Today's devotion from Job 20.
As we read Zophar's response in these verses, one could easily get the impression that he, at least if not all three of the friends, believed Job's suffering to be caused by his wealth. We understand that Job was very well off from the description in chapter 1. Some of the responses to Job make me wonder if there wasn't a little jealousy among these friends.
That said, Zophar made a statement that stung a little bit. He said, "Because his appetite is never satisfied, he does not let anything he desires escape. Nothing is left for him to consume; therefore, his prosperity will not last." (Job 20:20-21, ESV) These words sting because of the truth in them.
Much of sin's greatest damage is accomplished by simply twisting, mangling, or perverting the natural appetites which God created. When you look at our culture, the American culture, you see a society that is spinning out of control with greed rivaling that of Israel in Amos' time.
We have appetites that are not satisfied, ever. We want. What do we want? It depends on the person and the moment. We want money/gadgets/fame/power/food/cars/etc/etc/etc. We are never satisfied, yet we let nothing we desire escape. We scratch and claw. We grab and grope. Once we have it, whatever 'it' is, 'it' is not enough. Now, there is bigger, better, shinier, and newer.
Zophar describes a society in which happiness is the pursuit, therefore, prosperity will not last because prosperity is a constantly moving goal. To be blunt, this description works because self-centered and self-serving greed never changes. It was the same in Zophar's day as it is in ours, and it wasn't good then either.
The reason this stings is because it hits close to home. None of us are exempt from the tug of greed. While Job was not being punished for wicked, oppressive, or opulent living, Zophar's words aren't wrong. The greedy and discontent person is at odds with God. The question is whether or not this describes you and me...