Zophar's First Response
Scripture: Job 11:1–11:20
Key Truth: Zophar believes that God cannot be questioned or known which leads to an unlivable theology that is contradictory to the teaching of the God’s revelation in His Word.
Q: Does God desire to be known?
“Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
Zophar’s Opening Barrage: Of Babble and What is Deserved
“In addition to their insinuations that Job is suffering because of his sin, his friends try to “shush” Job’s lamenting. According to their belief, such a conversation with God is blasphemy. This follows logically from their view of a God who is bound by the narrow equation of retribution.”
Michael Card, A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament
Q: Is it blasphemy to challenge and question God? How else are we to work out our salvation and deal with suffering?
Zophar’s Appeal: Of Limits and Stupidity:
“(Zophar) would have made better use of his excellent doctrine of the incomprehensibility of God, however, if he had humbly recognized the limitations of his own knowledge of divine providence and had not presumed to understand Job’s sufferings to perfection.”
Meredith Kline, ‘Job’ in The Wycliffe Bible Commentary
Q: Is God truly unknowable and incomprehensible? In what ways has He made Himself known?
Zophar’s Closing Statement: Of Uplifted Faces and Failing Eyes:
“(Job’s) friends’ arguments are like a wheel spinning in air: they do not go anywhere. Theirs is the wasted energy of intellectuals who get excited but do not actually do anything; they are incapable of taking a step forward, because the impulse that makes them string arguments together is purely verbal. Why do they keep arguing, Job will ask (and with him all the innocent suffers in every age of human history), if they have nothing to say? The question applies to every theology that lacks a sense of the mystery of God. The self sufficient talk of these men is the real blasphemy: their words veil and disfigure the face of a God who loves freely and gratuitously. The friends believe in their theology rather than the God of their theology.”
Gustavo Gutierrez, On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent
Q: Do you have an unlivable and unbiblical theology or do you live out your theology in relationship with God who made Himself known in His Word and the person and work of Jesus Christ?
Job 11 teaches us that an unlivable and unbiblical theology rises out of:
-a failure to challenge and question God and the things of God
-the belief that God cannot be known and is incomprehensible
-simplistic, mechanistic views of God and our relationship to Him