10 October 2018

Job 28:20-28

God understands the way to it, and he knows its place.

Psalm: Psalm 6:1-9


The search for the nature of wisdom and understanding continues in this chapter of Job. The extent of the struggle is reflected in the words that, even “Abaddon and Death” can only say “we have heard rumour of it” (v. 22). Chaos and the oblivion of death have come as close as anything to reveal the fundamental sense of the Universe. Boyce’s music (referenced in yesterday’s reading) resolves into the confident words, “God understands the way thereof”. This is where Job is driven. Through all his searching, suffering, confusion and doubts the way to understanding is to God. God who loves him and sustains him, but who has at least allowed the profound disappointments and unhappiness he experiences. Like the disciples, one senses that Job has no choice (John 6:68). Job is trapped or held.

God has always known the answer, from the moment of creation and to this moment. He declares the purpose of life from the depths to the heights. And what is it that is revealed? Where does true wisdom begin? The awesome revelation is triumphantly revealed. “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding” (v. 28). What can Job do before such a revelation? There are different kinds of fear of course. There is the life-diminishing fear that leaves us gibbering wrecks, hands over our ears and eyes tight shut. But there is also the fear that Luke talks about in Acts 2:43. Here fear is the awareness of God’s company. The phobos of divine presence. The exhilarating moment when swimming in a rough sea, lifted from the sand, held and chucked about! The result of such an encounter is humble obedience. What else can you do? God is everything and besides God we are nothing. That is the beginning of understanding, to depart from evil.

To Ponder

  • When have you known the presence of God? How did it make you feel?
  • Psalm 139:6 says: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” (v. 6). To what extent does this express your thoughts?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin

Mark Wakelin was born in Norfolk and taken to Africa as a baby by missionary parents. He was the President of the Methodist Conference 2012/2013, and before that worked for the Connexional Team, as the secretary for internal relationships. He is now the minster at Epsom Methodist Church.

Share this