The DEEP

Job 11:1-20 – Zophar Speaks

He starts out good, but then makes a clueless indictment of Job.

Job 11:1-20 (ESV)

Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

“Should a multitude of words go unanswered, and a man full of talk be judged right? Should your babble silence men, and when you mock, shall no one shame you? For you say, ‘My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in God's eyes.’ But oh, that God would speak and open his lips to you, and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom! For he is manifold in understanding. Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.

“Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea. If he passes through and imprisons and summons the court, who can turn him back? For he knows worthless men; when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it? But a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey's colt is born a man!

“If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last.”

Job should use the comeback line, “Do you hear yourself Zophar?”

Much of what Zophar says is good, solid wisdom. But oh, that God would speak and open his lips to you, and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom! For he is manifold in understanding. … Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? Zophar is making the legitimate point that no one can understand God’s ways.

But, right in the middle of it he says, “Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.

Gee Zophar, do you really think that no one except Zophar can understand God’s ways?


I make this mistake all the time. I often think, “Dude, you need to read your own writings.” It’s not just that I don’t practice what I preach; I don’t even learn what I preach.

We all do this. Memorization is not the same as learning. Even if you memorize something, understand it, and agree with it, that’s still not the same as learning it. There’s something more, something that feels like trust. You don’t really know something until you’ve lived it and experienced its truth.

This is why walking the walk is so essential to following Christ. If you don’t do anything, nothing happens – and you don’t learn.

You’ll “know” things, but you won’t really believe them.


All the weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.