Where Is Wisdom?

A daily devotion for December 17th

Read the Scripture: Job 27-28
Job 27-28

1 And Job continued his discourse:

2 "As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice,
the Almighty, who has made me taste bitterness of soul,

3 as long as I have life within me,
the breath of God in my nostrils,

4 my lips will not speak wickedness,
and my tongue will utter no deceit.

5 I will never admit you are in the right;
till I die, I will not deny my integrity.

6 I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it;
my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.

7 "May my enemies be like the wicked,
my adversaries like the unjust!

8 For what hope has the godless when he is cut off,
when God takes away his life?

9 Does God listen to his cry
when distress comes upon him?

10 Will he find delight in the Almighty?
Will he call upon God at all times?

11 "I will teach you about the power of God;
the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal.

12 You have all seen this yourselves.
Why then this meaningless talk?

13 "Here is the fate God allots to the wicked,
the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty:

14 However many his children, their fate is the sword;
his offspring will never have enough to eat.

15 The plague will bury those who survive him,
and their widows will not weep for them.

16 Though he heaps up silver like dust
and clothes like piles of clay,

17 what he lays up the righteous will wear,
and the innocent will divide his silver.

18 The house he builds is like a moth's cocoon,
like a hut made by a watchman.

19 He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more;
when he opens his eyes, all is gone.

20 Terrors overtake him like a flood;
a tempest snatches him away in the night.

21 The east wind carries him off, and he is gone;
it sweeps him out of his place.

22 It hurls itself against him without mercy
as he flees headlong from its power.

23 It claps its hands in derision
and hisses him out of his place.

1 "There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.

2 Iron is taken from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.

3 Man puts an end to the darkness;
he searches the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.

4 Far from where people dwell he cuts a shaft,
in places forgotten by the foot of man;
far from men he dangles and sways.

5 The earth, from which food comes,
is transformed below as by fire;

6 sapphires come from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.

7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcon's eye has seen it.

8 Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
and no lion prowls there.

9 Man's hand assaults the flinty rock
and lays bare the roots of the mountains.

10 He tunnels through the rock;
his eyes see all its treasures.

11 He searches the sources of the rivers
and brings hidden things to light.

12 "But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?

13 Man does not comprehend its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.

14 The deep says, 'It is not in me';
the sea says, 'It is not with me.'

15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
nor can its price be weighed in silver.

16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
with precious onyx or sapphires.

17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
nor can it be had for jewels of gold.

18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.

19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
it cannot be bought with pure gold.

20 "Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?

21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds of the air.

22 Destruction and Death say,
'Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.'

23 God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,

24 for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.

25 When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,

26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,

27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.

28 And he said to man,
'The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.' "

New International Version

But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living. (Job 28:12-13)

Job points out the elusiveness of wisdom. What is this wisdom Job is talking about? All through this book we have been confronted with the question, Why does God treat Job this way? But we have information that Job does not have. He has no knowledge of Satan's challenge to God regarding him, and so his questioning is even deeper than ours. But we often feel this way ourselves.

On one occasion my wife and I were in San Diego, and a naval officer invited us to dinner. We noticed as he led us into the officer's club that he walked with a cane. Inquiring of some other friends, we learned that he was suffering from melanoma, a cancer that was threatening his life. The friend also told us that this man had lost two sons at the age of nineteen from cancer, and just that week he had received word that his fourteen-year-old son also had cancer. Our hearts went out to him, but his spirit was strong and triumphant. He was gracious, saying no word of this himself, and he appeared to be a man utterly free from care. But our hearts cried out, Why? Why do these kinds of things happen?

Life presents these riddles to us. And when we wonder why these things happen, wisdom is the answer. Wisdom is the knowledge of the nature of things, the reasons behind what happens. Someone has described wisdom as the right use of knowledge. It is how to use situations in such a way that things work out right. That is what we lack. We can do all kinds of things with knowledge, but we do not do the right things with it. That is why knowledge of nuclear physics ends up with atom bombs that destroy and become malicious instruments of warfare. Humans lack wisdom. They have lots of knowledge, but they have no wisdom on how to use it. This is what Job in his long hours of torment is searching for: What is the reason behind these things?

Once when I shared the platform with Dr. Henry Brandt, he told of an incident in his ministry as a Christian psychologist when a man and his wife came to see him about marital problems. He discovered that this man was a professional negotiator who earned his money mediating difficulties, working out solutions in a peaceful way. But he and his wife drove to see Dr. Brandt in separate cars and sat on opposite sides of the room, unable to communicate with each other! The whole problem was that they could not decide what to do with their cat!

Isn't it amazing that a man who makes his living putting divergent views together could not get together with his wife on what to do with their cat? An incident such as this one is why Job says humans do not know the way to wisdom. It is not found in the land of the living.

Lord, I am humbled because I lack wisdom. Thank You for this promise: If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God... and it will be given to him (James 1:5).

Life Application: Culture has substituted knowledge and expertise for wisdom and the loss has been incalculable. Are we humbly seeking to know Christ in whom is hidden all wisdom?

We hope you were blessed by this daily devotion.

From your friends at www.RayStedman.org