I opened my Bible randomly this morning to grab a few words of wisdom before I hit the sky (my husband flies a private plane) and headed out for Michigan.
I read the words of Zophar the Naamathite addressed to the patriarch Job. You may remember Job had recently lost his children, his wealth (a familiar story in today's economy), and to top it off had a nagging wife that seemed to have been spared so she could try his patience.
Zophar undertook to instruct his suffering neighbor who was sitting among the ashes scraping his boils (yep, health often flies out the door when the rest of our assets go). I was nodding along with Zophar when he said, "Can you (Job) search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heaven--what can you do? (True Zophar, God is omnipotent and we are not.)Deeper than Sheol--what can you know? (True, also, Zophar. God is Omniscient, and we outgrow knowing everything by the time we're thirty).
Then Zophar turns judgmental, "For He (God) knows deceitful men, He sees wickedness also, will he not consider it?" In few sentences down he says, "If you would not let wickedness dwell in your tents; then surely you could lift up your face without spot..." Everyone needs a friend like Zophar. Job had just lost everything dear to him, was sitting there in the ashes scratching at boils, and his friend Zophar undertakes to rebuke him (for his own sake I'm sure) and reveal to him the cause of his misery.
God, whose sense of humor amazes me, turns the tables on Zophar at the end and requires him to apologize to Job. He was smart enough to do it. He probably kept thinking about boils and ashes and didn't want friends like himself sitting there with him and diagnosing his spiritual maladies.
Sandwiched in the middle of Zophar's intelligent discourse and his apology, Zophar makes an amazing observation:
"For an empty headed man will be wise when a wild donkey's colt is born a man."
Is that something like saying, "when hell freezes over?" Zophar, the smart man had no business rebuking the wise man, but unfortunately, my friend, Zophar was exceptionally procreative and his offspring have multiplied upon the earth.
So...when you run into one of the Zophar tribe, don't get too upset. His time is coming.