Thoughts on Job's interaction with Zophar
A couple of weeks ago we began to study the Book of Job together
-It introduces us to a man named Job
-Job was the most righteous man on Earth
-Satan, appearing before God-- for all are accountable to God, contended that Job only followed God
because he was healthy, wealthy, and incredibly blessed.
-To prove to Satan that Job didn't follow God because of his health or any material blessing, God allowed
to afflict Job-- Job proved faithful, keeping his faith in God under the most extreme circumstances. While
this might sound strange, what's amazing is how confident and pleased God was with Job. Further-- a big
takeaway point for us is that we are to follow God for the right reasons-- not because of health or material
blessings but for who He is- our Creator, the one true God.
-Central to the account of Job is that he was a righteous sufferer. The things he experienced were not
because he had sinned or done wrong. The hardships he went through were because he was righteous. In
trying to figure this out- there is only one explanation that makes any sense--- Job points us to Jesus- the
ultimate righteous sufferer.
-While suffering for righteousness sake, at first blush, is not terribly appealing, when we see such as an
identification with Christ himself and hence as a part of the advancement of Christ's kingdom, that helps
frame it in a new light. (see also Hebrews 11:32-40)
-Through the rest of Job there exists an ongoing dialogue between Job and his 3 friends
-In these back and forth speeches Job clings to this position- I haven't done anything wrong, I haven't
done anything that would warrant my sufferings-- I want God to come. I want to talk to God. In response
to Job's contention are his friends, constantly asserting that Job is a sinner getting what he deserved and
exhorting Job to repent.
-Back and forth at each other Job and his friends will go until the end- when God himself shows up.
Today: Thoughts on Job's interaction with Zophar-another of his so called friends. Job 11-14
READ JOB 11 -Zophar's speech
I. A SUMMARY OF ZOPHAR'S SPEECH
1. He's angry at Job for not admitting to his supposed sins. He's angry at Job for proclaiming his innocence.
2. Ironically- and this fits perfectly into the big finale of the book of Job- Zophar wishes that God would
interject and speak to Job (the very thing Job wanted anyways)
3. Most grievously, Zophar suggests that God had actually gone easy on Job "Know this: God has even
forgotten some of your sin" Job 11:6
What a statement-- You got less than you deserved
4. He wants Job to repent-- Job- your only hope of restoration and joy lies in you repenting of your sin
A few thoughts
1. While it is true that God does not treat us as our sins deserve (and for His grace we must be very
thankful) -Psalm103:10, what Zophar says in v.6 is downright cruel and wrong.
2. While it is true that repentance from sin results in God's forgiveness, restoration, and blessing (and we
must be a people of repentance!) Zophar is wrong is assuming that Job was harboring a bunch of secret
sins that God was punishing. He's wrong because we have read that Job was the most righteous man on
earth- he was a righteous sufferer- a type for Christ
3. Job 11:16 -"You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by." while these words
are appealing, they are not always true- (this is why we are taking a hard look at these speeches- that we
might rightly divide the Word)
"You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by."
Of all the folks I talk to, very few who have suffered trauma, 'forget' their pain and sorrow. Yes, the Lord is
our comfort and their is healing in His wings. Yes, the times of sorrow fade and subside so that they are
not overwhelming. Yes the Lord blesses and fills in joy where at times we have none. Yes, there is a day
coming when God will wipe away every tear, YET what Zophar says is crass.
While you and I would love to forget some things (and maybe you have and that is awesome- for God can
and does heal our minds too!), some things have a very long "tail". While this is true, we also must resist
dwelling on the hurts of the past (their memory will come up), but it's not good to feed it either. AND--
THANK GOD FOR HIS HEALING AND HIS COMFORTS THAT HELP US GET THROUGH
II. JOB'S RESPONSE TO ZOPHAR-- JOB 12-14
Job's response covers 3 chapters! While we don't have time to read all that he says, there are a few things
that I want to draw your attention to.
1. Job is a little bit combative - Job 12:1-3
Summary- "You all talk like you know everything"
Later on in chapter 13 Job asks outright that they just stop talking- for their words are hurtful and wrong
2. In responding to Zophar, Job says something that is accurate all too often -- Job 12:5
"Those who are at ease have contempt for misfortune as the fate of those whose feet are slipping."
People who are really comfortable are not always very compassionate or emphatic. Sometimes, as much as
we dislike trouble, the hardships of life make us better people (esp when we give such things to Christ and
realize that He is fitting us for Heaven)
3. In pushing back against Zophar, Job identifies a critical flaw in his friends logic-- More often than
not, the wicked (those who don't care about Jesus and His ways) have pretty comfortable lives
(instead of the misery plagued lives they associated with rebelling against God) v.6
The problem of why do wicked people prosper while the Godly often suffer has vexed the followers of God
for centuries. Asaph addresses this directly in Psalm 73, speaking of how he nearly lost his faith due to
seeing the prosperity of the wicked, even saying out loud "Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure". Peace
of mind comes though near the end of his speech when he says "When I tried to understand all this, it
troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny."
God is just- the righteous will be rewarded and the wicked punished- in the end
4. In responding to Zophar, Job says a lot about God that is true -Job 12:13ff
While Job was not happy with how God was treating him, he makes it clear that this is God's world, God
can do as He wishes, God is sovereign, God's ways are beyond comprehension. God is very active in His
While he says a lot about God that is true, if you track along with his speech through ch.13:25ff you will
also see that he misunderstood God (for he describes God as tormenting him and treating him as an enemy)
5. Job's exposition of God and His ways while rebuking his friends for their accusations against him
leads us Job's petition of Job 13:3- I WANT MY DAY IN COURT! I WANT TO TALK TO GOD ABOUT HOW
I'VE BEEN TREATED BY GOD? I WANT GOD TO EXPLAIN WHY?
JOB'S REQUEST/DESIRE is one that is not hard to identify with
The why question is one that haunts us all
Interesting thing: While there may be moments in the here and now when we are almost as demanding as
Job- in the end, when we appear before God and behold His glory and majesty and see Christ our Savior,
we will be like Job was- quiet and satisfied
6. As much as Job felt that God was against Him (for reasons he couldn't figure out) he was
resolved to hold on to his faith in God. Job 13:16
A most famous verse "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;"
We are to stand firm in our faith in Christ. We must have the same sort of tenacity that Job had
7. A COUPLE OF THOUGHTS FROM JOB 14
In Job 14:1-2 Job says what we know-- life is short.
How are we to respond to this? The counsel of Ecclesiastes 12:1 says; "Remember your Creator in the
days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no
pleasure in them" In short: Get right with God while you can. Today is the day of salvation! Believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ!
After speaking of the shortness of life and asking God to let him alone- for God's attention was too much
for him, Job touches on a subject that is near and dear to us- THE RESURRECTION TO COME. v.7ff
While framed in a negative light- for Job's suffering clouded his vision- Job illustrates the resurrection to
come by talking about how a tree, when it is cut down, can spring up back to life.
From Job's perspective- there was more hope for a tree than for him. While expressing this- which shows
how deep his despair was, Job also reveals that he really did believe in the resurrection to come SEE
"If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal (the word
behind this refers to new garments) to come. You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the
creature your hands have made."
Through and through the Bible teaches of the resurrection to come.
Daniel 12:2 says; "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others
to shame and everlasting contempt."
In Psalm 16:9-11 David says; "Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest
secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see
decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal
pleasures at your right hand.
In John 11:25 Jesus says; "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even
though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says; "Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those
who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we
believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have
fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left
until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord
himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the
trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left
will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the
Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words."
The promise of the resurrection to come, illustrated by Job (the tree) is ultimately grounded in Jesus and
A final point:
JOB'S VACILLATION OF BELIEF IS SOMETHING THAT WE UNDERSTAND. Despair and sorrow assault
the mind. Yet, as dark as the hour was- like a candle flickering in the wind- Job still had faith- a
faith he did let go of.
HOLD ON TO JESUS. HOLD ON TO YOUR FAITH- for He/she who stands firm to the end will be saved.