Zophar’s Second Response to Job
Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
Zophar describes his turmoil:
2 “I must reply
because I am greatly disturbed.
3 I’ve had to endure your insults,
but now my spirit prompts me to reply.
The short triumph of the wicked man:
4 “Don’t you realize that from the beginning of time,
ever since people were first placed on the earth,
5 the triumph of the wicked has been short lived
and the joy of the godless has been only temporary?
Apparently Job’s confession of faith fell on deaf ears. Zophar was not listening.
6 Though the pride of the godless reaches to the heavens
and their heads touch the clouds,
7 yet they will vanish forever,
thrown away like their own dung.
Those who knew them will ask,
‘Where are they?’
8 They will fade like a dream and not be found.
They will vanish like a vision in the night.
Psalm 103:15-17 (NIV)
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children.
May we spend our time sharing the Lord’s love!
9 Those who once saw them will see them no more.
Their families will never see them again.
10 Their children will beg from the poor,
for they must give back their stolen riches.
11 Though they are young,
their bones will lie in the dust.
The frustrated life of the wicked man:
12 “They enjoyed the sweet taste of wickedness,
letting it melt under their tongue.
13 They savored it,
holding it long in their mouths.
14 But suddenly the food in their bellies turns sour,
a poisonous venom in their stomach.
15 They will vomit the wealth they swallowed.
God won’t let them keep it down.
16 They will suck the poison of cobras.
The viper will kill them.
17 They will never again enjoy streams of olive oil
or rivers of milk and honey.
18 They will give back everything they worked for.
Their wealth will bring them no joy.
19 For they oppressed the poor and left them destitute.
They foreclosed on their homes.
20 They were always greedy and never satisfied.
Nothing remains of all the things they dreamed about.
Proverbs 17:1 (NIV)
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
May we be content with God’s bountiful goodness!
21 Nothing is left after they finish gorging themselves.
Therefore, their prosperity will not endure.
The dark destiny of the wicked man:
22 “In the midst of plenty, they will run into trouble
and be overcome by misery.
23 May God give them a bellyful of trouble.
May God rain down his anger upon them.
24 When they try to escape an iron weapon,
a bronze-tipped arrow will pierce them.
25 The arrow is pulled from their back,
and the arrowhead glistens with blood.
The terrors of death are upon them.
26 Their treasures will be thrown into deepest darkness.
A wildfire will devour their goods,
consuming all they have left.
27 The heavens will reveal their guilt,
and the earth will testify against them.
28 A flood will sweep away their house.
God’s anger will descend on them in torrents.
29 This is the reward that God gives the wicked.
It is the inheritance decreed by God.”
This was Zophar’s firm conclusion (he speaks no more in the Book of Job). He made the clear connection between the wrath that the wicked man reaps and Job’s own situation. Zophar—as with the rest of Job’s friends—left little room for grace. “It is worth pointing out, as a sign of the narrowness of Zophar’s beliefs, that his speech contains no hint that the wicked might repent, make amends, and regain the favour of God. Zophar has no compassion and his god has no mercy.” (Andersen)
Zophar’s thinking is that we get God’s mercy and blessing only by earning it. But that is not what the whole of Scripture teaches. Isaiah 30:18 says — Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! HERE is Terry Butler and “Deep, Deep Love.”
Let your heart rest today in God’s deep and abiding love.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved