In case you are just now following our study, we’re in Job 11. Job’s a hard book to embrace, and I have no corner on wisdom. I’m just walking through it, sharing what I’m seeing and feeling.
Job was a “blameless and upright” man in God’s eyes. As a result of a conversation with Satan, God allowed Job to endure horrendous suffering. In the midst of it, three friends sat with him patiently, silently, for a week before entering into conversation about the cause of his suffering.
Zophar is the third friend, who must have been frustrated by the pressing but gentle tactics of his comrades, or maybe it was just his nature to be more direct.
Should a multitude of words go unanswered, and a man full of talk be judged right?
Should your babble silence men, and when you mock, shall no one shame you?
For you say, ‘My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in God’s eyes.’
But oh, that God would speak and open his lips to you
And that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom!
Can you hear the sarcasm in Zophar’s voice? It’s as if he is saying, “A lot of words don’t make you right, Job…they’re babble and mocking. Isn’t anyone going shame you for what you are saying? Well, let me do it! You’re saying things that obviously are not true, that you are ‘clean’ in God’s eyes. Just wait, He’ll tell you the truth about your sin!”
Have you ever done something similar? I know I have been so sure about what was right or true, that I blasted someone only to figure out later that I was in the wrong.
How does Job respond? He’s defensive, sarcastic and fights back for what he knows is true:
No doubt you are the people and wisdom will die with you,
But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you…
In fact, he repeats it again in Chapter 13 and adds an all important “but:”
I am not inferior to you.
But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God.
Our friends may never understand us. But even if they don’t, what is important is our relationship with God. They don’t need to “get it” or even agree with us. There is only one person who is important in this conversation.
Job goes meets fire with fire – calling his friends “worthless physicians” and other choice words. He reminds them that death comes to all mankind, including them.
Oh, we can be so wrong sometimes when we are trying to do right! I think Zophar was proud he was a “truth bearer,” unintimidated by Job, but he was insensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, our “comforter.” It’s a check in my spirit to not play Holy Spirit in the lives of others…
Leaving it between them and God.