Job took a deep breath and prepared for his final rest. His body, still burning from the rotting cocoon of disease enshrouding his entire body, lay exposed to the night air which circulated through the sides of the tent.
As the dark night was fading into dreamless oblivion, the faint sound of footsteps stirred Job from his slumber.
“You think we’re mindless like cattle, don’t you.” The distinctive voice of Bildad the “oracle” was unmistakable, but even in the starry dark, neither men could discern the features of the other.
“You’ve thrown your tantrum, and you expect the whole world to crumble and fall. Your tent is pitch black because the light of the wicked has been quashed. You tripped up somewhere on the path, and now terrors come at you from every direction.
“Your sin gnaws at you like the disease consuming your skin. Here in your bedchamber, nothing is left but smoking sulfur. Your roots are shriveled, and your branches have withered. With no child left, your memory will fade into the dust of the hills.”
Inspiration: Job 18
“How easy it is for you to come here, look at my condition, and tarnish my good name with mere conjecture,” Job answered. “If I were in your place, Eliphaz, I could do the same thing.”
He limped back to the fire circle, staff still in hand, to address the others.
“I could also soothe you with sympathy to ease your sorrow and encourage your strength.”
Job threw Eliphaz’s staff to the ground and inched closer to the fire. His body looked like it had been stoned. The grey-green pus and blood draining from his sores comingled into a black jelly that glistened like pitch in the firelight.
“In his anger, God hunted me down and ripped me to shreds. He handed me over to Satan, who lurks in the shadows of my dreams and glares at my misery. God set me up as a target for my so-called friends. Without mercy, you notch your arrows and pierce me with lies.
“Yet I plead my innocence. When I die, may my racked body continue my protest. Surely my advocate is up there somewhere.
“I no longer consider you my friends. I’ll pour my heart out to God alone, believing he will listen as a friend before I exert my last breath.”
Inspiration: Job 16