How To Find Wisdom

In this video we’re going to study Job 27-28 and learn how to find wisdom. Job reminds us we can’t dig wisdom out of the ground the way we dig gold and silver out of the ground, and we can’t buy wisdom, either. For us, this raises the question: Where does wisdom come from? In this video we’re going to learn that wisdom comes from fear.

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Context

Let’s review Job’s story before we get into today’s passage. At the beginning of Job’s story, Job was blameless, upright, and very wealthy. Then there was a dialogue in heaven between Yahweh and Satan and Yahweh bragged about Job. Satan said the only reason Job was loyal to God was because Job was wealthy. Satan said if Yahweh would take away all of Job’s possessions, then Job would curse God. Yahweh gave Satan permission to test Job so Satan went out and destroyed all of Job’s possessions, he killed Job’s children, and he afflicted Job with boils from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. Job stayed loyal to God, he did not curse God.

Three friends named Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar went to visit Job and encourage him because they had heard he was suffering. There was a long dialogue between these four men. Job spoke first, then Eliphaz, then Job, then Bildad, then Job, then Zophar, and that pattern kept repeating. Throughout this dialogue, the three friends insisted Job was suffering because he had sinned. They believed God is fair, and since Job was suffering, and since God would not make people suffer unless they deserved it, then the fact that Job was suffering meant that Job must have done something to deserve the suffering, which means Job must have sinned. Job kept insisting he was innocent. Job insisted the reason he was suffering was because God was against him.

This dialogue continued and eventually Job brought it to an end by saying someday they would all die and then God would inform them who was right and who was wrong.

That brings us to today’s passage in which Job started talking about wisdom.

Job 27-28

Job 27:1 Then Job continued his discourse and said,
Job 27:2 “As God lives, who has taken away my[Job] right,
And the Almighty, who has embittered my soul,

Job believed he was right and innocent, but that God was treating him as if he was guilty. Job’s use of the word “embittered” tells us Job was bitter about his calamity.

Job 27:3 For as long as life is in me[Job],
And the breath of God is in my nostrils,
Job 27:4 My[Job] lips certainly will not speak unjustly,
Nor will my tongue mutter deceit.

Hebrew poetry is different than English poetry. English poetry is about rhyme. Hebrew poetry is about repetition, addition, and contrast. Verses 3 and 4 are examples of repetition. Both lines in verse 3 mean the same thing, and both lines in verse 4 mean the same thing. Job said as long as he lived, he would not say anything deceitful.

Job 27:5 “Far be it from me[Job] that I should declare you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar] right;
Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
Job 27:6 “I[Job] hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go.
My heart does not reproach any of my days.

Job was certain of his innocence. As he looked back on his life, his heart and conscience did not accuse him of anything.

Job 27:7 “May my[Job] enemy be as the wicked
And my opponent as the unjust.

It appears Job was about to talk about his enemies, but he was actually about to talk about wicked people. He was so confident in what he was about to say about wicked people that he wished his enemies would be like the wicked.

Wicked People Do Not Prosper

Job 27:8 “For what is the hope of the godless when he is cut off,
When God requires his life?

This is a rhetorical question. Job meant the godless have no hope.

Job 27:9 “Will God hear his[the godless] cry
When distress comes upon him?

This is also a rhetorical question. The answer is no.

Job 27:10 “Will he[the godless] take delight in the Almighty?
Will he call on God at all times?
Job 27:11 “I[Job] will instruct you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar] in the power of God;
What is with the Almighty I will not conceal.
Job 27:12 “Behold, all of you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar] have seen it[God’s power];
Why then do you act foolishly?

Throughout this dialogue, Job’s friends had tried to convince Job he was suffering because he had sinned. Here, Job accused them of being foolish, and he asked them why they were acting foolishly in light of the fact they have seen God’s power.

Job 27:13 “This is the portion of a wicked man from God,
And the inheritance which tyrants receive from the Almighty.

The word “this” looks ahead to verse 14 and following. Job was about to list the bad things that happen to wicked people, and the word “this” refers to those things.

Job 27:14 “Though his[the wicked] sons are many, they are destined for the sword;
And his descendants will not be satisfied with bread.

Notice the word “sword”. Job meant the sons of the wicked did not die a natural death. They are murdered or killed in battle.

Job 27:15 “His[the wicked] survivors will be buried because of the plague,
And their[the survivors] widows will not be able to weep.

Notice the word “plague”. Job meant those who are not killed by the sword die by plague, again meaning they do not die a natural death.

Job 27:16 “Though he[the wicked] piles up silver like dust
And prepares garments as plentiful as the clay,
Job 27:17 He[the wicked] may prepare it[a garment], but the just will wear it
And the innocent will divide the silver.
Job 27:18 “He[the wicked] has built his house like the spider’s web,
Or as a hut which the watchman has made.

A spider’s web is fragile. It is very easy to swipe your hand through a spider’s web and destroy it. Job said the house of a wicked person is just as fragile as a spider’s web.

If a watchman builds a hut for shelter, he will not build it to be long lasting. Rather, he will build something temporary and fragile, just like the house of a wicked person is temporary and fragile.

Job 27:19 “He[the wicked] lies down rich, but never again;
He opens his eyes, and it[his wealth] is no longer.
Job 27:20 “Terrors overtake him[the wicked] like a flood;
A tempest steals him away in the night.
Job 27:21 “The east wind carries him[the wicked] away, and he is gone,
For it whirls him away from his place.
Job 27:22 “For it[the wind] will hurl at him[the wicked] without sparing;
He[the wicked] will surely try to flee from its[the wind] power.
Job 27:23 “Men will clap their hands at him[the wicked]
And will hiss him from his place.

Silver and Gold

Job 28:1 “Surely there is a mine for silver
And a place where they[miners] refine gold.

Notice the word “surely”. Job simply established the fact that gold and silver exist because he wants to use the existence of gold and silver to make a point.

Job 28:2 “Iron is taken from the dust,
And copper is smelted from rock.
Job 28:3 “Man puts an end to darkness,
And to the farthest limit he searches out
The rock in gloom and deep shadow.

The rock refers to rock that holds gold and silver. Gloom and deep shadow mean the rock is found in dark places. Farthest limit tells us men go to great lengths to find gold and silver.

Job 28:4 “He[a man] sinks a shaft far from habitation,
Forgotten by the foot;
They[miners] hang and swing to and fro far from men.

Men dig shafts in the ground to find gold and silver. These shafts are far from where most men live. Miners descend into these shafts by rope which is why they swing to and fro.

Job 28:5 “The earth, from it comes food,
And underneath it is turned up as fire.
Job 28:6 “Its[the earth] rocks are the source of sapphires,
And its dust contains gold.
Job 28:7 “The path no bird of prey knows,
Nor has the falcon’s eye caught sight of it.
Job 28:8 “The proud beasts have not trodden it[the path to gold],
Nor has the fierce lion passed over it.

The path in verse 7 and 8 is the path to gold and silver. Gold and silver is so remote, even birds, falcons, and wild animals don’t see it.

Job 28:9 “He[a miner] puts his hand on the flint;
He overturns the mountains at the base.

Men will even overturn mountains in order to find gold and silver.

Job 28:10 “He[a miner] hews out channels through the rocks,
And his eye sees anything precious.
Job 28:11 “He[a miner] dams up the streams from flowing,
And what is hidden he brings out to the light.

Where Is Wisdom?

Job 28:12 “But where can wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?

Notice the word “but”. This creates a contrast. Up through verse 9 Job described how men will search for gold and silver. Gold and silver is something men can hold in their hands. However, wisdom is not something that can be held in the hands. Gold and silver cannot be dug out of the ground.

Job 28:13 “Man does not know its[wisdom] value,
Nor is it found in the land of the living.
Job 28:14 “The deep says, ‘It[wisdom] is not in me’;
And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’

“Deep” is another word for ocean.

Job 28:15 “Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it[wisdom],
Nor can silver be weighed as its price.
Job 28:16 “It[wisdom] cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
In precious onyx, or sapphire.
Job 28:17 “Gold or glass cannot equal it[wisdom],
Nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold.

Gold cannot be bought. Furthermore, a person who has wisdom cannot sell it in order to buy something else.

Job 28:18 “Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned;
And the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls.

The value of coral and crystal are far beneath the value of wisdom and should not even be mentioned when trying to describe the value of wisdom.

Job 28:19 “The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it[wisdom],
Nor can it be valued in pure gold.
Job 28:20 “Where then does wisdom come from?
And where is the place of understanding?

Through verse 19 Job described how men can mine gold and silver. Gold and silver is something that can be held in the hand. However, wisdom cannot be mined. It cannot be held in the hand. Then in verse 20 Job asked where wisdom comes from.

Job 28:21 “Thus it[wisdom] is hidden from the eyes of all living
And concealed from the birds of the sky.
Job 28:22 “Abaddon and Death say,
‘With our ears we have heard a report of it[wisdom].’
Job 28:23 “God understands its[wisdom] way,
And He knows its place.
Job 28:24 “For He[God] looks to the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens.
Job 28:25 “When He[God] imparted weight to the wind
And meted out the waters by measure,
Job 28:26 When He[God] set a limit for the rain
And a course for the thunderbolt,

Verses 25-26 refer to God’s creation of the earth. When God created the earth, He also did what is in verse 27.

Job 28:27 Then He[God] saw it[wisdom] and declared it;
He established it and also searched it out.

God created wisdom.

Fear Leads to Wisdom

Job 28:28 “And to man He[God] said,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
And to depart from evil is understanding.’”

Was Job correct? Job was not the author of Job. The author of Job merely recorded what Job said. The author of Job did not necessarily mean Job was correct.

Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Yes, Job was correct. Notice the word “beginning”. If we want to be wise, the starting point is to fear Yahweh.

Prov. 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom,
And before honor comes humility.

Notice the word “instruction”. If we want to teach others to be wise, we need to teach the fear of Yahweh.

Why does fear of Yahweh lead to wisdom.

Matt. 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

The word “those” refers to humans. The word “Him” refers to God. Yes, some humans are dangerous and we are afraid of them, but humans can only kill the body, they cannot kill the soul. However, God can both kill the body and send people to hell. Therefore, we should fear God more than dangerous men.

Think about hurricanes. If a hurricane is coming toward us, we are afraid because a hurricane can kill us. It is wise to fear hurricanes and move away from hurricanes.

If we come face to face with a tiger we are afraid because a tiger can kill us. It is wise to avoid tigers and move away from them.

If a speeding car is coming straight at us we are afraid because the car can kill us. It is wise to yield to the car and move out of its way.

Just as we are afraid of hurricanes, tigers, and speeding cars because they can kill us, so too we should fear Yahweh because He determines what happens to us after we die. He can take us to heaven with Him or He can send us to hell. Just as it is wise to yield to hurricanes, tigers, and speeding cars, so too it is wise to yield to Yahweh and obey Him.

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

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