Job 11-13 Stretch out your hands toward him

From Job 11-13

18 Job three friends

In today’s passage Zophar speaks to Job. He tries to tell him he deserves worse than he has received and he should repent. When we look at the gospel, we see repentance plays its part.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

18 Job 11-13

After Job’s comments yesterday, his third friend Zophar has a go at him.

11 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

2 “Should a multitude of words go unanswered, and a man full of talk be judged right?

3 Should your babble silence men, and when you mock, shall no one shame you?

4 For you say, ‘My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in God’s eyes.’

5 But oh, that God would speak and open his lips to you,

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. (Job 11.1-6)

Ouch! Zophar reckons Job deserves worse! Is he a friend? Fault finders can be infuriated when those they try to condemn resist. You may remember from yesterday, Job continues to maintain his innocence and questions whether it is right for God to do this to him. Zophar hopes that God would speak. His hope will be realised in the final chapters.

7 “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?

8 It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?

9 Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.

10 If he passes through and imprisons and summons the court, who can turn him back?

11 For he knows worthless men; when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it?

12 But a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey’s colt is born a man! (Job 11.7-12)

Zophar magnifies God and matches Job against him. He follows up with another insult. Implying Job is worthless, has practiced iniquity and is stupid. The last line is curious, ‘a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey’s colt is born a man’ Is he calling Job an ass?

13 “If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him.

14 If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents.

15 Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear.

16 You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away.

17 And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning.

18 And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security.

19 You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor.

20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last.” (Job 11.13-20)

He lastly encourages Job to repent. This is how I understand ‘preparing your heart’ and ‘stretching out’ for the LORD. ‘Putting away’ iniquity and removing injustice. What he says here provides a number of good incentives for those who have sinned and should repent. The promises seem to be fairly exorbitant.

“As uttered by Zophar, there is a ring of insincerity about them [the promises], and we cannot but feel that his object in expatiating at length on the details of Job’s coming happiness is not to console and encourage his friend, but rather to annoy and exasperate him, since the entire basis on which he builds is the assumption of Job’s heinous guilt (Job 11.3,6,11,14), and the prosperity which he promises is to follow upon an acknowledgment of guilt and a putting away of iniquity (Job 11.13,14), which he knew that Job wholly repudiated. (Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Job (pp. 194–195). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)

When Job replies he defends himself against their attacks. He has been made a laughingstock. He still recognises God is in control of all things. Mighty and powerful he builds up, sustains and destroys (Job 12). Job calls his friends ‘worthless physicians’ and wishes they would be silent. Despite his suffering Job explains still he hopes in God. He seeks knowledge of any sins and transgressions he may have made (Job 13).

Story of Jesus

While Zophar has misunderstood why Job is suffering as he is, repentance is an important part of life. When Jesus rose from the dead he said to them,

“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Lk 24:46–47)

People repent when they initially turn towards God and when they turn away from some sort of sin. After proclaiming the gospel to non believers, the audience needs to be instructed to turn to God and away from sin. A cursory reading of Acts reveals that whenever audiences were commanded to repent it was after they had been accused of some sort of sin. But repentance is not just a one time act. It involves a certain lifestyle. Repentance also involves bearing good ‘fruits’ in keeping with repentance (Lk 3.8; Acts 26.20; cf. Heb 6.6).

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.