1 ¶ Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, 2 Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified? 3 Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed? 4 For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes. 5 But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee; 6 And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine of iniquity deserveth.
Eliphaz opened up some wounds and Bildad dug into them but Zophar really lays into Job. You’ve said a lot of words and you think those words justify you? Did you think a lot of words, a lot of talk, and a lot of lies should keep us silent? Zophar calls Job a mocker and asks him if he thinks that no one should correct him.
Zophar accuses Job, not only of just being a lot of talk and a liar but self-righteous as well. Zophar is mocking Job now. Job didn’t say he was perfect but in 10:7. He said he was not wicked. Zophar wishes God would confront Job for his sin and Job would learn God’s wisdom, which is greater than Job could possibly imagine. Then, he makes the statement that we often make when a brother or sister is having a bad run of events, that Job got far less than he deserved. Considering the circumstances that is a pretty cruel example of piling on, isn’t it? We like to say when something goes bad for us or someone else how we deserve much worse than we got because we are wicked sinners, which may be true but is certainly cruel, and we say this without even knowing the circumstances behind events. Remember, the underlying propositions of the Book of Job are that Job is NOT being punished for a particular sin or sins that he or his children committed and this wasn’t permitted for Job’s edification but for Satan to know Job’s goodness and faithfulness to God and for us to know that terrible things can happen to the best of God’s people without anyone even having a clue as to why. But the overarching lesson is, of course, the sovereignty of God.
Job, you deserved to lose your wealth, your children, and your health and much more, you wicked reprobate. Now, there’s that loving Independent Fundamental Baptist mentality for you under the mask of giving the truth in loooovvvve.
7 ¶ Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? 8 It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? 9 The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. 10 If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him? 11 For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it? 12 For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s colt.
You can’t understand God apart from what He has revealed to you in His Book. An infinite God is just beyond our finite understanding.
Psalm 145:3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
Isaiah 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (Understanding is wisdom – Deut. 4:6; 1Kings 4:29)
As I quoted earlier from a Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, God is as high above the greatest saint as He is above the greatest sinner, being infinite.
Solomon said before the people;
2Chronicles 6:18 But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!
God Himself said;
Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
There is no power able to oppose God.
Revelation 3:7 ¶ And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
Isaiah 43:13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let (prevent) it?
God is perpetually aware of the wicked, empty, and self-worshipping thoughts of vain humanity.
Psalm 94:11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Hosea 7:2 And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.
Verse 12 is a great one. There are so many things you can glean from this verse that are outside of the scope of this study like the firstborn of an ass, like a man, had to be redeemed, or in the case of the ass, have his neck broken (Exodus 13:13; 34:20). Jesus rode into Jerusalem to the people’s approval on a colt, the foal of an ass (Zechariah 9:9 fulfilled in Matthew 21). Sermons have been given about how you have to let God control you, take charge, and other ideas gotten from these verses. But, that’s not for this study.
Verse 12 is a simile, a figure of speech connecting two dissimilar things in a comparison with like or as. An example would be in our common speech, “working like a dog.”
Even though man is uncontrollable and untamable in his natural state apart from someone exerting power over and dominating him he would like to think himself as wise and sophisticated. Man is generally, at his most sophisticated, a pompous windbag, a sanctimonious boor. At his most unrefined and simple he expresses behavior that would make the basest animal blush with shame.
13 ¶ If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him; 14 If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles. 15 For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear: 16 Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away: 17 And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning. 18 And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. 19 Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee. 20 But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.
Zophar advises Job to prepare his heart for repentance. He encourages him to put away his sin, to lift up his face to God for forgiveness. This is good advice for us all, particularly those who have been plagued by sins that control and torment us. However, it is unfairly applied to Job because of the underlying assumption of some great wickedness Job has presumed to have committed.
Zophar promises peace and security to Job if he repents of his sin and turns to God and assures him that unrepentant and wicked men will lose in the end and their hope will die. Good points, all, unreasonably applied, though, to a situation where the self-righteous Zophar has no knowledge but just assumed.
Modern evangelical Christianity has a problem with repentance. Either, it is felt that it is not necessary because we are all doing our best and, after all, we’re only human, and oh, there is grace (a little sarcasm here), or we view repentance as sort of a self-help step-by-step process where we do a 180 in our attitude toward sin and we change ourselves. Of course, for most people this is useless and it is most certainly humanistic drivel that drives a sinner torn by addictions and self-loathing from the arms of God.
The key to repentance is submission, not your good intentions or your emotional frenzy after particularly “good” preaching at a (hopeful) revival meeting. Again, the key to repentance is submission. You prepare your heart to submit to God’s authority and to His power to change you and your circumstances with His word and forget all of this nonsense about changing yourself. If you could change yourself you would have done it long ago.
We sin out of carelessness and we sin out of selfishness and deny God’s authority over us and His will for us. You, Christian, were bought with a price. God purchased you with His own blood. Your careless sin or your selfish sin is rebellion against a Holy God.
1Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
The key to repentance is submission to God’s authority and to His word.
Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
How can you have His word hid in your heart if you don’t read it, hear it read, or hear it preached truthfully, first having pleaded with Him to speak to your heart with it?
God can change you much more successfully and thoroughly than your good intentions can ever do.
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
You sure can’t do it yourself.
Proverbs 20:9 ¶ Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
With regard to Job’s friends our responsibility to people who are suffering is not judgment but mercy. This does not require compromising with or justifying sin. It requires doing for them in some small part what Christ does for us, without condemnation. It can only be asked that the next time you see a friend, a family member, or a member of your church suffering terribly offer to lend a helping hand not a pointing finger. Guard what you let yourself think until you know the whole story.
Zophar has misjudged Job out of ignorance and self-righteousness and misrepresented God, just as Eliphaz and Bildad before him.