Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"WISDOM: An elusive possession reserved for an elite few ... or a simple reality available to all?"

Day #96:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - April 3rd

Scripture Reading:  Job 27 - 28 …

The book of Job is considered to be part of what some have labeled, "Wisdom literature" … a part of the Bible that includes the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon).  While the books of Moses, the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, sometimes called the "Book of the Law"), the books of history (Joshua - Esther) and the Prophets (Isaiah - Malachi) certainly contain wisdom from God, they do so in the context of historical circumstances.  The wisdom literature of the Bible was written during a certain historical period as well, but in many ways it transcends history by revealing truth in principles that apply to God's people through the ages and to every living being throughout time.

In the context of Job's theological debate with his "friends," God reveals the path of wisdom and contrasts it with the path of foolishness pursued by so many, including Job and his friends.  Like many today, Job and his friends believed in God and knew some true things about God, but they didn't understand God's character or the purpose of their lives in God's plan to make Himself known and to bring glory to His name.

In Chapter 27, we find Job once again holding on to his claim to be righteous, refusing to acknowledge that his friends are right, that God is judging him for some sin.  We know, of course, that Job was right. God was NOT judging Job for some sin he had committed.  But in defending his integrity against the accusations of his friends, Job went too far and proclaimed that he WAS righteous … a claim that distracted him from the truth that even though God was not punishing him for some sin, he WAS a sinner and he deserved God's just judgment.  When he says that God "has denied me justice" (27:2), Job reveals a heart that had forgotten that God is ALWAYS just and that we must all, in humility, approach God's throne of grace and declare, "Your will be done."

Job goes on in Chapter 27 to explain the lot of the wicked and rightly says that they are a breath away from destruction, and in the end, they will face God's judgment.  Then he goes on in Chapter 28 to compare man's search for wisdom to digging a deep mine in the earth searching for treasure.  "Where can wisdom be found?  Where does understanding dwell?  Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living" (28:12-13).

The Apostle Paul asked much the same question in I Corinthians 1:  "Where is the wise man?  Where is the scholar?  Where is the philosopher of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1:20-21).  Wisdom means understanding the "deep things" of life ... things like the very meaning of life itself.  Thus, wisdom cannot be found outside of God Himself.  As Job struggles with understanding what is going on in his own life, let alone the world around him, he realizes that "God understands the way to it, and He alone knows where it dwells ..." (28:23).

You can't get wisdom from education or books or even other people.  You can get knowledge.  You can learn things.  Job and his friends knew some things and even some truth about God, but they didn't really know GOD and they didn't have wisdom that only comes from God ... a wisdom that leads to faith, to trust, no matter what ... a wisdom that sees beyond the events of life and finds joy and peace in God Himself.  "The fear of the Lord - that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding" (28:28).  True wisdom is found in knowing the God of salvation who sent His Son to point us toward eternity - a new heaven and a new earth where true righteousness dwells.  If all you see is what is in front of you, you have no wisdom!

Those who claim to be wise today apart from God are fools.  "For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength" (I Corinthians 1:25).  Job revealed the beginning of true wisdom in chapters 1 and 2, but then he was distracted by his friends and began to be as short-sighted as they were.  Don't fall into that trap.  Wisdom is really quite simple:  it is found in knowing God, trusting God, loving God and serving God.  This wisdom gives life meaning and purpose beyond anything this world offers, and it is available to all!

Seek the Lord today.  Read His Word and ask for His Spirit so that true wisdom can be yours through faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His Word.  In this way you will experience the peace that passes understanding that God promises those who trust in Him and God will use you to point others to Him.

"Heavenly Father, in You and You alone is found true wisdom and understanding.   The things of this world are empty without You and all that is good in this life is temporary without faith in Jesus.  Help me to search Your Scriptures for wisdom and fill me with Your Spirit so that I may know You and give thanks for Your grace in calling me to be one of Your children.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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