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Chapter 20:20-29 (ESV)

Posted on May 28, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 20:20-29 (ESV) - “Because he knew no contentment in his belly,
    he will not let anything in which he delights escape him.
There was nothing left after he had eaten;
    therefore his prosperity will not endure.
In the fullness of his sufficiency he will be in distress;
    the hand of everyone in misery will come against him.
To fill his belly to the full,
    God will send his burning anger against him
    and rain it upon him into his body.
He will flee from an iron weapon;
    a bronze arrow will strike him through.
It is drawn forth and comes out of his body;
    the glittering point comes out of his gallbladder;
    terrors come upon him.
Utter darkness is laid up for his treasures;
    a fire not fanned will devour him;
    what is left in his tent will be consumed.
The heavens will reveal his iniquity,
    and the earth will rise up against him.
The possessions of his house will be carried away,
    dragged off in the day of God's wrath.
This is the wicked man's portion from God,
    the heritage decreed for him by God.

Question to consider: Why does discontentment lead to poverty?

Today we continue with Zophar’s description of God’s judgment against the wicked. He began by saying that the evil man can’t remain prosperous because he indulges every personal desire and is never content with what he has.

Once a wicked man had lost his prosperity, Zophar declared that God’s judgment would reign down on his body and terrors would come upon him as enemies rose up against him. All that was left for such a man was utter darkness and being consumed by a slow-burning flame. This is the opposite of what Paul advised to Timothy, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

According to Zophar, all of the things that had happened to Job were an indication that heaven would reveal his iniquity, and that the wrath of God was decreed against him. Where Job had professed his salvation by a living Redeemer, Zophar pronounced no such redemption but only the hopeless expectation of judgment.

Of course, if what Zophar said was true, at what point did heaven reveal Job’s iniquity? While Zophar is correct in declaring that there is a judgment, and the day of God’s wrath will come upon the world, he wrongly applied this judgment to Job. The writer of Hebrews proclaimed that Jesus is our great high priest— the Redeemer in which Job placed his hope. For those who rejected this Redeemer and instead tried to earn their salvation by their own failed attempts at righteousness, there was “a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (Hebrews 10:27 NIV)

Zophar’s belief in salvation by his own good works was actually the way to experience the day of God’s wrath, and Job’s profession of faith in God’s Redeemer was the true way of righteousness. If only Zophar would have had ears to hear what Job was saying.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit who testifies with our own spirit that we belong to Christ. Help us to be content with what You have given us, and deliver us from those who wish to tear us down or do evil against us. Amen.