THE STORY OF JOB. – DAY 15
What if you had lost your possessions? What if you had lost your monetary worth? What if you had lost your children? What if you had lost your health? Could you still find a way to be thankful?
What if your friends started to judge you? What if your friends started to accuse you? What if your friends started to attack you? What if your friends started to try and shame you? What if your friends blamed you for something you didn’t do? Could you still find a way to be thankful?
Can you find hope in the midst of troubles? Can you find joy in the midst of trials? Can be thankful FOR THE things God has done in and through you? Can you be thankful EVEN THOUGH things haven’t always been easy? Can you be thankful BECAUSE OF the trials and tests and troubles, knowing that they will all work together for God because of your faith and trust in God?
Today’s reading of Job from God’s Word comes from Job 11:
‘Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said, “Shall a multitude of words not be answered? And should a talkative man [making such a long-winded defense] be acquitted? Should your boasts and babble silence men? And shall you scoff and no one put you to shame? For you have said, ‘My teaching (doctrine) [that God knowingly afflicts the righteous] is pure, And I am innocent in your eyes.’ But oh, that God would speak, And open His lips [to speak] against you, And [that He would] show you the secrets of wisdom! For sound wisdom has two sides. Know therefore that God forgets a part of your wickedness and guilt. “Can you discover the depths of God? Can you [by searching] discover the limits of the Almighty [ascend to His heights, extend to His widths, and comprehend His infinite perfection]? His wisdom is as high as the heights of heaven. What can you do? It is deeper than Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead). What can you know? It is longer in measure [and scope] than the earth, And broader than the sea. If God passes by or arrests, Or calls an assembly [of judgment], who can restrain Him? [If He is against a man, who can call Him to account for it?] For He recognizes and knows false and worthless men, And He sees wickedness, will He not consider it? But a hollow (empty-headed) man will become intelligent and wise [Only] when the colt of a wild donkey is born as a man. “If you direct your heart [on the right path] And stretch out your hands to Him, If sin is in your hand, put it far away [from you], And do not let wrongdoing dwell in your tents; Then, indeed, you could lift up your face [to Him] without moral defect, And you would be firmly established and secure and not fear. For you would forget your trouble; You would remember it as waters that have passed by. And your life would be brighter than the noonday; Darkness [then] would be like the morning. Then you would trust [with confidence], because there is hope; You would look around you and rest securely. You would lie down with no one to frighten you, And many would entreat and seek your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail, And they will not escape [the justice of God]; And their hope is to breathe their last [and die].”’— Job 11
Today’s study comes from these two sources:
We see another one of Job’s friends step in today and look for an audience with God too, but unfortunately Zophah was wanted the audience in order for God to speak to Job’s iniquity and need to repent. We see how another close friend of Job decides to accuse Job that what he has been going through must be in retaliation to something he had done wrong. As with Job’s other friend who spoke, Zophah is trying to get Job to repent without realizing the reality of the situation. Just as the disciples ask Jesus who sinned to make the man blind from birth, Job’s friends are assuming guilt because of the struggles Job has been going through. Zophah gets started with rebuke · reprimand · reproach · admonishment · admonition · reproval · remonstration · disapproval · disapprobation · criticism · censure · blame · condemnation · fault-finding · telling-off · rap over the knuckles · slap on the wrist · dressing down · blast · ticking off · wigging · serve · rating · reprehension and censure · criticism · castigation · stricture · denunciation · damnation · vilification · opprobrium · reproof · disapproval · disapprobation · flak · a bad press · reprobation · arraignment · excoriation · objurgation. We know from the Bible that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We also know that God convicts us out of love unlike Satan who condemns in order to destroy. Zophah starts out with the assumption that for all this to have happened that Job is guilty. Zophah then goes on to name call Job a talker, a liar, and a mocker. Zophah takes Job’s claim of integrity and twists it by going to the extreme that Job was really saying he was sinless and then Zophah attacked him for it. Zophah wouldn’t stop there, he alleges that not only was Job guilty and unrepentant but also an empty talker, with all that hot air he was spouting off about his innocence and God’s apparent injustice was enough that Zophah would have to speak up and take a stand. Even though Job had earlier acknowledged his sin while maintaining his innocence, Zophah had to respond and retaliate.
As I consider this and ponder this, the words “vengeance is mine says the Lord” come to mind in that we shouldn’t and don’t need to be judging others about things we don’t know and we don’t understand because God won’t be fooled nor mocked and He is able to take care of things himself without our need to judge and accuse. Let’s not fall into the first response being to accuse or assume, let’s make our first response to turn to God for wisdom and discernment how He would choose to use us in the midst of a friends troubles and trials? We need to be considering how when we point at someone there are other fingers pointing back at ourselves and we need to be checking our own lives and hearts and take responsibility and accountability for our own lives. We need to be looking in the mirror and considering what do we need to be doing about our own lives to get more aligned with God’s will and purpose and plan. Receiving Jesus gives us salvation, but God’s plan is that we will have life and life more abundantly and so we need to be move forward from that starting point in alignment with His purpose, plan, and will in order to walk into all the good He has planned for our lives, even in the midst of the trials and troubles.
As we get to verse 5 and following, we learn in today’s study how the words being spoken by Zophah to Job were not helpful but hurtful, they would be helpful if it had been a self-reflection to himself, but in the position Job was in the words brought little to no value.
Verses 5-6: Pastor and scholar Andrew W. Blackwood wrote about this passage, “Such a remark might have considerable value if spoken while looking into the mirror. But from a man who is not suffering, to a man who is suffering, this remark is cruel and utterly without any value at all.”
Job 11:5 “But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;” Plead with thee according to thy desire: he would soon put thee to silence. We are commonly ready, with great assurance, to interest God in our quarrels. But they are not always in the right who are most forward to appeal to his judgment, and prejudge it against their antagonists.
Job 11:6 “And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom, that [they are] double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee [less] than thine iniquity [deserveth].” “Secrets of wisdom”: Job would have been much wiser if he had only known the unknowable secret of God; in this case the scene in heaven between God and Satan would have clarified everything. But Job couldn’t know the secret wisdom of God (verses 7-9). Zophar should have applied his point to himself. If God’s wisdom was so deep, high, long and broad, how was it that he could understand it and have all the answers? Like his friends, Zophar thought he understood God and reverted to the same law of retaliation, the sowing and reaping principle, to again indict Job. He implied that Job was wicked (verses 10-11), and thought he was wise, thought actually he was out of control as if he were a “wild donkey” (verse 12). As terrible as the attack of Satan had been on Job, Zophar felt that it was not enough for the sins of Job. Zophar wanted God to speak out loud and condemn Job, where they could all hear it. In God is all Wisdom and Truth. Zophar was saying to Job, that he had no wisdom. He thought if Job had been wise, he would have repented of his sins by now.
Job 11:7 “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” Literally, can you attain to the searching out of God? Can you suppose, that is, that whatever your wisdom, learning, subtlety, sagacity, power of insight, you will be able to search out and fully know the character, attributes, modes of thought and actions of the Most High? No. In one sense, all men do well to profess themselves “Agnostics”. Not that they can know nothing of God, but that they can never know him fully and never exhaust the knowledge of him. As the apostle says, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God”! “how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor?” (Rom. 11:33-34). “Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” Rather. Can you attain to the perfection of the Almighty? Understand, i.e., his inconceivable perfectness. He was asking Job if he thought that he really could know God? He was saying that the wisdom and knowledge of Job would not help him to know God. He was telling Job, that in no way could he measure up to the expectations of the Almighty God. Zophar was a tormenter, not a comforter.
Job 11:8 “[It is] as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?” Literally, the heights of the heavens; what can you do? But the meaning is probably that expressed in the Authorized Version. God’s perfectness is unattainable by man’s thought, as the heights of the heavens are by his feet. Deeper than hell; literally, than Sheol, or the receptacle of the dead (see comment on Job 10:21). Paul speaks of the “deep things,” or rather, “the depths” of God (see 1 Cor. 2:10). “What canst thou know? How small a part of the Divine nature can any man thoroughly comprehend and know!
Job 11:9 “The measure thereof [is] longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.” Length is generally ascribed to the earth, and width to the sea. The ends of the earth are used for a great distance, and the sea is called the great and wide sea (see Psalm 72:1). But God and his perfections, particularly his wisdom and understanding, are infinite (Psalm 147:5). And will admit of no dimensions; as his love, so his wisdom, has a height which cannot be reached, a depth that cannot be fathomed, and a length and breadth immeasurable (see Eph. 3:18). From hence it appears that God is omniscient, omnipresent, and incomprehensible; and since he is to be found in Christ, and in him only, it is in vain for us to seek for him elsewhere. Next the sovereignty of God is spoken of. This was speaking of the perfection of the Almighty filling the earth and the seas. The following Scripture says it best.— Job Chapter 11 Study
Ever had someone throw your words back in your face and use them in the totally opposite way? We see starting in Job 11:10 how Zophah does just that.
Verses 10-12: In his rhetorical question in 9:12, Job had compared his own cries to the braying of a wild donkey (6:5). Here, Zophar echoes his question but draws the opposite conclusion and accuses Job of being foolish and “empty-headed” (Psalms 10:14: 39:5).
Job 11:10 “If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?” Namely, a person or family. “And shut up”: In prison, or in the hands of an enemy, or in the net of affliction and trouble (Psalm 66:11). “Or gather together”: Make our condition straight and narrow, as some interpret it. Or, gather together as tares to the fire, or gather to himself man’s breath and spirit (Job 34:14). “Then who can hinder him? From doing what he pleases with his creatures? Who can either block the sentence, or oppose the execution? Who can control his power or arraign his wisdom and justice? If he, who made all out of nothing, thinks fit to reduce all to nothing; if he that separated between light and darkness, dry land and sea at first, is pleased to gather them together again. If he that made, think proper to unmake, who can turn him; alter his mind, or stay his hand, or impede or impeach his proceedings? The answer of course, was no one, not even Satan. We must keep remembering that God gave Satan permission to do this to Job. This was in no way a punishment on Job for sins. This was a proving to Satan and to the on-looking angels that Job was truly a righteous man, and that nothing Satan could do to him would change that.
Job 11:11 “For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider [it]?” Though men know but little of God, and therefore are very unfit judges of his counsels and actions, yet God knows man exactly. He knows that every man in the world is guilty of much vanity and folly, and therefore sees sufficient reason for his severity against the best men. “He seeth wickedness also”: He perceives the wickedness of evil men, though it be covered with the veil of religion. “Will he not then consider it?” Shall he only see it as an idle spectator, and not observe it as a judge to punish it? The worst of this was that Zophar was accusing Job of being vain in his own conceit. He was saying that Job had been pretending to be a Godly man, but was not faithful to God in his heart.
Job 11:12 “For vain man would be wise, though man be born [like] a wild ass’s colt.” Man, who since the fall is void of all true wisdom, pretends to be wise, and able to pass a censure upon all God’s ways and works. “Born like a wild ass’s colt”: Ignorant, dull, and stupid, as to divine things, and yet heady and untraceable. Such is man by his birth; this evil is now natural and hereditary, and therefore common to all men. Of consequence it is not strange, if Job partake of the common distemper. Zophar believed that the troubles which had come to Job was because he was vain and puffed up with pride. Zophar believed they came on Job to cause him to repent.— Job Chapter 11 Study
With Zophah’s assumption of Job being a sinner, He points to God’s power of forgiveness if Job will be willing to confess his sin and repent. We learn how Zophah seemed to believe God worked on a tit for tat type of a system or that you get something from God because you first gave God something. But the earth is the Lord’s and everything it, there is nothing we can give God that He doesn’t already have.
We know that isn’t how God’s economy works. We know that isn’t how God works. We know that even simply through the example of Jesus who while we were yet sinners, He died for us. God didn’t wait for us to be good enough, clean enough, smart enough, … He knew that the only way to make a way was to take things into His own hands and hence the ultimate sacrifice, once for all, made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way.
We learn as we start in verse 13 how Zophah continues with the message to Job with the conclusion that his sin would lead to his death.
Verses 13-20: Zophar continues to assume that Job is a sinner but reminds him that God will forgive his sin upon his confession and repentance. Zophar asserted that God operates on the basis of “You give Me something, and I will give you something.” But God does not operate this way. His creation has nothing to give Him that is worth any value (Isa. 64:6).
Verses 13-14: Zophar started out this section speaking directly to Job, “If thou prepare …” and concluded speaking proverbially, “But the “eyes of the wicked …”. In so doing Zophar avoided directly calling Job wicked, but succeeded with ever greater force by being indirect. In the end, he told Job that his sin would bring about his death.
Job 11:13 “If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;” Thy business, O Job, is not to quarrel with thy Maker, or his works. But to address thyself to him by prayer and supplication, sincerely repenting of all your hard speeches, and other sins against God, and seeking him with a pure and upright heart; without which your prayers will be in vain. “Stretch out thine hands”: I.e. pray, which is here described by its usual gesture (as Job 15:25; Psalm 88:9). “Towards him”: I.e. to God, as appears both from the nature of the thing, and from the context.
Job 11:14 “If iniquity [be] in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.” If you have in your hand, or possession, any goods gotten by injustice or oppression, as it seems they supposed he had. Or, he means more generally, if you allow yourself in any sinful practices, the hand being put for action, whereof it is the instrument. “Put it far away”: Keep yourself at a great distance, not only from such actions, but also from the very occasions and appearances of them. “Let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles”: That is, in thy habitation, either in thyself or in thy family. Whose sins Job was obliged, as far as he could, to prevent or reform, as it seems he had done (Job 1:5). He said, tabernacles, because anciently the habitations of great men consisted of several tents or tabernacles. He was giving Job advice here. He wanted Job to put his wickedness far from him, so that God would hear his plea for forgiveness.
Job 11:15 “For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be steadfast, and shalt not fear:” With cheerfulness and holy boldness. “Without spot”: Having a clear and unspotted conscience. “Yea, thou shalt be steadfast”: Shall have a strong and comfortable assurance of God’s favor, and shalt be settled, without any fear of losing thy happiness. After Job had driven his iniquity out of his life, then he could look to heaven and to God for help. He reminded Job that if he was steadfast in the LORD, he had nothing to fear.
Job 11:16 “Because thou shalt forget [thy] misery, [and] remember [it] as waters [that] pass away:” Thy happiness shall be so great that it shall blot out the remembrance of thy past miseries. “And remember it as waters that pass away”: Remember it no more than men remember either a land-flood, which, as it comes, so it goes away suddenly and leaves few or no marks or memorials behind it. Or the waters of a river, which pass by in constant succession. Zophar believed that if Job would repent, his troubles would go away and he would remember them no more. It would be gone as the water passes away.
Job 11:17 “And [thine] age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.” Literally, shall arise above the noonday; i.e. “exceed it in splendor.” Instead of the “thick darkness” to which Job is looking forward (Job 10:21-22). He shall bask in a light brighter than that of the sun at noon. “Thou shalt shine forth”: The Hebrew cannot possibly bear this meaning. The uncommon word used is allied with “obscurity”, and if a verb should mean “thou shalt be obscure,” rather than “thou shalt shine forth.” But it is perhaps a substantive, meaning “darkness;” and the translation of the Revised Version is perhaps correct: “Though there be darkness.” “Thou shalt be as the morning”: “Thy light,” as Professor Lee explains, “shall gradually rise and expand itself far and wide.” It shall dispel the darkness, and take its place,” shining more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). Zophar was saying if Job would do as he had suggested, he would not face the darkness of the grave and hell. He would bask in the Light of the LORD which was greater than the noonday sun. He would be renewed in the LORD.
Job 11:18 “And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig [about thee, and] thou shalt take thy rest in safety.” From coming into like darkness, difficulties, and distress again, and from every evil and enemy. Nothing shall come nigh to disturb and hurt, nothing to be feared from any quarter, all around: or “shalt be confident”. Have a strong faith and full assurance of it, in the love of God, in the living Redeemer, and in the promises which respect the life that now is, and that which is to come. “Because there is hope”: Of the mercy of God, of salvation by Christ, and of eternal glory and happiness, as well as of a continuance of outward prosperity. Faith and hope mutually assist each other. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and hope of better and future things on a good foundation encourages faith and confidence. “Yea, thou shalt dig about thee”: To let in stakes for the pitching and fixing of tents to dwell in, and for more commodious pasturage. Or for wells of water, for the supply both of the family and the flocks. Or rather, for ditches and trenches to secure from thieves and robbers, or for drains to carry off floods of water. “And thou shalt take thy rest in safety”: Lie down on the bed and sleep in the night season in peace and quietness, having nothing to fear. Being well entrenched, and secure from plundering and flooding. And, more especially, being hedged about and protected by the power and providence of God (see Psalm 3:5). The Targum is, “thou shall prepare a grave, and lie down, and sleep secure.” Zophar was saying something that really would happen to Job after he was restored. It was not something that Zophar really wanted for Job however. He said this to remind Job of the wonders of how it used to be. Job’s hope was not in what Zophar had said, or not said, but in the LORD.
Job 11:19 “Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make [thee] afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee.” Either lie down on his bed, as before, or by his flocks, and where they lie down, and none should disturb him or them. Not thieves and robbers, such as the Chaldeans and Sabeans had been to him, nor lions, bears, or wolves. “Yea, many shall make suit unto thee”: Make their supplications, present their requests and petitions for relief under necessitous circumstances, or for protection from the injuries and insults of others. As the poor and needy, the widow and fatherless, had done to him in times past, when in his prosperity, and when he was a friend unto them, and the father of them (see Prov. 19:6). Or, “the great ones shall make suit to thee”; to have his favor and friendship, his counsel and advice, his company and conversation. He should be applied unto and courted by men of all sorts, which would be no small honor to him (see Psalm 45:12). When Job was restored, there would be no warring parties from his neighbors. Instead of stealing from Job, they would be bringing things to him. Again, this was not what Zophar wished for Job, but it was what would happen.
Job 11:20 “But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope [shall be as] the giving up of the ghost.” Or be consumed. Either with grief and fears for their sore calamities; or with long looking for what they shall never attain, as this phrase is taken (Psalm 69:3; Jer. 14:6; Lam. 4:17). And this shall be thy condition; O Job, if thou persist in thine impiety. “They shall not escape”: They shall never obtain deliverance out of their distresses, but shall perish in them. “As the giving up of the ghost”: I.e. shall be as vain and desperate as the hope of life is in a man, when he is at the very point of death. Or, as a puff of breath, which is gone in a moment without all hopes of recovery. Zophar was speaking this, as if it was the fate of Job. In reality, he was speaking of himself and what would come to him, because he had spoken evil of Job. He was saying that Job had no other hope, but death. He would be needing the prayers of Job to save himself from the fate he just spoke of Job.— Job Chapter 11 Study
So where are you at today? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.