Christ’s disciples will face trials, struggles, and hardships. Christ has already mentioned the hardships that await us. However, Christ goes on to speak of other problems that tempt us beyond just the comforts of this world. Christ tells us that we might have to walk away from family to be incorporated into the kingdom of God. How can Christ talk about disrupting the family? Why would we want to give up these earthly comforts for Christ?
We might think that we know the Gospel and we know the Gospel well. So, why would we think that we need to continually hear the Gospel preached if we know the Gospel message? Is there a point in our Christians lives when we move beyond the Gospel message? What wisdom can be gleaned from church history that would shed some light on this issue of Gospel preaching?
Prior to Job 32 there have been a lot of words, speeches, and exchanges about suffering. The speeches are frustrating because there is no resolution on the horizon. The counselors and Job are finally finished with their bantering, but the book is not resolved. Job is the last one to speak, but his words are not all that God glorifying. Is there another man who can step up and offer some wisdom, offer some insight, or maybe a different perspective? We meet Elihu. Who is this man, and why has he been silent for so long?
We can interview numerous people, we can comb the Scriptures, we can dig into the earth, but where is wisdom? This is a rather profound question that Job seeks to answer. The answer to the question may not be as simple as just reading some Scriptures, or interviewing some people. So, what is the answer? Is Job ready to embrace the answer as he feels it being pressed upon him?
The counselors have been very clear that you reap exactly what you sow and there is nothing more and nothing less that is present. Job wants to know if the counselors have surveyed anyone with this claim or if this is just what they believe and think. Job invites the counselors to interact with the common person on the street to see what such a person might say about the wicked receiving instant justice. What wisdom has Job gleaned through his experience?
The book Job progresses into the second cycle of speeches. Job and the counselors have had a few interactions regarding Job’s trial. You would hope that they would start to think about this life and suffering in light of the Gospel rather than whether or not Job is righteous enough for God to love him. So, as we start the second cycle do they actually start talking about a cross shaped logic/wisdom or do they just shout louder?
Job has tried to reason with the men who have come to encourage him. However, in Job’s mind he is not gaining any traction. The counselors are still convinced that Job has unconfessed sin or a specific sin that warrants God’s punishment. The irony is that Job and the counselors are not in complete disagreement, but Job has been trying to tell the counselors that there is something wrong with the world as they know it. What is Job going to say to the Lord? What is the basis of Job’s trial?
We can learn a lot from tradition and from many who have gone before us. We can learn because they are people who have had struggles, setbacks, and experienced success like we have. We can learn how to cope in each of these situations from the generations before us. However, Job does not seem that persuaded by the generations who have gone before him. In fact, Job pretty much rebukes the counselors for listening to wisdom that is traditional for them. What is Job’s problem? Why does Job seem to doubt the credibility of wisdom and those who have gone before him?
Men have scheduled their time to meet with Job and encourage him. We have heard two of the counselors and now we have the opportunity to hear from a third counselor. The counselors have not successfully encouraged Job in the Gospel. Job is one who has claimed his own self-righteousness before the Lord claiming that he can hold God accountable. Is this new counselor going to be the voice of reason who lays out the gospel? Is there going to be someone who understands that Job is not fighting against God? Will this speech help Job understand that God is not His enemy, but the very strength of his life?
Job’s friends came together with the purpose to rally around him and encourage him. Eliphaz has not done a great job of helping Job as Eliphaz implied that Job deserved this suffering. Now, it is time for the second counselor to try. Will Bildad encourage Job? Is there something we can glean from Bildad as he tries to encourage Job?