I mentioned recently that I am studying the Old Testament book of Job. In the midst of all the suffering, discussion, accusations, and discourse there’s an interlude of sorts that happens in Chapter 28. Job suffers devastating losses of all of his wealth, his holdings, and his family all in one day. Then Job loses his health also. Job’s friends rush to give him comfort, which is the right thing to do. But, then the discourse starts and for 26 chapters – yup 26 chapters, we watch as Job’s faithful friends tell Job that he’s to blame for this, his sin brought all this ruin on himself. And during this time, Job himself denies, and denies that he is at fault. And, in addition, Job accurately points out that evil ones prosper while some of God’s people suffer. You sense Job’s despair and frustration over these friends insisting that Job must have done something wrong. At times it’s too much for the reader to bear as Job gets hammered by his friends again and again. And through it all, Job maintains his innocence and integrity. The focus of these three friends is admit your sin, confess to God, and then all will be right. I was listening to Whitney Capps as she discussed Job 28 and I thought just how true her words rang when she mentioned that we too look for whatever the cause was that got us into our particular incident that we are in. We may even go one step further and ask God to help us get through this experience quickly, and to make it clear what we need to learn. Yet, how often in the midst of our wilderness experiences, do we simply stop and think about just who really is in control, and relinquish all to Him? That’s a pretty tall order for most of us to handle. I don’t know about you, but I for one, obsess about whatever created my current wilderness situation. Yet, time and time again, personal experience shows me that God always shows Himself to be faithful.
There are wonderful nuggets of truth within each chapter of Job, and if you look, you will find them, but it’s often hard to weigh through the heaviness of this very serious situation that Job faces. Matthew Henry’s commentary on the interlude of Job 28 sums it up so well: “The strain of this chapter is very unlike the rest of this book. Job forgets his sores, and all his sorrows, and talks like a philosopher or a virtuoso. Here is a great deal both of natural and moral philosophy in this discourse;” So within this interlude, which by the way is indeed very refreshing by this time, Job speaks some real gems of truth that we can ponder and grasp.
20 “From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?
23 God understands the way to it, and he knows its place.
24 For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure,
26 when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27 then he saw it and declared it; he established it, and searched it out.
28 And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'” (Job 28:20, 23-28, ESV)
The Bible has much to say about wisdom, King Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba, is purported to be wth wisest man ever. When asked what it was that Solomon wanted above all when he came to the throne, Solomon requested that God give him wisdom:
7 In that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you.”
8 And Solomon said to God, “You have shown great and steadfast love to David my father, and have made me king in his place.
9 O LORD God, let your word to David my father be now fulfilled, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.
10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?” (2 Chronicles 1:7-10, ESV)
We too can learn much by asking God for wisdom, and we are reassured that if we ask, God will give. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5, ESV). In Solomon’s book of Proverbs we are assured that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;” (Proverbs 1:7, ESV). What Job says in 28:28 is profound (see above). And that sentiment is echoed by Solomon in Proverbs 1:7. All, wisdom and knowledge starts with God. He’s the source of all created things. He’s omniscient, having unlimited knowledge, which is something for which that our limited minds grapple.
So, God, the Alpha and Omega, is the beginning and end of wisdom and knowledge. It is in reverence of God’s holiness and respect for His great power and love, is where we need to live and rest. Instead of questioning, we trust and obey. In due time, God will answer all of our questions, whether it’s on this side of Heaven or the other side. That is enough wisdom for us, the assurance that God is in control, and that He works all things out for His purpose when we are His children.
Need wisdom? Ask God, explore His Word, trust in His promises. That is enough.