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by | Oct 4, 2014 | Discernment, Studies From the Book of Job (A Mini-Series), Studies From the Book of Job, #2: Lessons on Discernment From Job (A Mini-Series), Truth

The book of Job has many valuable lessons to teach us. Over the course of the next year, several min-series will be published in the Nugget, focussing on each of these lessons. Please click here for Study #1 — Managing Troubles. The next 3 devotionals from Job will focus on the lessons that Job has to teach us about discernment …

Last week, in Lessons on Discernment, Part 1, we learned that Truth is not defined by tradition or culture, the wisdom of the day, or even by supernatural occurrences. Truth is defined by God’s Word.

Today’s lesson on discernment takes us to the second of Job’s friends: Bildad the Shuhite.

Just who is this Bildad?

There is only one other mention of a Shuhite in the Bible: “Abraham again took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.” (Gen 25:1-2 NKJC).

Now we don’t know much about these other sons of Abraham, except what Gen. 25 records: “And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. But Abraham gave gifts to the sons of the concubines which Abraham had; and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east.” (Gen 25:5-6 NKJV)

Now there is no way to know for sure, but it seems logical to assume that Bildad may have been a descendant of Abraham’s son, Shuah, who was sent into Arabia and not mentioned again in the Bible until the book of Job when we hear of Bidad the Shuhite. (See Job 2:11 NKJV)

Interestingly, there is much debate about when the story of Job takes place. However if Bildad is truly a descendant of Abraham’s son, Shuah, then we know that the story takes place after Abraham, likely during the time of the patriarchs.

But this is all just an interesting aside, for the real message on discernment comes to us from Bildad’s first discourse with Job, as it is recorded in Job 8. Bildad begins his discourse by asking Job a valid question: “How long will you speak these things, And the words of your mouth be like a strong wind?” (Job 8:2 NKJV)

We know from later in the book of Job that Job’s words were not 100% righteous. This is why God spends several chapters admonishing him. So Bildad’s discourse begins with an element of truth, and if you look closely, you will find many, many elements of Truth in Bildad’s discourse. Here are a couple of excellent examples:

“For inquire, please, of the former age, And consider the things discovered by their fathers; For we were born yesterday, and know nothing, Because our days on earth are a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you, And utter words from their heart? Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh? Can the reeds flourish without water? While it is yet green and not cut down, It withers before any other plant.” (Job 8:8-12 NKJV)

“So are the paths of all who forget God; And the hope of the hypocrite shall perish, Whose confidence shall be cut off, And whose trust is a spider’s web. He leans on his house, but it does not stand. He holds it fast, but it does not endure.” (Job 8:13-15 NKJV)

But there are also misconceptions in Bildad’s discourse. Not blatant contradictions, but subtle false accusations and insinuations: “If you would earnestly seek God And make your supplication to the Almighty…” (Job 8:5)

The insinuation here is that Job is not earnestly seeking God, that he is not making supplication to the Almighty. But we know that he is!

Here is another: “If you were pure and upright, Surely now He would awake for you, And prosper your rightful dwelling place.” (Job 8:6,7 NKJV)

This verse insinuates that Job is not pure and upright. But we know that prior to the onset of the trials and tribulations, God has already called Job blameless… “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” (Job 1:22 NKJV)

Lots of words of wisdom, mixed with a few subtle contradictions. But that is all it takes to sour the pot, isn’t it?

I see two separate applications for this problem. In one application, we see religions proclaiming things that are 99% Truth, but 1% falsehood.

If I make a pot of rice, and by mistake I leave it on the fire too long, the bottom layer will burn. I can scrape the good rice out of the pan, leaving behind the thin burned layer, but the taste of burned rice will have permeated throughout the entire pot, making it less than desirable to eat. The 1% falsehood will do the same! It will permeate throughout all that this religion teaches, spoiling the entire thing!

Friends, when it comes to religion, only 100% Biblical Truth counts!

Another application of this message might include anything we read or hear that is not the pure Word of God. Many of these messages contain wonderful pearls of wisdom, but what if there is just a tiny bit of untruth hidden in the message? Should we reject the whole message?

If we do, then we miss out on the pearls of wisdom that may be vital to our walk with Christ! So how do we glean the good and reject the wrong?

We need to pray for discernment!

But wait! That puts a lot of pressure on us, doesn’t it?

Not really. God has promised us wisdom (James 1:5), and He has promised us discernment (1 Cor 12:10). What this simply means is that whenever we hear or read anything, other than the pure Word of God, we must ask God for wisdom and discernment so that we can glean the real words of wisdom, but reject that which does not represent 100% Truth!

Please join us next week for Lessons on Discernment, Part 3: The Folly of Leaning on our Own Belief System.

In His love,


Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries.

(To access the rest of “Lessons on Discernment From Job”, please click here.)


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