Have you ever gone through a difficult period of time and wished there was a magic formula to make the pain go away? Did you wonder if there was a sin in your life that was causing the pain and that if you simply confessed the sin, then the pain would go away?
Thanks for watching this episode of Bible Mountain dotcom. This episode is part of a series of studies in the book of Job called “Why do people suffer?” The book of Job tells us about a very difficult period of Job’s life when he lost all his possessions, all his children, and his health. Job’s friends visited Job during this time to sympathize with him and comfort him, and they told him he was suffering because of sin. They assured him if he confessed his sin and changed his behavior, then all his possessions and his good health would be restored. Is this true? In this episode we will determine whether or not confession leads to good health and prosperity.
Let’s start by reviewing the first 10 chapters of Job. Chapter 1 tells us Job was blameless, upright, and very wealthy, but then Satan came along and killed Job’s children and destroyed everything he owned. Chapter 2 tells us Satan afflicted Job with boils from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head, at which time Job’s three friends came to sympathize with Job and comfort him. Chapter 3 tells us Job told his friends he was in so much agony he wanted to die, because he saw no point in living if he was going to suffer the way he was suffering. Chapters 4 and 5 tell us Eliphaz told Job he was suffering because of sin and that he should repent and then things would be okay. Chapters 6 and 7 tell us Job insisted he was suffering because God was against him for some unknown reason. Chapter 8 tells us Bildad repeated Eliphaz’s belief that Job should repent and then everything would be okay. Chapters 9 and 10 tell us Job proclaimed his innocence again and expressed his despair and his desire to die. That brings us to today’s passage, Job 11, in which Zophar spoke for the first time.
Job 11:1 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered,Notice the word “answered”. Zophar was responding to Job’s discourse recorded in Job 9 and 10.
Job 11:2 “Shall a multitude of words go unanswered,
And a talkative man[Job] be acquitted?
Job 11:3 “Shall your[Job’s] boasts silence men?
And shall you scoff and none rebuke?
These were rhetorical questions, and the answer was “no”. Zophar was saying he was impelled to speak. Notice the word “rebuke”. Zophar was indicating he was about to rebuke Job.
Job 11:4 “For you[Job] have said, ‘My teaching is pure,
And I am innocent in your[God’s] eyes.’
Notice that Zophar quoted Job: You have said, quote, ‘My teaching is pure, And I am innocent in God’s eyes.’, end quote. This is an accurate quote. Job 9:21 tells us Job said, “I am guiltless”. Job 10:7 tells us Job said to God, “According to Your knowledge I am indeed not guilty,” So Zophar was accurate in quoting Job as saying to God, “I am innocent in your eyes.” Zophar continued.
Job 11:5 “But would that God might speak,
And open His lips against you[Job],
Notice the word “against”. Zophar obviously believed God did not agree that Job was innocent.
Job 11:5 “But would that God might speak,
And open His lips against you[Job],
Job 11:6 And show you[Job] the secrets of wisdom!
For sound wisdom has two sides.
Know then that God forgets a part of your iniquity.Zophar’s point here was Job’s sins were so numerous God had actually forgotten some of Job’s sins. Zophar continued.
Job 11:7 “Can you[Job] discover the depths of God?
Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?
The answer to these two questions was “no”.
Job 11:8 “They are high as the heavens, what can you[Job] do?
Deeper than Sheol, what can you know?
Job 11:9 “Its measure is longer than the earth
And broader than the sea.
The pronouns “they” and “it” refer back to the depths of God and the limits of the Almighty. In other words, Zophar said the depths of God and the limits of the Almighty are as high as the heavens, deeper than Sheol, longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. The point of the questions “What can you do?” and “What can you know” was to point out Job was so small compared to God he couldn’t possibly know whether or not he was innocent and pure. Zophar continued.
Job 11:10 “If He[God] passes by or shuts up,
Or calls an assembly, who can restrain Him?
Job 11:11 “For He[God] knows false men,
And He sees iniquity without investigating.
Job 11:12 “An idiot will become intelligent
When the foal of a wild donkey is born a man.
Keep something in mind about the inerrancy of the Bible. The author of Job was inspired. Zophar was not inspired. Inerrancy means the author of Job accurately recorded what Zophar said, but that does not mean Zophar was correct in what he said. Even if Zophar was correct in what he said, we can’t base our beliefs about God on these verses. These verses merely tell us what Zophar believed about God.In the rest of his speech, Zophar repeated what Eliphaz and Bildad had said to Job earlier: If Job would repent, then his troubles would go away.
Job 11:13 “If you[Job] would direct your heart right
And spread out your hand to Him[God],
Job 11:14 If iniquity is in your[Job’s] hand, put it far away,
And do not let wickedness dwell in your tents;
Notice the word if. If Job would put away his sin,
Job 11:15 “Then, indeed, you[Job] could lift up your face without moral defect,
And you would be steadfast and not fear.
Job 11:16 “For you[Job] would forget your trouble,
As waters that have passed by, you would remember it.
Job 11:17 “Your[Job’s] life would be brighter than noonday;
Darkness would be like the morning.
Job 11:18 “Then you[Job] would trust, because there is hope;
And you would look around and rest securely.
Job 11:19 “You[Job] would lie down and none would disturb you,
And many would entreat your favor.
Job 11:20 “But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
And there will be no escape for them;
And their hope is to breathe their last.”And that is the end of Zophar’s speech. Notice the word “but”. In this verse Zophar said the wicked do not prosper, which is a contrast to the previous verses in which Zophar said Job would prosper if he repented and obeyed God. Let’s go back to verse 13. I want to comment on Zophar’s belief that Job would prosper if he would repent.
Notice the word “if”. If Job would direct his heart right. If Job would spread his hand out to God. If Job would put sin far away. Then Job would be steadfast, he would not fear, he would forget his trouble, his life would be brighter than noon, and Job would rest securely.
I have two comments about this. First, Zophar’s comments were based on his belief that Job was suffering because of sin. The first two chapters of Job tell us this was not true. Job was not suffering because of sin. Job was suffering because Satan was trying to get Job to curse God. Second, let’s suppose Job was indeed suffering because of sin. In that case, confession would not necessarily lead to prosperity. Let’s consider King David. David committed sin, but when he confessed his sin, that did not remove the consequences of his sin.
2Sam. 12:7 Nathan then said to David, “Thus says the LORD,
2Sam. 12:9 ‘Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.
David’s sin was murder and adultery.
2Sam. 12:10 ‘Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’
2Sam. 12:11 “Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household;’”
The consequences of David’s sin were deaths in his family, and evil against David from his own family.
2Sam. 12:13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
David confessed without any reservations; however, that did not remove the consequences. For the rest of David’s life, he had severe family problems. First, David’s son Amnon raped one of David’s daughters. Then Absalom killed Amnon in revenge. Absalom was another of David’s sons. This led to a long period of estrangement between David and Absalom. Eventually Absalom rebelled against David, and David had to flee for his life. This led to Absalom’s death which caused David much sadness, even though Absalom had been trying to kill David.All this teaches us that contrary to Zophar’s belief, confession does not necessarily lead to peace and prosperity. God is merciful, so confession might mitigate or eliminate the consequences, but there is no guarantee that confession will eliminate the consequences. And once again, the point relative to Job’s suffering is that Job was not suffering because of sin; therefore, confession was a moot point in his case.
For us, our suffering may or may not be caused by sin. If it is not caused by sin, then confession is not going to remove the suffering. If our suffering is caused by sin, then we should confess, but confession will not necessarily remove or mitigate the consequences of our sin.
“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”
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