God is glorious. All worship begins with the recognition that when we come into the presence of the Almighty, we have come to One who is far above us. As Bildad offers these very brief but forceful thoughts that conclude the speeches of Job’s friends, he begins with the greatness of God. When we speak of the glory of God, what exactly are we talking about? As often as we use the words, “glory,” “glorious,” or “glorified,” we still find ourselves puzzled about what it is that we are actually saying.
Bildad points first to the dominion of God. The Lord is in charge. He rules over all things, seen and unseen. If someone who lived under a powerful monarch were to approach the king, he must do so in fear with a due regard for the power of that royal person, power over the life and death of every one of his subjects. If that majesty had no constitution to which he was subject, no laws that stood above him that he must follow, then he would be able to execute his will according to his mere good pleasure. What glory! Millions have lived under the authority of such human kings over the course of history, yet each of those rulers only had power within the limits of some geographical area. They had no authority over angels, and any rule that they had over men came to them by the decree of God. But God Himself is over everyone in heaven and on earth. He is glorious in His dominion. If anyone rebels against God, he makes war with the one Almighty Sovereign. Only God can say when that war is over, since the offense is against Him. If He determines a way to have peace, then there is peace.
Dominion is not the only element of the glory of God. Those passages in the Scriptures that speak of His glory refer to the perfection of His many attributes, and particularly to the visible brilliance of the One who is Himself unseen. The One who dwells in unapproachable light is the source of Light. In His light we see light. If there is a glory to the sun, or to the moon and the stars, there is a greater glory to the One who made light, and who gives light.
When we consider the glory of God’s light we are drawn to extol Him not only for His wisdom, knowledge, and truth, but also for His holiness, righteousness, and goodness. There is a moral glory to God as the very Source of all that is right. His Law is perfect, and it is safe to follow Him.
All this Bildad knows. But there is another important doctrine that Bildad seems to have ignored, which is closely related to the doctrine of the glory of God. This doctrine is that of the image of God. God created mankind in His image. There is some point of connection between the source and the image of the source. The image is not the source, but is like the source. There is something of the glory of God in the image of God. Only mankind is created in the image of God, and the destiny for the image-bearer of God is glorious.
When mankind enjoys full peace with God we will see the full dominion of the Lord over all the earth. We will shine like the brightness of the Lord in the glory of the new creation. We will be perfected in holiness and without any ethical spot or blemish. Bildad is unable to see the reflected glory of God in even a great human being like Job. Perhaps because of this Bildad has no sense that there could be any way that a human being, whom he speaks of as a maggot and a worm, could ever be right before God.
We live after the time of the shadows that existed from the Fall until the coming of the Son of Man. We know that when God, the Almighty King, announces that we have peace with Him, no one should dare to contradict Him. We also know how God has accomplished that peace. He sent His eternal Son to be the perfect image-bearer of the almighty and invisible Sovereign of creation and providence. Though the visible shining glory of Jesus may have been hidden from the eyes of men for a time, He was the perfect display of all the moral righteousness of God, and He has been granted the fullness of dominion over heaven and earth as the God/Man Savior and King. Now He shines in the glory of His heavenly throne at the right hand of the Father. This perfect Image-bearer of the Almighty made the way for our peace with God through the glory of the cross.
Finally, Bildad and his friends miss the glory of the love and mercy of God, that mercy that caused His Son to willingly satisfy the just demands of the Father in order to win for us a glorious destiny as image-bearers of our King. Jesus is our peace. Job, and millions like him, who have seen something of the dominion and fear of God, have now been brought near to the One we are permitted to call our Father. Jesus is the only way for us to be pure in the sight of God. Mankind was created to reflect the glory of God as the image-bearers of the Lord. In Christ our destiny has been secured.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father, stop the mouth of the fool who would say wicked things in the face of Your righteous servant. Silence the voice of the one who accuses with no knowledge and who adds insult to injury. We know that we are loved by You. We rest in the embrace of our Redeemer despite the troubles that assail us.