Job 20 … Consider His Spirit of Understanding

“I listened to the reproof which insults me,
And the spirit of my understanding makes me answer,
(20:3).

Now Zophar is upset. He feels insulted, seemingly on behalf of God. How dare Job accuse God of being a wrongdoer.

“Know then that God has wronged me
And has closed His net around me…

21 “Pity me, pity me, O you my friends,
For the hand of God has struck me,”
(Job 19:6, 21).

Zophar just can’t hold his tongue, “the spirit of my understanding makes me answer.” And he goes on, prompted by his understanding, to engage in what reminds me of the duck test. You know, “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck.”

Zophar was now convinced that given the state of Job’s life, observing the circumstance in which Job now found himself, the explanation for all of this was clear, according to his understanding.

And now acting as if he were the defense attorney for Almighty God, Zophar presents his own reasoning, applying the duck test as his evidence; in other words, Job’s life in a nutshell.

That the triumphing of the wicked is short,
And the joy of the godless momentary?
(20:5).

“He swallows riches,
But will vomit them up;
God will expel them from his belly.
(20:15).

“Because he knew no quiet within him,
He does not retain anything he desires.
21 “Nothing remains for him to devour,
Therefore his prosperity does not endure,
(20:20-21).

…Terrors come upon him,
26 Complete darkness is held in reserve for his treasures,
And unfanned fire will devour him;
It will consume the survivor in his tent,
(20:25-26).

So, there it is… it’s a duck! The terrors of Job’s life look and swim and quack like those of the wicked and godless; ergo he must be wicked and godless. There’s no other explanation to satisfy Zophar’s understanding; this is Job’s portion from God, decreed to him because of his wickedness.

“The heavens will reveal his iniquity,
And the earth will rise up against him.
28 “The increase of his house will depart;
His possessions will flow away in the day of His anger.
29 “This is the wicked man’s portion from God,
Even the heritage decreed to him by God.”
(20:27-29).

But this duck was swimming in very deep waters, unseen and unknown by the human eye or mind; and beneath the surface of Zophar’s understanding was His Spirit of Understanding, faultless and pure, beyond human ability to ascertain.

Consider His Spirit of Understanding

Understanding: “998. בִּינָה biynāh: A feminine noun meaning understanding, comprehension, discernment, righteous action…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord,
(Isaiah 11:2).

Encompassed in His Spirit of Understanding is all wisdom, counsel, strength and knowledge.

Jesus Christ would come in perfect manifestation of His Spirit of Understanding. There is nothing He does not understand; nothing beyond His comprehension; nothing past his discernment; and every judgment is in accordance with His perfect righteousness.

  • His Spirit of Understanding knows the hearts of all men
    • …for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men, (1 Kings 8:39).
  • His Spirit of Understanding embodies all that He Is
    • “With Him are wisdom and might;
      To Him belong counsel and understanding,”
      (Job 12:13).
  • His Spirit of Understanding is infinite
    • Great is our Lord and abundant in strength;
      His understanding is infinite,
      (Psalm 147:5).
  • His Spirit of Understanding is inscrutable (unsearchable)
    • “Do you not know? Have you not heard?
      The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
      Does not become weary or tired.
      His understanding is inscrutable,”
      (Isaiah 40:28).
  • His Spirit of Understanding is embodied in Jesus Christ, our Savior
    • …Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (Colossians 2:2-3).

How do we respond to His Spirit of Understanding?

Before we jump on the bandwagon to condemn Zophar’s presumptive attitude against Job, let’s remember that we have the advantage of knowing the prequel to Job’s misfortune.

We would do well to see ourselves in Zophar’s misguided reasoning. Don’t we often engage in the same sort of behavior? Casting judgment on another’s plight, after a quick examination of how they look, swim and quack?

We must continually remind ourselves that our understanding is limited at best and corrupted at worst.

Let us commit to seek His understanding rather than relying on our faulty, and evil, duck tests.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil,
(Proverbs 3:5-7).

As we grow in our reverence and fear of the Lord, and as we turn away from evil and turn to His Spirit of Understanding, the Lord has promised He will give us understanding for every need.

Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything, (2 Timothy 2:7).

And He has given us His Perfect Word by His Spirit of Understanding, that we would grow in wisdom.

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple,
(Psalm 19:7).

Let us commit to start at the beginning and take hold of the truth of His Word; to determine to grow in our knowledge of His Spirit of Understanding.

The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;
And with all your acquiring, get understanding,
(Proverbs 4:7).

We will always have questions, but as we choose to meditate on His Inspired Word, abounding with His knowledge, wisdom and counsel, we will grow in faith to lean more on His Spirit of Understanding rather than our own.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! (Romans 11:33).

How unsearchable, how unfathomable, how far beyond our understanding is His Spirit of Understanding. How can we not praise Him with all that we are? He alone is worthy of all our praise!

The LORD is great and is to be highly praised; his greatness is beyond understanding, (Psalm 145:3 Good News Translation).

Let’s Grow Together!

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