Wisdom is something all of us need. Life is filled with decisions, and those decisions become more and more difficult to make.
So how do we know how to make decisions? Where does wisdom come from? In this passage, Job speaks about the value and source of wisdom.
Job asks, “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?”
He continues to ponder the source: “The ocean depths say, ‘It’s not in me,’ while the sea declares, ‘I don’t have it.’ Gold cannot be exchanged for it, and silver cannot be weighed out for its price.”
Wisdom is valued because of its source. Where do we get it? Scripture tells us wisdom comes from God. James said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God” (1:5).
A person who wants to follow God searches for wisdom. We live in a complex age and are confronted with challenging issues. Because of this, we need wisdom to make good decisions. But wisdom is not always easy to gain.
We would like to have hope, especially hope that wisdom can be found. But Job says wisdom is hidden from the living and the dead. We are neither able to grasp true wisdom nor able to grasp the source of true wisdom. Job says, “It is hidden from the eyes of the living.”
Something so valuable to man also is difficult to find.
We are not told the location of wisdom, but our eyes are directed to the One who alone knows that place.
Job says, “God understands its way; and He knows its place. For He looks to the ends of the earth. And sees everything under the heavens.” God’s wisdom is seen in His creative work.
Job pressed home his point by focusing on the weather. With supercomputers, satellites and weather sensors, we struggle to make sense of the weather. But God does not.
When God ordered the weather systems of the earth, He also “considered,” “evaluated,” “established” and “examined” wisdom (28:27).
The imagery may be of a skilled jeweler seeing a jewel, examining it, preparing it and probing it for flaws.
Wisdom is the centerpiece of God’s crown jewels, utterly flawless and of infinite value. God alone knows its location.
Here, God speaks for the first time since the drama of Job 1 and 2. God directs our attention away from our questions and toward Himself. God says: “The fear of the Lord — that is wisdom. And to turn from evil is understanding.”
Back in Chapter 1 we saw Job fearing the Lord and turning away from evil. Now Job knows that what he was doing at the start is what he ought to have been doing and is what he must do. We are not created to understand the hidden order of the universe. We are created to live by faith not by sight, bowing before God and looking to Him alone.
At times, it can take a while for wisdom to come. Former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was known for his conservative voice. But Scalia was known to change his mind. When asked why, Scalia simply said, “wisdom came later.”
That is how it is at times. Wisdom comes later. If you are searching for wisdom, go to the Lord. Be persistent in your search for wisdom. (Jay Robertson contributed)
By Gregg Potts, D. Min.
Potts served as a pastor for more than 30 years in Mississippi and Georgia.