YEAH. You heard me. Burned you good, didn’t I?
Well, probably not. Let me set some context.
The Book of Job is a very unique book of the Bible. Basically, Satan bets God that he can get Job to break since Job is just so perfect. His idea is that Job is only faithful because he has anything anyone could ever need.
So, God says, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him” (Job 1:12).
So, after Satan kills all of his children, servants, and destroys his livelihood, Job is understandably upset, but he doesn’t curse God and die like his wife thinks he should (Job 2:9).
After going back to God, Satan says that it turns out that possessions weren’t what made Job tick, so he said to God, “However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face” (Job 2:5). After God tells him to have at it with the stipulation that he doesn’t kill Job, Satan gets to work:
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.Job 2:7
Now, keep in mind, Job is not a bad person and deserves none of this:
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.Job 1:1
God even says that Satan “…incited Me against him to ruin him without cause” (Job 2:3).
So, since Job isn’t aware of the conversations going on about him behind the scenes, he is obviously disturbed. He even asks a question that many millennials and zoomers ask today:
Why did I not die at birth, Come forth from the womb and expire?Job 3:11
Job wasn’t totally alone in all this, though he had to put up with “one who speaks as the foolish women speaks,” because he had his best buds to keep him company. They sat with him for seven days and nights and no one spoke a word (Job 2:13). The following arguments reveal why Job probably wanted them to stay that way.
The interesting thing about Job’s friends is that they give all the “right” answers:
Obviously Job did something to deserve this, right?
You are being disciplined by God, so you should be happy.
Do you think God got this wrong? Does He pervert justice?
Again, they had no idea about the conversation behind the scenes that we are let in on. They are doing the best they can by offering conventional answers that seemed to fit with their general experience in the world. Do bad, God curses you. Do good, God blesses you. Job was being cursed, apparently, so…
Enter the Shuhite
Zaccheus was a wee little man, but he wasn’t the shortest person in the Bible. That title belongs to Bildad the Shuhite.
Now, Bildad the Shuhite gives an argument that every single person who reached a different conclusion from the majority in their fellowship has heard:
Please inquire of past generations, And consider the things searched out by their fathers. 9 For we are only of yesterday and know nothing, Because our days on earth are as a shadow. 10 Will they not teach you and tell you, And bring forth words from their minds?Job 8:8-10
Is this sound advice? Sure, in moderation. But it obviously isn’t able to answer every question or solve every riddle.
“Standing on the shoulders of giants” is a valid strategy, but the giants are not God.
Godly men? Yes.
Good Bible students? You betcha.
Perfect? Not by a long shot.
There isn’t a generation since the apostles who didn’t teach error. We teach error too. It is unavoidable because we are imperfect beings trying to understand a perfect God through imperfect translations of a collection of letters, poems, stories, and prophecies written ~2000+ years ago to a diverse group of people who lived in an entirely different culture halfway around the world from most of the people who read this blog.
So, while we can learn a great deal from generations gone by, they are not the final authority on things. They didn’t have it all figured out. Stop being such a Shuhite and basing your entire faith on inherited teachings and understandings of God. Discover who God is for yourself and stop being a parrot; stop being such a Shuhite!
It didn’t work for Bildad. It didn’t solve Job’s problems. And it won’t work for us. We have to study for ourselves.
But, having perfect knowledge isn’t what “gets us into Heaven.” Instead, it’s not what we know but who we are known by:
If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; 3 but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.1 Corinthians 8:2-3