Originally scheduled for June 19
The average Christian does not usually recognize the name Zophar.
He is the third of the friends of Job who came to counsel with him.
We’re not really sure where he came from; there is quite a bit of
debate as to what his name actually means; but it is clear that he
is a “somebody.”
If you read through his argument you will see
that it basically consists of three major points.
First, God is angry with the wicked. Or as my mother would put it,
“God is angry with the wicked all day long.” This is fairly obvious;
it’s an aspect of God’s character. He is righteous and cannot abide
Second God punishes those with whom he is angry. This too is part of
his character, relating to his omnipotence and to his justice. He
not only wants to, he has the power to do it.
Third, the triumph of the wicked is short-lived; they will soon be
gone. Like the change of the weather, the wicked do not continue.
Of course, but Zophar is implying — but not actually stating — is
that the reason Job is suffering so much is that he is secretly one
of the wicked.
Let’s look at his argument. He’s essentially
saying what statisticians deny frequently: correlation implies
causality. If the wicked are punished, and you are being punished,
then you must be among the wicked. This look at that more detail.
If you are among the wicked you will be punished. This is true by
the very existence of God; details at his discretion.
But doesn’t necessarily follow that if you are being punished —
i.e., suffering — that you must be among the wicked? Wicked implies
punishment, but it does not necessarily follow that punishment
implies wickedness. There may be other reasons for your suffering.
Therefore we are instructed to “judge not.”
The arch example
of this is Jesus himself. He lived a sinless life, and therefore
deserve no punishment for his “wickedness.” Beyond that, he was the
Beloved Son of God the Father. It is obvious that God sometimes has
other motives in dealing out punishment and suffering. In this
instance, of course, it is dealing with the sins of the world by
offering an innocent sacrifice.
Communion is a commemoration
of innocent suffering. The innocent Lamb of God was slaughtered for
your sake. The bread represents his body, which if you will recall
was nailed to a cross to be hung there until dead. The cup
represents his blood — He was stabbed mainly to increase the pain of
dying. He suffered this voluntarily for you; what does he ask in
return? He asks that you remember.
He asks that you remember his innocent suffering, and place your own
suffering in proper perspective.
He asks that you remember that he paid for your sins — and the sins
of all mankind.
He asks that you remember that he cares for you, and answers your
prayers. Is it too much to remember that he loves you?
Finally, He asks that you remember that he is coming again to judge
the living and the dead. In so doing he offers you the chance to
join the triumphant righteous, forgiven of their sins.