Job 28: Wisdom Needed
December 5, 2018
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
This chapter is something of a break in the proceedings. Having been defending himself at length against the attacks of his “friends,” Job now takes the time to ask a question of a more principled nature which the occasion of his defense naturally brings to the surface. Namely, where then is wisdom? Clearly, he and his “comforters” disagree as to the right answer to the question they are wrestling with. On the one hand, they are convinced that Job can only be suffering because he deserves to suffer – otherwise they are impugning false action to a holy God. On the other hand, Job insists that he has not done specifically anything wrong to deserve his pain, and that how that is reconciled with the holiness of God is beyond his comprehension. It is Job who has a big view of God, not his detractors.
But now, the question is then where does wisdom come from? How is it that these two sides disagree? They are both talking about God, wanting to know what God thinks, wanting to hear from God. They both think they’re right. But they can’t both be right. Where then is the answer? Where does wisdom come from?
Job here gives the traditional “wisdom literature” (in the Bible) answer. He does it with poetic power, but it is the same answer as you will find (for instance) in the Book of Proverbs, some of the Psalms, and even in that strange wisdom literature book, Ecclesiastes.
Here Job describes how everything else has an evident source. “There is a mine for silver.” It is pretty obvious where silver, gold, and other precious metals in this world come from!
“But where can wisdom be found?” Everywhere you look, everything you look into, says “it’s not here.”
“The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”
Wisdom resides in God. It throbs through his creation, is the expression of his personality, and is in his own nature. Therefore, the way to be wise is to “fear God.” And to “shun evil” is the way to find understanding. At its heart, and at its most basic, wisdom – such a precious resource that it beats anything else we can possess in this life – only comes from God.
What does that mean in practice? What it means is that if today you are facing problems that are beyond your ability to fix, if you are encountering a personality that you cannot help, if you are in a situation where you feel completely out of your depth, and you say to yourself: “I need wisdom!” — now you know what to do. Ask God.
The New Testament says the same thing (also, by the way, in the context of suffering; what is it about suffering that exposes our need for wisdom in a way that nothing else does?):
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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