seen him throughout Chapter 8, directly challenging Job, and about what has happened to his family. We saw his assessment of what had happened to Job's children (v.4) even though there was no indication whatsoever that they had been sinning. How often, I wonder, do we jump to conclusions when we don't have all the facts? One of my favourite short stories by Adrian Plass is about a poor man who wouldn't take Communion in an Anglican church. The vicar jumped to the conclusion that there must be sin in his life until, when pressed, he confessed he had a hole in the sole of his shoe and didn't want to kneel at the communion rail so that people would see the hole!

The implication that went with what happened to the children was that Job was to blame for their bad behaviour, because Bildad then went on to explain to Job (as if he needed it explaining) that if you straighten yourself out before God He will forgive and restore you (v.5-7). Of course it was being said as a general principle but Job knew that it was aimed at him. He then called on previous generations (tradition) to confirm what he was saying (v.8-10) and went on to explain that if we drift away from God we can be snatched by the enemy (v.11-19). In all that he is saying, there is either a direct or indirect link between sin and judgment (suffering). This is Bildad's world-view and there is a lot of truth in it. The only problem is that chapters 1 and 2 reveal to us that actually sin wasn't at the heart of all this! This is not happening because Job sinned, because he didn't!

This is why Bildad now comes to this condemning piece of logic: Surely God does not reject a blameless man or strengthen the hands of evildoers.” God doesn't reject a blameless man and so wouldn't dream of judging him with suffering – that's the implication – so what should follow but which remains unsaid is, “And so, Job, the logical conclusion has got to be you are a sinner and we all know that the only hope for a sinner is that they repent of their sin.” That's all wrapped up in the implication of what has just been said, and now what follows it: He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Your enemies will be clothed in shame, and the tents of the wicked will be no more.” (v.21,22) Yes, if you repent of your sin then God will make everything right again.

See it yet again, that we have truth applied to a wrong situation. He's absolutely right, God does not reject a blameless man, but who's to say that what is happening is God rejecting Job? For us as Christians the New Testament bears witness that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5). If we stumble and fall, Jesus is there interceding for us (1 Jn 2:1). Yes, we can purposefully walk away but while our hearts are inclined in His direction, even weakly, He is there for us and nothing can separate us from His love (Rom 8)

So why is all this happening if it isn't God rejecting Job? We've seen it before a number of times but we need to say it again and again until it has utterly permeated our hearts. God doesn't reject us but he does try us. Yes, He does put us through trying times so, as James says, the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (Jas 1:3,4) That is what more often happens when things are ‘going wrong'; the Lord is allowing us to be tested so that we will learn to stand and be strong and remain faithful. Little children want to keep on giving up when things are difficult, but the mature person settles in for the duration, determined that with God's grace they are going to see this difficulty through.

Trials or tests come in lots of ways in life. In fact one might say they are a necessary part of life. A piano tuner tests all the keys of a piano to ensure they are in tune. A doctor puts a stethoscope to your chest to test that your heart is functioning properly, and takes your blood pressure for the same reason. When a piece of electronic equipment breaks down, the engineer carries out a series of ‘diagnostics' to find out what has happened to stop it working properly. In each of these instances, a test is being carried out to ensure that whatever it is, is working properly.

We are being tuned by life to function as Jesus. Paul said we are being changed into his likeness gradually by the working of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 3:18). The Bible speaks about maturity as something that we are working towards (e.g. Eph 4:12,13, Col 4:12, Heb 5:14). This is what God is doing with our lives – helping us grow up into maturity. How do He know how well we are doing? By putting us through a test! That is what is happening to Job and the only trouble is that his three friends don't realise that, which is why they keep making a wrong diagnosis. When things go wrong in our lives, do we realise that this is a diagnostic test being carried out in heaven? God's desire is that a) we learn through it, and b) we pass it with flying colours! May it be so!