God Knows the Way of Wisdom
“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 28:20-28)
The day before Thanksgiving I went to the market, forgetting that half of the city would also be there, so I wanted to get in and out quickly. But I left a bag of groceries in my shopping cart outside, which I later retrieved, by returning to the store, thanks to a kind soul who turned them in to a cashier. I did not see something in clear sight, which caused me to make two trips to the store, instead of one. How can I expect to see God’s wisdom in creation if I can’t even see what’s right in front of my eyes? And why would I, or anyone, look for God’s hidden wisdom when we are so challenged to see what is revealed to us in creation and his Word?
John Gill makes the point that since God has sovereignly and providentially created, established, and ordered all aspects of creation he knows all there is to know about all things with perfect wisdom. (1) He understands in a higher, more profound, and more comprehensive way that an artist understands her painting or an inventor understands the working of his new medical device. This foundational wisdom is deeper than anything we can achieve by looking at or even using an object. The gardener should wisely know what is under his soil to plant where rocks and roots won’t interfere with his new sapling. But he probably doesn’t know the nutrient content of the earth, unless he is very thorough in his research. Even so, he will never know all the plants that have been in the soil previously to his life, and how they have fared there. But God sees and possesses knowledge of every particle of dirt in his garden from before the beginning of time, even before they existed. The verses in Job 28 “contrast the inability of the created realm to find wisdom with God’s complete grasp of it.” (2)
Job writes that we can have one different kind of wisdom. “Mankind can acquire wisdom only from God, and He has not concealed it. It is obtained through obedience to His revealed will.” (3) Job 20:28 is the key to obtaining the wisdom of God; it is found in fearing the Lord—the theme of our entire study and key phrase in Proverbs. Gill says this fear is “…a godly filial fear; and which is consistent with strong faith, great joy, and true courage; is opposite to pride and self-confidence, and takes in the whole worship of God both external and internal: and it is called the fear of the Lord, because he is the object and author of it; it is not from nature, or in men naturally, but comes from the grace of God, and is a gift of it; it is wrought in conversion [in Jesus Christ], and is increased by the discoveries of the love and goodness…no man is wise till he fears the Lord; and when that grace is put into him, he begins to be wise, for this is the beginning of wisdom.”
Where will you look for wisdom today? Will you accept that many things cannot and should not be understood by us, but concentrate on that which we are called to do—obey God and turn away from evil? I pray that I will open my spiritual and physical eyes today, to see what I should and trust what I don’t know by faith from God. What will you pray?
(1) John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Job 28:23-24, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-28.html
(2) Ibid—Job 28:23-24.
(3) The Reformation Study Bible, Job 28:20-27, Reformation Trust Publishing (Ligonier Ministries), Sanford, Fl., 2015.
(4) John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Job 28:28, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-28.html