Wednesday

'Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.' (v. 28)

Job 28:20-28 Wednesday 6 October 2021

Psalm 6:1-9

Background

Does wisdom depend on how old you are? Not necessarily. A young fool can grow up to be an old fool. Elihu suddenly bursts onto the stage in chapter 32 of the Book of Job. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar have nothing more to say in the face of Job’s rebuttal. Elihu, however, is young and full of words. He is angry because these old men have failed to convince Job of his error. He also claims divine inspiration. In actual fact, he more or less repeats what has already been said.

 Wisdom is not always found in the tried-and-tested experience of old men, neither can it be imparted through the angry exhortations of the young. It is not discovered through human ingenuity or bought with gold (Proverbs 17.16). Wisdom seems to be concealed from all living things and even from death itself. Should we conclude that nothing has been achieved in these 23 chapters of intensive dialogue in the Book of Job? Something is happening because Job confesses that God "knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold." (23.10)

 In the midst of the deep darkness of Job's troubles is the hint of the promised dawn. The poetry of chapter 28 began with human beings searching, but it ends with God’s creating. "God understands the way to it" (v. 23).

 We know that wisdom has been revealed in "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:24). In the New Testament letter of James all darkness is dispelled. The gift of wisdom has become available for all. We have only to ask in faith. This truth was not yet realised in the experience of Job, but ‘the way of it and the way to it’ was glimpsed. The revelatory road was marked out by two signposts: ‘the fear of the Lord’ and ‘the need to depart from evil’.

To Ponder:

  • What do you understand wisdom to be? Do you have it?
  • Is the ‘fear of the Lord’ a good thing?
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