Judge Not

Job 11-13

Why is it so easy to “see” the sins of others and not our own?

Zophar takes up the “Job Challenge” with: Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin” —Job 11:5, 6.

If he and his buddies had prayed that God would give Job wisdom and understanding in the midst of all this trauma rather than judge from their “superior” position, it might have been more useful. They assumed because they thought they knew something that they didn’t. The arrogance is obvious.

I suppose this strikes me hard because I am, and have been, listening to the same lofty judgments rendered by some who “know” heaped on others who obviously don’t.

“He is not fit for ministry,” is the current popular refrain directed at someone, I admit, who has a lot to learn. But to say he is not fit for ministry is a judgment call only God can make. If these same people had had the opportunity to run a fitness-for-ministry check on the twelve disciples I’d be willing to bet they would have disqualified them all.

God knows better.

Like Job’s friends, we make judgment calls based on limited knowledge—never a good idea. Zophar wasn’t totally wrong in what he said. After he offers his slap in the face he goes on to say some beautiful things about the majesty of God, but then falls into the trap of making statements directed at Job that he doesn’t know are true (11:13-19) accusing Job of having offended God and now being subject to God’s anger because of those sins.

“If you do what I say and accept my word as truth, things will be fine,” is the message.

Job responds in kind, recognizing the arrogance: “Doubtless you are the people, and wisdom will die with you” (12:2). He “gets his back up” as they say.

Then Job touches on some amazing truth:

To God belongs wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. What he tears down cannot be rebuilt; the man he imprisons cannot be released. If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land. To him belong strength and victory; both deceived and deceiver are his. He leads counselors away stripped and makes fools of judges. He takes off the shackles put on by kings and ties a loincloth around their waist. He leads priests away stripped and overthrows men long established. He silences the lips of trusted advisors and takes away the discernment of elders. He pours contempt on nobles and disarms the mighty. He reveals the deeps things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light. He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them. He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he sends them wandering through a trackless waste. They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards” (12:12-25).

What causes me to chuckle is that before Job begins this section he reminds his listeners that even the animals understand these truths.

Before we so glibly make judgment calls about others, perhaps it would be better to let God be the judge since only He knows the real truth. And only to him belongs the right to make vessels of honour out of clay pots—or vice versa.


  1. SOO much to learn from Job. Pleased as punch you are doing your devos/blog posts from your Bible reading. I am learning so much. And I'm TERRIBLE about judging, but God is working on me. Blessings, my friend!


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