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Click here to read Job 8 on BibleGateway.com

After the generally gentle reproach from Eliphaz, today we get to hear from Bildad, who tends to be a little more aggressive and a lot more sarcastic. Fun to read; probably less fun for Job to hear.

In general, Bildad repeats the same basic argument as elsewhere in Job: primarily that Job is suffering because of some sin, either conscious or unconscious. However, he is clearly getting exasperated with Job’s refusal to admit it, and he strikes out occasionally in frustration (moreso in later chapters).

WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

However, Bildad makes an interesting point that stuck out today. He argues in verses 8-10 that Job should go “ask the former generations…our days on earth are but a shadow.” This is a tough concept in our modern world, because of a curious time-worship that seems epidemic in Western civ.

Anything new and modern is automatically seen as improvement. Latest this, newest that, fastest this, sleekest that. But is this always the case? Surveys indicate that people are working longer hours than ever before (at least in America). There are multiple downsides to technological improvements and our obsession with the most recent gadgets and theories, but one of the most tragic is when wise people are disregarded simply because of age.

BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES

Bildad argues that to really understand God, we must trust our elders because our own knowledge is too short term; we are just a shadow. Unfortunately, we tend to ignore the elderly in our society, or pat them gently on the head in church by playing one good ole hymn on Sundays and then regulating them to “Saints Night” in the church basement with Brother Bartholomew and his accordion.

Of course, we all want to be cutting edge, but it’s so easy to lose sight of where we came from on the way to where we’re going.  It’s important in our quest for the newest evangelism technique and grooviest graphics that we remember our history and foundations.  The Bible is full of injunctions to listen to the elders in the church, from Bildad to Paul. There’s a lot of wisdom sitting in the pews in a lot of churches, and it’d be a shame to let it all go to waste.

After all, we all hope to be elders eventually.

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