I love going to the theatre when I get the chance. It is a real treat to sit, usually in the very high seats, overlooking the stage and watching a story unfold. The auditorium hushes as the lights dim and the performance begins. I can be laughing one minute and crying the next at the drama, music or tale. But then it is all ruined by the interlude. I don’t like the interlude; it irritates me! Why do we need to have half an hour break in the story? What is the point?! I know that the performers need a rest or perhaps some big scenery change needs to take place, but really! It was only recently that I appreciated the interlude when I needed to gather my thoughts during Blood Brothers. I didn’t need the bathroom and wasn’t that fussed about getting a tiny tub of ice-cream, but it was good to have a moment to think.
And so we reach the interlude, the pause, the change of scene in Job. Our main character, Job, no longer addresses his three friends that have resolutely said that the wicked get punished and pointed the finger at him. He now becomes a philosopher. It seems that he is talking to himself as much as to anyone else.
Back in chapter 11:5-6 Zophar wanted GOD to show Job the secret of wisdom … and here in chapter 26 we find Job seeking it out. The chapter’s title is “Where Wisdom is Found”.
At last Job asks where can wisdom be found especially since his friends’ advice is so misguided. They’ve searched and haven’t found it! They stand at the edge of the world, unable to see the whole thing even though they think that they do.
Wisdom cannot be found by human ingenuity, mined from the ground and dug up using some method of refining. It is not about diving into the depths of the earth and somehow gaining it under our own effort, finding it hidden and only found by hard work and luck. Job even talks of it not being bought with gold or precious gems. It cannot be gained at an earthly price as it is far too valuable. This idea of heading to the dark places to find wisdom seems a little odd to me. When I think of darkness it automatically makes me think that it is a place where GOD does not dwell since He is light. Surely wisdom can only be found in the pure light of GOD.
20 Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction and Death say,
‘Only a rumour of it has reached our ears.’ Job 28:20-22
Wisdom is a rumour to death and destruction. It is something that death cannot understand since it only takes the foolish route. This is helpful to know … when we head towards death (sin) we are not pursuing wisdom. So where is wisdom?
23 God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
‘The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.’ Job 28:20-28
GOD alone knows where it dwells. GOD views the whole earth and heavens, establishes the force of the wind, measures the water, rain and storm. It is Him that appraised, confirmed and tested wisdom. It belongs to Him … and He wants us to know it. His gift to us is this incredible wisdom: we only need to fear Him. To fear Him is to know His sovereignty and holiness over us, it is not the same as being afraid (an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm). The Fear of GOD is being and behaving in awe and reverence to Him. It isn’t a fluffy thing, it is seeing GOD the creator of all things, the one who can wipe everything out, as our King and Father.
The secret of wisdom is as simple as that and yet as profound as that. To fear GOD is wisdom and to shun evil is understanding.
Maybe it is time for you to have an interlude, pause or change of scene. Perhaps, even in the midst of what you are going through right now, you need to give yourself an opportunity to refocus on GOD. Job’s musings are a challenge to me and I expect you too. Where have I been mining for answers? What results have I been trying to buy with what I have “earned”? If I go about life with this attitude I am basically being my own god. I don’t want to be fooled by only hearing a rumour of wisdom, I want to be counted as having wisdom. It is time to throw away foolishness and pursue wisdom which means fearing GOD.