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The Hush of Heaven

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Job 8–10

When we insist on seeing everyone’s physical well-being as a reflection of that person’s spiritual condition, we limit our understanding of God and our ministry to those who are suffering. We see this lived out in Bildad, who acted more as Job’s judge than his comforter.


The more I study the suffering of Job and the words of his so-called counselors, the more I am amazed at Job’s endurance. Added to Job’s suffering is that God is silent. I like to call these chapters, “The Hush of Heaven” for there is not a sound coming from above.

But there’s plenty of noise down here where Job’s friends are now taking turns delivering their wrong opinions about God, with a wrong approach to Job. Bildad now speaks here in chapter 8, and he echoes what Eliphaz had argued earlier—that Job is suffering because he has sinned. But Bildad is more brutal and uncaring in his counsel if you can call it that.

In verse 2 he says to Job:

“How long will you say these things, and the words of your mouth be a great wind? Does God pervert justice?”

Bildad is calling Job a windbag. But let me tell you, Bildad is the one with all the hot air! He goes on to say to Job in verse 4—if you can believe this—“If your children have sinned against [God], he has delivered them into the hand of their transgression.” In other words, “Job, your ten children are dead because they probably deserved to die.”

I like to call Bildad “the Bulldozer”—he has about as much compassion. And he tells Job here in verse 5 that his only hope is to confess his secret sins—to “seek God and plead with the Almighty for mercy.”

Bildad tries to support his argument that sinners always suffer by appealing to the ancestors who lived a long time before. He argues in verse 8 that ancient wisdom has come to the same conclusion. Besides, he says to Job in verse 9, “We are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow.” He is saying, “We haven’t lived long enough to discover the truth.”

Now in one sense, Bildad is right. We cannot seem to learn fast enough what we need to know to handle the issues of life. About the time I figured out how to be a dad, my kids were out of college. That’s why I thank God for grandchildren—it’s a second chance to get it right.

Someone once said that experience is a comb you get after you have lost all your hair. Well, there is some truth to that too.

But Bildad was still wrong in that you do not have to be old to be wise. Listen to wisdom speaking in Proverbs 8, where it says, “By me kings reign [that’s older men] . . . by me princes rule [that’s younger men].” Wisdom then says, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me” (verses 15-17).

James 1:5 promises, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all.” That promise is given not just to the old but to the young as well. Beloved, you don’t have to grow old in order to grow wise.

Now as we arrive at chapter 9, Job delivers his response to Bildad, and in verse 2 he presents a profound question we all need to answer: “How can a man be in the right before God?” That’s a question for the ages. How can somebody be right with God? Job knows he is not hiding secret sin; but he also knows that God is just. So, Job wants to know what he’s missing here. How does someone get right with God?

Here’s the dilemma: Job says in verse 19, “If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty [God is stronger than I am]! If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him?” Literally, he says, “Who can take God to court and win?”

Job is left confused. He now believes his days are numbered. In fact, he says throughout chapter 10 that his case is hopeless. You can almost hear him weeping as he asks God in verse 18, “Why did you bring me out from the womb? Would that I had died before any eye had seen me.”

Now, right in the middle of chapters 8, 9, and 10 are some profound truths I want to focus on for just a moment or two. They hint at deep gospel truths for you and me today.

Job says in chapter 9 and verses 32-33:

For he [God] is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both. 

Job is essentially crying out, “How can I be right with God when there is no one to help settle our differences in court? There is no arbiter.”

Job is referring to the custom of the ancient court, which used an official to act as an arbitrator between two parties to negotiate a settlement. It was the custom of this official to put his hands on the heads of the two disputing parties and settle the question.[1]

So, Job essentially is asking the question that is at the heart of the gospel: “Is there anyone with official capacity who can come between me and God and negotiate a settlement?”

And the answer is yes! Job was looking forward to Him, and we are looking back at Him. He is the one Person capable of settling this question forever.

With prophetic longing, and without even realizing the depth of his words, Job asks the question that the Bible answers in the coming of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. The Bible says:

There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

Is there someone who can speak for us? Yes, there is—Jesus Christ our Advocate, our representative in court.

Earlier in chapter 9 Job asked that timeless question: “How can someone be right with God?” My friend, that is really the most important question you will ever answer during your lifetime. And you need to get it right. The world will tell you that any answer will do, so long as you believe hard enough. If you are sincere, you will make it to heaven.

Well, that’s as foolish as going to the airport counter today and saying, “I want to buy a ticket to Georgia to go see my family. Any flight will do. I just need to feel good about the pilot and the seat you assign me.” Oh, no; you’re going to want the right flight, departing from the right gate, at the right time, in order to get to the right destination.

My friend, traveling from earth to eternity is no different. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Acts 4:12 says, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Job wanted a mediator. He wanted to be right with God. He wanted an answer that related to suffering. But his question opens the door to an answer related to salvation.   

Do you know the answer? Have you come by faith to the Mediator, Jesus Christ, and claimed Him as your defender? Do that today. Jesus alone is capable of providing an everlasting settlement between you and God. My friend, don’t try to take God to court. Invite Him into your heart.

[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Patient (Victor Books, 1991), 44.

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