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Read Job 28

Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found

28 There is a mine for silver
    and a place where gold is refined.
Iron is taken from the earth,
    and copper is smelted from ore.
Mortals put an end to the darkness;
    they search out the farthest recesses
    for ore in the blackest darkness.
Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
    in places untouched by human feet;
    far from other people they dangle and sway.
The earth, from which food comes,
    is transformed below as by fire;
lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,
    and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
    no falcon’s eye has seen it.
Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
    and no lion prowls there.
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.”

Go Deeper

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.


  1. To what lengths do people go to obtain the riches of the earth in this passage?
  2. If wisdom is hidden, and “it cannot be found in the land of the living”, then how do we become wise?
  3. 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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4 thoughts on “Job 28”

  1. Today’s chapter is like a breath of fresh air as Job shifts his focus to the awe and majesty of creation and the Creator. Silver, gold, iron, copper, onyx, sapphire, coral & topaz are hidden deep inside the earth where man doggedly works to bring them to light. Yet all the riches in the world cannot compare with true wisdom and understanding which can only be found in respect and reverence for God. Proverbs 2:1-5 says “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding; furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.” Notice the verbs in these short verses: accept, store, listen, direct, call, lift, seek, search—all require action and discipline. Neither passivity nor apathy will move us to the goal. Let’s humbly lean in and trust the process of training our minds and hearts to fear the Lord and forsake evil.

  2. Today’s word really spoke to me. I constantly ask for God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding and I know I see glimpses of it but sometimes it seems far from me. Reading James 1: 1-8 it was revealed to me, even after having read this scripture many times that there are times I doubt. I have been double minded without even realizing it. I’m truly grateful for this ministry walking with me through scriptures and giving a fresh perspective on God’s word.

  3. Wisdom such a marvelous word. These are excerpts from “Wisdomi in the Bible” by Cliff Leitch “Ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding “(Lockyer p.1103). Customs are not necessarily wisdom nor is rule following although rules five us examples. Wisdom is listening and obedience to the Holy spirit within, to understand and recognize the correct course of action but to have the will and courage to go through with it. Proverbs 3:13-18

  4. Today’s lesson asks, “to what lengths do people go to obtain the riches of the earth in this passage?”

    Last summer my daughters and I visited my brother in his new home in Durango, Colorado. We made the most of local tourist attractions, including a gold-mining tour.

    Together we put on hardhats and raingear before boarding the primitive open train that would carry us into the heart of the mountain.

    Our guide, himself a lifelong miner, was knowledgeable and thorough. That day we learned all about “the lengths to which people will go to obtain the riches of the earth.” It was grueling, time-consuming—and often deadly. (we learned a lot that day about all that could go wrong underground.)

    All this—to dig into elusive veins of gold. And that still had to be chiseled out, loaded and carted back down the mountain so it could be washed and separated from worthless earth.

    “Hard-rock mining,” it’s called. (I never knew there were different ways to do this!)

    The guide pointed out that, in other parts of the country, the process is entirely different. Where he comes from (Northern California I believe), it’s a fairly simple matter to dig up gold, assuming you know where to look. Entire nuggets have been discovered in a single day, outweighing anything excavated from the Colorado mountains in a year.

    It’s all a matter of where you look.

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