Most of the time God’s Word the Bible teaches from positive perspective – here’s what is true, how to recognize it, what to do with it. Occasionally, though, Bible teaches what is false: here’s what is wrong, how to avoid it, why you should have nothing to do with it. Stay away from false teachers, don’t let them into your home because… Sometimes it’s called “debunking – exposing the sham or falseness of something”.
Last time we hear Zophar speak; yay! Zophar had horribly wrong view of God; that permeated his thinking and acting and counseling. In fact, Zophar’s beliefs about God and the rest of his worldview made him unable to comfort his friend. “There was no one like Job on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” He needed comfort and encouragement in his suffering, not criticism.
Now, the Holy Spirit has put this book in the canon of Scripture because of a worldwide conviction that our sufferings, man’s pains and losses, are a divine punishment for specific sins that men have committed, but the Bible is saying to us in this book of Job that that need not be the case at all, and usually it is not so. Geoff Thomas
Listen closely: In regard to this life God is far more concerned with redemption than retribution, with justification than judgment. Not just a New Testament thing either; remember how God spoke to Moses on Sinai:
Exodus 34:5-7Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
Both Jesus and Paul addressed the issue:
John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
(God doesn’t need us to condemn the world for him; John 3:18 gives Jesus’ answer to that: “The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.”)
Romans 3:22-26 …For there is no distinction:for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Three Arrows in his argument
“‘You said I was no archer,’ said Robin Hood, / ‘But say so now again;’ / With that he sent another arrow / That split his head in twain.”
Zophar would have sent a third to split the arrow that split the arrow. 100% convinced he was on target with all three. But before we consider the arrows, should consider character of the archer, Zophar. Like many people we know – only feels safe in shallow end of the pool. Push him toward the deep end and has a panic attack.
Where Zophar was in his worldview – had shallow understanding of God and things. When Job tried to get Zophar in deep end with him, Zophar panicked; held on with death grip to what he thought he knew about God and life. Job’s questions rattled Zophar so much, he had no new ideas, only more volume. Basically, tried to bully Job into agreeing with him by talking louder, more forcefully, even more crudely to drive his points home – arrow after arrow after arrow in center of bulls-eye.
A. Arrow #1 – My argument is older than yours v.4-11
argument comes in different forms but essentially makes age the authority – it’s always been this way, who can argue with it
make the Big Bang older than old dirt, people won’t question who pushed the button – happened 400 million years ago, been this way for 399.9 million years, no witnesses to disprove it, must be true
in Zophar’s case – been this way since Adam, or at least Cain; you’re just a new kid on the block
make statements impossible to refute, worldview stays intact:
this is true most of the time so it must be true all the time especially if you can’t prove otherwise and how can you prove you’re innocent to me when God obviously has judged you guilty…of something really bad
well God told me…. – this one harder to answer in Job’s day, didn’t have the Bible that we have today
in Zophar’s words: since I’m not neck deep in alligators like you, God has told me that I’m righteous, you’re guilty
what would Zophar have thought about Jesus – Mark 15:31-32 “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! Let the Christ, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, that we may see and believe!”
when all else fails, change the subject – Job more interested in why God didn’t speak, Zophar in why God took his stuff
for starters, three words Zophar needed to learn: “I don’t know”; had to have an answer even if it didn’t fit the situation
kinda like Play-Skool carpenter’s bench – remember them?? – Job was the block from another set, different brand; Zophar determined to drive him into the hole even if it knocked off some corners
Zophar the kind of person who would destroy another, at least with words, rather than admit wrong or ignorance
B. Arrow #2 – Being a Christian isn’t supposed to be fun v.12-19
living Christian life is all about what you have to give up to follow Jesus; just in case you wondered, pagans don’t really have fun either – it only looks that way
whatever it is they’re enjoying, only lasts for a little while, then turns sour and poisons them
don’t even think about pursuing wealth; that is what pagans do, and if God declares you are righteous and gives you lots of money, it’s a cross you have to bear and not fun at all
this is what you aren’t allowed to do, this is what you must be against; it’s rough but heaven will be worth it
reading your Bible is hard, but if you master thee’s thou’s and thusly’s you’ll be one of the holy ones; extra points if you wave a sign in front of a homosexual or yell at the idiot going into the abortion clinic; if you lose your job or get arrested or your neighbors egg your house for it, that’s like 6 inches more on your crown
Zophar’s smile was pasted on, there only for benefit of others; so busy making sure he followed all 613 of God’s commands had no time or interest left to enjoy life
his best counsel to Job: yeah life stinks, especially stinks to be you; repent, suck it up, you probably deserve it, maybe life will get better, if you repent; if not, you’ll at least have heaven to look forward to, if you repent
what did Jesus say about that?
Matt. 11:28-30“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Zophar’s burden an oppressive one to bear; his intention to add that burden to one Job was already carrying
C. Arrow #3 – God is angry and so am I v.20-29
Zophar had mechanistic view of God – cosmic policeman just doing his job
“God the Cosmic Cop knows you’ve been sinning and he’s waiting for just the right moment to kick you in the teeth.
God the Cosmic Cop is angry. He’s been walking the beat and all he’s seen is human filth.
God the Cosmic Cop cannot be pleased, but he can be appeased by our most strenuous efforts toward obedience. If we somehow fall short, we should just go punch someone else in the face for falling shorter. That doesn’t please God either, but at least it shows the world that God, and we, are serious about sin.” (http://bigmikey.wordpress.com/)
God is angry with sin, angry with his enemies; however,…God does not default to anger with his children
passion but no compassion – Zophar passionate about proving his point, about making Job see things his way
showed no compassion for his friend certainly after first seven days, perhaps even before; not told how he sat with Job for that week
at very least, Job deserved to be listened to; had done nothing personal to provoke Zophar’s anger
Job had faith in a living Redeemer, Zophar faith in a rigid system and his understanding of it
in fact, Zophar tried to use his system as replacement for God – “Job, it doesn’t matter if God speaks, I’ll speak for him; here’s how God always works in your kind of situation, this is his formula.”
Job understood formula didn’t apply in every situation, not just his own; Job recognized that evildoers sometimes prosper for longer than we think they ought and righteous suffer when we don’t think they should
Job more interested in understanding God’s character, how God could be righteous and holy and silent
Job much further down road to understanding than his friends were – they were convinced they had right answer, Job knew he had no answer
unlike friends, Job could come alongside someone suffering great affliction and give genuine comfort and compassion
could say: been there, done that, know how you feel; don’t have the answer but I know who does – let’s go ask him
if he doesn’t answer now, you can have same confidence I do: my Redeemer lives
D. Divine ointment for the wounded
live in world filled with hurting people – both those who are brothers and sisters in Christ, those who are far from God
some have been wounded by own foolish choices; others by professed Christians and Christian churches; some wounded by Satan and his allies, others by raw deal life has dealt them
specific circumstances not of first importance; #1 need the same for all the wounded – God and the Gospel
Psalm 103:8-13The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
John 10:10-14 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.”
Do you know one who is suffering? been wounded by arrows of anger and legalism? or life? Take divine ointment to them, apply it liberally. Help them know the Good Shepherd who gave his life for his sheep and now lives to lead us safely home.