Bildad’s Third Attack

Even the Stars Aren’t Perfect in God’s Eyes

25 1-6 Bildad the Shuhite again attacked Job:

“God is sovereign, God is fearsome—
    everything in the cosmos fits and works in his plan.
Can anyone count his angel armies?
    Is there any place where his light doesn’t shine?
How can a mere mortal presume to stand up to God?
    How can an ordinary person pretend to be guiltless?
Why, even the moon has its flaws,
    even the stars aren’t perfect in God’s eyes,
So how much less, plain men and women—
    slugs and maggots by comparison!”

Job’s Defense

God Sets a Boundary Between Light and Darkness

26 1-4 Job answered:

“Well, you’ve certainly been a great help to a helpless man!
    You came to the rescue just in the nick of time!
What wonderful advice you’ve given to a mixed-up man!
    What amazing insights you’ve provided!
Where in the world did you learn all this?
    How did you become so inspired?

5-14 “All the buried dead are in torment,
    and all who’ve been drowned in the deep, deep sea.
Hell is ripped open before God,
    graveyards dug up and exposed.
He spreads the skies over unformed space,
    hangs the earth out in empty space.
He pours water into cumulus cloud-bags
    and the bags don’t burst.
He makes the moon wax and wane,
    putting it through its phases.
He draws the horizon out over the ocean,
    sets a boundary between light and darkness.
Thunder crashes and rumbles in the skies.
    Listen! It’s God raising his voice!
By his power he stills sea storms,
    by his wisdom he tames sea monsters.
With one breath he clears the sky,
    with one finger he crushes the sea serpent.
And this is only the beginning,
    a mere whisper of his rule.
    Whatever would we do if he really raised his voice!”

No Place to Hide

27 1-6 Having waited for Zophar, Job now resumed his defense:

“God-Alive! He’s denied me justice!
    God Almighty! He’s ruined my life!
But for as long as I draw breath,
    and for as long as God breathes life into me,
I refuse to say one word that isn’t true.
    I refuse to confess to any charge that’s false.
There is no way I’ll ever agree to your accusations.
    I’ll not deny my integrity even if it costs me my life.
I’m holding fast to my integrity and not loosening my grip—
    and, believe me, I’ll never regret it.

7-10 “Let my enemy be exposed as wicked!
    Let my adversary be proven guilty!
What hope do people without God have when life is cut short?
    when God puts an end to life?
Do you think God will listen to their cry for help
    when disaster hits?
What interest have they ever shown in the Almighty?
    Have they ever been known to pray before?

11-12 “I’ve given you a clear account of God in action,
    suppressed nothing regarding God Almighty.
The evidence is right before you. You can all see it for yourselves,
    so why do you keep talking nonsense?

13-23 “I’ll quote your own words back to you:

“‘This is how God treats the wicked,
    this is what evil people can expect from God Almighty:
Their children—all of them—will die violent deaths;
    they’ll never have enough bread to put on the table.
They’ll be wiped out by the plague,
    and none of the widows will shed a tear when they’re gone.
Even if they make a lot of money
    and are resplendent in the latest fashions,
It’s the good who will end up wearing the clothes
    and the decent who will divide up the money.
They build elaborate houses
    that won’t survive a single winter.
They go to bed wealthy
    and wake up poor.
Terrors pour in on them like flash floods—
    a tornado snatches them away in the middle of the night,
A cyclone sweeps them up—gone!
    Not a trace of them left, not even a footprint.
Catastrophes relentlessly pursue them;
    they run this way and that, but there’s no place to hide—
Pummeled by the weather,
    blown to smithereens by the storm.’”

Where Does Wisdom Come From?

28 1-11 “We all know how silver seams the rocks,
    we’ve seen the stuff from which gold is refined,
We’re aware of how iron is dug out of the ground
    and copper is smelted from rock.
Miners penetrate the earth’s darkness,
    searching the roots of the mountains for ore,
    digging away in the suffocating darkness.
Far from civilization, far from the traffic,
    they cut a shaft,
    and are lowered into it by ropes.
Earth’s surface is a field for grain,
    but its depths are a forge
Firing sapphires from stones
    and chiseling gold from rocks.
Vultures are blind to its riches,
    hawks never lay eyes on it.
Wild animals are oblivious to it,
    lions don’t know it’s there.
Miners hammer away at the rock,
    they uproot the mountains.
They tunnel through the rock
    and find all kinds of beautiful gems.
They discover the origins of rivers,
    and bring earth’s secrets to light.

12-19 “But where, oh where, will they find Wisdom?
    Where does Insight hide?
Mortals don’t have a clue,
    haven’t the slightest idea where to look.
Earth’s depths say, ‘It’s not here’;
    ocean deeps echo, ‘Never heard of it.’
It can’t be bought with the finest gold;
    no amount of silver can get it.
Even famous Ophir gold can’t buy it,
    not even diamonds and sapphires.
Neither gold nor emeralds are comparable;
    extravagant jewelry can’t touch it.
Pearl necklaces and ruby bracelets—why bother?
    None of this is even a down payment on Wisdom!
Pile gold and African diamonds as high as you will,
    they can’t hold a candle to Wisdom.

20-22 “So where does Wisdom come from?
    And where does Insight live?
It can’t be found by looking, no matter
    how deep you dig, no matter how high you fly.
If you search through the graveyard and question the dead,
    they say, ‘We’ve only heard rumors of it.’

23-28 “God alone knows the way to Wisdom,
    he knows the exact place to find it.
He knows where everything is on earth,
    he sees everything under heaven.
After he commanded the winds to blow
    and measured out the waters,
Arranged for the rain
    and set off explosions of thunder and lightning,
He focused on Wisdom,
    made sure it was all set and tested and ready.
Then he addressed the human race: ‘Here it is!
    Fear-of-the-Lord—that’s Wisdom,
    and Insight means shunning evil.’”

When God Was Still by My Side

29 1-6 Job now resumed his response:

“Oh, how I long for the good old days,
    when God took such very good care of me.
He always held a lamp before me
    and I walked through the dark by its light.
Oh, how I miss those golden years
    when God’s friendship graced my home,
When the Mighty One was still by my side
    and my children were all around me,
When everything was going my way,
    and nothing seemed too difficult.

7-20 “When I walked downtown
    and sat with my friends in the public square,
Young and old greeted me with respect;
    I was honored by everyone in town.
When I spoke, everyone listened;
    they hung on my every word.
People who knew me spoke well of me;
    my reputation went ahead of me.
I was known for helping people in trouble
    and standing up for those who were down on their luck.
The dying blessed me,
    and the bereaved were cheered by my visits.
All my dealings with people were good.
    I was known for being fair to everyone I met.
I was eyes to the blind
    and feet to the lame,
Father to the needy,
    and champion of abused aliens.
I grabbed street thieves by the scruff of the neck
    and made them give back what they’d stolen.
I thought, ‘I’ll die peacefully in my own bed,
    grateful for a long and full life,
A life deep-rooted and well-watered,
    a life limber and dew-fresh,
My soul soaked through with glory
    and my body robust until the day I die.’

21-25 “Men and women listened when I spoke,
    hung expectantly on my every word.
After I spoke, they’d be quiet,
    taking it all in.
They welcomed my counsel like spring rain,
    drinking it all in.
When I smiled at them, they could hardly believe it;
    their faces lit up, their troubles took wing!
I was their leader, establishing the mood
    and setting the pace by which they lived.
    Where I led, they followed.”

The Pain Never Lets Up

30 1-8 “But no longer. Now I’m the butt of their jokes—
    young thugs! whippersnappers!
Why, I considered their fathers
    mere inexperienced pups.
But they are worse than dogs—good for nothing,
    stray, mangy animals,
Half-starved, scavenging the back alleys,
    howling at the moon;
Homeless ragamuffins
    chewing on old bones and licking old tin cans;
Outcasts from the community,
    cursed as dangerous delinquents.
Nobody would put up with them;
    they were driven from the neighborhood.
You could hear them out there at the edge of town,
    yelping and barking, huddled in junkyards,
A gang of beggars and no-names,
    thrown out on their ears.

9-15 “But now I’m the one they’re after,
    mistreating me, taunting and mocking.
They abhor me, they abuse me.
    How dare those scoundrels—they spit in my face!
Now that God has undone me and left me in a heap,
    they hold nothing back. Anything goes.
They come at me from my blind side,
    trip me up, then jump on me while I’m down.
They throw every kind of obstacle in my path,
    determined to ruin me—
    and no one lifts a finger to help me!
They violate my broken body,
    trample through the rubble of my ruined life.
Terrors assault me—
    my dignity in shreds,
    salvation up in smoke.

16-19 “And now my life drains out,
    as suffering seizes and grips me hard.
Night gnaws at my bones;
    the pain never lets up.
I am tied hand and foot, my neck in a noose.
    I twist and turn.
Thrown facedown in the muck,
    I’m a muddy mess, inside and out.

What Did I Do to Deserve This?

20-23 “I shout for help, God, and get nothing, no answer!
    I stand to face you in protest, and you give me a blank stare!
You’ve turned into my tormenter—
    you slap me around, knock me about.
You raised me up so I was riding high
    and then dropped me, and I crashed.
I know you’re determined to kill me,
    to put me six feet under.

24-31 “What did I do to deserve this?
    Did I ever hit anyone who was calling for help?
Haven’t I wept for those who live a hard life,
    been heartsick over the lot of the poor?
But where did it get me?
    I expected good but evil showed up.
    I looked for light but darkness fell.
My stomach’s in a constant churning, never settles down.
    Each day confronts me with more suffering.
I walk under a black cloud. The sun is gone.
    I stand in the congregation and protest.
I howl with the jackals,
    I hoot with the owls.
I’m black-and-blue all over,
    burning up with fever.
My fiddle plays nothing but the blues;
    my mouth harp wails laments.”

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