Chapter 28 (ESV) - “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.’”
Question to consider: How does the world today seem to view the fear of the Lord?
This chapter is a wonderfully poetic way of saying that wisdom is only found in fearing the Lord and turning away from evil. Job recognized that man searches obsessively for things of beauty and value, overturning mountains or plumbing the depths of the sea to mine for ore, precious metals and jewels. However, there is no mine deep enough to discover wisdom.
Man may know how to harvest food from the earth or dam up a stream to preserve life, but he doesn’t know the value of wisdom or how to obtain it. The birds of the air and all living creatures on the earth can not locate wisdom or sniff it out. Wisdom is not found in the land of the living, and the dead have only heard rumors about it, but God knows.
Solomon understood this when he wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10) Solomon experienced every pleasure and captured every beautiful thing before he finally came to the conclusion that everything earthly is vain and meaningless, and the only thing of value is to fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
This idea is so very foreign to the world in this generation. Rather than turn from evil, we run to it out of a desire to define right and wrong for ourselves. Even something as basic as “God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh,” (Mark 10:6-8) is considered either antiquated thinking or outright hate speech in our world.
It amazes me that one rebellious thought concerning a piece of fruit from a forbidden tree could result in a world entirely bent on cursing our Creator and the wisdom He offers, and yet here we are. I believe that Job would much rather endure the calamity that fell upon him and know the wisdom of God rather than inherit all of the treasures and folly of this world.
Dear heavenly father, please open our eyes to Your wisdom and create in us a desire to turn from evil. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin and guides us to the truth of Christ. Amen.