“You have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials
so that your faith, being of greater worth than gold may be proved genuine.” —1 Peter 1:7
Here comes Zophar!
Zophar has obviously been chomping at the bit for a chance to put in his two-cents worth, and right off the bat he shows himself as the type who shoots first and asks questions later.
He very roughly and bluntly breaks out, “Should a man full of talk be justified?” His indignation has been growing as he listens to Job plead with God and say that he knows of no cause for his afflictions, but longs for an umpire to stand as judge between the Lord and himself. So Zophar feels it incumbent upon himself to be that judge.
Zophar is the third friend to counsel Job, and is the oldest of the three. This may account for his blunt language to a man of Job’s position and character.
Eliphaz had only hinted to Job the conclusions they had come to and Bildad had gently echoed his words by saying, “If you were pure and upright” God would surely “awake for you.” But Zophar does not mince his words. He is fed up! It is time Job was spoken to a little more plainly. Gentle dealing is evidently in vain, because he thinks Job is “full of talk” and “boasting.” It is only mockery for him to appeal to God in the way he has done and to persist in saying his conscience is clear before Him.
I can almost picture these three men. I see Eliphaz slipping his thumbs into his suspenders, leaning back as he chews on a piece of straw, saying; “Well, as I see it Job . . .”
Bildad probably pats Job on the hands as he gently tries to comfort him with his shallow reasoning.
Zophar, on the other hand, probably throws his arms up in rage and disgust.
Zophar feels indignant on God’s behalf; he wishes that God would indeed open His lips against Job and show him that he was exacting even less that he deserved.
How a man could speak so boldly to God was beyond his comprehension. Did Job realize the greatness of the God he was appealing to so freely?
Is Job, as a man, able to fathom the mysteries of God? Can he probe the limits of El Shaddai? They are higher than the heavens, deeper than the depths of the grave, longer than this earth, and wider than the sea. But the Lord knows men; He can see iniquity even though a man does not.
What good does it do to talk to Job? “A witless man can no more become wise than a wild ass’s colt can be born a man.
“Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to Him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent . . . certainly then . . .”
So where are you in this story? Do yourself in Eliphaz? How about Bildad or Zophar? Or do you only see yourself in Job? Me? I began this study thinking that I deeply identified with Job in his suffering, I ended up realizing that I identified just as deeply with Job’s friends in their loveless pharisaism. There is no doubt that the Word of God is a two-edged sword! While Job is primarily a tale of one man’s pain, there is also an implied sequel to the story. This concerns the peculiar suffering of the man’s three friends as they come face-to-face with the treachery of their feelings of authority and expertise. So as you read these studies let the words and our Lord teach you about you. Learn to know who and what you are.
If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.
Other Bible Studies and Commentary are available at Doulos Studies.