The Book of Job-Chapter Twenty-Eight:
"The Search for Wisdom"
I am hoping to wrap up and move on in the aftermath of Job's false and forced confessions in the last chapter. In this study I rejoice to see him going right back to the Lord and His Word for further knowledge and guidance. This study and the next may differ in style from the rest of what we have been sharing. These messages, covering chapters 28-29, will both be taken from notes I recorded a few years ago while preparing to speak in public. The first was at a local nursing home ministry in which I still participate. The study for chapter 29 was presented to male inmates at our county jail. I'll keep the editing light and try to give you the essence of what was shared on those occasions:
Verses 1-2: "Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it. Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone."
No one fully understands the Earth. I mean, not even its dirt and rocks. So how can we ever understand the Lord way up in Heaven?
Verse 3: "He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death."
God does know the Earth's secrets, as well as we know our own personal business. Beyond that, He also fully comprehends life and death.
Verse 4: "The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men."
Though Bible translations vary widely here, this may refer to underground rivers that no man has ever seen directly.
Verses 5-6: "As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire. The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold."
If you shovel down a bit you can plant a seed and grow corn. But if you dig deep enough the earth explodes with lava and brimstone- and somehow from these regions also come treasures of gemstones and gold! That's how God set it up.
Verses 7-8: "There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen: The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it."
Even on the surface, even in our day, I believe there are paths never trodden by humans. Secret spots that even animals are unaware of- just think of that and of the true scale of our planet. We can take a picture of the whole Earth from space but that doesn't mean that we FULLY know or have experienced it all down here- because we haven't, not as individuals or collectively, but the Lord knows all of it.
Verses 9-10: "He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing. He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light."
He Who created also RULES the powers of the natural world.
Verse 11: "He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light."
Men and women of science "discover" only what God reveals to them, and so far He has yet held back probably much more than He has shown.
Metaphysical discovery- the search for all wisdom -is also incomplete and to a large degree beyond man:
Verses 12-22: "But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears."
Job's friends had tried to oversimplify WISDOM by passing judgment on Job in his distress. Despite his weakness in the last chapter, he has had strong feelings all along that they were wrong.
As with the physical world, it is only God Who has full knowledge of true Wisdom:
Verse 23: "God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof."
And these are His qualifications to speak:
Verses 24-27: "For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out."
And this is what He says:
Verse 28: "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."
A lesson is revealed to Job and through Job to us! But what exactly does it mean, beloved? Here's what I think: Wisdom may not be something you can "know" at all. It is more of a relationship with the Creator. And an action to be taken and retaken.
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