Job Continues: Where Is Wisdom?
28 “Surely there is a mine for silver,
and a place for gold that they refine.
Iron is taken out of the earth,
and copper is smelted from the ore.
Man puts an end to darkness
and searches out to the farthest limit
the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
they are forgotten by travelers;
they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.
As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
Its stones are the place of sapphires,
and it has dust of gold.
“That path no bird of prey knows,
and the falcon’s eye has not seen it.
The proud beasts have not trodden it;
the lion has not passed over it.
“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.
It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.
Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.
The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
nor can it be valued in pure gold.
“From where, then, does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
It is hidden from the eyes of all living
and concealed from the birds of the air.
Abaddon and Death say,
‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’
“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.
When he gave to the wind its weight
and apportioned the waters by measure,
when he made a decree for the rain
and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.
And he said to man,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”
Job 28 Commentary
by Hank Workman
In such beautiful words and excellent thought, Job paints the earth as a treasure trove of riches and wonder if they are willing to dig for them. Thinking of the age of this book, Job speaks toward things found in geological and meteorological history, it is remarkable to consider he knows of these. The wonder of such discovery somewhat boggles my thoughts and shows how God revealed them to him. As he speaks toward that which can be discovered tangibly he moves toward that of the wisdom of God. Where can such wisdom be found for all? Once again, it’s God.
Throughout the discourse his 3 friends have had their own opinion on wisdom. Through all Eliphaz’s word he landed on wisdom being given because he had personally observed God and figured Him out. Bildad states that those who have gone before them were the ones who discovered the true wisdom and insight of God and they simply need to follow in their footsteps. Zophar states the wise know God’s ways and what He’s like but there are not many to choose from. It is Job who the simplicity that God reveals his wisdom to those who humbly trust Him.
Job’s discourse reveals that wisdom can’t be found among us if we’re not seeking Him and His wisdom here on earth. Most people look toward other things to find wisdom – from philosophy to historical stories and all these things do is give direction in living. But it is the transforming power of God through His Word where the riches of His wisdom is discovered.
And where Job lands as well as others in wisdom literature of the Bible is discovered in the fear of the Lord. This is not a fear that is scared but a fear that is reverent and respect. It is a fear that recognizes in awe of who God is, how He works even when we don’t understand. This is the starting point of wisdom itself.
We live in an age where the true wisdom of God is desperately needed. When given to our own thought and process we will fall short every time. For each of us, with what we face for this day even, seek the wisdom only God can give. Ask for His wisdom. Plead for His discernment. Let him give to you those treasures then act upon them.
Job 28 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Whatever time period Job was written, it’s clear that the author was familiar with mining expeditions. The mining of silver, gold, iron, and copper were vital for the success of civilized nations. Historically, many expeditions were organized by the Egyptians to dangerous and remote locations such as the Sinai Peninsula where survival was nearly impossible.
The quest for these fine metals claimed many lives. In fact, most expeditions consisted of miners made up of slaves or conscripted gangs. It was an extremely dangerous job, but through perseverance, determination, and ingenuity, mankind carved out paths in the earth’s structure to find these hidden treasures. Job takes the analogy of uncovering precious metals and applies it to uncovering wisdom.
But where can wisdom be found, and where is understanding located? 13 No man can know its value, since it cannot be found in the land of the living.Job 28:12-13 HCSB
The writing shifts from the physical world to the spiritual world. True wisdom cannot be searched out and dug up from the earth. There is no amount of strength or force that we can muster up in order to discover wisdom on our own.
But God understands the way to wisdom, and He knows its location.Job 28:23 HCSB
We stand staring at God’s heavenly mansion of wisdom, but the enormous entry gate is locked shut. We can’t get in unless He allows entry. Furthermore, we aren’t permitted inside most rooms. We look at the depth of the mansion and it seems to go on forever. Our desire is to rush into the house running from room to room in exploration just as we do here on earth. Just like a mining expedition, we want to be free to roam and explore so we can know and understand everything that God knows.
But that’s simply not reality.
I confess that I am an analyzer. I want to figure things out. I want for God to explain things right now! Godly wisdom is not found through natural or theoretical knowledge. It only comes from a fear of the Lord. The only way to know anything is to know everything (which we can’t), or, have a revelation from someone who does. That someone is God, and in His power, He reveals as He pleases. If we have a genuine relationship with this God, we will come to gain His knowledge as He allows.
I’ve come to learn that I’m on a need-to-know basis with God, and there is peace to be found in that truth alone. It all comes down to whether or not we trust Him.