A Devotional Journey
led by Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
Zophar is next to speak and continues the argument advanced by Eliphaz (4:7-11) and Bildad (8:3-6) that only Job’s own sins could have caused all the troubles he has faced. He fails to put himself in Job’s place, thereby missing the human reality of the situation and rejecting any effort at compassion. His assumptions of what has happened are also flawed: Job has challenged God to show the justice in His actions (9:14-24) but has never come close to mocking God as Zophar claims he has. It is fascinating that while this friend of Job is quite vocal that God should speak him, in the end it is Zophar himself who hears God’s condemnation (Job 11:5; see Job 42:7).
No where in the Bible does God promise that any child of His will automatically live in a world that is “brighter than noonday” as Zophar puts it in 11:17. This philosophy is in conflict with Psalm 73.
Job never asserts his sinless perfection; however, he does assert a level of blamelessness (supported by God Himself in Job 1:8 and 2:3), which should have led to his protection from such calamities in his life . . . according to the conventional wisdom of the day – the very understanding Job’s story is now being told to change.
Job’s response follows a continuing pattern: first he addresses his friends; then he addresses God. His first argument is that all of God’s creation demonstrates that the Creator does what He wishes and that the extent of a person’s piety does not determine the degree of freedom from affliction he will experience.
In this section Job begins to assert the failure of his counselors to understand his situation and help him through it. He goes so far as to insist that someday God will weigh their own actions and punish them (which is close to what happens at the conclusion of the book!). The final thought in this section (14:18-22) is that while there may be a resurrection for the righteous there must be some relief for them in this life if God is to be considered just.
Do you ever find yourself lacking in compassion? We are all quite quick to notice such a deficiency in others. Are you ever persuaded by the tempting thought that if you just follow God closely enough, none of the bad stuff can happen to you? When it does do you ever become angry with God for not protecting you better?
We are all Job, to a greater or lesser degree. What we need most is the kind of understanding which comes out the total story of his life – a story which offers a glimpse beyond the immediate circumstances and interests of our lives into the workings of God.
Today ask God to give you patience with your life and more trust in His ability to see you through it.
© A. Eugene Pearson 1999