Monday, December 27, 2004

God knows a false man. Job 11

Batting third is Zophar. Zophar seems content to speak the same mantra as Eliphaz and Bildad, "Shall a multitude of words go unanswered, and a talkative man be acquitted?" (Job 11:2) We have talked enough about this in the previous posts. Zophar does have one thing to add, he reminds Job that "sound wisdom has two sides." (Job 11:6) What Zophar means is that there is what we understand with our wisdom, and there is what God understands. We see wisdom in part, the part God reveals to us, but God sees it all. If we rely on only what we can understand, then we will miss what God doing. In judging any situation, we need to find out what God has in mind, not just what we can understand.

Unfortunately, Zophar needs to take to heart his own advice. Based on what he can see, Zophar judges that Job's problems are the result of his sins, "If you would direct your heart right and spread out your hand to Him, if iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and do not let wickedness dwell in your tents; Then, indeed, you could lift up your face without moral defect, and you would be steadfast and not fear." (Job 11:13-15) Zophar judged by what he could see and understand, but he did not take time to hear and understand Job's situation from God's perspective. In Zophar's eyes, if Job would just get right with God then all his problems would vanish, "For you would forget your trouble, as waters that have passed by, you would remember it. Your life would be brighter than noonday; darkness would be like the morning." (Job 11:16-17)

Zophar's lack of understanding was compounded with his lack of patience. Zophar grew weary of Job's complaining and Job's seeming inability to just "go on" and "get over it". So insensitive was Zophar's heart, that he actually wished that God would come against Job Himself and set him straight, "But would that God might speak, and open His lips against you, and show you the secrets of wisdom!" (Job 11:5-6) Zophar did not understand that God and Job were not adversaries, but Father and son. Zophar wanted God to "take Job on". Zophar was more interested in being right, and having God prove to Job that he was right, that he was interested in Job's heart and soul. We need to be people who are truly concerted with the state of others and less concerned that we are viewed as being right. Far better that God shows his mercy to one, even if it makes us appear to be wrong, than God show His judgment and we appear to be right.

David Robison

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