1 - 3 The Greatness of God
1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered,
2 “Dominion and awe belong to Him
Who establishes peace in His heights.
3 “Is there any number to His troops?
And upon whom does His light not rise?
Bildad answers Job (verse 1). It is his last answer. His ammunition is gone. It is hardly an answer. It’s like a last convulsion of the three friends. With what he says, the words of the friends die away. After this, he’s done talking and basically defeated. From Zophar, who should be next, we hear nothing at all. They have put forward all their arguments, but have not been able to convince Job in any way of the correctness of them. Bildad turns out to be unable to answer Job’s remarks; neither does he come up with a new point of view.
Bildad’s answer is brief and contains the two points on which he and his friends have always hammered (Job 4:17; 15:14). In the absence of arguments, Bildad in fact repeats them. He depicts the majesty of God and, in contrast, the nullity of man. He points out that God far surpasses His limited creation, which is unlimited for our comprehension (verse 2). God alone is unlimited. In His unlimitedness He also possesses omnipotence and all authority. He rules over everything and everyone (Isa 40:12,22,26). All “dominion” is in His hands. Against Him, man can only be in “awe” (cf. Jer 10:7).
God is the Establisher of “peace in His heights”, what looks at the order He has placed in the universe among His innumerable and incomprehensible works of creation. The universe breathes His omnipotence. In the universe nothing stands on its own. Everything is part of a whole that harmonizes through Him, through His natural laws. Through the word of His power, He sustains everything and is brought by Him to the goal He has determined (Heb 1:3). He is peace in His nature. That peace is visible in His works.
In all that He does, His troops, the countless multitudes of angels, are available to Him (verse 3; Heb 12:22; Rev 5:11). On His authority they go and do as He wills. He “dwells in unapproachable light” (1Tim 6:16). “God is light” (1Jn 1:5). Therefore nothing is hidden from Him, no one can escape His revealing light. In His light everyone is seen and revealed. “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him” (Dan 2:22).
4 - 6 The Nullity of Man
4 “How then can a man be just with God?
Or how can he be clean who is born of woman?
5 “If even the moon has no brightness
And the stars are not pure in His sight,
6 How much less man, [that] maggot,
And the son of man, [that] worm!”
After Bildad has spoken about the greatness and exaltation of God in the previous verses, he then speaks about the insignificance of man (cf. Psa 8:4-5). All revelation of God’s greatness and purity should effect man’s awareness of nullity, impurity, and sinfulness (verse 4). Bildad says this again with Job in mind.
God is perfect in holiness. How then would a man – read: Job –, born of a mortal, be pure in God’s eye (cf. Job 14:4)? Nothing of creation, not even the moon and the stars that shine so brightly in the night, is pure in the eye of God (cf. Job 4:18; 15:15). Job claims to be pure, but that is not true at all, according to Bildad. Everything and everyone is outsmarted by God in His holiness and righteousness.
Opposite the holy and exalted majesty of God, even the bright moon and the stars are not pure, let alone the puny man who is no more than a maggot, a worm (verse 6). His body is extremely fragile. Like a moth he can be crushed to death (Job 4:19). And equally weak also are his intelligent faculties. No one suffers without having earned it, for every man is a maggot, a worm, compared to God. Eliphaz leaves open the possibility of being restored after conversion (Job 22:23), but Bildad’s question of whether a man can be just with God presupposes a negative answer.
Every man deserves to be punished for his sins. But there is a possibility of being justified. That is through faith in the Lord Jesus. Whoever confesses his sins and believes in Him is justified. The Lord Jesus became Man to make that possible. In Him as Man we see God’s pleasure in man.