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Searching for Wisdom (Job 28:1-28)


In the middle of Job we find the wisdom chapter, Job 28. It serves as an intermission between Job’s dialogues with his three friends and his debates with a fourth friend named Elihu. In this chapter you will find Job searching for some sensibility as he evaluates his suffering. He cannot grasp why his calamity has happened, so he searches for wisdom.

I grew up in an era where a popular phrase was, “They can put a man on the moon, but they can’t (fill in the blank). For Job, the modern scientific and technological advance was mining for ores and gemstones. The first 11 verses of this chapter is a wonderful description of what human kind could accomplish through brains and brawn, tunneling deep into the earth to discover and retrieve the natural resources hidden from the surface. He states, “But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? No one knows where to find it, for it is not found among the living” (Job 28:12-13, NLT). In other words, “They can mine the depths of the earth for natural resources, but they can’t explain why I’m suffering!”

Job noticed that this elusive wisdom cannot be discovered in the skies nor beneath the surface of the waters. “It is hidden from the eyes of all humanity. Even the sharp-eyed birds in the sky cannot discover it. Destruction and death say, ‘We’ve only heard rumors of where wisdom can be found'” (Job 28:21-22, NLT). Job had searched high and low, and was left empty.

But then there’s God.

God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”
(Job 28:23-28, NLT)

The story of Job shows his struggle to find justice. In this chapter, however, he is concerned with wisdom. What if we took the old narrative about justice and fairness and instead, looked at our suffering through the lens of wisdom? I’ll take that question up in my next post.

Categories : Job, Unfair

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