Job 11-13 We all would do well to not presume to know the Heart of God.
How often do you presume, and I do as well, about what you think is true. We lather our condemnation on like shaving cream. Our theology, is the right answer and so the other person stands condemned; no trial, only conjecture. Our impatience comes across in spades as we play God; what fools we are! Job’s so-called friend, Zophar, like us, fails to consider not only the cause but the heart of the person who is suffering. Like him, we just want the main character to accept our conclusion so this can be over and done with.
So between the three friends we see that all decide to share their conclusions about Job’s suffering. Eliphaz concluded that all people suffer but good people always win and bad people always lose; therefore Job must be “bad.” Job doesn’t buy that conclusion. Bildad believed God’s mercy would be revealed if and only if Job spent time confessing his sin. Again Job denies that conclusion because inwardly he knew he was innocent. Now Zophar, who in reality is harsher than the other two, derides Job and concludes that his talk is idle and mocking.
Job’s conclusion is that all are presumptuous! They are all self-described experts but fail to consider the pain he is in. Their words don’t square with the God he knows and their harsh spirit is driving him to despair.
In the midst of this Job teaches us what to do when the Zophar’s come to visit. Follow his example and take time to extol the attributes of God. Remind your harsh critics that even if God decides to slay us, He is sovereign and even though we don’t understand the circumstances, we have determined that we will remain faithful to Him. Deut 29:29 fits in here: “the secret things belong to God;” He alone knows the end from the beginning.
When a friend is in deep despair the last thing they need to hear is God is against them. We are reminded by James that God is gracious even in testing and we should stop and look in the mirror before we point fingers.