Part 15 – Zophar – Right, But Wrong
Zophar, the youngest of the three friends, speaks last, and unfortunately, he is the cruelest in his desire to ‘comfort’ Job. (We’ll meet Elihu, a fourth surprise guest next week who is the youngest of the four.) Zophar attributes things to Job that Job didn’t say (“You say, ‘My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in Your sight.’”), and he believes that Job hasn’t received half of the punishment he really deserves from the Lord! He’s mean!
Job’s rebuttal back to Zophar involved Job cancelling out each one of Zophar’s accusation, and then Job spent a good amount of his Zophar rebuttals actually praying to the Lord for an audience so he could honestly present his case before the Lord to determine why he was paying such a heavy price for sin that doesn’t appear to be as serious as the punishment indicates.
Although Zophar was cruel and insensitive towards Job, he did say some correct things about the nature of the Lord God that are worth examining. Zophar acknowledges that the Lord God is an infinitely wise God, so the Lord always chooses the best goals and the best means to those goals.
Zophar spoke clearly about the incomprehensibility of the Lord as well. Incomprehensibility means that the Lord cannot be understood fully or exhaustively, although we can know true things about Him. In other words, we have to be careful when we say (as the three friends often said) that they completely understood the ways of the Lord in regards to Job’s situation, but that can’t be true, because finite man cannot grasp the eternal in every way necessary. BUT the can know plenty about the Lord as He reveals Himself to us through His Word, providence, and Spirit. Zophar, and the other friends, also spoke correctly about the justice of God, the depravity of man, and God’s sovereignty over all of His creation.
The problem comes when these three friends – and you and I as well – use correct theology in an inappropriate manner, as in Job’s case – the friends were implying great godly truths in Job’s case that were not accurate (because we know that Job’s suffering was not the result of blatant sin).
We are to love our doctrine as spelled out to us from His Word, but we are to love mercy, grace, forgiveness and love, which are just as much attributes of the Lord God as any of these others.