1 ¶ Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, 2 Dominion and fear are with him, he maketh peace in his high places. 3 Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise? 4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? 5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. 6 How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?
Bildad interrupts Job to defend God whom he apparently feels is having His sovereignty attacked by Job. He uplifts God’s sovereignty or dominion. Here is an example of parallel thought in a verse that defines dominion for us.
Genesis 37:8a And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?....
Bildad reinforces the fear of God and His control over the world of nature and the spiritual world. Notice the reference to high places. People often talk about whether or not there is life elsewhere in outer space than on earth.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
He is sovereign over all spiritual entities and over the physical universe. He is in control. This is fundamental for Christians to understand as it is an unpleasant truth for the carnal and rebellious at heart who believes, like Job, that he or she deserves something really nice for being on God’s side and doing things that justify themselves in their own minds while saying it is for God.
In verse 3 Bildad speaks of God’s limitless power and how there is nowhere to hide from Him. He does not argue against what Job is saying about the seeming success of wicked men but interjects a point about how God is all-powerful, perhaps thinking that Job is questioning that power.
In verse 4 he brings up the oft-repeated question that goes something like this, how can a man, a seemingly insignificant and weak mortal, being be justified with God? That is a great question of theology for all religions and at all times in history. The answer is in God coming to earth and living as a man, dying for the sins of the whole world, and then rising from the dead, with man being justified by his belief and faith in that act.
Who can be justified with God? How can a man born through the normal process of life, born of a woman, be clean?
Proverbs 20:9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
The answer is that a person, man or woman, must be born of those natural processes, born of water or born of the flesh, as it is put in parallel thoughts in the following, and, in addition, must be born a second time by the Spirit of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
In verse 5 Bildad makes a very scientific statement. The moon does not give off light of its own. It is not a generator of light but reflects the light of the sun. This knowledge, dating to the early second millennium before Christ, predated the Greek philosopher, Anaxagoras, who in the late 400’s BC, determined that the sun and the moon were giant rocks with the moon reflecting the light from the sun, called a, “red-hot stone.” (30) This presents us with a very valuable metaphor in that the Christian has no light of his or her own but must reflect the light of Christ. If the Christian claims his own light he is none of Christ’s. How can we justify ourselves when the only good in us is that which God has implanted there?
The stars are not pure in God’s sight. Theologically we would say that all creation is marred by man’s sin.
Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Everything in the physical universe will eventually face a process of decay. In fact, it can be said that when we are born we start the process of dying.
Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
This is the most significant barrier that mankind has ever faced.
Hebrews 2:14 ¶ Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
It is not solved by anything scientific that man can come up with but the problem of death is solved only by Christ.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Verse 6 also has a very clear double-meaning, with Bildad’s comment first in its literal sense as its meaning between him and Job and then its significance as a reference to what Christ became.
2Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Jesus directed us to this Psalm from the Cross itself by quoting its first verse.
Psalm 22:6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
(30) J.J. O’Connor and E.F. Robertson, “Anaxagoras of Clazomenae,” University of St. Andrews (February 1999), http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Anaxagoras.html, (accessed November 8, 2014).