Zophar exacted harsh judgement in Job 11:6. He told Job that, “God exacteth of thee less then thine iniquity deserveth.” For Zophar this was a very bold statement, and a foolish one. Unlike Zophar, we know and understand why Job was facing the trials he found himself in. It was not a result of his iniquity, but rather was a test of his faithfulness to his God. Zophar, did what so many of us do, he peered over into the life of his fellow and tried to deduce what was the cause of the issue from his limited view. If we continue reading we will find out more about the judgement of Zophar.
I. Zophar passes judgement on Job with a pretense of Godliness. “But oh that God would speak, And open his lips against thee;” (Job 11:5) Zophar was utterly convinced that God did not approve of what Job had done and that the state Job now found himself in was proof of that. We too often condemn fellow Christians with an air of righteous dignity, yet we seldom know all the facts surrounding the situation.
II. Zophar makes a false accusation. “Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,” (Job 20:1) “Knowest thou not this of old, Since man was placed upon earth, That the triumphing of the wicked is short, And the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?” (Job 20:4-5) “Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; Because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not;” (Job 20:19) Zophar spoke in Job chapter eleven, and now in chapter twenty he does quite a bit of speaking again. This time he not only has passed judgement of Job, but he has leveled a direct accusation in verse nineteen. This false accusation creates a level of drama. Zophar tried to use generalities to insinuate a charge against Job. This would make Zophar appear as though he is trying to avoid drama. Unfortunately, so many Christians are this way. They sneak in their snide remarks and little passing comments in a general sense as to try to get a poke in without arousing the bear. This time, it did not work for Zophar. Job responds point blank to the charge of Zophar, “Behold, I know your thoughts, And the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me.” (Job 21:27) He even went as far as to call it mockery in Job 21:3. People who love to create drama under the surface do not want a direct confrontation, but rather would voice their own private opinion without rebuttal. This often leads to gossip and the slaying of reputation.
III. Zophar reveals the source of his accusation and judgement. “Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, And for this I make haste. I have heard the check of my reproach, And the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer.” (Job 20:1-3) I want to notice here that he has sighted two exclusive sources that have “caused him to answer”. These are his thoughts, and his understanding. In other words, this was his opinion based on his perception. He did not know all the facts. He founded an opinion based on his limited perception and understanding of a situation and made it a fact. He took this self-thought “fact” and cast an accusation. He took his accusation and passed judgement on Job. So do many Christians, we have limited perception and understanding of a situation, yet we form an opinion and treat it as a fact. We formulate an accusation from this opinion, and pass judgement all upon the basis of OUR THOUGHTS and OUR UNDERSTANDING.
IV. Zophar’s judgement is broken. “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:1-2) The LORD vindicates Job here in front of his friends and pinpoints the cause for the false judgement of Zophar. He was speaking words without knowledge. Zophar spake even though he did not really know what was going on. “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” (Proverbs 29:11) We watch other people’s lives and try to gage them by our standards, and then we form an opinion. We create an accusation and pass judgement and open our mouths for the sake of being able to say, “I told you so!” If we are not careful we will find ourselves being considered by God as a dark counselor as Zophar did.
V. The remedy - “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:” (Luke 6:37) There is a simple two-fold solution to this problem.
A. Judge Not - Don’t try to gage how other people are doing according to how you think it should be done. If it doesn’t concern you then don’t worry about it. If you are a judgemental person then you will soon find that people are passing judgement on you too.
Condemn Not - Do not make accusations without proof, and then even if you have proof, don’t run around making it the social discussion of the week. Go to the authorities who need to know about it and leave it with them and never breathe a word of it to anyone else. I’m afraid sometimes we are too busy condemning our fellow Christians that we have no time to be concerned about helping them in their needs. Try praying for your brother and you will find you will not be so quick to condemn him! Don’t let yourself fall prey to the judgement of Zophar.
“Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God; such alone will shake the gates of hell.” -John Wesley