Repent! Zophar begins by saying that Job had not received as bad a punishment as he deserved, and even asks that God would speak clearly to Job. He goes on question Job’s ability to search out the deep things of God, for they are higher than the heavens. He then suggested that Job do the following: prepare his heart, reach out to God, put away iniquity, kick wickedness out of his tents. If Job would follow this advice, then God would lift up his face and make Job’s life brighter than noonday. Job would be safe and unafraid. However, there is a final reminder that the wicked will fail.
Although there is some hope given to Job that he would be helped if he repented, there is still much said here about crime and punishment, or work-based salvation. Reaping and sowing is definitely a Biblical way of looking at suffering, but it is not the only way. Just because someone suffers, it does not mean that they have sinned specifically to bring on such suffering. What of righteous people to contracted diseases through exposure to the disease? Do we call them sinners, or are they simply victims of the fall of Adam, and the resulting curse on the earth? Do not allow yourself to be caught up in the blame game. If there is an obvious correlation, then so be it. But do not be guilty of looking a righteous person in the face and assuming that he or she brought this problem onto himself or herself. Sometimes, adversity comes because of the fallen world in which we live. Sometimes it may be a test. Other times, it is a result of sin. Either way, it is not a person’s job to be judge and jury, but simply to comfort first, and instruct later.