Scripture to meditate on:
Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
“Are all these words to go unanswered?
Is this talker to be vindicated?
Will your idle talk reduce others to silence?
Will no one rebuke you when you mock?
You say to God, ‘My beliefs are flawless
and I am pure in your sight.’
Oh, how I wish that God would speak,
that he would open his lips against you
and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom,
for true wisdom has two sides.
Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.
“Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do?
They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know?
Their measure is longer than the earth
and wider than the sea.
“If he comes along and confines you in prison
and convenes a court, who can oppose him?
Surely he recognizes deceivers;
and when he sees evil, does he not take note?
But the witless can no more become wise
than a wild donkey’s colt can be born human.
“Yet if you devote your heart to him
and stretch out your hands to him,
if you put away the sin that is in your hand
and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
you will stand firm and without fear.
You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by.
Life will be brighter than noonday,
and darkness will become like morning.
You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
and many will court your favor.
But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
and escape will elude them;
their hope will become a dying gasp.” – Job 11
This time it’s Zophar’s turn. Perhaps he means well, but his words come out sounding like an attack. “Will your idle talk reduce others to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock” (vs. 3)?
Zophar tells Job that he needs to repent of the sins that resulted in his suffering. In one sense, Zophar and his friends are correct. When we are wrong, we do need to turn to God to repent and seek forgiveness of those whom our actions have hurt. (However, in this particular case Zohar has missed the point. Job is not suffering as a result of sin; we know this because of what the author of Job tells us in the first chapter (vs. 1:8 & 1:22).)
For followers of Christ repentance is not a one time event, but a lifestyle of bringing our words, actions and attitudes before God with a repentant heart. One way to know if you are growing closer to God is when your sin causes you the kind of pain Paul writes about in the second letter to the Corinthians.
“See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter” (2 Corinthians 7:11).
“Certainly then you will lift up your face without blemish; You will be secure and not afraid.” – Job 11:15
Questions to ponder:
- Has there ever been a time when suffering has brought you closer to God?
- How has God responded to your repentant heart?