Soli Deo Gloria

Job 28 – Job Continues His Reply to Bildad’s 3rd Statement – “Where Is Wisdom?”

Job said, “Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for God 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. Man 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 sing 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 (place of ruin, death, desolation, or destruction, in Greek Appolyon) 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’s point: The proof someone is walking in God’s wisdom and understanding isn’t determined by the circumstances that they face that are outside their control. Job’s friends are making things more complicated than they are. The fear of the Lord is wisdom, and understanding is turning away from evil. Job is arguing that this is what he has been doing with his life: fearing God and turning away from evil. The first half of the chapter describes how men sing “to and fro” (verse 4) as they go to great lengths to control and manipulate the creation to get riches. The second half exposes what men lack. Men…
(1) Don’t know the worth of wisdom…
(2) Can’t find it in the way of searching for riches…
(3) Can’t purchase it…
(4) Can’t even assess its value…
(5) Can’t see it (nor can birds or the place of death).
Only God understands the way and place of wisdom and understanding. God sees everything in creation. He made everything. And He has described what wisdom and understanding is and the way to it: “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding” (verse 28). Too often what man values is worthless to God. The epitome of God’s wisdom is Jesus Christ: 1 Corinthians 1:28-31, “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’” Jesus Christ’s work to live the perfect life and die a substitutionary death for His people is what brings glory to God. Salvation from sin and God’s wrath to the praise of His glorious grace is wisdom. This is why the apostle Paul describes, “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known” (Ephesians 3:10). Why and how? Because they have been redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This “good news” is the greatest treasure that men ought to move mountains and dam up streams to pursue. These are the riches that men should sing “to and fro” to discover. This wisdom is only found in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the hope that is worth more than everything Job lost (Job 19:25-27). This is a rebuke to the assumption of Job’s friends who have interpreted that the loss of all things means the loss of godly wisdom and understanding. In reality it’s in the midst of losing everything that the great value of wisdom and understanding shows it’s resplendence. Life does not consist in the abundance of possessions (Luke 12:15), but reconciliation with God (Luke 12:21) through Jesus Christ alone. This “good news” of God’s wisdom in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin is the treasure that all men should go to great lengths to find. And when we find this treasure in the good news of Jesus Christ it enlivens our hearts to sing “to and fro” as we travel the world to make it known to all.

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