-Zophar the Naamathite provides another observation in response. He goes on a tirade concerning the brevity of the wealthy and wicked man’s good times. It is not absolutely clear that he has Job in mind with this denunciation, but these words are certainly taken critically by the suffering friend. Zophar’s assessments of the wicked man are true and accurate according to the Word of God, but he has misappropriated them if he is accusing Job. Zophar felt insulted by Job’s remarks and reproofs. He believed he had a spirit of understanding in his answer, which is in part correct. The triumph of the wicked is short-term, not long-term, their godless joy is momentary (Psalm 49:16-17, James 1:11). His loftiness, though it touches the clouds and the heavens for a season, will perish forever like his refuse. People will ask where he went and not care. He flies away and is chased away like a dream and vision of the night. His sons end up poor, and his hands end up giving back his wealth. He is even known to die young (Job 20:1-11)
-Though the wicked man tastes sweet evil in his mouth and won’t let it go, his food changes in his stomach like a venomous cobra within him. “He swallows riches, but will vomit them up; God will expel them from his belly.” His business ventures soon fail too. He cannot enjoy a thing for he has oppressed the poor and forsaken them (Zechariah 7:9-10). He has stolen things like houses, which he has not built (Exodus 20:15). He lives with inner turmoil. No quiet-peace is within him. He cannot retain anything he desires. In time, nothing remains for him to devour, but his prosperity does not endure. “In the fullness of his plenty he will be cramped; the hand of everyone who suffers will come against him.” Though his belly is full with food, God will send His fierce anger on him, raining down tumult and trouble even while he eats. He will trust false security measures, but find that the LORD has outwitted him with weapons that can penetrate. Terrors come upon the wicked man out of the blue. “Complete darkness is held in reserve for his treasures, and unfanned fire will devour him; it will consume the survivor in his tent.” Zophar goes on to say that, “The heavens will reveal his iniquity, and the earth will rise up against him. The increase of his house will depart; His possessions will flow away in the day of His anger. This is the wicked man’s portion from God, even the heritage decreed to him by God (Job 20:12-29).”
-*Application* Once again we find that Job’s friends are making false assumptions regarding Job’s morals and character. The insinuations during rough stretches in life can be overwhelming if we are not centered in Christ Jesus for our righteousness. Imagine how Job must have felt listening to these words knowing that they were not indicative of him at all. Well intentioned platitudes can have very negative effects upon people’s hearts and minds when we make false assumptions. Zophar would have been well-advised to take a wiser, more congenial, approach with his words here. What we see as the readers, knowing the full story, is that Job was not the person Zopar was potentially making him out to be. Zophar could have invited Job to inspect himself to find if any of these things were true in his life without the ruthless-accusatory tones. We certainly can learn lessons on how to counsel people from Zophar’s mistakes.
Verse to Memorize: Job 20:22