In all the arguments back and forth between Job and his friends, Job sees that one thing is lacking. “Where is wisdom and how can you obtain it?”
I’m pretty sure Job’s friends believed they were speaking from wisdom as they admonished him time and time again to repent of his evil ways. They had searched the past of man and provided instructions they felt fit his circumstances. Their advice had been dispensed for centuries and seemed sound. But in their solution there was no room for individual differences. Theirs was a ‘cookie cutter’ response. “If you are having trouble in your life it is because of some sin you partook in.” There was NO other option, according to their formula.
This is probably the same mold Job used when counseling people. But something was off. Job KNEW that his circumstances didn’t fit the mold. So wisdom dictated that the mold needed adjusting or a new mold needed to be built. But where to begin?
Job asks his friends where is one supposed to find wisdom and understanding for such an endeavor. It is not in the earth along with all the minerals that can be mined from her. It is not in the depths of the ocean. It is not on the wind with the birds. Man cannot buy it or trade for it. So how is it obtained and put into practice? It is desperately needed to make sense of his circumstances but his friends have apparently stopped looking for it.
There is but ONE place to find TRUE wisdom and understanding. It is found in the Lord. Only by approaching Him with a humble heart can one truly expect to find wisdom and understanding. It makes perfect sense. If you want to understand what is going on in the world, look to the one who made it. “And He said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding’” (verse 28).
Job’s friends haven’t been turning to the Lord for their ‘wisdom’ with his issue. They have been relying only on the “cause and effect” relationship observed by man. Yes, they ‘fear’ God but the ‘fear’ they are feeling is the same as being afraid of spiders or, in my case, mice. It is a terror that drives them to perform certain acts and abstain from others. They are afraid of calamity striking or of being punished.
When I was a child my dad would get into what I termed ‘the spanking mood.’ If one of us children got into trouble and wound up getting a spanking, his frustration would eventually spill over onto the rest of us children and we would get spanked too. I was the one who noticed this and took personal precautions. I gave him a wide berth for hours after he had spanked or lectured one of us. This was the kind of fear Job’s friends were responding with. Fear of being lashed out against without reason or understanding.
After my dad was made aware of this, he made a conscious effort to change this behavior. Now I only had to have a ‘reverent’ fear of him. I learned where his limits were and how to not cross them because I knew what waited on the other side. THIS is the kind of “fear” that brings understanding. This is the beginning of wisdom.
I’m curious which kind of “fear” Job started with and if it changed during his back and forth with his friends. In the beginning and up until at least a little bit ago, he was ready to argue his case with God. Was this wisdom? Many times he said that he held back from doing just that because of fear. Which fear held him in check?
On the wisdom side, I try to always ask God BEFORE getting into His word to help me understand what He would have me take from the day’s reading. When I get rushed for time I have been known to forget. Today as I was talking with Him, I realized I had forgotten to ‘invite Him into my study time’ yesterday. I believe He still meets me when I forget because He is always faithful, but it is SO MUCH MORE enjoyable and enlightening when I take the time to come to Him first. This too is wisdom. And He shared that with me as I invited Him in today.
Father God, I am SO GRATEFUL that I don’t have to be terrified of You. I do have a reverent fear of You in that I KNOW there are limits You have set that I need to live within. I’m GLAD to do so because of what lies OUTSIDE those limits! Help me gather more wisdom every day as I sit at Your feet. And help me employ that wisdom in my life! What good is wisdom if you don’t use it? Alice in Wonderland, “I give myself very good advice, but I seldom ever follow it. That explains the trouble that I’m always in.”