Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jun 12 2019 - Job 28 – Searching for wisdom

Job's "friends" have sought to counsel him with their wisdom. But their words have not helped poor Job. He longs for wisdom beyond that of his friends, wisdom that will give him some insight into his suffering and act as a light in his darkness and a hope in his despair. In this chapter, in asking where such wisdom can be found, Job has provided us with a wonderful piece of poetry.

Job begins by celebrating the capability of human beings to discover things. He talks about the search for precious metals and jewels. Though hidden away, deep in the earth, people have discovered how to dig them out and to identify them in the dirt. Dangling from ropes, they bring light into the dark places of the earth with their candles. Nothing remains hidden from them.

We could add many more examples from modern discoveries concerning the planets of our solar system, and many other discoveries of science and the amazing artefacts of human technology. Job's celebrates the wonderful power humans have for discovering what is hidden, recognising what is valuable and going to extraordinary lengths to dig it out. But all of this only underlines Job's pained question in verse 12, "But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?"

In verses 13-19 Job declares that wisdom is more valuable than anything valued in his day – more valuable than gold, silver and rubies. What makes gold so valuable? It is valuable because it is beautiful and does not decay, but above all it is valuable because it is rare. So wisdom is even more valuable because it is even more difficult to find. It cannot be bought with gold or precious stones. Job concludes by repeating his question of verse 12 in verse 19, and adding that wisdom is hidden from the eyes of every living thing and is beyond all discovery (vv. 21-22).

But there is one who knows where wisdom can be found and that is God, the creator of all things (vv. 23-27). He has shown his wisdom in creation and in wisdom he governs the world he has made. We may not understand the ways of God but we can trust him. So Job concludes, "The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding" (v.28). As someone has written: "Wisdom is not a matter of understanding why suffering happens; rather, true wisdom is a matter of knowing the God who knows why suffering happens." It is the wisdom that trusts and obeys.

I want now to take you beyond Job to the pages of the New Testament, to God's ultimate revelation of himself in the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, the apostle Paul writes of the wisdom and power of God displayed in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. God's wisdom is very different from human wisdom. Why would God allow his holy and righteous Son to be nailed to a cross and die in agony? How does that display wisdom or power?

But it is the wisdom of God, for if we have but eyes to see it, the cross has a purpose in the plans of God, an ultimate purpose. And this purpose is revealed in Christ's resurrection from the dead. For it is here, in the cross of Christ and in his resurrection that God is acting to put the world to rights and to mend a world twisted and broken by human sin and rebellion. Here is wisdom at which angels would stand with mouths agape – that is, if they could cease their praise.

And here is the answer to Job's pained question of where wisdom is to be found. For in Christ "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). This is where you must mine for wisdom. Wisdom beyond mere human discovery consists of knowing and trusting God in Christ. This will not answer all your questions, but it will still and satisfy your soul in the face of the unanswerable question "Why?"

Father God, we thank you that you have displayed your love for us in the Lord Jesus Christ. Help us to trust you even when we cannot understand why things are happening to us, those we love or to your world. Help us to long for, pray for and work for the day when Christ shall return and all things are made new and all questions are silenced in the glory of your presence.

Peter Misselbrook