In Bildad’s mind, material prosperity was a good sign of true spirituality. Job’s problems must be caused by judgment from God. “5If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; 6If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. 7Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.” (Job 10:5-7) Bildad’s perception of prosperity was the same as that of many people today. He believed that, if Job were just right with God, God would greatly prosper him and make him to increase.
Bildad went on to explain, “8For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers: 9(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) 10Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?” (vs 8-10)
“Just look at history,” Bildad was telling Job. “We are young, so ask the older generation. They will tell you the differences between how the wicked are dealt with and how God helps the righteous.” This may have been good advice. However, Bildad did not go find the older men and bring them to come talk with Job. Rather, he went on instructing Job in his own wisdom.
“11Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water? 12Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb. 13So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish: 14Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web. 15He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure. 16He is green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden. 17His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones. 18If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying , I have not seen thee. 19Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow.” (vs. 11-19)
Much of what Bildad says here sounds good, but is it true? A look at other Bible passages helps to give an understanding of what God says about this matter.
According to Bildad, the wicked will not be able to prosper. He is like a rush without mire. He might sprout up, but he will be cut off before long. On the other hand, things will go well for the righteous. God will fill him with laughter and rejoicing and will prosper him. Those who hate the righteous will be ashamed and come to nothing.
Psalm 37 gives a different picture. There will be times when the wicked prosper. The wicked devices they devise will come to pass. The wicked will plot against the just and persecute him. The poor will be persecuted and some of those who live uprightly will be killed. During these times there will be famine. The righteous will have little and the wicked will be rich.
However, Psalm 37 says not to fret. One day God will cut the wicked down, and they will wither away like the green herb. The upright man will be fed, and his righteousness will be brought forth as the light. It will be shown in that day that he was right and the wicked were wrong.
Though the unrighteous man prosper in his wicked devices, God will cut him off. In a little while, the wicked shall not be, but the one who waits on the Lord will be blessed. He will inherit the earth and delight in the abundance of peace.
The wicked may plot against the just and do all they can to harm him, but God just laughs. He knows their day of reckoning is coming. The sword they used against the upright will enter into their own heart. Their weapons will be broken. But God knows the righteous. The wicked may prosper for a short time, but the inheritance of the righteous shall be for ever.