Berlin Sunday Service: Where Can Wisdom Be Found?

25:1-2 Dominion and awe belong to God

To Bildad and Job’s friends, God is so powerful that it’s impossible that anyone could rebel and oppose him. Even though Job provided many examples from life, how bad things happen to good people and good things happen to evil people. Bildad is focused on this one attribute of God, his majesty and power in heaven and for him its impossible that God wouldn’t establish and keep the same order on earth, so Job cannot be an exception. But we know that even though there is no chaos and evil in God, and his order is absolute in heaven – the fallen angels are cast out, right? – he allows evil on earth for certain time; Jesus taught us to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This doesn’t mean that God has no control, the opposite, we will see later how Job affirms God’s absolute sovereignty over his creation, but God is not only sovereign, there is much more to God and how he accomplishes his purpose for the earth.

25:3-6 A human being, who is only a worm

So Bildad in his high view of God considers a human being as a worm. Job deserves the suffering, because humans doesn’t deserve any better. But this is not God’s view of humanity, Bildad is wrong here. God created humans in his own image and he gave them the capacity and responsibility to rule over the earth in Genesis 1. God doesn’t look at us as maggots, he doesn’t look at us with disgust, even when we sin and we fall low and our appearance is that of a worm, God loves the humanity and offers salvation to anyone who will accept it.

It is true that God is fundamentally different from humans, we are nothing like God and we cannot compare ourselves to him, we were made out of dust, Genesis teaches us that. God is uncreated, self-existent, sovereign, infinite, etc. and he cannot share these attributes with another. There is no one like God. But there are other attributes that he imparts on his creatures in some measure, and he shares his likeness in a special way with humanity – our reason, love, goodness, holiness, faithfulness, compassion – there are many ways where we see the likeness of God in man. And in this way, we experience the mystery of the friendship between God and humanity, it is the greatest privilege we have and it’s what makes us human.

Job 26

In contrast to Bildad, for whom God’s greatness lead him to see humans as worthless, Job looks at God’s greatness and he feels and sees wonder, not disgust. Job realizes that God is great and there is much more to God and how he rules his creation and the history than man is able to perceive and understand. God sees and knows all things because he is the creator, he is not limited in his knowledge and his wisdom goes far far beyond what we humans are able to understand. Whatever question we might have, God has the answer, he made all things. What are the implications of that? God is infinite in his knowledge. Humans can know in part but not fully as God knows. And because our understanding is limited, we are limited in our power. And Job realizes that the right attitude is to humble ourselves before God and to trust Him, to have faith in the God who knows all and who is sovereign over his world.

So in the first four verses, he points out the limit of the wisdom Job’s three friends claimed they had. Even though they say they have knowledge of God’s ways, their knowledge hasn’t accomplished anything for Job, it hasn’t helped him at all.

27:1-6 As surely as God lives.

By using the name of God, Job says he is serious and he puts his fate in God’s hands, if he is wrong and his oath is false, God’s judgement will be upon him. With this intense language, Job appeals to God to vindicate him and defend him against those who have accused him. Job dares God to do what is just toward him. With that he maintains his integrity. People who have something to hide don’t dare to speak this way, so Job is saying his conscience is pure and he will not sin against his own conscience by confessing sins that he didn’t commit and he will not speak insincerely just to buy God’s blessing back.

27:7-23 May my enemy be like the wicked!

Job is upset by the wrong accusations and calls on God’s justice to be revealed against them if they are wrong. Overall, Job agrees with the friends that the wicked will be punished in the end because of God’s holy nature, God cannot be unjust. But Job has the long view of God’s justice, eventually God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked, but we cannot look at a specific situation in life and judge the person based on that. Zophar and Bildad’s view leaves no room for God’s mercy and that’s a mistake. To understand the meaning of suffering and to be able to comfort others, we need to have to whole view of God’s plan for this world and His nature.

28:1-5 Mortals put an end to darkness.

Humans go to dangerous places in search of valuable things, they go to places no other creation is able to go 28:7-11.

28:12 But where can wisdom be found?

We know how to find gold and precious stones, but no one knows how to find wisdom. We can study and get diplomas in rocket science and what not, but we can’t get a diploma in wisdom.

28:13-14 it cannot be found in the land of the living.

Wisdom cannot be discerned in the human realm or even in the world of nature. Job’s point here is that true wisdom is beyond our reach. The creation points to wisdom, but wisdom itself resides in God the Creator. So, to find wisdom, we must look beyond ourselves and beyond the material world as they lift our eyes to God. As long as we try to find wisdom apart from God, we will be frustrated. Ecc 1:2-3 “Everything is meaningless. What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?”

28:15-19 It cannot be bought with the finest gold.

People in the ancient times valued gold even more highly than we do today, but there is no money that can purchase true wisdom.

28:21-22 Destruction and Death say, “Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”

No person, living or dead, has grasped this wisdom.

28:23-28 God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells.

Here we find answer to the question “Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell?”

We are pointed to the traditional definition of wisdom found in Proverbs 9:10 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Wisdom is not discovered by knowing everything about the world, because that is beyond the reach of human understanding. Rather, wisdom resides in God, and it is found in relationship with him as a person loves and obeys God in reverence.

Wisdom is a gift given by God to those who ask him for it James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Wisdom resides in God, who is the creator and sovereign of all. And if we want to attain it, we must come to God to receive it. We learn that true wisdom is found in the fear of the Lord. By revering the Lord, we choose a life that honors God, and that leads to skill in living according to God’s will, it’s something that comes from experience and practice. Wisdom is not the same as knowledge but it is a way of life that begins with humbling ourselves before God.

Colosians 2:1-3