Where Is Wisdom?

In Job 28 the question is asked, 

“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.

Job 28.12-13

So often in life we are willing to give so much for so little. We sacrifice things we will never get back in order to get things which will never last. We give up health, time, friendship and fellowship, and relationships in order to gain money, possessions, a sense of self-worth, and perceived status. 

Is this a good idea? Does this sound wise? Does trading fundamental for futile strike you as a good deal?

Where do we look for wisdom, a model for living, the ultimate example of how we should be investing our time, our talent, and our treasure? How do we know where the most valuable of attributes (v.15) is found?

The Word of God to us bound in our Bibles tells us that wisdom once walked as we walk, lived as we live, and that true wisdom can be found in the person of Jesus;

…I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 2.1-3

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 1.20-25

Job’s question, and all of ours, can be answered in the person and work of Jesus, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Jesus who is the wisdom of God.

How Do I Find God?

Job answers Eliphaz (ch.22) and asks, simply, how do I find God?

Oh, that I knew where I might find him,
that I might come even to his seat!

Job 23.3

It’s interesting and important to remember that this is Job’s response to the worst that life can throw at him: to run towards and to find God.

Rather than look deep within, rather than trying to pull himself up by his own bootstraps, rather than put his hope in the temporary trappings of the world, Job’s singular focus is to find God in the midst of trouble. 

Charles Spurgeon wrote,

“Good men are washed towards God even by the rough waves of their grief; and when their sorrows are deepest, their highest desire is not to escape from them, but to get at their God.”

Do you feel that? Is the current state of the world driving you towards God in a fresh, new, and reinvigorated way?

If you are taking the first steps towards seeking and finding Him, I would encourage you to read this, where we talked about the idea that yes, we can know God. If you already have a relationship with the Almighty, I would encourage you today to prioritise it, to make time for it, to invest in it, to let the worldly circumstances we all find ourselves in push you with renewed vigour to the foot of the cross and to Him who sits on the throne.

Why Bother?

After Job closes his last response with the words ‘There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood” (21.34), Eliphaz replies and asks, simply, why are you bothering to keep going with this, Job?

“Can a man be profitable to God?
Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself.
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are in the right,
or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless?

Job 22.2-3

Eliphaz is trying to convince Job, look, stop telling us you are right before God, so what if you are?, does God even care?, why bother?

It’s so easy to feel like this, isn’t it? Why am I bothering to keep going down this path paved with hurdles and obstacles, does it really matter? Does God even care? It is making any difference? 

In Luke 15 we read of three examples that show us that yes, God cares, and that there is a reason for us to be so bothered about the life we are living. Through reading the parables of the lost sheep (15.3-7), the lost coin (15.8-10), and the prodigal son (15.11-32), Luke records for us three proofs that we should be bothered, that we should keep going in the face of push-back, of trials, of temptations, of opposition, of our own self-doubt, of anything. 

Eliphaz asks is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are in the right? Yes, it is.

…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15.7)

…there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15.10)

the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. (Luke 15.22-24)

Be bothered. Keep going. He sees, He cares, and He loves you.

Is Life Fair?

Back in 20.4-11, Zophar said, basically, that the wicked get what is coming to them and die. Here Job responds with another probing question, is life fair?

Why do the wicked live,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?

Job 21.7

How do we accept things like this?

How do we accept that the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power? If we are trying earnestly to live the life that God wants us to live, how can we accept the fact that those who are brazenly not living His life seem to be prospering (v.14)?

In a world where we (want to) control everything and everyone around us, this kind of deep moral contradiction seems to outrage us; he/she is bad…but they are doing well…this should not be so…

Deep down, this is a perspective issue. Do we think we are the ultimate authority and judge in the universe? Do we think that everything ought to be as we want it to be? Are we so detached from objective truth that everything is evaluated through our own lens of subjective truth?

Do you know what, sometimes life isn’t going to feel fair. People who seem to be wicked will seem to be prospering, people who do objectively bad things will seemingly face no consequence, and people who are diligently trying to follow God’s plan for life will be seemingly second best. 

The answer to this is perspective, to look beyond our brief physical habitation on earth. I read somewhere that one of the big problems with people and their assessment of life as unfair is that they only look at themselves and their earthly physical life. No thoughts of eternity, no big picture thoughts. That’s true, isn’t it.

We forget that we are made with eternity in mind.

We forget that we are not working towards earthly rewards and riches.

We forget that no eye has seen, that no ear has heard what is waiting for us.

We forget that we are created, finite beings, with a limited perspective.

We forget that we are not the centre of the universe and ultimate moral judges.

Sometimes life is not going to feel fair by your standards and expectations. When these feelings creep into your mind, turn to the timeless and objective truths of the Word of God, and slowly but surely begin to accept that His perspective is different, bigger, better, and ultimately how you want to see things. 

What Do Words Do?

In between Job’s last question and this one, Bildad interjects and says, basically, that Job ought to listen to the rebuke of his friends. Job then replies and says,

How long will you torment me
and break me in pieces with words?

Job 19.2

Words are so powerful, aren’t they. Here we see Job’s friends using harsh and hard words towards him. Remember that old saying that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me‘? It’s not true, is it. Hard words hurt. Harsh words hurt. Even more so when tensions are high and emotions are frayed. Job is enduring the worst of all earthly circumstances and his friends have not chosen their words wisely, it seems. 

We read in Proverbs that 

Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

16.24

Words have the power to cut people down, but they also have the power to build people up. We read in the book of James that it is so important that we choose our words wisely (3.1-12). Words are so powerful, aren’t they.

Try as we might, we will never make the right choice with our words 100% of the time. But, there was One who did. Peter described this One as having words of eternal life (John 6.68-69). 

There is only one place to go for words that always heal, always encourage, always edify, always build up.

There is only one place to go for words that are always sweet to the soul and are always healthy to the body.

There is only one place to go for words of eternal life.

In this time of global uncertainty, I would encourage you to make the same decision Peter does here,

…Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

John 6.67-69

Where Is My Hope?

Job laments the poor counsel he is receiving (16.1-22), then asks a universal question, where is my hope? (v.3, 15).

With the world as it is right now, full of COVID-19 information, misinformation, anxiety, stress, and uncertainty, Job’s question is timeless and still very true. So, where do we turn for hope?

Do we turn to the news outlets? But how do we know if it’s genuine or biased? Clear or contradictory?

Do we turn to social media to connect with others? But how do we know that this is a genuine picture of people’s life? Facts or filters?

Do we turn to home comforts? Do we turn to earthly pleasures? Do we turn to worldly ways of ignoring reality? We could go on…

There is only one infallible, evidenced, proven, steadfast, sure, anchor-like place to turn for hope in the midst of trial and tribulation (Hebrews 6.19).

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 121

Adam Clarke wrote this, a fitting thought to take into today,

“Job himself, though sometimes strongly confident, is often harassed with doubts and fears upon the subject, insomuch that his sayings and experience often appear contradictory.

Perhaps it could not be otherwise; the true light was not then come: Jesus alone brought life and immortality to light by his Gospel.”

Our hope always comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. Turn to Him today!

Is God Good?

Job continues to speak and through his words answers a question that most of us have asked or been asked; is God good?

“Let me have silence, and I will speak,
and let come on me what may.
Why should I take my flesh in my teeth
and put my life in my hand?
Though he slay me, I will hope in him;
yet I will argue my ways to his face.

Job 13.13-15

Even though he didn’t understand what was going on, he trusts God (I will hope in Him). Have you ever been in a situation like that? Circumstances that you don’t understand, a situation that you cannot make sense of, when the only thing left to do is trust wholeheartedly in God. Job knew that even though he slay me, even though the terrible things happening to him were not outside of God’s permission or declaration, that trusting and hoping in Him were still the right things to do. 

Even though blameless and upright (1.1, 8) Job was going through a set of circumstances that would break us all. 

Even though he was without blame and suffering, he still did not curse God (1.22, 2.10).

Even though he was on the precipice of death (3.20-26), he hoped in and trusted God.

Even though he slay me, I will hope in him

Reading this, it is hard to look past the Christ-centred type that Job is. The truer, better Job, think about Jesus;

A blameless and upright man charged and punished as if He had sinned – Isaiah 53.6, 2 Corinthians 5.21

A man who throughout His ordeal, did not curse God. On the contrary, He sought forgiveness for those involved – Luke 23.34

A man who, on the precipice of death, trusted God – Luke 23.46

A man who, even though slain, brings eternal hope – 1 Thessalonians 1.3, John 4.13-14

Is God good? Job knew that He is. For you and me, despite what is going on around us, le us forever say yes, yes He is.