“Man puts his hand to the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots. He cuts out channels in the rocks and his eye sees every precious thing. He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle, and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light. ‘But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding. Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living.’ The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’ and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ It cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price’…God understands the way to it, and he knows its place. For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens…And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”
(Job 28:9-11, 12-13, 23-24, 28 ESV )
If you’re not familiar with the book of Job, God has allowed him to be struck by the devil with some pretty severe circumstances, (his sons and daughters killed, his livestock gone, and even his own body struck with sores to the point at which he wished he would die to relieve his pain). Job has some friends who try to tell him why all these things are happening to him; telling him he must have really been acting wickedly for God to treat him so, he must be indifferent to the needs of the poor and oppressed around him and so on.
In the first verses of the opening chapter of the book, we learn a great deal about the uprightness of Job, and even God said of him, “have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” So Job’s friends misunderstood him, and were not right in their criticism.
In this passage, Job recognizes the knowledge man has already developed by this time to mine various things from the earth, but none of those deep places in the earth has proven to be the location of wisdom. Even valuable elements like silver, gold and jewels can be found deep under the ground, but where do we go to find wisdom. Because of Job’s knowledge of God, he knows that God knows the way to wisdom; that He “understands the way to it.”
This reminds me of our existence today; that we look for wisdom in a ton of different places, and not always places that have been reliable sources of finding wisdom in the past, and yet we return there again and again. We err when we fail to go to the true source of wisdom, and seek to gain wisdom from knowing God.
We often look at scenarios going on around us, and wonder “Where is God in this?” If I read this book right, Job was asking that question a bit here as well, but in time, he still came back to the knowledge that God is the source of wisdom, He possesses all knowledge and understanding, even if He doesn’t let us in on much of it. He can be trusted.
I hope you will take some time to read through the book of Job, especially the last 4-5 chapters. Job thought he knew about God, but even he got “schooled” about God, by God Himself. It’s a worthwhile venture to read this book.
In the final chapter, we hear Job say to the Lord, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear and I will speak; I will question you and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6 ESV)
His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen