Wise Counsel, Foolish Heart (Job 11)

Heart of a Shepherd

Mar 28, 2023

Translations

Urdu

عقلمند مشورہ، بے وقوف دل (ایوب 11)

Italian

Consigli saggi, cuore stolto (Giobbe 11)

Portuguese

Sábio Conselho, Insensato Coração (Jó 11)

German

Weiser Rat, dummes Herz (Job 11)

French

Sage conseil, cœur insensé (Job 11)

Russian

Мудрый совет, глупое сердце (Иов 11)

Spanish

Sabio consejo, necio corazón (Job 11)

Wise Counsel, Foolish Heart (Job 11)

Scripture reading - Job 11



Job 11 introduces us to the third of Job’s friends, “Zophar the Naamathite” (Job 11:1). While his age is not given, I offer two observations that lead me to suggest he was the youngest of the three. The first, Zophar was the last to speak, and culturally would have deferred to his elders. Secondly, his zeal and untethered speech seemed unusually harsh. Like his companions, Eliphaz and Bildad, Zophar’s counsel was unkind, direct, and insensitive. He had listened when his elders interrogated Job, and was offended when he asserted he had committed no sin to warrant his afflictions.

Zophar Accosted Job with Four Rebukes (Job 11:2-6)

Zophar accused Job of being full of pious talk, saying, “Should not the multitude of words be answered? And should a man full of talk be justified [righteous in God’s eyes]?” (Job 11:2) He assaulted Job’s character, and faulted him for lies, saying, “Should thy lies make men hold their peace?” (Job 11:3a) Thirdly, he suggested Job was irreverent, and mocked men by his answers, when he should be ashamed (Job 11:3b). Finally, He charged Job was a hypocrite, and observed, “For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, And I am clean in thine eyes” (Job 11:4).



A personal note to those who aspire to counsel others: Notice, Zophar lacked the humility and compassion required of godly counselors (Galatians 6:1). He was proud and judgmental, and gave Job no opportunity to respond. He not only accused Job of sin (excessive speech, lies, irreverence, and hypocrisy), but asserted he deserved all that befell him (Job 11:5-6).



The Sovereignty and Wisdom of God (Job 11:7-12)

 

Like some who profess a knowledge of God and a zeal for His Word, Zophar lacked the compassion and longsuffering of the LORD. Job was overcome by sorrows, and surely the Lord’s invitation would have resonated in his heart: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).



Yet, in spite of his youth, Zophar had knowledge and understanding regarding His Creator (Job 11:7-9). He confessed; no man can know God apart from His revelation (Job 11:7a). What had the LORD revealed of Himself? Our God is El Shaddai, “the Almighty,” omnipotent, all-powerful God (Job 11:7b). His wisdom is “as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know? (9) The measure [of His wisdom] thereof is longer than the earth, And broader than the sea” (Job 11:8–9). (Stop and ponder: Zophar, like Job, was among the most ancient of men in the Scriptures after the flood; yet he had insight into the size of the earth and the breadth of the ocean.)

 

Then, Zophar boldly declared, God knows all that lies within the heart of man, and challenged Job, saying, the LORD “seeth wickedness also” (Job 11:11b).



Three Admonitions Concluded Zophar’s Criticisms of Job (Job 11:13-20)



Repent: Zophar assumed Job’s troubles were God’s punishment, and urged him to repent, prepare his heart, and humble himself before the LORD (Job 11:13). He counseled Job, and “let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles [lit. tent; house or household]” (Job 11:14), in other words, put away your sin.



Be Restored: Zophar promised, if Job repented, the LORD would restore him (Job 11:15-16). He would soon forget his miseries as swiftly as flood “waters that pass away” (dry up; Job 11:16). Zophar assured Job his “age” (life; days) would become as bright as the noonday sun (Job 11:17), his hope would be restored (Job 11:18a ), and he would find rest (Job 11:18b-19).



Be forewarned: Those who fail to repent will look in vain for rest (“eyes of the wicked shall fail”), find no refuge (“shall not escape”), “and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost” (hopeless; Job 11:20).



We will consider Job’s response to Zophar’s allegations in Job 12-14.



Closing thought - Zophar unlovingly and presumptuously reproached his elder. Nevertheless, there was truth in his counsel, and a lesson for us: Sincere believers will humble themselves, confess, and repent of sin. Remember:



1 John 1:9–10 - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

 

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

 

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