Bildad made a very short reply to Job’s words in the previous chapter, as if he was beginning to be tired of the discussion. He dropped the main question concerning the prosperity of wicked people, since he was apparently unable to answer the proofs which Job had produced in the foregoing chapter. But because he thought Job had been too bold with the Divine Majesty in his appeals to the Divine tribunal (chapter 23), Bildad now took a few words to show us the infinite distance that exists between God and man. He gave an account of the Lord’s holiness, and of the uncleanness of all created things in His sight. This chapter is short, but it still contains precious truths; and again, although they were misapplied to Job, they are good lessons for us all to learn.
Verses 2 and 3 form a short but striking description of God’s sovereignty. As was mentioned before, it seems that Bildad had grown tired of the controversy; and therefore, instead of contending any longer with Job, he contented himself in following up what the man of Uz had been dwelling upon in the preceding chapter – namely, the greatness and holiness of God. The terms were very striking which the Shuhite made use of, in order to set forth the brightness and glorious excellency of Jehovah. The shining of His light; the vast and incalculable number of His armies; and consequently, the unlimited sovereignty of His government – all these were happily chosen to set forth the infinite Majesty of the Almighty One. How great must He be, and how glorious, Who rules in heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and Who sits (as one of the prophets spoke of Him) upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are only like grasshoppers in comparison with Him! (Isa. 40:22) If we desire to see a further account of this High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, and Whose name is Holy; we will find such an account, in a style infinitely sublime and magnificent, in the 40th chapter of Isaiah, verses 12-31. But when we have read this passage, we may also compare it with that illustrious prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus, which is found in Daniel 2:44-45. And what a flood of light and glory will pour in upon our souls, if we have been taught the truth as it is in Jesus – that this is He Whom both prophets describe! He is – even now, in His glorious Person – one with the Father. He is over all, and He is God Himself; and yet He is also one with His people, and their Sovereign Lord and Redeemer!
How very just for these observations to be followed by thoughts concerning the guilt and pollution of mankind! After having been pointed to God’s glory, nothing can be more proper than a transition to man’s lowliness! What can be more suitable or profitable than, in the view of His holiness, to contrast our pollution? Even the brightness and glorious light of the heavenly bodies are not pure in the sight of their Maker. Compared to His glory, they do not shine at all. And what, then, must be man in the sight of God? He is born of a woman – born in sin, and naturally filled with iniquity! Have we ever considered this and laid it to heart? If so, our language will surely correspond to that of the prophet Isaiah, when the Lord favored Him with that glorious vision – the very view of which made him cry out, “Woe is me, for I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of Hosts!” (Isa. 6:5)
With these thoughts, Bildad showed that man cannot be justified before God (verses 4 and 6). His righteousness and holiness, even at their best, are nothing in comparison with the Lord’s (Ps. 89:6). And as God is so great and glorious, how can man – who is guilty and impure – appear before Him? We must be born again of water and of the Holy Spirit, and we must be bathed again and again in the blood of Christ – the Fountain that has been opened for sin (Zech. 13:1). We ought to humble ourselves as lowly, guilty, polluted creatures; and we must renounce any and all self-dependence. But the depth of our vileness will only bring forth the glories and wonders of Jesus’ amazing love all the more! The riches of His mercy and the power of His grace will be magnified to all eternity, by every sinner whom He redeems.
Let us not conclude our study of this chapter without taking a moment to pause and reflect. Can we claim any merit in any purifications of our own? Can our own tears and repentance make us clean? Will these, with all our best promises of amendment, cause us to appear justified before God? No indeed! These are all miserable comforters! They are all physicians of no value. But let us look to Jesus! His blood is the Fountain to cleanse us from all sin. And since it is a Fountain of God’s own appointing, it is most certain and sure that the cleansing in it shall be effectual! Every soul that is washed in Jesus’ blood shall be made holy and bright in His righteousness! He shall shine forth like the sun, in the Kingdom of his Father. What grace and mercy to poor, guilty sinners!
Lord Jesus, we praise You for condescending to become a man and enduring the curse of our sin, so that Your people might be made righteous in the sight of God! We acknowledge that we are indeed lowly, guilty, and polluted creatures; but we thank You that although we are sinful worms, the depth of our vileness only brings forth the glories and wonders of Your redeeming love all the more! Amen.
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