Where can wisdom be found?
Job 28 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
“Surely there is a mine for silver And a place where they refine gold.
2 “Iron is taken from the dust, And copper is smelted from rock.
3 “Man puts an end to darkness, And to the farthest limit he searches out
The rock in gloom and deep shadow. 4 “He sinks a shaft far from habitation, Forgotten by the foot; They hang and swing to and fro far from men.
5 “The earth, from it comes food, And underneath it is turned up as fire.
6 “Its rocks are the source of sapphires, And its dust contains gold.
7 “The path no bird of prey knows, Nor has the falcon’s eye caught sight of it.
8 “The proud beasts have not trodden it, Nor has the fierce lion passed over it.
9 “He puts his hand on the flint; He overturns the mountains at the base.
10 “He hews out channels through the rocks, And his eye sees anything precious.
11 “He dams up the streams from flowing, And what is hidden he brings out to the light.
12 “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?
13 “Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living.
14 “The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 “Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, Nor can silver be weighed as its price.
16 “It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, In precious onyx, or sapphire.
17 “Gold or glass cannot equal it, Nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold.
18 “Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned; And the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls. 19 “The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, Nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20 “Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding?
21 “Thus it is hidden from the eyes of all living And concealed from the birds of the sky.
22 “Abaddon and Death say, ‘With our ears we have heard a report of it.’
understands its way, And He knows its place. 24 “For He looks to the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens. 25 “When He imparted weight to the wind And meted out the waters by measure, 26 When He set a limit for the rain And a course for the thunderbolt,
27 Then He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out. 28 “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.’”
In today’s text, Job who has lost all of his material wealth and his children, who has been stricken with sickness in his physical body, has been encouraged, exhorted and rebuked by his friends regarding his circumstance, acknowledges the magnitude of the earth’s resources and man’s ability to attain them for his purposes. Then he says: “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living.” There is a difference between knowing and understanding. There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Even today, man has gained tremendous knowledge, far beyond what was known in Job’s time, yet there is still there is much that man knows, of which he still has no understanding. It is a good thing to have knowledge. But without understanding and wisdom, knowledge is much less valuable.
continues saying: “The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ “Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, Nor can silver be weighed as its price.
“It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, In precious onyx, or sapphire. “Gold or glass cannot equal it, Nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold. “Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned; And the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls. “The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, Nor can it be valued in pure gold. “Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding? “Thus it is hidden from the eyes of all living And concealed from the birds of the sky. Knowledge can be exchanged for a price. Ask anyone who has paid for a college education. But no amount of money can be given for wisdom and understanding. Information and facts can be learned from teachers and books. Experience too, can be a great teacher. We learn from the things we experience and from the things we observe. But wisdom and understanding cannot be seen or heard.
Job continues and concludes: “God understands its way, And He knows its place. “For He looks to the ends of the earth And sees everything under the heavens. “When He imparted weight to the wind And meted out the waters by measure, When He set a limit for the rain And a course for the thunderbolt, Then He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out. “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 says: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” It only makes sense that the one who created the heavens and the earth would have greater knowledge and understanding of it than those who were also created. Proverbs 1:7 says: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. This fear of the Lord is not to be afraid that He will smite us or that God seeks to punish us. Rather it is an acknowledgment that God exists and that as creator, He is greater than we are. When man denies God, he must then begin to explain things he cannot understand through speculation and theory. The one who acknowledges God, can accept by faith that God’s ways are higher than ours. It is impossible for the finite human mind to fully comprehend an infinite God. Man’s history is measured in thousands of years. Science describes things in terms of millions of years. Yet that cannot fully understand or explain eternity, an existence beyond the limits of time. So, the one who acknowledges God accepts by faith that there are things beyond his understanding. While the one who begins trying to explain what he does not understand, apart from God resorts to speculation. Science and math will agree that to find the right answer it is best to begin with fact rather than speculation.
In an effort to explain the existence of man and the universe apart from God, man has created theories which contradict the facts and the knowledge he has. Rather than accept and acknowledge that there is a God who is greater than man, they have created a theory which says that the magnitude and the intricacies of the universe and creation, from its great expanse, which cannot be seen with the most powerful telescope, to the intricacies of subatomic particles, which cannot be seen with the most powerful microscope, all came into being through a series of random events. Why would man go to such great lengths to explain and understand himself and the universe apart from God? Job says: “…to depart from evil is understanding.” Jesus says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:16-21) The reason people try to explain things apart from God is that they love darkness more than light, having to choose between departing from evil or denying God, they choose to deny God. The fear of God is not to cower in His presence, rather it is to accept by faith that He is. Hebrews 11:6 says: And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. God does not seek to punish us. Rather He rewards those who come to Him in faith. He rewards those who believe with eternity. He rewards those with faith with the infinite riches and resources of the kingdom of heaven.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. I accept by faith, that You are God and that You created the heavens and the earth. I choose to depart from evil, through believing in the finished work of the cross. There is much that is beyond my comprehension and understanding, but nothing is beyond my understanding more than that You love me so much that You would die for me. All I can do is thank You, acknowledge and honor You. Amen.