"Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than heaven--what can you do? Deeper than Sheol--what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9).
These words were spoken by Job’s friend Zophar as he attempts to answer why all these terrible things had happened to Job. Zophar had already listened to Eliphaz’s and Bildad’s attempts to explain to Job why Job had experienced the loss of his possessions, his children, and his own health (Job 4:1-5:27; 8:1-22). Their basic line of reasoning was God had brought these things upon Job to chasten Job because Job had sinned. Zophar had also heard Job’s defense of himself that he was not an unrepentant sinner, but had striven to live a righteous and blameless life (Job 9:20-21).
Now Zophar will vainly attempt to explain why these things have happened to Job. Zophar says how he wishes God would speak to Job (Job 11:5). Since God will not speak, Zophar foolishly decides he will speak for God. As he does so he tells Job: “Know therefore that God exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves” (Job 11:6). He brutally tells Job that he actually deserves to be punished for his sins more severely than just losing his possessions, his children, and his own health! Of course, none of this is true. Job was not being punished for his sins. Satan had done all these terrible things to Job in his attempt to turn Job away from following God (Job 1:9-12; 2:4-6). God esteemed Job, viewed Job as blameless and upright, and said there was “none like him on the earth”(Job 1:8; 2:3).
As the opening verses above suggest, Zophar asks if Job can search out the deep things of God (Job 11:7). This is a great truth! Zophar tries to apply this truth to Job, but he should have applied it to himself. He should not be trying to search out the answers that only God knew. Zophar should have been humble enough to realize his limitations in being able to give an explanation as to why these things had happened to Job. He should have simply said something like this: “Job, I don’t know why this has happened to you. There are some things only God knows. But I know that God loves you and I love you. I want you to know that and I am here to support you as your friend.”
However, Zophar failed to hold his tongue and uttered things he would regret saying. God will later rebuke Zophar and his friends for trying to answer for God: “And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has’” (Job 42:7).
I learn a great lesson here: There are some things I am never going to know or understand during my time on this earth. Job understood he didn’t know everything, nor could he. Of God, Job said, “He uncovers deep things out of darkness, and brings the shadow of death to light” (Job 12:22). While Job misunderstood and thought God was doing this to him for some reason not known to him, he is determined to walk in faith in God. Job says, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him..” (Job 13:15). Today, I will accept I cannot always know why different things happen to me. I choose simply to rejoice that God loves me as I go through these things and I will strive to walk not by sight understanding everything there is to know, but by faith trusting in God and His care for me!
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?’ ‘Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?’ For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33-36).