Job lifted his head and forced himself upright. He could smell the putrid mixture of blood and pus emanating from his skin, like a combination of iron and rotting flesh. Every surface of his body radiated heat like the gray embers of a dying fire.
If pressed, Job wasn’t sure he could recite the gist of Zophar’s indictment against him. Aside from the physical pain contending with his will to concentrate, Zophar had always been a troublemaker, and Job discovered a long time ago that his motives were rarely pure.
Zophar likely felt jealous of Job’s life until now, and Job suspected that his Canaanite friend enjoyed watching the God-fearing priest suffer. So, after hearing his commentary through the filter of distrust, Job made his reply.
“I am awed by your great wisdom,” he mocked. “No doubt the secrets of your understanding will die with you.”
“Be careful, friend,” Zophar answered with a dull resentment. “My robes hide no festering affliction.”
“None of you have told me anything I don’t already know,” Job said calmly. “My own children, in their lowest state of drunken debauchery, knew these things. In fact, the beasts and birds and fish are apt teachers of the way we are to follow.
“As plainly as I can discern good food from bad, my mind knows the truth when I hear it. You know as well as I do, old men like us gain wisdom from experience. But God’s wisdom and strength are beyond us. No one can rebuild what he has destroyed. No one can open what he as closed. No one can replenish what he has exhausted. No one can stop what he has started.
“God is strength and wisdom. The dragon and his victim belong to God. He strips counselors and judges of their dignity. He makes subjects of kings and kings of subjects. He casts away priests and humbles titans. He silences the trustworthy and makes fools of elders. He strips the princes of their position and the warriors of their strength. He causes the rise and fall of nations, enlarging, then scattering them. He forces the waymaker to wander through a roadless desert, groping like a drunkard without a hint of light.”
Inspiration: Job 12