Jan. 17. Zophar’s Counsel; Job’s Answers/Address to God

Job 11:1-14:22

Zophar the Naamathite was the third of Job’s friends to speak. Eliphaz and Bildad, instead of sympathizing with their friend had only added to his misery by stating that sin had caused his loss of health and wealth. Surely Zophar would be more sympathetic, but that didn’t happen. He only intensified the previous unmerciful accusations against Job. Zophar “comforted” Job by saying that he was receiving less punishment than his sins had deserved even though he had proclaimed his innocence.

Job’s friend continued by insinuating that he did not know the Lord. He described the limitless deep things of God. They are higher than heaven, deeper than Sheol, longer than the earth and wider than the sea. He is all knowing and all powerful. According to Zophar, if Job would return to God in repentance, his life would be restored—bright and beautiful. The child of God may suffer in this life, but he has the promise of a much more glorious eternal life after his days on earth are finished.

There are people who think that they are the only ones who know all of the answers to life’s calamities. Job was exasperated with his friends because of their superior know-it-all attitude toward him. Even though they were mostly correct in their wisdom, he refused to accept their assertion that he was somehow inferior to them. Earthly wisdom would not die with them. He desired comfort. Instead, he was ridiculed by them. Job did not accept their contention that only sinners suffered loss. Nature and life show that the all wise and all-powerful hand of God is in control of all things.

Job repeated his contention that his wisdom was equal to that of his friends and that he was not inferior to them in any way. He had heard enough of their false accusations and worthless remedies. They were speaking as fake doctors. He would consider them wise if they would keep quiet. Their words were as ashes and clay. Job’s desire was to speak directly with God and to plead his case with Him. His friends had presumed to speak for God as they presented their charges against Job. He had confidence that he would be vindicated of any sins in his life.

“Only two things do not do to me…” Job asked that God not withdraw His hand from him and to let him be brave as he spoke to Him. He then presented his case to God. His chief concerns were to know what his sins were and why God had hidden His face from him.

Job began a long lament to God regarding the lowly estate of man. Man’s fleeting existence, like a flower and shadow, is present for only a brief time and then vanishes away. There is even hope for a tree that has been cut down to sprout from its roots and return anew, but man dies and does not return. Job called for God to look away from his misery to allow him rest—even if it could be a temporary death from which he could return. That desire led him into his next question. “If a man dies, shall he live again?” As he sought relief, he charged God with destroying his hope. Job could not see beyond the grave.

Jesus answered Job’s question many years later. He said, “Let not your heart be troubled…In My Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again to receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (Jn. 14:1-3) Jesus also demonstrated life after death by His resurrection from the tomb.