Skip to main content

Zophar the Bombast

If someone was to hand me the contents of Job 11 out of context, I don’t know that I’d see a whole lot wrong with it. There is much that sounds like what any Christian speaker or writer might say—or even David in the Psalms. What is wrong with statements like, “If you devote your heart to [God] and stretch out your hands to him…you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm without fear”? (v. 13, 15) Who can argue against the idea that we cannot fathom the mysteries of God? (v.7) Who would disagree that there is security and hope for those devoted to God?

And yet we know from the end of the book that Zophar was, as Oswald Chambers suggests, full of bombast—defined by as “pompous or pretentious speech or writing.” I love Chambers’ alliterations. Check out the four section headings for his discussion about Job 11:

Stirring of Self-Respecting Indignation
Schemes of Spurious Invocation
Self-Consciousness of Serious Instruction
Self-Complacency of Sentimental Integrity

I wonder how long it took him to create titles like that? The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers is 1486 pages long—large pages with small print—and every page has its own set of alliterating headings. But I digress.

Chambers obviously has no use for Zophar or the pompous, self-important Christians who are full of their own knowledge. I cringed as I read what Chambers had to say because I could see a lot of who I used to be in his denunciations and I wonder how much of Zophar is still in me. I hope not much. Today I want to quote a few of the sentences I underlined.

We use terms of righteous indignation to condemn the thing we are not guilt of, while all the time we may be guilty of tenfold worse.


Another trick of bombastic religion is to appeal to God in order to back up a position which is obviously questionable.


When we are facing problems we must see to it that we are reverent and silent, for the most part, with what we do not understand.


God uses children, and books, and flowers in the spiritual instruction of a man, but he seldom uses the self-conscious prig who consciously instructs…. The very nature of spiritual instruction is that it is unconscious of itself; it is the life of a child, manifesting obedience, not ostentation.


If you are a religious person of the “Zophar” type and can work up sufficient religious indignation, you will come to the conclusion that you and God must go together, it is quite impossible for you to be mistaken; then you will begin to instruct others on the same line, and will inevitably end by placing things in a totally false light.

God, I don’t want to be a Zophar—a self-righteous prig full of herself and empty of you. Keep me on the path of childlike obedience and keep my focus on you, not myself or what I know. Thank you, Father. Amen.


Popular posts from this blog

Monogamous, Homosexual Unions--My Position and the Story behind it

I've been asked to be one of two participants at church each representing opposing views on the matter of monogamous, homosexual unions, moderated by the pastor.  In preparation, I have written the following.  In the comments, please do not post any vitriol--from either side. If I think any comment is hateful, I will delete it. Respectful disagreement or questions are welcome, however.

My Position and Values:
I believe that sexual relations between two people of the same sex is contrary to God’s will.I would like to say otherwise but I find nothing in Scripture that allows me to do so.BEING homosexual, having a longing or desire for someone of the same sex, is not condemned in the Bible.  We all have desires that are contrary to God’s will.  The sin occurs when we feed those desires, like Jesus talks about when he calls lust adultery (Matthew 5:28).Much cruelty to LGBTQ people has happened because of the stance of the Church. We have not acted with love, compassion and listening ear…

About the Author


I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

I have written a book that's recently been published about part of my journey with God. In it I tell how God confronted me with the same-sex attraction issues I've struggled with all my adult life and how he led me through them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. God is amazing—his forgiveness, his love, his movement in our lives when we allow him and so much more. I suspect God will never run out of things to teach me or ways to make me grow and that’s a good thing (though often very painful).

I suppose I can say that what gives me the greatest pleasure in life is telling others about…

What Is Separating me from the Promise?

This is the question Andy Wood asked us each to consider this morning at the end of his sermon and it hit me like a thunderbolt.

Imagine the Jordan River on the eve of the Israelites crossing it into the Promised Land.  The river was at flood stage, so it was moving quickly (even the Red River here in Winnipeg moves quickly during flood season) but this particular stretch of the river near Jericho is narrower than the rest so that as the rushing flood waters reached the point where the people were waiting--all two million of them--it became even more turbulent.  Anyone who's witnessed a flood knows that it doesn't just carry water; there is debris like fallen trees, parts of sheds and houses and perhaps even animals unable to escape the river's grab.

Back in the days of Abraham, God had promised the land of Canaan to him and his descendants but during the days of Abraham's great-grandson, Joseph, the whole family had moved out of the Promised Land to Egypt because of f…