Read Job 28
Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found
28 There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.
2 Iron is taken from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.
3 Mortals put an end to the darkness;
they search out the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
4 Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
in places untouched by human feet;
far from other people they dangle and sway.
5 The earth, from which food comes,
is transformed below as by fire;
6 lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcon’s eye has seen it.
8 Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
and no lion prowls there.
9 People assault the flinty rock with their hands
and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
10 They tunnel through the rock;
their eyes see all its treasures.
11 They search the sources of the rivers
and bring hidden things to light.
12 But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?
13 No mortal comprehends its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, “It is not in me”;
the sea says, “It is not with me.”
15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
it cannot be bought with pure gold.
20 Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction and Death say,
“Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”
For many of us, what we treasure is revealed in what we are willing to spend money investing in. Most often, the things that are worth the most, are the treasures we are willing to work the hardest for, regardless of how much money or time is spent in the process. This could be our cars, our clothes, our houses, our food choices, etc. Just take a look at your bank account, and you will see clearly what you treasure and pursue. The equation is simple: We spend money in exchange for possessions, based on their value. However, there are other treasures in life, of the greatest of value, that no amount of money can buy. Job tells us that this great treasure is wisdom, and its rarity is precisely what makes it so valuable. Only a few will come to search it out and find it, because most people don’t even know where to look.
In Job 28 we see that men are willing to go to incredible lengths and even endure danger for the sake of accumulating riches of gold and silver. Job makes the argument that all of these earthly and material treasures don’t come close in value to the unsurpassable worth of wisdom from God. Verse 18 says that, “the price of wisdom is above pearls.” Not only is it of high value, but it’s much rarer and harder to find than any material possession we could search for on Earth. Only God knows fully where wisdom is found, because wisdom is from God.
The chapter ends by telling us that wisdom is the fear of the Lord, and it leads us to turn away from evil. Proverbs 9:10 says something similar, that the “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” If we want to obtain the greatest riches, we must fear the Lord, walk in the right relationship with Him, and this wisdom in our lives will be proven by the way we seek to live a life that turns away from sin and evil.
Today, God is inviting us to quit chasing after more money and more possessions, but rather to chase after things of eternal value, and in doing so we will come to find more of who He is.
- To what lengths do people go to obtain the riches of the earth in this passage?
- If wisdom is hidden, and “it cannot be found in the land of the living”, then how do we become wise?
- Read James 1:5, what does this verse instruct you to do?
By the Way
With this perspective on wisdom, consider what Mark meant when he described Jesus as being wise in Mark 6:
2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?”
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