With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness (√XVIII. Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found – Ch. 28)

27 Jan

So, the debates between Job and his friends appear to be over. They aren’t. Shortly we will hear from a fourth friend, Elihu. But before he begins his theological rebuke of Job, we have Job’s speech on where wisdom is found.

Job’s speech begins by referring to the superhuman efforts men exert to mine for silver and gold and copper. “Mortals put an end to darkness” as they search for ore (v. 3). They cut shafts and “dangle and sway” as they transform the earth below.

The animal world — birds and beasts — have nothing to do with such an underground quest. People assault the flinty rock as their eyes see all the mountains’ treasures. They search the rivers and “bring hidden things to light” (v. 11).

But what about wisdom? Its worth is beyond understanding. Wisdom cannot be found in the land of the living, Job says (v. 13). Creation testifies that wisdom “is not with me” (v. 14). The precious treasures of gold and silver can’t buy wisdom (vv. 15-16), nor can they compare with it, for “the price of wisdom is beyond rubies” (v. 18).

Where does wisdom come from? It is “hidden from the eyes of every living thing” (v. 21). God alone knows where wisdom dwells (v. 23). He sees everything under the heavens (v. 24). As He established the wind, measured out the waters, decreed the rain, made a path for the thunderstorm, He “looked at wisdom and appraised it” (v. 27). And, Job says, “he said to the human race, ‘The fear of the Lord — that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.'” (v. 28).

It is interesting that Job does not say that wisdom is found in his friends, for the Lord Himself later describes their words of counsel as “folly” (42:8). He sarcastically says that wisdom will die with them (12:2). They have not made his life better. Their words have wounded, not healed. Their counsel has been “of no help” (6:21). They are “worthless physicians, all of you!” (13:4). Their maxims are “proverbs of ashes” (13:12). “You are miserable comforters, all of you!” Job says in 16:2. “How long will you torment me and crush me with words?”, Job asks (19:2). He describes their words as mocking (21:3). The friends need to “get out more” and see the reality of the wicked prospering (21:30). Their counsel is nonsense and nothing but falsehood (21:34).

But wisdom, true wisdom, is found with the Lord. As Job will soon learn.


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Posted by on January 27, 2023 in the book of Job



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