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Job 8:8-10 – Trust the Spiritual Teachings of the Past

Summary

Job is beginning to question theological statements that he had always regarded as truth. Bildad tells him not to reject long-held beliefs merely because his present experience brings them into question.

Analysis

It was a long-held belief, often supported by the historical books and the prophets, that God is just and is active in the world, rewarding good behavior and allowing terrible consequences for acts of disobedience. This understanding provided a strong motivation to make the right choice in order to bring prosperity and to avoid trouble. Make the right choices and your life will be good.

Job probably believed that, as did also his counselors. But now Job is in a crisis situation. He had been a good person. He had made the right decisions. Even God commended him for being such a loyal servant. Now he was suffering an unbelievable series of calamities, and the old beliefs do not seem to make much sense any more. Should he abandon what he had always believed or continue to hold on to what no longer is confirmed by his experience?

People in every time and place may be confronted with a similar dilemma. They had trusted God to protect them from danger, but somehow the umbrella of protection has failed. Does that mean they were misled in their simple, trusting theology? Should they throw out their old beliefs because they do not match their experience? It may be premature to use our own situation as the standard by which to judge the truth and wisdom of the centuries. Who are we to say what is truth or not? On the other hand, how can we continue to believe that which seems contrary to reality?

Job 8:8-10


8 ‘For inquire now of bygone generations,
   and consider what their ancestors have found;
9 for we are but of yesterday, and we know nothing,
   for our days on earth are but a shadow.
10 Will they not teach you and tell you
   and utter words out of their understanding?

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10 February 2011

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