Job Chapter Eleven
Read Job 11:1-6
v1. “THEN ANSWERED ZOPHAR THE NAAMATHITE, AND SAID,”
Poor Job. His wounds are still bleeding, his sores are still running, his heart is heavy with the loss of his family, his mind is exasperated by the feeling that God has not only abandoned him but is visiting this affliction upon him as punishment for some great, unrealized sin. His friends? Friends indeed; instead of bringing oil for his wounds, balm for his sores, comfort and encouragement for his soul they bring salt and vinegar, charges of hypocrisy, wickedness and unrighteousness. We know nothing of Zophar except what we read here; neither do we know the origin of the designation “Naamathite.” But if we thought that Bildad was rough spoken, Zophar is worse.
v2. “SHOULD NOT THE MULTITUDE OF WORDS BE ANSWERED? AND SHOULD A MAN FULL OF TALK BE JUSTIFIED?”
This man speaks as in a temper and perhaps he is. Even wise and good men can raise intemperate passions in debate if they lose sight of their objective and get themselves drawn into the heat of a dispute. Job, shouldn’t the multitude of words that have been presented to you by Eliphaz and Bildad be answered? Shouldn’t a man as full of talk as you are be justified before God? Are you seeking acceptance by your much speaking? Where have we heard that before?
Matthew 6:7-8 “BUT WHEN YE PRAY, USE NOT VAIN REPETITIONS, AS THE HEATHEN do: FOR THEY THINK THAT THEY SHALL BE HEARD FOR THEIR MUCH SPEAKING. BE NOT YE THEREFORE LIKE UNTO THEM: FOR YOUR FATHER KNOWETH WHAT THINGS YE HAVE NEED OF, BEFORE YE ASK HIM.”
v3. “SHOULD THY LIES MAKE MEN HOLD THEIR PEACE? AND WHEN THOU MOCKEST, SHALL NO MAN MAKE THEE ASHAMED?”
Should thy what? Should thy lies! Job you’re lying to us, why should we hold our peace? You’re making a mockery of God, isn’t there anything that would make you ashamed? Zophar is just like some of our brethren isn’t he? There are those that have a mind to fall out with us for some wrong fancied or even real; find it necessary to put the worst possible twist on whatever it is that they’re angry with us about. Zophar’s attack against Job is not only false in his premise but as vicious as any could be.
v4. “FOR THOU HAST SAID, MY DOCTRINE is PURE, AND I AM CLEAN IN THINE EYES.”
Here he charges Job with saying something that he did not say. He accuses Job of claiming to be clean in the eyes of God but Job did not say that. Job said:
Job 10:7 “THOU KNOWEST THAT I AM NOT WICKED; AND there is NONE THAT CAN DELIVER OUT OF THINE HAND.”
Job had also said that he had sinned as we talked about in a couple of the previous chapters. All men sin and Job had never claimed to be perfectly sinless. He did deny that he was the hypocrite that they were making him out to be.
v5. “BUT OH THAT GOD WOULD SPEAK, AND OPEN HIS LIPS AGAINST THEE;”
Zophar appeals to God to speak and wishes that he would appear against Job. He’s so confident that Job has done some wicked thing; that he is lying to them, and to God, that he wants God to appear to silence and condemn him. In thinking about this man and what he has said thus far it brings to mind the men that stoned Stephen. Their anger was so fierce and so wild that they did what?
Acts “WHEN THEY HEARD THESE THINGS, THEY WERE CUT TO THE HEART, AND THEY GNASHED ON HIM WITH their TEETH.”
v6. “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."
Zophar wishes that God could come down and show Job the secrets of wisdom. The unsearchable depth of God’s wisdom is such that it is much more than double that which man understands. He wants God himself to show Job so much of the secrets of His wisdom that Job will be convinced of what Zophar is trying to tell him. Zophar seems to think that his wisdom is much greater to Job’s and perhaps even equal to God’s. God does know a whole lot more about us than we know about ourselves. David in his psalm of prayer to God after his transgression with Bathsheba says:
Psalms 51:6 “BEHOLD, THOU DESIREST TRUTH IN THE INWARD PARTS: AND IN THE HIDDEN part THOU SHALT MAKE ME TO KNOW WISDOM.”
David, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, acknowledges
that God knew him better than he knew himself and knew his every sin and
Read Job 11:7-12
v7. “CANST THOU BY SEARCHING FIND OUT GOD? CANST THOU FIND OUT THE ALMIGHTY UNTO PERFECTION?”
Can you by searching find out God? God’s nature exceeds our ability to understand. He is infinite, immense, and to the mind of man a Being that I fear we are really unable to comprehend. His nature and perfection are beyond what our minds are capable of forming an adequate conception of being. His thoughts, mind, actions and counsels are available to us only as He has revealed them.
Acts “THAT THEY SHOULD SEEK THE LORD, IF HAPLY THEY MIGHT FEEL AFTER HIM, AND FIND HIM, THOUGH HE BE NOT FAR FROM EVERY ONE OF US:”
And we cannot find Him in anything that he has seen fit to conceal from us.
v8-9. “It is AS HIGH AS HEAVEN; WHAT CANST THOU DO? DEEPER THAN HELL; WHAT CANST THOU KNOW? THE MEASURE THEREOF is LONGER THAN THE EARTH, AND BROADER THAN THE SEA.”
Oh, we may, by a humble, diligent, and believing search, find out some things about God. But we cannot find him out unto perfection, we may know in part, but we cannot know fully, nor find out his work from beginning to end. As Solomon describes:
Ecclesiastes “HE HATH MADE EVERY thing BEAUTIFUL IN HIS TIME: ALSO HE HATH SET THE WORLD IN THEIR HEART, SO THAT NO MAN CAN FIND OUT THE WORK THAT GOD MAKETH FROM THE BEGINNING TO THE END.”
Or as David acknowledged in his writing:
Psalms 139:1-6 “O LORD, THOU HAST SEARCHED ME, AND KNOWN me. THOU KNOWEST MY DOWNSITTING AND MINE UPRISING, THOU UNDERSTANDEST MY THOUGHT AFAR OFF. THOU COMPASSEST MY PATH AND MY LYING DOWN, AND ART ACQUAINTED with ALL MY WAYS. FOR there is NOT A WORD IN MY TONGUE, but, LO, O LORD, THOU KNOWEST IT ALTOGETHER. THOU HAST BESET ME BEHIND AND BEFORE, AND LAID THINE HAND UPON ME. Such KNOWLEDGE is TOO WONDERFUL FOR ME; IT IS HIGH, I CANNOT attain UNTO IT.”
v10. “IF HE CUT OFF, AND SHUT UP, OR GATHER TOGETHER, THEN WHO CAN HINDER HIM?”
God is sovereign over this earth. If he decides to speak it out of existence he can do so; just as he spoke it into existence. If He that separated the dry land from the sea and the light from the darkness decides to return them to their state of chaos who could hinder him? David sings his praises again in Psalm 66; we’ll just look at three verses:
Psalms 66:5-7 “COME AND SEE THE WORKS OF GOD: he is TERRIBLE in his DOING TOWARD THE CHILDREN OF MEN. HE TURNED THE SEA INTO DRY land: THEY WENT THROUGH THE FLOOD ON FOOT: THERE DID WE REJOICE IN HIM. HE RULETH BY HIS POWER FOR EVER; HIS EYES BEHOLD THE NATIONS: LET NOT THE REBELLIOUS EXALT THEMSELVES. SELAH.”
v11. “FOR HE KNOWETH VAIN MEN: HE SEETH WICKEDNESS ALSO; WILL HE NOT THEN CONSIDER it?”
God observes the children of men. While we know no more of him than he reveals He knows us perfectly. He knows when men are being vain. He knows when men are wicked. In his dealings with mankind will he not consider those things that he knows? Job, since you are suffering all these afflictions and torments don’t you think that God had taken into account your actions, your thoughts, your true character and is rewarding you accordingly? The prophet Habakkuk asks the question:
Habakkuk “Thou art OF PURER EYES THAN TO BEHOLD EVIL, AND CANST NOT LOOK ON INIQUITY: WHEREFORE LOOKEST THOU UPON THEM THAT DEAL TREACHEROUSLY, and HOLDEST THY TONGUE WHEN THE WICKED DEVOURETH the man that is MORE RIGHTEOUS THAN HE?”
v12. “FOR VAIN MAN WOULD BE WISE, THOUGH MAN BE BORN like A WILD ASS'S COLT.”
Vain man would like to be thought to be wise but he’s like a wild colt, foolish, untrainable, and unteachable until he is made over, until he is mastered. Man thinks of himself as much at liberty and his own master as the wild ass’s colt born in the wilderness and untamed. If ever he comes to be good for any thing, it is due to the grace of God, who provides him instruction when he seeks it, who provides him direction when he bends himself to God’s will.
Read Job 11:13-20
Now we come to the advice that Zophar gives Job. Good advice if Job had been the kind of man that needed it.
v13. “IF THOU PREPARE THINE HEART, AND STRETCH OUT THINE HANDS TOWARD HIM;”
But Job if you’ll repent, prepare your heart, stretch out your hands toward Him; He will heal you. First you must look within, then you must look up. That describes true repentance. First you look within yourself, find and correct that which is creating your problem and look upward to the heavenly Father for his forgiveness.
v14. “IF INIQUITY be IN THINE HAND, PUT IT FAR AWAY, AND LET NOT WICKEDNESS DWELL IN THY TABERNACLES.”
If you find in your search of your life, your soul, your way of living that you have done iniquity by your hand; put it far away. Get as far from that sin as you possibly can. Have nothing further to do with it. Hosea describes the way of the transgressor:
Hosea 14:9 “WHO is WISE, AND HE SHALL UNDERSTAND THESE things? PRUDENT, AND HE SHALL KNOW THEM? FOR THE WAYS OF THE LORD are RIGHT, AND THE JUST SHALL WALK IN THEM: BUT THE TRANSGRESSORS SHALL FALL THEREIN.”
Ezekiel gives us instruction as to how to escape our transgression much the same as Zophar.
Ezekiel 18:31 “CAST AWAY FROM YOU ALL YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS, WHEREBY YE HAVE TRANSGRESSED; AND MAKE YOU A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT: FOR WHY WILL YE DIE, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL?”
v15. “FOR THEN SHALT THOU LIFT UP THY FACE WITHOUT SPOT; YEA, THOU SHALT BE STEDFAST, AND SHALT NOT FEAR:”
Then you will be able to approach the throne of grace boldly as we are instructed by the Hebrew writer:
Hebrews 4:16 “LET US THEREFORE COME BOLDLY UNTO THE THRONE
OF GRACE, THAT WE MAY OBTAIN MERCY, AND FIND GRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED.”
And then you will be able to stand before God without that terror and amazement that you are currently expressing in your anger and bitterness. We also are encouraged to come to God boldly, again by the Hebrew writer.
Hebrews 13:6 “SO THAT WE MAY BOLDLY SAY, THE LORD is MY HELPER, AND I WILL NOT FEAR WHAT MAN SHALL DO UNTO ME.”
Or as described by Isaiah:
Isaiah 65:16 “THAT HE WHO BLESSETH HIMSELF IN THE EARTH SHALL BLESS HIMSELF IN THE GOD OF TRUTH; AND HE THAT SWEARETH IN THE EARTH SHALL SWEAR BY THE GOD OF TRUTH; BECAUSE THE FORMER TROUBLES ARE FORGOTTEN, AND BECAUSE THEY ARE HID FROM MINE EYES.”
v16. “BECAUSE THOU SHALT FORGET thy MISERY, and REMEMBER it AS WATERS that PASS AWAY:”
Then Job you’ll be able to forget your misery, you’ll remember it just like the stream that rises with the spring rain in flood and then returns to it’s proper course again. You’ll reflect upon these times as past troubles. Perhaps even as a mother forgets the pain of childbirth because it is replaced with the joy of the child that is born.
v17. “AND thine AGE SHALL BE CLEARER THAN THE NOONDAY; THOU SHALT SHINE FORTH, THOU SHALT BE AS THE MORNING.”
And like a great light that has been brought to bear on your life, this thick, dark cloud of affliction will go away and your life will become clearer than the noonday sun. The evil days will be replaced by good days, you will shine forth as a new man and your life will be again like the beginning of a good morning.
v18. “AND THOU SHALT BE SECURE, BECAUSE THERE IS HOPE; YEA, THOU SHALT DIG about thee, and THOU SHALT TAKE THY REST IN SAFETY.”
Job, where you now are in a state of continual fear and terror, you will live in a holy rest and secure mind. How true this is of the true Christian. If we are as we should be we have a good hope, through grace, in God, and of heaven. We are certainly safe, and have reason to be secure no matter how difficult the times are that we have to go through; because when we pass from this world we will enter another of eternal rest and peace.
v19. “ALSO THOU SHALT LIE DOWN, AND NONE SHALL MAKE thee AFRAID; YEA, MANY SHALL MAKE SUIT UNTO THEE.”
And Job when you lie down you won’t be bothered with the terrible dreams that make you afraid. Men will even make suit unto thee, instead of being slighted by men, they will seek your favor, they will court you like a prospective bride, they will come to hear your wisdom. The kind of homage we’re talking about here is much the same as God says of Cyrus through the prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah 45:14 “THUS SAITH THE LORD, THE LABOUR OF EGYPT, AND MERCHANDISE OF ETHIOPIA AND OF THE SABEANS, MEN OF STATURE, SHALL COME OVER UNTO THEE, AND THEY SHALL BE THINE: THEY SHALL COME AFTER THEE; IN CHAINS THEY SHALL COME OVER, AND THEY SHALL FALL DOWN UNTO THEE, THEY SHALL MAKE SUPPLICATION UNTO THEE, saying, SURELY GOD is IN THEE; AND there is NONE ELSE, there is NO GOD.
Zophar appeals to the vanity of man, thinking that Job would be moved by the rewards of this world. This would be the typical approach by a man that has little understanding of Job or of God.
v20. “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.”
But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, they won’t escape their punishment and their hope will be dead. Perhaps Zophar already knew here that Job would not hear his words so he warns him about what would become of that response. Without repentance of his great sin, whatever it was, he would have no hope. It would fail him when he most needs it and that is the situation that he’s in now. His hope and faith will die away and leave him to remain in utter confusion.