Published November 10, 2005
Job 22:1-28:28, Job 28:12-19, 23-28
Related Sunday School Lesson, Family Bible Series, Nov. 20
As a young pastor I find myself continually praying for wisdom. I’ve learned that I am always in need of understanding beyond my own capabilities. At some time or another, most people recognize their need for wisdom and understanding. In fact, the search for answers to life’s most difficult questions is as old as the human race.
Many people have erroneously applied different approaches when searching for wisdom such as polytheism, philosophy, reason and even atheism. A look at the story of Job will help us discover that the right answers can be found only in the true wisdom that comes from God. The only way to gain true wisdom is through a relationship with God. The Lord reveals His wisdom through His divinely inspired Word and expects people to seek and to live by His wisdom.
A deeper question is, “where can I turn for wisdom in dealing with suffering and loss?” The answer is the same. There’s only one place to find wisdom – in good times or bad, through easy situations or difficult circumstances – there’s only one place to look for understanding. True wisdom is found only in a relationship with God.
Wisdom is the practical application of God’s Word to daily living. The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10) This lesson is designed to help you deepen your relationship with God when faced with suffering and loss by understanding that you need to live by God’s wisdom and planning to seek God’s wisdom through persistent Bible study and prayer.
The Search for Wisdom (Job 28:12-14)
Where would you search if you were looking for wisdom? There are millions of books written on the subject and many different magazines offer the key to insight and understanding. People attend seminars, take classes and earn degrees all in search of one thing: true wisdom.
Job begins by describing how men work hard and face great dangers to find material wealth. “He puts his hand on the flint; He overturns the mountains at the base. He hews out channels through rocks...” (vs. 9-10a) It seems that man will do anything to find wealth. Job’s question is, “Why will men and women not put that much effort into gaining God’s wisdom, which is much more valuable than earthly treasure?”
Verse 12 begins a powerful transition. “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?” Though man can dig deep into the earth and mine precious stones and metals, though he can purchase many things with gold, he cannot find or buy God’s wisdom by human efforts alone. True wisdom is deeper than that; true wisdom is harder to find. We must accept the reality that our human efforts to attain wisdom apart from God always fall short.
The Value of Wisdom (Job 28:15-19)
Regarding wisdom Job says, “Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, nor can silver be weighed as its price.” (verse 15). Job declares that the value of wisdom is beyond monetary measure.
As Job lists many things of great value, each time he says that wisdom cannot be bought or purchased by earthly wealth. Man doesn’t really comprehend the price of wisdom and believes he can get it cheaply, but Job emphasizes that we should value wisdom above all earthly possessions. Proverbs 3:15 says, “[Wisdom] is more precious than jewels and nothing you desire compares with her.”
The Source of Wisdom (Job 28:23-28)
Job renews his cry in verse 20, “Where does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding?” Only God knows where to find wisdom, for He alone is the source of true wisdom. And while God reveals His wisdom to those who faithfully seek Him, that does not mean that He will reveal all the reasons behind what happens to us and those dear to us.
The entire 28th chapter of Job is a series of questions or thoughts about wisdom and its source.
The last verse in this chapter reveals that true wisdom for living is found in walking faithfully with the Lord, not in having all of our questions answered. Job ultimately finds the source of all wisdom and announces in verse 28, “‘Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.’” The wisdom we need to make it through the most difficult times in life is found only in living obediently in a faith relationship with God.
Job reminds us that the “fear of the Lord” is the beginning of wisdom. This principle is stated other times in Scripture, specifically in Psalms and Proverbs. What is the fear of the Lord? Is it trembling in His presence afraid to approach His throne? Is it expecting at any moment to be annihilated by a bolt of lightning sparked by His displeasure? No. The “fear of the Lord” is a loving reverence for God, who He is, what He says, and what He does. It is not a fear that paralyzes but one that energizes. It’s a fear that moves us to action – action that is in line with God’s will, His purpose and His plan for our lives.
Though mankind searches for wisdom in so many places, those who truly know Christ understand that real wisdom is only found in a personal relationship with God. The only way to grow in wisdom is to grow in that relationship. We can grow in that wisdom by establishing a daily time for thoughtful Bible study and prayer.
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