“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.” (Job 28:12-13 )
“I said, ‘I will be wise,’ but it was far from me. That which has been is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out?” Ecclesiastes 7:23-24)
Do you seek wisdom in the same way that you look for the latest app for your smartphone? Do we even realize how much value we assign to news, twitter feeds, Facebook postings, or advertisements? When I receive an evaluation from a company who performed services for me I will usually delete it, because my wellbeing is not hinged on their service. The company will just have to wait to see if I return if they want to know “how they did.” In our trials, we tend to eliminate these distractions. Job, afflicted and feeling estranged from God, was consumed with finding wisdom. He compared his search for wisdom to a quest for precious gems and the pursuit of light (28:1-6). But man cannot excavate biblical wisdom in the way he finds earthly treasures (vs. 7-11). Unwilling to give up, Job persevered in his investigation.
In the following verses, Job stated where wisdom is not found. It cannot be found in the oceans or seas (v. 14). Job then compared wisdom to precious gems, which can be valued, bought and sold. Wisdom is not comparable to gold, silver, onyx, sapphires, glass, coral, crystal, pearls, or topaz. These natural riches, made by God, can be exchanged in a marketplace, assigned monetary worth by the world (vs. 15-19). Godly wisdom is of infinite value, but cannot be seen with our eyes, like gems or light (vs. 20-21). If the living cannot see wisdom, then surely death has only “heard a rumor of it” (v. 22). Job finally determines that “God understands the way to it, and he knows its place” (v. 23).
Job has been brought down by God with illness and tragedy, and now admits that he knows very little of true wisdom. God often throws us into trials and difficulties to humble us, increase our dependence upon Him, and seek His wisdom more diligently. But we shouldn’t wait for affliction, illness or hardship to draw close to Christ. Are you studying the Bible to draw closer to God, to receive and use more of the wisdom available to you? Are you taking the warnings seriously, in humility, and recognizing the limitations of worldly values and possessions?