Daily Thought for: 2nd August

ZOPHAR

Job 11. 1-20

The third friend was Zophar. He is harshly dogmatic and merciless. As well as calling Job a hypocrite, Job 20. 5, he also accuses him of lying, 11. 3. If Eliphaz is the moralist, basing his arguments on experience and Bildad is the legalist basing his case on tradition, Zophar is the dogmatist basing his statements on assumption. Eliphaz concludes Job is suffering because of his sins; Bildad considers he is a hypocrite, whereas Zophar accuses him of being a wicked man. Zophar is a Naamathite, 2. 11. This is not likely to be connected with Naamah of Judah, Josh. 15. 41, but rather a location in the east country. Whereas his friends spoke on three occasions, he speaks only twice, chs. 11, 20. His silence during the third cycle of debate seems to indicate that with Bildad’s third speech, ch. 25, the friends have exhausted and failed to establish their arguments. Zophar is the most impulsive and intolerant of the three friends, 11. 2-3; 20. 2-3. His passionate response to Job is most intense, with reckless exaggeration. He accuses him directly of wickedness and states that Job’s supposed guilt deserves more punishment than he received, 11. 6. Job did not need a severe judge for a friend! Like his companions, Zophar advocates repentance in order to enjoy peace and restoration. Nevertheless, at the conclusion of his first speech, he reverts to the dreadful peril of the wicked, 11. 20. Unfortunately, the trio sing in close harmony as they continue the ballad of the wicked man. However, they are singing the wrong tune! In his second speech, he goes beyond his friends’ words, by giving horrific descriptions of the woes of the wicked, 20. 5-29. Job contradicts these ideas and finds no comfort whatsoever in them. Each of the friends considered suffering to be retribution for sins committed. However, the refiner’s work is complete only when he is able to see his own reflection in the metal. God’s purpose with Job was not retribution but refinement, 23. 10. Does He see His reflection in me? See Gal. 4. 19. Zophar desired God to speak directly to Job in order to put him right. He was granted this; God did speak but Zophar was rebuked much more than Job, 11. 1, 5, 6; 42. 7. Further, in replying to Zophar’s question, 11. 7, we know that God has been fully revealed in His own Son, John 1. 18. 

 

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