Friends May Prove Unhelpful, But God Never Fails
“I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.” Job 12:4
We are going to be introduced to some more of Job’s friends in this chapter. If you thought Bildad’s words were cruel, you’re not going to believe his next friend, Zophar. Job’s next friend, Zophar is just plain mean! Zophar, is thought to be younger. He certainly is brash (often a youthful misdeed). What he lacks in verbiage he will make up for in tone. There was not even one word of compassion given to Job. He just comes out blasting with his six-gun!
Job’s friends had been sitting around for seven days and were tired of hearing him complain, moan and talk of wanting to die. They began to talk amongst each other. One person was saying one thing and then another. Pretty soon everybody was yakking. Today we call that gossip.
There was a three-year sociological research project at Indiana University that was conducted on gossip. The results were interesting, and surprisingly Biblical! They identified key dynamics about gossip. They discovered that it was not the initial statement that started gossip. Strangely enough, they said that the turning point in gossip was the response. For example, if the first person says, “So and so is a real snob” and if nobody seconds the motion, it dies. But gossip goes on because there’s always a second person. Job’s friends were chewing on him behind his back. Things went from bad to worse. Soon, they had tried, judged and convicted him!
It’s always remarkable to me how someone can get mad at another without ever even talking and trying to substantiate matters. Not one time, do some of Job’s “friends” try to reasonably clarify the issue. I’ve seen people leave friends of a lifetime without ever actually talking to them and getting the facts.
Zophar speaks pointedly, but ignorantly, “Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified? Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?” (Job 11:1-3) He doesn’t say, “Job, I’m sorry about your situation.” He doesn’t say, “I’m praying for you.” What does he say? He told Job that he talked too much and that must mean that he was guilty.
When you read the rest of chapter 11 you’ll see more of the pious and ignorant things he says. His words were like...
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