OK, that does it!
Here comes Job again
Sometimes a blunt friend is a blessing! Job had only winced under the reproachful sarcasm and assumed spiritual authority of Eliphaz. In answer, he expressed bitter disappointment at his lack of kindness and sympathy with him and then poured out a pathetic account of his pitiful condition, as a man drawing near to the grave.
With Bildad’s gentle reasoning and evident desire to encourage him, Job almost sunk into deeper despair as he considered the omnipotence of God, and struggled with the question of “how” to be counted just before Him.
The rough language of Zophar jerks the slack out of Job and wakes up the faith that was buried under all his self-pity. He is stirred to a tenacious hold on the character of God that eventually carries him through his trial.
This “dying man” has a little more life in him than he knows. He answers Zophar as bluntly as Zophar had spoken to him.
“Yes, I realize you know everything! All wisdom will die with you! But I know a few things myself —I am not inferior to you!” Job cries. “Zophar, you are causing me to be a laughingstock to all my friends to talk to me like this. . . . I, who have in the past called upon God, and received his answer, the man that has walked with God and known that he was accepted by Him . . . is being laughed at by his neighbors.
“But men at ease have contempt for misfortune,” says the stricken man.
Job is as blunt as Zophar when he says, “Ask the animals and they will teach you!” Who does not know that in the hand of the Lord is the life of every living thing?
Zophar had spoken of the greatness of God, but all nature bore witness to this. The ear could test words, the same way the palate tested meat, and Job could not discern an ounce of extraordinary light in Zophar’s language.
“You think that wisdom is with aged men? But I say that wisdom and might is with God.” The God he pleaded with was “the One who worked all things after the counsel of His Own will. It was He alone who had understanding.”
Zophar had wished that God would open His lips against Job, but Job was not afraid of this. He desired with all his heart to speak with God. Like he said, he doesn’t feel inferior to Zophar in his knowledge of the Lord. His friends supposedly came to help him, but they were worthless physicians who smeared him with lies because they were charging him with things that were utterly untrue. What good is a physician who cannot diagnose the case? Sure, they charge you for the office call, but you still go away sick. It would show more wisdom if they would just acknowledge their ignorance and be altogether silent. (That is a polite way to say, “shut up”).
His friends tried to reason with Job. Now they can listen to his reasoning. They had tried to contend for God. What mockery! “The Lord never once said the things that you are putting in His mouth! Does God want your help if you are going to twist the truth for him? Hey, guys, how would you stand under examination?”
They never would have spoken to Job back when he was a big shot the way they have spoken to him on the ash heap. Weren’t they afraid of treating a fellow servant of God this way?” These tremendous statements you have made have about as much value as ashes. Your defense of God is fragile as a clay vase! Why don’t you just shut up and leave me alone, so that I can speak. I’m willing to face the consequences, whatever they are.”
Stepping out in faith
Zophar’s harshness puts a fire under Job and drives him to a desperate venture of faith. Whatever the cost, he will take his life in his hands and cast himself on the character of God. He will trust God no matter what happens! He still feels that as Almighty and majestic as the Lord is, he can still argue his case with Him and that it might actually work toward his deliverance.
He knows that a hypocrite or a godless man could never enter His presence but he will “argue his case” before Him, even with his friends listening on. Maybe he cannot tell you how a man is counted just before God, but he knows that he somehow will be justified.
Looking at his would-be helpers, Job asks if there is anyone that still wants to argue with him about it because he’s in such a state that he just can’t hold his peace. Job just does not know of any sin that he has committed and certainly does not know why he is suffering. He can only think God is dealing with him arbitrarily and he cannot comprehend that.
Job’s appeal to God
Since Job’s friends are charging him with reaping what he has sown, and that he is suffering less than his iniquity deserves, he turns to the Lord and cries out, “What have I done? Point out my sin to me, don’t hide from me and turn me over to my enemy. Would you blame a leaf that is blown about by the wind? Will you chase dry stubble?”
Job starts searching his heart again and wondering “are you making me pay for the foolishness of my youth? I feel like I have been locked up in a prison without a trial, like a fallen, rotting tree or a moth-eaten coat, only fit to be thrown aside.” Yet, he still doesn’t know of any definite iniquity to cause all of this.
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