Job 28:1–4, 12–13, 15–16, 20–23, 26–28comment (0)
June 22, 2006
By Doug Wilson
Related Scripture: Job 28:1–4, 12–13, 15–16, 20–23, 26–28
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Look to God for Wisdom
Job 28:1–4, 12–13, 15–16, 20–23, 26–28
The Scriptures teach that the fear of the Lord is the measure of wisdom. In practical terms, this means that we have a healthy, reverential respect for God based on His revelation. We have the written revelation of God in the Bible, something to which Job may not have had access. To be truly wise, we must understand that life must be seen from God’s perspective. This comes through regular study and application of the Word of God.
Some people have rejected the revelation of God and have developed their own religious identities, beliefs and practices. Others have rejected both the Bible and God Himself, adhering to an agnostic or atheistic approach to life. In both cases, theirs is a hopeless end, for they base their entire worldview on human wisdom.
Recognize Human Limitations (1–4, 12)
Job speaks of silver and gold, of iron and copper as accessible substances. The miner must work hard and dig deep into the earth to retrieve them, but the metals can be extracted. By contrast, Job poses a question: Where is the mine by which to find wisdom? As ingenious as humans are in mining precious metals, they have no tools by which to get true wisdom and understanding. Other biblical writers address the limits of human wisdom (Ps. 139:6; Isa. 55:8–9). Paul points out the problem of worldly philosophies (1 Cor. 1–2). He warns the Corinthian church that relying on man’s wisdom is foolishness to God. When he presented the gospel and its implications to the church, he did so in humility, relying on the wisdom of God demonstrated through Christ and the crucifixion.
Acknowledge the Value of Wisdom (13, 15–16)
The next passage may sound familiar to believers who frequently read through the Proverbs. Solomon wrote that wisdom from God is more valuable than gold, silver or precious stones and nothing could compare to its worth (Prov. 8:10–11). Job confesses that the finest gold, silver, sapphire, onyx or glass cannot compare to the value of wisdom.
Seek the Guidance of God’s Wisdom (20–23, 26–28)
So where does this wisdom come from? No man or animal knows how to get it. Even death is not quite sure where it can be secured. Job explains that only God knows the way to wisdom and where to find it. God knows it all.
In the latter part of Chapter 28, Job demonstrates his understanding of the attributes of God. Only God is omniscient, knowing everything. Only God is omnipresent, seeing everything He has created. Only God is omnipotent, having all of creation under His sovereign control.
Finally he quotes from God’s revelation: “He said to mankind, ‘Look! The fear of the Lord — that is wisdom, and to turn from evil is understanding.” The initial portion of his quotation is nearly word for word what is written in the Psalms (111:10) and Proverbs (1:7, 9:10) — “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” He indicates here that there is at least an oral record of God’s revelation to humanity at that time.
Since Job’s time, God has revealed much about Himself, His purposes and ways, His plan for salvation and His plan for all nations. He has given us His written Word so that we might have true wisdom and live this life in light of God’s perspective. God has given us the living Word in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of whom Job already spoke (19:25). Through the written Word and the living Word, we have everything we need to live a life of faith.
Why do Christians read, study and apply the Scriptures? Simply put, you must read the Bible in order to know what God says and to know Jesus. If you don’t read the Bible, you won’t know it. If you don’t know the Scriptures, you won’t trust God. If you don’t trust God, you won’t live by faith in Christ. If you don’t live by faith, you won’t share your faith. Paul wrote, “Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ” (Rom. 10:17).