JOB 28:23-28: “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.’” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: What is “Wisdom”? Job up to this time had been receiving lectures from his three “so-called” friends who were trying to point out the reason for his suffering. They had everything tied up in a neat little box. The summary of their miserable comfort was – “Job, you have sinned.” “The kind of suffering you are going through is evidence of your sin.” “Repent, and God will restore you.” These three friends grew more and more frustrated as Job resisted their advice and continued to proclaim his innocence. This was a battle over the true source and definition of wisdom.
What is “Wisdom”? Is it the mere observation of our external world, of cause and effect, whereby we come to establish conclusions. This is not “wisdom”, this is “science”. Science can only study that which it can observe. It cannot discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. The Book of Job is a reminder that what we observe empirically is not always what is true intrinsically. This is also true of wisdom. Wisdom that is obtained from merely one’s human experience is devoid of the divine. It can only observe that which is external and cannot discover that which is in the heart. True wisdom comes from above and not from below. True wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord.
Job repeats a common truth that is echoed over and over again in Scripture. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If we do not come to a place of reverence and humility before God we will never obtain wisdom. This means that we must submit our opinions to His. We must look not to what we see, but to what He proclaims in His Word. Wisdom is seeing life from God’s perspective, not ours. Job’s comforters were only seeing his condition from their perspective. Job was crying out for true wisdom. Even though Job would learn in the end that he had uttered things that he did not understand, his heart was directed to obtain the Wisdom of the Lord. The end of the book is a wonderful testimony to this fact.
When we obtain the Wisdom of God it calls us to a response. We cannot simply admire it, we must obey it. Therefore, the second half of this call is how wisdom becomes understanding. Wisdom becomes understanding when we follow its’ call. When Wisdom calls, we must turn away from our human perspective, our human limitations, and our human failings, and turn to the Lord. As we begin to walk in this new pathway, the pathway of Wisdom, we gain His Understanding. The revelation of Wisdom only becomes complete with obedience. When we experience the truth of His Word in our lives through obedience – we enter into His Understanding. Wisdom and Understanding always walk hand in hand.
Lord, forgive me for the times I have been quick to judge and slow to listen. May I come to a place of reverence and humility this morning before You. Grant me the Grace to submit my life to Your Wisdom, to turn away from evil and my limited understanding, and to enter into the joy and fullness of Your Understanding. In Jesus Name!