Job

Day 8: Zophar’s First Speech and Job’s Reply

Job 11:1-20, Job 12:1-25, Proverbs 4:18, 1 Peter 2:21-25

 

The English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley once said, “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” I would argue that much of perception has to do with personal perspective. Consider a photograph, for example. A photographic image is only able to capture a moment in time, and only one perspective of that moment in time. Beyond the frame of the photograph, most of that moment is cropped out. In other words, your perception of that moment in time is limited by what is presented in the picture.

In many ways, this helps us understand the sharp challenge that Zophar aims at his friend, and Job’s response in Job chapters 11 and 12. From Zophar’s point of view, Job’s suffering is the result of his own secret wickedness. In one sense, we know that all suffering is a result of sin, and the brokenness we experience in this world is caused by sin. However, the irony of Zophar’s challenge, “Can you fathom the depths of God or discover the limits of the Almighty?” (Job 11:7), is that he presumes God’s purposes in Job’s suffering are obvious, transparent enough that he can rebuke Job and call him to repent.

But remember, Zophar has a limited perspective. Much of his indictment against Job is based on his own limited experience. Wisdom always has two sides: the known and the unknown. True wisdom understands that only God is able to view things from all vantage points. God’s wisdom is not always clear to us, especially in difficult times. During those times, it is important not to doubt God’s wisdom and providence over our lives.

We never have the whole picture, only our limited perspective. Based on the testimony of God’s character revealed in Scripture, we should fight to believe that God is ultimately sovereign over everything in life for these reasons: His glory and, ultimately, our good.

Therefore, we should always aim to be attentive to what God may be doing in order to gain insight into His character and will. One of the most comforting truths to remember is that we have a good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who is the overseer of our souls. Jesus is the true and greater Job, who innocently suffered, yet overcame and still intercedes for His friends. Not only did Jesus suffer for you, He did so by entrusting Himself to the Father. Unlike Zophar, who lodged critiques at Job, we have a Savior who knows suffering well, and is therefore able to empathize with us, offering true comfort and compassion.

Written by Matt Capps