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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.


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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…

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Reviews of Searching for Love

If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. You may e-mail me at or post them in the comments section below.

A Real Testimony
I finished your book. A real testimony to what God does for us.
Leona March 3, 2009
I Had Tears Coming

I sat down to read it about a week later and ended up finishing it the same night. At first I admit I was a little bored and thought that the whole book was about a battle all in your mind, but as I continued reading this creeping thought came over me of a different...struggle in my own life, that I would never in my right mind have shared with anyone accept maybe God. I've mentioned your book to a few people because it stirs up age-old controversies that I have myself argued and wondered about, namely about whether or not homosexuality can be cured or just managed like alcoholism--you just have to stay away from temptation. I noticed at the end of your book that your struggle story …