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Read Job 11

Zophar

11 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

“Are all these words to go unanswered?
    Is this talker to be vindicated?
Will your idle talk reduce others to silence?
    Will no one rebuke you when you mock?
You say to God, ‘My beliefs are flawless
    and I am pure in your sight.’
Oh, how I wish that God would speak,
    that he would open his lips against you
and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom,
    for true wisdom has two sides.
    Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
    Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do?
    They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know?
Their measure is longer than the earth
    and wider than the sea.

10 “If he comes along and confines you in prison
    and convenes a court, who can oppose him?
11 Surely he recognizes deceivers;
    and when he sees evil, does he not take note?
12 But the witless can no more become wise
    than a wild donkey’s colt can be born human.

13 “Yet if you devote your heart to him
    and stretch out your hands to him,
14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand
    and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
    you will stand firm and without fear.
16 You will surely forget your trouble,
    recalling it only as waters gone by.
17 Life will be brighter than noonday,
    and darkness will become like morning.
18 You will be secure, because there is hope;
    you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
    and many will court your favor.
20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
    and escape will elude them;
    their hope will become a dying gasp.”

Go Deeper

Today we read Zophar’s response to Job. Job has experienced immense suffering from the loss of his children, his livestock, and even his health. Zophar’s response to Job’s experience is harsh. The title in the ESV translation is Zophar Speaks: You Deserve Worse. This should serve as an example to us when coming alongside someone who has experienced suffering the way Job has. We are to balance both grace and truth in our response to them. Zophar responded in such a way that was so heavy with truth it comes across as arrogant. We see Zophar draw a direct correlation between Job’s suffering and his sin, meaning that Job’s sin caused his suffering. However we know that it is not true. There are several examples throughout scripture: Paul in prison, Jeremiah being placed in a cistern, and even Jesus who suffered in the greatest possible way through being crucified on a cross for sins he did not commit. Jesus was blameless (2 Cor. 5:21).

Verses 5 and 6 Zophar gives a cutting response to Job, heavily laden with sarcasm as he delivers his heavy-handed rebuke to Job. This is the last thing we want to do when comforting someone. Often when we are with someone who is in a dark place like Job was, it is more the power of presence than it is the profound wisdom that can be shared. Sometimes the best thing you can do is give them a hug and be with them. 

In the Gospels when someone who is suffering encounters Jesus they experience his gentle and lowly heart. We can be encouraged that in the midst of suffering Jesus is gentle and lowly in heart (Matt. 11:28-30). We can also be encouraged that we have a high priest who can sympathise with us in our weakness, and that because of that we can draw near him in our time of need (Heb. 4:15-16). 

Questions

  1. What correlation can be made between Job and Jesus? 
  2. How can you take actionable steps to comfort someone?
  3. Who in your life is experiencing hardship? Reach out to them now. 

By The Way

Read these two passages today as reminders that we are not alone when we suffer: 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV

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2 thoughts on “Job 11”

  1. I immediately thought of Jesus’s response to the accusers of the woman caught in sin in John 8:7, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” Zophar arrogantly lashes out at Job confident he has the answer to Job’s suffering. He accuses Job of secret sins. Notice he mixes bits of truth with his wrong assumptions. God does see and know everything right down to the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, but we can only make a guess of what is happening in another person’s life. As representatives of Christ, let’s prayerfully consider words we speak and abandon passing judgement. We must pair truth with compassion just as Christ did. Let’s leave others better than we found them longing for more of Jesus.

  2. I love this,
    As representatives of Christ, let’s prayerfully consider words we speak and abandon passing judgement. We must pair truth with compassion just as Christ did. Let’s leave others better than we found them longing for more of Jesus.
    Thank you Ella for sharing this thought.

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