Job 20: At the Foot of the Cross
November 22, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Now it is Zophar’s turn at the pump. Job has once again replied to his accusers: he is not guilty. The reason he is suffering is not because he has done something wrong. But Zophar comes at him now to increase the pressure on Job. Why are they acting this way? Why can they not be silent and listen? One of the dangers of being learned, and of being a teacher, is that it is hard to learn new things, to listen rather than lecture. As Zophar puts it (unknowingly giving witness to this temptation), “My understanding inspires me to reply.” In other words, he cannot countenance the thought that his thinking is seriously skewed. Surely he has learning, and therefore he will now offer a reply to Job. It is his turn to show Job the error of his ways, and he will not fail.
Be careful, Christian. A little knowledge comes with this danger that you think you know more than you do. The answer to that danger is not more knowledge, but better knowledge; to encounter not just truths about God, but God himself. Would you pray this morning that you would not only know more about God, but that you would know God himself better? The more you know God personally, the easier it is to believe that there is much that you do not understand! He is infinite, we are finite; he is holy, we are sinful; he is omnipotent, we are limited; he is eternal, we are death-bound but for the grace of Christ and his resurrection. Know God and realize how much there is still to know! The one who knows God will be humble, in the same way that the person who has seen the Grand Canyon will not be liable to think that they themselves can dig a really big hole by their own strength.
Zophar’s reply itself is in essence quite simple. He describes, poetically and carefully, the idea that while then wicked might think they thrive for a while, in the end they are dismayed and destroyed, Any sweetness of sin they might experience is turned to dust in their mouth in the end.
What is wrong with this idea? What is wrong with it is the insinuation. What Zophar is really saying is that Job is in the wrong. He may not realize that he’s in the wrong right now, but he had better watch out because surely he is in the wrong. There can be no other explanation for what has happened to him. Certainly Job thrived for a while. But now Job has had his comeuppance; he has gotten what he deserved, even though—as is sometimes the case, Zophar is arguing—that his just deserts was long delayed. Still it is here now, and the suffering that Job is experiencing is nothing less than a right and just result of Job’s sins.
The answer to all this, though, is at the foot of the cross. There was a righteous man, completely and fully righteous in ways that Job was not, who suffered and yet did not sin. In fact, he suffered for us. And as we read of Job’s sufferings, we are taken to the feet of the one whose sufferings paid the price of our sin. He was a great and better Job who not only suffered pain but even death and then rose again that in him we might rise again from the dead ourselves.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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