Summary: In the midst of his sufferings when Job couldn’t make sense of what was going on in his life with his finite wisdom that he ponders over the question of where man can find true wisdom. The true search of wisdom can only find an end in Christ Jesus.
Job 28:28 - And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’
Job 28 is the passage of the scripture that answers the most important questions of life. The question that the author is trying to answer in this chapter is:
Where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? (Job 28:12)
The book of Job itself is a remarkable one. This book is categorized in wisdom literature. The book probes into issues near to the heart of every man experiencing pain and suffering.
The book of Job opens with a testimony on the character of Job - blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil" (Job 1:1). In fact, God himself testified twice the very same thing.
Job 1:8; 2:3 - Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
The first few verses of the Bible are also dedicated to explaining how extremely wealthy Job was. God had blessed him enough. However, all of a sudden, all of Job’s possessions, including his dear children, were taken away through God-ordained calamities. Job’s entire understanding was challenged. Job’s understanding of wisdom was now shaken to its very roots.
Job strongly felt that he did not deserve to suffer since he had lived an upright life. Job’s plight of unjustifiable misery forces us to ask the question that has been existing since old, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
In the midst of his sufferings when Job couldn’t make sense of what was going on in his life with his finite wisdom that he ponders over the question of where man can find true wisdom. Probably this is the question that would be in each of our minds during this COVID-19 pandemic when all the worldly wisdom is failing.
The chapter, in its search for wisdom, begins with man’s efforts to find treasures and wealth.
Job 28:1-11 - “Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place where gold is refined. Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore. Man puts an end to darkness and searches every recess for ore in the darkness and the shadow of death. He breaks open a shaft away from people; In places forgotten by feet They hang far away from men; They swing to and fro. As for the earth, from it comes bread, but underneath it is turned up as by fire; Its stones are the source of sapphires, And it contains gold dust. That path no bird knows, Nor has the falcon’s eye seen it. The proud lions have not trodden it, Nor has the fierce lion passed over it. He puts his hand on the flint; He overturns the mountains at the roots. He cuts out channels in the rocks, and his eye sees every precious thing. He dams up the streams from trickling; What is hidden he brings forth to light.
The passage begins with the finite wisdom of man in his search for treasures of the earth such as gold, silver, copper, ore and sapphires. Man treads the untrodden places to get them. They are places which neither the birds nor the proud lions have travelled. Man puts his life at risk by overturning the mountains at the roots and cutting out channels in the rocks. With all his great efforts, he brings to light, all the hidden treasures.
However, the author concludes saying that although man is able to discover all kinds of hidden treasures, he is not able to find wisdom.
Job 28:12 - But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?
Although, man acquires great material possessions and lives a luxurious life, he cannot be considered wise. These are things that cannot stay with him permanently. He must leave them behind once he dies. Even when alive, these riches cannot stay with a person permanently. Job stands himself as an example. He had great riches. He was the greatest man in the East (Job 1:3). But in one stroke, he lost everything. He even lost his health. Now, he questions his wisdom and understanding.
Job realized that true wisdom was not in acquiring material wealth. They are to be left behind once we die. True wisdom lies in obtaining what is of value after our bodies die – winning our souls for eternity. We can replicate the same in what Jesus said.
Mark 8:36 - For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
Luke 12:16-21 - Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”