It’s Job’s last friend’s turn to talk. Zophar tells him that he got off easy, considering what could have happened to him.
Job is living in the time where man sees a direct correlation between following God and the blessings or curses in his life. I won’t call that totally off base. Zophar is judging by Job’s symptoms that he must have done something pretty serious to get the treatment he is getting, but he also says Job is getting off easy. There are those who certainly deserved worse than they got in this equation. And there are those who got worse, like Job. But God is the one who balances the scales and knows what is “just.”
We know from our reading of Job that he was blameless. God said so Himself. Yet there was more at stake here than a tit for tat relationship. God was doing something in Job. And He was doing something in Job’s friends.
Job’s friends are all three convinced He did something to anger God. Eliphaz said he must have sinned. Bildad told him to repent regardless of his position. And Zophar is telling him that he got less than he deserved. ALL three convicted him without knowing the charge. They judged him by his circumstances instead of his past character.
For the rest of us, I will certainly agree with Zophar’s statement; we get off with a LOT less than we deserve. This is especially true in this age of grace! We ALL deserve death. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus took our place and paid our debt, or ‘accepted our wages’ on our behalf.
Job is a human and EVERY human has, at some point in their life, has sinned. That sin earned them death. The fact that Job is still breathing and able to voice his cries is proof that he IS getting off easier than he deserves. Knowing his character from our reading though, we can surmise that he asked for forgiveness at the time. He prayed for forgiveness for his children after their feasts because he feared they might have sinned and wanted to cover them with protection. So we can assume he would have done the same for himself without delay.
With Jesus’ work on the cross our sins are wiped out. Hebrews 8 tells us that with the new covenant that God “will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12b). Once we ask Him for forgiveness, He won’t hold onto them to call us to account for them at a later date. I don’t know that He did that with the old covenant but they were not truly washed away. They were buried under the blood of animals. Jesus’ blood washes them away completely.
Thinking about this brings to mind when God finally judged Judah. When He judged Israel it was for sins that they had never asked for forgiveness for. Once the nation split and Rehoboam made the golden calves, final judgement was on its way. God gave them a LONG time to repent but they never did. Judah, on the other hand, had several good kings mixed in with the bad ones. Manasseh was a horrible king. His sins weren’t wiped completely away even though Josiah followed and was a VERY godly king. Manasseh’s sins were the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ for God. He held of executing His judgement but He didn’t forget Manasseh’s sin.
I wonder if Job’s friends were thinking he had committed a recent sin or if they believed one from his past had finally caught up to him. Under the old covenant that might have been expected but not under grace. And who knows the ‘rules’ for those who were before or outside of God’s covenant. They counted him guilty and gave no credence to his argument. “Should you babble silence men, and when you mock, shall no one shame you?” (verse 3). Boy do they have a surprise coming!
Father God, THANK YOU that I don’t get what I deserve! I deserve to be a smoldering pile of ashes. I deserve death. But You have given me life! Not just life here on earth but everlasting life with You. That is worth MORE than anything to me.
Your blessings on my life are AMAZING! You didn’t have to bless me, but You do. You didn’t have to protect me from my own actions, but You did that too. And You sustained me in the darkest places when I really deserved to be abandoned. Thank You for Your love. Thank You that You NEVER give up on me; even when I give up on myself.