Job 11:7 (NIV) 7 “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
On verses 1-12: Here Zophar the Naamathite, Job’s third friend, chimes in. Like Eliphaz and Bildad before him, Zophar’s first words are heavy in judgment and light on grace. To paraphrase Zophar’s words to Job, “Will no one rebut your idle talk and rebuke your self-proclaimed innocence (v2-4)? I wish God would speak right now and shut you up, because the fact is God is punishing you less than you deserve (v5-6). God is so much bigger than you. Don’t even try to measure His dimensions (v7-9). If He tries you in His court, you wouldn’t stand a chance (v10). He sees right through deceitful men and takes note of what evil people do (v11). But stupid people will become wise about the same time that donkeys give birth to humans (v12).”
What can we learn from this? Here we must separate the wheat from the chaff in what Zophar says.
Zophar is correct in saying that:
– we cannot fathom all that God does (v7-9). God is infinite. We are finite. Later on when the Lord speaks to Job, the Lord will ask Job many questions that show how little Job can understand about what God does.
– on our own we don’t stand a chance in God’s court of justice (v10-11). That is because “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23).
– God punishes us less than our sins deserve (v6b). We can say that today especially because Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all of our sins when he died on the cross. Jesus suffered the wrath that was meant for us, so that we could be shown mercy. As Psalm 103:10 says, “he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”
– “true wisdom has two sides” (v6). On this side of heaven we can only see and make sense of so much. On the other side of heaven where God is, there is perfect knowledge and everything makes sense in the end. It’s like an embroidery: on the back side of an embroidery you see all these random stitches and bits of string that don’t seem to make any sense. You might also the outline of a design. But it’s only when you flip the embroidery on its front side that you can see the whole picture as the embroiderer intended it and how all those seemingly random stitches fit together to make a complete and beautiful design. For as long as we live on this side of heaven and on this side of wisdom, we only see a part. It might not all make sense to us. But one day when we get to heaven, we’ll see the other side and realize how God tied together the seemingly random stitches of our lives into the most beautiful design. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
Those are some of the good things we can take away from what Zophar said. What was wrong with what Zophar said? We’ll look at that tomorrow.
Heavenly Father, with all my limitations, I cannot possibly fathom everything You have done, or why You do what You do. But thank You that all I see right now is not all there is. What I see are glimpses of a design. Thank You that on the other side of heaven, I’ll get to see the whole beautiful picture in its entirety. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!