Job 28

Job 28

Job Continues: Where Is Wisdom?

28   “Surely there is a mine for silver,
    and a place for gold that they refine.
  Iron is taken out of the earth,
    and copper is smelted from the ore.
  Man puts an end to darkness
    and searches out to the farthest limit
    the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
  He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
    they are forgotten by travelers;
    they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.
  As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
    but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
  Its stones are the place of sapphires,
    and it has dust of gold.
  “That path no bird of prey knows,
    and the falcon’s eye has not seen it.
  The proud beasts have not trodden it;
    the lion has not passed over it.
  “Man puts his hand to the flinty rock
    and overturns mountains by the roots.
  He cuts out channels in the rocks,
    and his eye sees every precious thing.
  He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle,
    and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.
  “But where shall wisdom be found?
    And where is the place of understanding?
  Man does not know its worth,
    and it is not found in the land of the living.
  The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
    and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
  It cannot be bought for gold,
    and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
  It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
    in precious onyx or sapphire.
  Gold and glass cannot equal it,
    nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
  No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
    the price of wisdom is above pearls.
  The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
    nor can it be valued in pure gold.
  “From where, then, does wisdom come?
    And where is the place of understanding?
  It is hidden from the eyes of all living
    and concealed from the birds of the air.
  Abaddon and Death say,
    ‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’
  “God understands the way to it,
    and he knows its place.
  For he looks to the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
  When he gave to the wind its weight
    and apportioned the waters by measure,
  when he made a decree for the rain
    and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
  then he saw it and declared it;
    he established it, and searched it out.
  And he said to man,
  ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
    and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”


Job 28 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Whatever time period Job was written, it’s clear that the author was familiar with mining expeditions. The mining of silver, gold, iron, and copper were vital for the success of civilized nations. Historically, many expeditions were organized by the Egyptians to dangerous and remote locations such as the Sinai Peninsula where survival was nearly impossible.

The quest for these fine metals claimed many lives. In fact, most expeditions consisted of miners made up of slaves or conscripted gangs. It was an extremely dangerous job, but through perseverance, determination, and ingenuity, mankind carved out paths in the earth’s structure to find these hidden treasures. Job takes the analogy of uncovering precious metals and applies it to uncovering wisdom.

But where can wisdom be found, and where is understanding located?  13  No man can know its value, since it cannot be found in the land of the living.

Job 28:12-13 HCSB

The writing shifts from the physical world to the spiritual world. True wisdom cannot be searched out and dug up from the earth. There is no amount of strength or force that we can muster up in order to discover wisdom on our own.

But God understands the way to wisdom, and He knows its location.

Job 28:23 HCSB

We stand staring at God’s heavenly mansion of wisdom, but the enormous entry gate is locked shut. We can’t get in unless He allows entry. Furthermore, we aren’t permitted inside most rooms. We look at the depth of the mansion and it seems to go on forever. Our desire is to rush into the house running from room to room in exploration just as we do here on earth. Just like a mining expedition, we want to be free to roam and explore so we can know and understand everything that God knows.

But that’s simply not reality.

I confess that I am an analyzer. I want to figure things out. I want for God to explain things right now! Godly wisdom is not found through natural or theoretical knowledge. It only comes from a fear of the Lord. The only way to know anything is to know everything (which we can’t), or, have a revelation from someone who does. That someone is God, and in His power, He reveals as He pleases. If we have a genuine relationship with this God, we will come to gain His knowledge as He allows.

I’ve come to learn that I’m on a need-to-know basis with God, and there is peace to be found in that truth alone. It all comes down to whether or not we trust Him.

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