Wisdom.

February 2, 2014.

“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. The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ It cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,in precious onyx or sapphire. Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price of wisdom is above pearls. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold.”
(Job 28:12-19)

Job is one of my favorite characters in the Old Testament. His story is one of my favorites because I believe that so much about the character of God is revealed through the book of Job. Job, though he does have his faults (he was not completely perfect throughout the whole story as sometimes we tell it), had his eyes fixed on God and he knew His power and righteousness.

What is really interesting to me is that the passage listed above is in the middle of his discourse as he is defending himself before his friends. His friends are berating him, telling him time and again that God does not punish the righteous, thus there must be something he had done to upset God. We know this wasn’t the case. And that is what Job is trying to tell them. Job just thinks God has left him for some reason, or he is just not paying attention. He says “Surely if I could just have an audience with God, then he would understand.” Thus, it makes sense, in a round about way, that Job is feeling abandoned by God and by wisdom. “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?

I believe that Job is specifically addressing his friends with this, but he makes some great points about wisdom itself. “Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living.” I believe Job was correct in this statement. We don’t understand the worth of wisdom and understanding. We are slow to hear and quick to speak all too often. This is the opposite of James’ admonition.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
(James 1:19-21)

Wisdom is often spoken of like this in the bible. In fact, even our sayings reflect the truth of God. We talk about wise and foolish men on the basis of how much they speak. This is very scriptural.

“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”
(Proverbs 29:11)

“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
(Proverbs 17:27-28)

There are so many more verses praising wisdom and talking about its value, but for length’s sake, suffice it to say that even Solomon, the wisest man to ever live and who found vanity in everything, thought it better to seek wisdom than folly. Do we seek wisdom?

That may sound like a “Duh, of course we do…” type of question; but really, how often do we seek wisdom? Wisdom could tell us what we are doing is not a good choice. Wisdom could tell us that we are wrong. These are never fun things to hear. I have a theory that we push wisdom to the back of our mind when we want to do something that wisdom tells us not to. This could indeed be detrimental in the long run (or even the short run, in all realty).

James tells us how to get wisdom from above, though it wasn’t a secret before he came up with the “novel” idea.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
(James 1:5-6)

This is how Solomon got his wisdom (asking God), as it is the way we still can obtain it today. We should pray for the wisdom from above, not earthly wisdom, and pray in faith. God is more than willing to bestow some of his infinite wisdom on his children who desire it. And we should desire it, because through wisdom do we come to the truth. How can we proclaim truth without seeking pursuing it? May we all seek the Lord’s truth and not our own wisdom.

Suggested Daily Reading: Job 28, Proverbs 1-3, I Corinthians 2.

Let us be strong and courageous in The Lord.

-Walter

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