Job 11: Know What You Are Talking about
In Job chapter 11, we meet a third friend named Zophar the Naamathite. Let me give you the first words that he spoke, and then we will talk a little bit about them.
Job 11:2 Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?
Job 11:3 Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?
He is basically calling Job a fraud and a liar. You talk about all this stuff, but you can’t justify it. You tell blatant lies, but no one calls you on it.
We need to look at what Job has just said. What would have made his friend bring such a strong charge against him?
If you recall, in chapter 10, Job was basically expressing his confusion over everything that was going on. He wanted God to tell him what he was doing wrong. He thought that he was doing the right thing, but he tells God that if something was wrong to please forgive him. If God would not forgive him, he said that he would rather be dead.
It seems as if Zophar is particularly attacking him for saying that he was without blame.
Job 11:4 For you say, ‘My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in God’s eyes.’
Job 11:5 But oh, that God would speak and open his lips to you,
Job 11:6 and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom! For he is manifold in understanding. Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.
I don’t know how many times I have said this about this book, but we are told that Job did not sin in response to this particular situation. The questioning and the pleading with God were apparently not sins because of what we find in Job 1:22.
However, I don’t think that he ever claimed to be perfect for his entire life. Remember, in all the places in this book where perfect is used as an adjective to describe him, the word does not imply absolute perfection. According to my Strong’s Numbers, most commonly this word implies someone who is morally pious. Job was certainly that. He did all of the sacrifices so that he would be forgiven. In the Old Testament system, his sins should have been covered over. It wasn’t the entire work of Jesus, but that was why the sacrificial system was in place until Jesus did His part.
He just wanted to know what he had done that was so bad to deserve all of this. It is not a sin to question God. Regardless, he did not think that he had sinned, but he even acknowledged that it was possible.
Job 10:14 If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.
The most important thing that I have found running through the book of Job is that we need to be careful what we say to other people. All of Job’s friends assumed that he must have done something terrible to get all of this punishment. They did not understand what we now know by reading the first few chapters of this book. Job himself did not understand either.
At this point, Job is being personally attacked as a liar simply because his friends did not understand. They were misrepresenting everything that he was saying. We don’t want to falsely attack. It hurts our Christian testimony, and it unnecessarily harms other people.