As we spend time in Job we see this tragic story go from bad to worse. Not only did Job have everything stripped from him but then Job’s friends enter the scene of the story. They seem to be doing their best but they just aren’t helping Job at all. In fact, they are making things worse.
As Job seeks to make a defense of himself they do not listen. They continue to say that Job is in sin. They did not just ask the question of sin – which is a good & loving thing to do – but they brought the judgement of sin on Job, which is never our job. Job continues to maintain his innocence in his defense and plea to God in chapter 10, just for Zophar to jump on the scene to tell him he is lying and that God is punishing you LESS than you deserve (v. 1-6).
In some ways Zophar is right, even in Job’s righteous life we all deserve eternity apart from God in hell. In fact Job (along with all of us) does deserve worse but Zophar allowed theological rigidness to override his understanding and empathy towards Job in his self-righteousness. Good theology is a good thing but good theology ministers to people. Zophar was practicing bad counseling and bad theology.
He tries to remind Job of who God is and call him to repentance. The problem was he was not listening enough or trusting enough to believe Job that he was in the right. We must listen to people. Zophar was 90% of the way there… He was God focused but instead of ministering in grace he judged in self-righteousness. Zophar was not loving. Even if Job was in sin this would not be the way to go about it… We cannot convict hearts. That is God’s job. We do not come at someone with cutting words like Zophar. We call out sin in love and grace, knowing that we too are sinners and only righteous by the blood of Jesus.
- What can you learn from Zophar and Job’s interaction?
- Do you tend to judge in self righteousness or minister in grace?
- Is there anyone you need to call and apologize too (even if you were in the right)?
By: Nick Parsons — Pastoral Ministry Associate – College