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Job 11-12 The Message (MSG)

Zophar’s Counsel

How Wisdom Looks from the Inside

11 1-6 Now it was the turn of Zophar from Naamath:

“What a flood of words! Shouldn’t we put a stop to it?
    Should this kind of loose talk be permitted?
Job, do you think you can carry on like this and we’ll say nothing?
    That we’ll let you rail and mock and not step in?
You claim, ‘My doctrine is sound
    and my conduct impeccable.’
How I wish God would give you a piece of his mind,
    tell you what’s what!
I wish he’d show you how wisdom looks from the inside,
    for true wisdom is mostly ‘inside.’
But you can be sure of this,
    you haven’t gotten half of what you deserve.

7-12 “Do you think you can explain the mystery of God?
    Do you think you can diagram God Almighty?
God is far higher than you can imagine,
    far deeper than you can comprehend,
Stretching farther than earth’s horizons,
    far wider than the endless ocean.
If he happens along, throws you in jail
    then hauls you into court, can you do anything about it?
He sees through vain pretensions,
    spots evil a long way off—
    no one pulls the wool over his eyes!
Hollow men, hollow women, will wise up
    about the same time mules learn to talk.

Reach Out to God

13-20 “Still, if you set your heart on God
    and reach out to him,
If you scrub your hands of sin
    and refuse to entertain evil in your home,
You’ll be able to face the world unashamed
    and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless.
You’ll forget your troubles;
    they’ll be like old, faded photographs.
Your world will be washed in sunshine,
    every shadow dispersed by dayspring.
Full of hope, you’ll relax, confident again;
    you’ll look around, sit back, and take it easy.
Expansive, without a care in the world,
    you’ll be hunted out by many for your blessing.
But the wicked will see none of this.
    They’re headed down a dead-end road
    with nothing to look forward to—nothing.”

Job Answers Zophar

Put Your Ear to the Earth

12 1-3 Job answered:

“I’m sure you speak for all the experts,
    and when you die there’ll be no one left to tell us how to live.
But don’t forget that I also have a brain—
    I don’t intend to play second fiddle to you.
    It doesn’t take an expert to know these things.

4-6 “I’m ridiculed by my friends:
    ‘So that’s the man who had conversations with God!’
Ridiculed without mercy:
    ‘Look at the man who never did wrong!’
It’s easy for the well-to-do to point their fingers in blame,
    for the well-fixed to pour scorn on the strugglers.
Crooks reside safely in high-security houses,
    insolent blasphemers live in luxury;
    they’ve bought and paid for a god who’ll protect them.

7-12 “But ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
    let the birds tell you what’s going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
    Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn’t it clear that they all know and agree
    that God is sovereign, that he holds all things in his hand—
Every living soul, yes,
    every breathing creature?
Isn’t this all just common sense,
    as common as the sense of taste?
Do you think the elderly have a corner on wisdom,
    that you have to grow old before you understand life?

From God We Learn How to Live

13-25 “True wisdom and real power belong to God;
    from him we learn how to live,
    and also what to live for.
If he tears something down, it’s down for good;
    if he locks people up, they’re locked up for good.
If he holds back the rain, there’s a drought;
    if he lets it loose, there’s a flood.
Strength and success belong to God;
    both deceived and deceiver must answer to him.
He strips experts of their vaunted credentials,
    exposes judges as witless fools.
He divests kings of their royal garments,
    then ties a rag around their waists.
He strips priests of their robes,
    and fires high officials from their jobs.
He forces trusted sages to keep silence,
    deprives elders of their good sense and wisdom.
He dumps contempt on famous people,
    disarms the strong and mighty.
He shines a spotlight into caves of darkness,
    hauls deepest darkness into the noonday sun.
He makes nations rise and then fall,
    builds up some and abandons others.
He robs world leaders of their reason,
    and sends them off into no-man’s-land.
They grope in the dark without a clue,
    lurching and staggering like drunks.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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