Introduction: I love logic! So, does Bildad, one of Job’s friends.
Bildad knows his theology, he knows his logic, and he deduces that
Job’s children deserved to die. You could call that real “Retributive
Punishment.” Sometimes logic lets us down. Sometimes our view of how
God operates is mistaken, and thus our logical deductions are also
wrong. Let’s dig into our study of the Bible and find out about love,
logic and retributive punishment!

  1. Blustering Wind

    1. Read Job 8:1-3. Bildad, one of Job’s friends, enters the
      picture. What is Bildad’s goal? (It is not to comfort Job.
      Rather, he wants to vindicate God.)

      1. Let’s back up and see what Bildad thinks is
        “blustering wind.” Read Job 7:19-20. What is Job
        saying? (That he does not deserve to be a “target” of
        God’s punishment. If he has sinned, it has not harmed

      2. Why is Bildad so upset about that? (It makes God
        appear to be unjust. Bildad thinks that Job knows
        what he has done, he just refuses to admit it.)

      3. Why is Bildad so certain that Job has sinned?
        (Because he shares the Deuteronomy 28 view we
        discussed in earlier lessons – if you obey you
        prosper, if you disobey you are harmed.)

    2. Read Job 8:4. How harsh a blow is this to Job? (Read Job
      1:4-5 and Job 1:18-19. This is the worst thing Bildad
      could say because it reflects Job’s private thinking. Job
      may have known about himself and sin, but he did not know
      for sure about his children – especially after a party.)

      1. What is wrong with Bildad’s statement about Job’s
        children? (Bildad is making a deduction based on his
        understanding of theology. He is not making a
        statement based on his actual knowledge of sin. If
        Bildad’s theology is wrong (in general it is not), or
        it does not apply in all circumstances (which is the
        case here), then Bildad has added to Job’s

    3. Read Job 8:5-7. Do you think Bildad believes these are
      words of encouragement?

      1. How would you react if you were Job?

    4. Read Job 8:8-10. How does Bildad believe we should
      understand God’s actions today? (By looking at history.)

      1. Do you agree? (I do.)

      2. Is this why God included the book of Job in the
        Bible? (Yes!)

    5. Read Job 8:20-22. Is God as simple and predictable as
      Bildad claims?

    6. Read Job 9:1-4. How does Job respond to Bildad’s view of
      God in history? (He admits the general rule is that good
      people prosper and bad people suffer, but Job sees God as
      being complex. “His wisdom is profound, and His power
      vast.” By predicting what God will do in all situations,
      Bildad made God just like him. What a mistake.)

  2. Zophar’s Answers

    1. Now we hear from Zophar, another “friend.” Read Job 11:4-6. Is Zophar right that there are always two sides to a

      1. What “side” does Zophar think needs to be explained?
        (Job’s lies about being “pure” need to be exposed.
        Job is so sinful that “God has even forgotten some of
        [his] sin.”)

    2. Let’s go back and find out why Zophar feels this way. Read
      Job 11:1-3. What is Zophar’s goal? (He believes he should
      rebuke Job.)

      1. Why? (Both Bildad and Zophar feel an obligation to
        vindicate God’s character. They think that Job is
        falsely accusing God of violating God’s rules.)

      2. Are there really “two sides” to this story? (Zophar
        says there are two sides, but he does not really
        believe Job’s side is valid.)

    3. Read Job 11:7-9. What is Zophar’s view of God’s
      intelligence and knowledge? (Limitless.)

    4. Read Job 11:11-12. What is Zophar’s view of Job? (He
      suggests that he is “witless.” Clearly, we do not have
      “two sides” in Zophar’s mind.)

      1. What does Zophar teach us is the wrong way to
        approach these kinds of disputes over God’s will? (To
        think that the other side is stupid, and to say just

  3. Job’s Response

    1. Read Job 12:1-3. How does Job respond to the charge that
      he is a witless? (Job says that he is as smart as Zophar.
      In addition, he also knows about the rules of the universe
      that Zophar and Bildad have been stating.)

    2. Read Job 12:4-5. Job maintains that he is “righteous and
      blameless.” Why does he say that Zophar and Bildad cannot
      see this? (“Men at ease have contempt for misfortune.”)

      1. Let’s consider whether what Job says is true. Do
        people who do not share your problems think your
        problems are your fault?

        1. Is it generally true that our problems are our
          own fault?

    3. Read Job 12:6. Are “marauders” bad people? (Of course.)

      1. What is Job saying? The rules do not always apply

        1. If Job is really saying that, he is denying
          justice. Justice is even-handed. Do you have a
          different explanation for the marauders’ secure

  4. Punishment

    1. Read Numbers 16:1-3. Do you agree that some leaders set
      themselves above the rest of the religious community?

    2. Read Numbers 16:4-7. Moses is the leader who Korah and the
      Levites were challenging. What is Moses’ reaction to this
      rebellion? (He humbly turns to God. He says “let God

    3. Read Numbers 16:28-33. Could Zophar and Bildad have
      predicted this?

      1. Could you have predicted this outcome for Korah and
        his allies?

      2. We have previously discussed God’s “automatic” rules
        of the universe, but here we see God’s active
        intervention to punish rebellion. How much of that do
        you think goes on now?

  5. What Should We Conclude?

    1. Let’s see how all of what we have studied applies to us.
      Clearly, we will have disputes over what we think is God’s
      will. I can think of a big dispute in my own church right
      now. Korah thought Moses was wrong. Bildad and Zophar
      thought Job was wrong. What is the first question we
      should ask in situations like this? (Do we really think we
      have a better grasp of God’s rules and God’s will? Do we
      really think we are smarter or more faithful than those
      with whom we disagree?)

      1. What do we learn from Moses’ approach? (Moses did not
        say, “I’m smarter or I’m the leader.” Instead, he
        humbly turned to God and said, “Let God decide.”)

        1. Will that still work today?

      2. What other questions are appropriate for us to ask
        when we have a dispute? (Are we really sure that this
        is God’s will in this particular instance? We might
        know God’s general rules, but is it possible they do
        not apply here?)

        1. How will we know when the “marauder exception”
          ( Job 12:6) applies? (I don’t think the
          marauders were an exception to God’s rules, I
          think they show us that God acts in His own

    2. Look again at Job 8:4. What rule do you think should have
      been applied here? (Read 1 Corinthians 16:14. Bildad is
      not showing love to Job because there is nothing Job could
      do to change the death of his children.)

    3. Friend, when you get into a dispute over God’s plans or
      His actions in the universe, will you first turn to God in
      prayer? Will you ask yourself if you are smarter, if you
      are sure about the rules in this instance, and if you are
      showing love? Why not, like Moses, let God vindicate

  6. Next week: Innocent Blood.