“And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”
~ Job 26:14


Hi James and Ellen,

Have you ever used sarcasm, cynicism and/or mockery to try to make a point? Do you think that it is a smart thing to do to use sarcasm, cynicism and/or mockery to try to make a point? Job used biting sarcasm in his response to a lecture that he just gotten from Bildad. Bildad had just communicated to Job that he really thought that he had to be in the eyes of God a better guy than Job because Job was being punished by God and he was not being punished by God. How to you feel when your dad and/or ma, a teacher and/or another kid criticizes you for something that was out of your control? How do you feel when another kid communicates to you that he or she is better than you? Job was an emotionally and physically hurting guy. Three guys using the guise of being Job’s good friends told Job that he had to have made God really mad at him or God would not have done and be doing to him what they saw and were seeing happening to him. What Job really heard Bildad say in the self-righteous lecture that he gave him was that Bildad was confident that he had to be a much smarter guy – in God’s eyes, than what he – Job was. Job also realized through what Bildad told him that Bildad did not have a clue as to Who God is. Job uses this opportunity to put Bildad’s words back into Bildad’s mouth for Bildad ‘to eat his own words’. Sarcasm, cynicism and mockery are ways to try to get a guy, gal or kid ‘to eat the words’ that he or she has just said or to get a guy, gal or kid to think about an action that he or she has just done. Sarcastic, cynical and mocking responses are actually really dangerous tongue weapons that can quite easily emotionally cripple and even kill. How do you feel after you have after having responded in a smart aleck way hurt the feelings of your dad or ma, a teacher and/or another kid?

How do you think that Bildad was feeling as Job was lecturing him? Job used some of what Bildad said in his lecture to him to sarcastically bite back at Bildad. Job’s scathing response to Bildad for what Bildad had said to him is found in Job 26. The first thing that Job said to Bildad – after Bildad had finishing lecturing him, was ‘wow – you have really helped powerless me’. Job did not actually mean what he said; what Job was really saying sarcastically was ‘get lost guy – I really did not appreciate what you said to me’. All Job wanted was just one guy to show some kindness to him. Job was not in the mood for a guy like Bildad – who thought of himself as being one of Job’s good friends, to criticize and lecture him. The next thing that Job said to Bildad was ‘thank you – you have just saved poor feeble me from’ . . . Job did not actually mean what he said; what Job was really saying cynically was ‘leave me alone guy – I really do not appreciate how you perceive my situation’. The next thing that Job said to Bildad was ‘wonderful – that was really good advice that you gave me and really super insights that you showed me’. Job did not actually mean what he said; what Job was really saying mockingly to Bildad was ‘you idiotic guy – how could you if you had any smarts at all ever say what you said and think those things that you just told me? Job concluded his short, pointed diatribe against Bildad by asking Bildad who in the world – like what loose cannon spirit, had helped him say the affronting, outrageous things that he had just said to him. Job would then give Bildad a sermon on God’s omnipotent power. Bildad got an earful about God knowing who the dead are in the netherworld, that God has made death subject to His will, that God uses destruction as a fear factor to get attention, that God has spread out the sky’s blanket, that God loads up clouds with water, that God has marked the cosmic boundaries, that God’s presence makes heaven’s pillars quake and that God breathes the color of the sky blue. Job sums up his remarks to Bildad by telling Bildad in verse 14, “And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”’ What Job told Bildad – using biting sarcasm, in a very clear, concise way is that if you really think that you have an iota of an idea that you know Who God is, you are way out in wa-wa land. Job states that his knowledge of God can only be compared to a very faint whisper.

Your grandpaa likes to say that he has a handle on being sardonic. To be sardonic is to be cutting or derisive. Your grandpaa knows that he is quite cutting, derisive and/or sardonic in what he sometimes says. Your grandpaa uses the excuse for why he uses sardonic, cutting and/or derisive remarks to ‘poke’ a guy, gal or kid as a way to get to know the guy, gal or kid as fast as he can. Your grandpaa wants something that he has said – that some guys, gals and kids internalize as being sardonic, cutting and/or derisive, as being teasing or joking as his way for being able to quickly get to know a guy, gal or kid. Job had no reason to speak kindly to any of the three guys who thought that they were helping him when in reality they were disparaging and condemning him. Your grandpaa knows that God expects that he be kind to every guy, gal and kid who he meets. Your grandpaa knows that the guys, gals and kids who God has cross your grandpaa’s path is to hear in your grandpaa’s words and see in your grandpaa’s life God’s loving compassion, caring grace and awesome power. You are now living in a revolutionary, transformation era. It is absolutely critical today that your lives are transformed so that your lives can make you revolutionary mentors in the transformation of the lives of new Christ-follower guys, gals and kids versus pulling a Bildad by acting out being a know-it-all demigod. Your grandmaa and grandpaa administrated and led a dozen summer team mission trips of primarily college age guys and gals who spent at least seven weeks outside the United States. Your grandpaa knows that leading summer team mission trips really helped him to learn to constructively relate with young guys and gals.

Job 26 (736)