Job: Facing the Tests of Life

Affliction Does Not Mean Rejection

Can a Poor Man be Godly?

Job 8

Accusation and deception are the specialties of the evil one. We discover this in the Bible as early as Genesis 3. The Book of Job greatly expands this theme. We are astounded at the interview between God and the devil. One need not know anything of the Accuser's history to see why he has that name. Nor need we be quick in mind to discover that the evil one is out to hurt and destroy mankind.

Our particular concern centers around one of the many negative thoughts that Satan utilizes to control people. We learn elsewhere that the evil one has a limited number of assistants who can bring actual thoughts into the minds of people. Satan uses these thoughts to induce people into evil behavior. These thoughts are called temptations.

Before introducing the three sections, it is important to understand that the two sides both agreed to the following two premises.

(1) God always esteems the godly man.
(2) God always judges the ungodly man.

These issues were not being debated. This, however, was not enough to avoid the battle of words.

Satan loves to use bad theology to plunder God's people. Perhaps you have seen a modern version of Job when God's people attacked each other because of wrong thoughts about God and man. This is where we find Bildad. He was not alone of course, but he did join in the gang of accusers. We find this picture clearly confirmed by God's words at the end of the book.

And it came about after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job. (Job 42:7-9, NASB).

God said it so clearly, "You have not spoken of Me what is right...." We use this interpretation to return to Job chapter 8 and see what was wrong with what Bildad counseled Job. Bildad thought he was defending God (1-4) and offering a way out for Job (5-7). The later verses (8-22) all support Bildad's wrong thesis that God will never 'reject' the man who follows Him.

Note below Bildad's several wrong conclusions that Satan often uses to hurt God's people.

Wrong View - Bildad's Viewpoint

Right View - God's Viewpoint

Job 8:1-4
The righteous man never goes through severe trials. Severe trials mean that God has rejected a person.
The righteous man will sometimes go through severe trials. Severe trials do not mean God has rejected a person.
Job 8:5-7
When facing severe trials, one is to repent from his sins.
When facing severe trials, if there is no obvious sin, one can be sure it is only a trial of faith. Endure and be patient.
Creation confirms that severe trials demonstrate that man has hidden sins and must repent.
Creation confirms that the ungodly will perish and the godly will be blessed.

Satan knew that Job was a man of great faith. Job's faith firmly stood on his theology of God and man. Several waves of attack were launched against Job. He first lost his family and possessions. The second wave brought loss of health. Then came the third wave of accusations from his wife and wise friends. Each wave brought a challenge to Job's understanding of God and His dealings with man. His understanding of God's truths were being violently assailed. If Job's confidence (belief) in these truths could be shaken, then Job himself would be struck down.

Bildad, on the other hand, thought he was God's special instrument to help Job. It was the evil one, however, that was using him. Tragically, God's people can be prideful of their supposed service to God when in fact they are promoting the evil one. Let's note Bildad's three wrong conclusions.

#1 Wrong View: The righteous man never goes through severe trials. (Job 8:1-4)

Then Bildad the Shuhite answered, “How long will you say these things, And the words of your mouth be a mighty wind? “Does God pervert justice Or does the Almighty pervert what is right? “If your sons sinned against Him, Then He delivered them into the power of their transgression. (Job 8:1-4, NASB).

Bildad made a faulty conclusion about God and His ways. We do not deny that it is a natural mistake to make, but nevertheless it is often made. For Bildad this was an issue of justice, a one for one equation.

Do good and be rewarded good. Do bad and be rewarded bad.

God is just. He does not pervert justice. It is just that there are other factors involved that are more difficult to discern. In this case, the timing is wrong. Just as in the Garden of Eden God put off the full and immediate consequence of death, so now He also puts off the full reward of righteousness. Bildad says of Job's sons that judgment came because of their own transgression. The subtle hint is that Job's health problems, not to mention all of his other problems, are because of his transgressions.

This prideful attitude is common among the well off. They quickly condemn the broken and poor people saying, "God is just. He does not pervert justice. See how wicked they are. They get what they deserve."

For a correct view, we must accept the premise that God is just, but we must go a step further and see that God's workspace is much broader than we normally understand. The righteous sometimes suffer while the evil person sometimes does well! This will protect us from making some of these wrong conclusions.


We should always help people see if there is any real sin in their lives. Unless we see open sin, we should not accuse one of 'hidden' sin. We can suggest they look for it, but we also need to be alert to another possibility. They might be going through a special trial or test to their faith. In this case they need our encouragement.

#2 Wrong View: When facing severe trials, one is always under judgment and needs to repent to restore things. (Job 8:5-7)

If you would seek God And implore the compassion of the Almighty, If you are pure and upright, Surely now He would rouse Himself for you And restore your righteous estate. Though your beginning was insignificant, Yet your end will increase greatly. (Job 8:5-7, NASB).

Bildad's advice made a lot of sense if his first point was right. If the loss of things always indicates judgment, then repentance is the way out. He pointed out that, "If you are pure and upright, surely now He would rouse Himself for you." As mentioned before, Bildad could not see God's perspective of the situation. He demanded instant judgment for wrong doing and instant reward for right doing. The fact is that God does not necessarily work that way.

Is it true that if Job repented, then everything would be restored? Of course not. God declared Job to be a righteous man and to have the right viewpoint. This of course made it very difficult for Job. They accused him of wrong that he did not have. They told him that he lived outside of God's presence. This was just the opposite counsel than he should have received.

Job should have heard, without any obvious sin or open confession of personal sin, how God will be with him through this difficult time. God's love and compassion should shine forth through these men's words. But alas, he had to suffer alone without one to understand and comfort.

Job had to keep his faith up by responding strongly to each of these accusers. He was not so much justifying his perfect state but clearing his mind as to what was true. We can see at points he wavered and got off the main point but generally speaking he did fine.


We should be more ready to encourage and have mercy on people going through trials. The wealthy and well off have a greater opportunity to miss these important truths about how God disperses good things because their lives are protected by wealth.

#3 Wrong View: Creation confirms that severe trials demonstrate that the man has hidden sins and must repent. (Job 8:8-22)

Please inquire of past generations, And consider the things searched out by their fathers. For we are only of yesterday and know nothing, Because our days on earth are as a shadow. (Job 8:8,9, NASB).

Lo, God will not reject a man of integrity, Nor will He support the evildoers. (Job 8:20, NASB).

We can misread events and creation. In John 9:1-3 for example, Jesus clearly rebuked the Pharisees for concluding that this man's blindness was because of his parents' sin or his sin.

Once we have a wrong judgment, we easily use it to misinterpret other important clues. This is so dangerous. If a person is offended, for example, he will often misread every action or gesture that he sees this person making. From his conclusion that the person hates, all his actions are interpreted through that lens.

In this case, Bildad picked on the poor spider web, papyrus plant and house illustration to wrongly support his conclusion. Since the arguments are in length, Job had to counter in length (Job 9-10). These arguments also tended to confuse rather than clarify. Job 8:20 summarizes Bildad's bad theology.

Lo, God will not reject a man of integrity,
Nor will He support the evildoers.

Bad thinking brings bad judgment which issues forth bad counsel. The wrong things we think cause us to misinterpret situations which in turn bring forth perverted counsel. Satan worked through Bildad so to destroy Job's last vestige of hope - his character. Bildad not only failed by wrongly accusing his brother but by holding back the needed wise counsel and encouragement that he should have received.

We are all glad that God stepped in at the end of the book. How much could Job stand? We don't know, but he probably reached the limit, and God brought this sad scene to its proper end.


We need to be very careful with what we try to prove. The very works of God and events in our lives can be twisted to prove what God never intended. If we were more humble, God would help protect us from being used by the evil to distribute his harmful and destructive message. Satan might whisper evil thoughts into our mind to lead us astray, but we should never be broadcasting his message!

A Conclusion

This situation that Job found himself in is important to me because someone close to me is going through a trying time. She has from a little age been troubled by thinking that good situations are associated by 'having things.' God's love is proved by His constant supply of gifts. On the other hand, she thought that if these things were taken away that God did not love her. The problem does not differ from an argument that Bildad had. He could not accept that God would take one of His loved ones through troubled times. He believed God would always keep the faithful one in prosperity. This of course was and is not so.

Job could stand firm in this trial because he was living righteously.

Even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in its midst, as I live, "declares the Lord GOD," they could not deliver either their son or their daughter. They would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.? (Ezekiel 14:20, NASB).

Job knew God is just but would not demand that God had to reward righteousness in the way or time he insisted on. God's love does not always mean easy and comfortable treatment. It was so hard to bear.

God insists that he has the privilege of holding off judgment as well as reward. The godly man might suffer while the wicked flourish but in God's time and order all will be rightly cared for.