JOB STUDIES 6

Eliphaz and Bildad have both taken their turn accusing poor Job, and adding to his already incredible burden. Last of the three, Zophar has his say, then he is answered by Job in Chapters 11-14.

Zophar is a “fighting fundamentalist” and a dogmatic legalist. He is harshly opinionated, and his ideas seem to come mainly from himself. (“The spirit of my understanding causes me to answer,” 20:3.) He is the only one of the three who does not speak a third time--perhaps because he has simply written Job off as a hopeless case!

1) Of what does Zophar accuse Job in 11:2-3?

2) And what is he implying about Job in 11:12?

3) What two errors does Zophar see in what Job has said (11:4)?

INSIGHT: You say to God, ‘My beliefs are flawless’” (vs. 4, NIV). Job had not made such a claim. But he had defended his innocence before God. Job did not mean that he was sinlessly perfect. Only that there was no sin on his conscience for which the Lord could be punishing him.

4) What harsh claim does Zophar make at the end of 11:6?

INSIGHT: The NIV says: “Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin,” implying the Lord should be punishing Job even more!

5) What does Zophar say about the ways of God (11:7-9)?

INSIGHT: Zophar tells Job that “the deep things of God” are far beyond his ability to understand. And yet he seems to imply that he, Zophar, knows these things--certainly that his knowledge is far beyond that of Job. (We need to keep in mind that he is speaking to a man whom God Himself has proclaimed to be the greatest saint of his time, 1:8; 2:3.)

6) What does Job need to do, according to Zophar (11:13-15)?

7) What are the benefits Job could expect, if he would only “come clean”?

¤ Vs. 16-17

¤ Vs. 18

¤ Vs. 19 (two benefits)

8) But what can Job expect if he does not admit he has sinned (11:20)?

9) Zophar has arrogantly assumed that he knows far more about the things of God than Job does. What is Job’s response (12:2-3)?

INSIGHT: Job does not dispute the basic theology of his friends. Many of these things are common knowledge. But what is happening to him at this time seems to be somehow outside the common understanding of how God works. The difference between Job and his friends is this: They want to force Job’s case into their narrow theological mold, but Job is seeking a broader understanding of God that will explain his situation.

10) What should we do when our theology (our understanding of Scripture) does not fit the experiences we have? (Be careful how you answer!)

11) What had been Job’s experience with God up until now (12:4)?

INSIGHT: The three friends have contended that God always, and immediately rewards good, and God always, and immediately punishes evil.

12) How does Job argue against this over-simplified view (12:6)?

INSIGHT: Zophar has sarcastically suggested that Job doesn’t have the brains of a donkey (11:12)! Now Job turns the tables and says the animals could teach his friend a thing or two (12:7-10).

13) What can the animals teach us about whether it is always the violent and vicious that are destroyed?

INSIGHT: God is sovereign over all creation. If something happens, God has done it. “The hand of the Lord has done this” (12:9). Yet, while this is true, the reader is aware of another “hand” at work, within the permissive will of God.

14) He doesn’t know it, but whose “hand” is on Job’s life at this time (2:6)?

INSIGHT: Job sees God as sovereign over all, a God whose wisdom and power are so great that none can resist Him, or undo what He has done (12:13-25).

15) What are some of the areas over which God demonstrates absolute control?

¤ Vs. 14

¤ Vs. 15

¤ Vs. 17

¤ Vs. 18-19

¤ Vs. 23

16) According to Eliphaz, in 5:12-14, what kind of person ends up groping in the darkness?

17) According to Job, what is the cause of this condition (12:24-25)?

INSIGHT: Once again, in 13:1-2, Job states that he too has knowledge and an experience of life. He is not inferior in these things to his friends.

18) What does Job believe would clear up his unanswered questions once and for all (13:3)?

19) What two accusations does Job make against his friends (13:4)?

INSIGHT: The three friends insist that Job’s experience must fit within the bounds of their theology. In order for them to be right about Job, he must have committed some terrible sins. But their false accusations (“lies”) simply add to Job’s burden.

20) What does Job believe would be the wisest thing for his friends to do (13:5)?

INSIGHT: Job believes that his friends are not only misrepresenting him, they are also misrepresenting God Himself (13:7-11).

21) What two great resolutions does Job make in 13:15?

INSIGHT: With this wonderful statement of faith, Job utterly shatters the claims of the devil. Satan believed Job was only faithful to God because of all the blessings he enjoyed (1:9-11). Now, all of those are gone, but Job clings to God still. Not only that, he refuses to perjure himself to get his old life back. He will not pretend what is untrue (that he has sinned) just to be rid of his torment. Such is the amazing integrity of this great man of God.

22) In his pain, what view does Job take of the life of man (14:1-2)?

23) This being so, explain what Job wants God to do (14:5-6)?

24) In what does Job begin to hope (14:13-15)?

INSIGHT: Early on in human history, there was little understanding of the afterlife. The Spirit of God reveals these details later, especially in the New Testament. In common with the Old Testament saints, Job’s focus is mainly in this earthly life. Here is “life.” To die is the end of this life (14:10).

Yet, as we see a number of times in the book, Job’s own understanding reaches far beyond that of his contemporaries. He believes in life beyond the grave. And he begins to hope (a hope that grows stronger, later) that there will be a time of reckoning and justice after death (14:12-14). This is advanced thinking for his day. It is a hope that Paul would rest in 2,000 years later (II Tim. 4:6-8) In spite of his friends (not so much because of them!) Job is slowly groping toward the light.