I absolutely love how Job 28 opens, with Job recounting the amazing ingenuity of human beings. We mine the metals in the earth and use them to carve pathways where there were none before. We use fire to light up the darkness and bake bread out of plants that sprout up from the ground. We separate the common from the precious, we make the rough world ornate and functional. And this was from the perspective of a man who lived thousands of years ago.
Since then, we have invented microchips, airplanes, satellite communications, buildings that punch through the clouds, submarines that touch the ocean floor, and the supercomputers we call phones most of us are carrying around in our pockets and purses. We are a creative, intuitive, brilliant species when you get right down to it.
But intelligence, or the capacity to invent, does not translate into wisdom. Wisdom does not come from ingenuity. It does not come from mere intellect. It does not originate from within. Wisdom comes from God. It belongs to God. Wisdom exists because of God; it is tied directly to His character and His design for creation.
Maybe there are times in your life when you can relate to Job—things are happening to you that you can’t explain and wish would end. But they are beyond your control. You’re left to endure, to pass through whatever your storm happens to be, hoping and praying for relief. What do you do in those situations?
Job’s friends tried to bring reason to Job’s situation. Their prevailing wisdom was that Job must have caused his own suffering, and if he could only be wise enough to discern (or humble enough to confess) what he had done, he would find a way out. But Job reminds us that wisdom comes from being able to see a situation clearly, from a multitude of angles—and only God possesses perfect wisdom.
God understands the way to wisdom,
and he knows its location.
For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens (Job 28:23–24).
Only God possesses perfect wisdom. What does this mean for those of us who cannot see everything under the heavens? It means wisdom, for us, looks like seeking to see things with as much breadth as possible, and humbly acknowledging that there are aspects of such matters we may never grasp in this life. It also means trusting that even when we cannot see or discern as much as we might like, God is working all things according to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Thanks be to God for this, especially when our search for wisdom leads us to conclude that there is much we cannot see.
Written by Russ Ramsey