Wisdom – An Elusive Treasure

Job 28

Throughout course of suffering, Job didn’t give up his quest. Continued searching for God because he wanted answers. Think first of “why. “Why me? Why this? Why now?” Perhaps when affliction came, those are questions you asked. Job understood there’s something more important, of greater significance than the reason for his affliction – the purpose of it. Rather than ask “why?”, ask “to what end?”. See that in Q & A with Jesus:

John 9:2-3And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

“Why” looks to the past, “to what end” looks to the future. According to Jesus’ analysis, man was born blind for the purpose of God showing his greatness through him. Specifics will vary from person to person, situation to situation; question, though, is good one. Whatever your affliction – physical injury or illness, dark night of the soul that can be worse than physical suffering – matters not size or duration, ask God to help you recognize his purpose for you in your affliction.

This soliloquy (fancy word for talking to yourself) of Job focuses on wisdom – asks question about wisdom twice: “where can wisdom be found” (12), “from where does it come” (20, answered in last two verses. Job has recognized if he is to make sense of his affliction, if he is to understand the end for which he is suffering, if he is to find meaning in his affliction, he must have wisdom. Especially since, once he gains that understanding, he will be responsible to do the right thing with it. Only true wisdom will enable him to continue to live as God described him in first two chapters.

Problem is, in his present circumstances wisdom was like an elusive and hidden treasure, not coming to him when he needed it. True godly wisdom comes naturally to no one – must search for it, work to get it and keep it.

Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Treasure Island, geocaching – hunting for hidden treasure fascinates people of all ages. Some look for sunken treasure in various parts of world’s oceans.

“More than 13,500 gold and silver coins and “significant items of cultural heritage” have been recovered off the coast of South Carolina as Odyssey Marine Exploration continues its search of the SS Central America shipwreck site.” ….result of many years of effort and at great expense.

Even Jesus spoke of treasure hunting!

Matt. 13:44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys that field.”

Just like kingdom of heaven, godly wisdom is priceless treasure. Now “man may discover certain dimensions of God’s wisdom, but human efforts can never completely fathom the divine purpose.” College Press Fits right in with “Incomprehensibility of God”, studying in men’s meeting, our inability to know God exhaustively. But we can have true wisdom if we do some investigative work, find the answers to who, what, where, how questions. Where is wisdom? What is its value? Who has it? How do I get it?

A. treasure hunting v.1-11 where is it?

all sorts of valuable things have their place – silver, gold, iron, copper – and man has figured them out

has discovered how to make ore give up what it has of value – refining and smelting; just as important, has figured out how to find where they are hidden and get to them

continues to this day – oil and gas industry; exploration using instruments, not hands and eyes; going after the treasure – drilling vertically, horizontally, on land, underwater, logging position; then breaking apart crude oil molecules to make rubbing alcohol, gasoline, K-1, #2, vaseline, plastic pipe…..

but…wisdom is not at bottom of mine shaft or a bore-hole

mankind has discovered other things of value – Paul spoke of “gold, silver…precious stones”

requires great skill to turn rough stone into valuable gemstone; man has learned where to find gems, how to extract them, ways to cut without breaking, release their brilliance and beauty

but wisdom not to be found in facets of crystal, inner surfaces of diamond or ruby or sapphire

people have looked for wisdom in: experience, history, world religions, science, philosophy, really smart friends

Eliphaz – experience is the key, the authority, the source of wisdom; except…experience is limited, you may not have interpreted your experience correctly

Bildad – history and tradition provide all you need to know about wisdom for living; study history books, you’ll figure it out; except…you need God’s help to see history from God’s perspective

Zophar – religion and its rules will lead you to wisdom; just follow the rules, God must follow them as well; except…reality doesn’t support that view!

what about science? can tell us facts but can’t supply meaning; philosophy?? world religions?? which one? they can’t all be right, in fact at most only one can be right because they all make claims that exclude the rest

how about that really really smart friend? what’s their source: tea leaves, fortune cookies, facebook, horoscope

if wisdom is treasure we expend much resources to try and find, better be looking in right place

B. short of money v.12-19 what is its value?

natural man at huge disadvantage: doesn’t know where to find true wisdom, has no understanding of its true value

don’t look to the miner for help finding wisdom, for that matter don’t look to any earthly source – it isn’t there

nearly 80% of earth’s surface off limits to direct observation; don’t worry, you don’t lack wisdom because you haven’t looked there

are many things in ocean depths man still clueless about, wisdom isn’t one of things down there

even if you did find it, could not purchase it; value of wisdom not counted in measures we use for value: dollar, euro, ounce of gold or silver; worth of wisdom measured on different scale for which we have no currency

when it comes to acquiring wisdom, everyone is flat broke, bankrupt, with nothing to give in exchange for it – the most precious thing in world’s estimation is of no value compared to wisdom

what do we try to give for it – things that are indeed more precious than gold, silver, precious stones: life, health, relationships, soul

will spend lifetime pursuing what we think is of value; will sacrifice health and relationships; will stake safety of eternal soul on its pursuit

here’s the question: is it true wisdom we pursue or will we find out at end of life that was no more than fool’s gold?

C. Someone else owns it v.20-25 who has it?

if wisdom can’t be found anywhere accessible to man, where does it come from? is wisdom so completely hidden that it makes no sense to keep seeking it?

we know from Deut. 29:29“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

some things God has locked up, are off-limits to all but God; but…are many “secrets” he has revealed – perhaps wisdom is one of them

wait, someone heard a rumor; it is second-hand information but worth checking out: God knows where to find it

God is a likely source of wisdom because of who he is: he understands, knows, looks, sees

God has full understanding, intimate and comprehensive knowledge of absolutely everything including himself

no place and no thing is off-limits to God’s observation and nothing can frustrate his full comprehension of all things

God has possessed this exhaustive knowledge and understanding of all things from before creation

God doesn’t learn new things, gain understanding from experience like his creatures do

D. full disclosure v.26-28 how do I get it?

so if God knows its way, if he knows its place, how do we find it, acquire it? where can we observe and experience the full disclosure of God’s wisdom?

Job said: ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’ To properly fear the Lord, must understand:

Heb. 1:1-3Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways.In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe.He is the radiance of His glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word.”

the Lord Jesus is greatest treasure who is also the source of all wisdom

Col. 2:2-3I want their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding, and have the knowledge of God’s mystery–Christ.In Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.”

don’t need to purchase wisdom, it is freely given 3:8-10

Eph. 1:17-19I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints,and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength.

The shabby old man studied the object in his hand. He started toward the door of the Chicago jeweler’s shop, then stopped. Fingering the rough-looking stone, he muttered to himself, “Won’t hurt to ask. It’s been lying around home so long. Might as well find out if it’s worth anything.” Screwing up his courage, he stepped forward, hesitated, and finally opened the door. The expert jewel cutter smiled, “May I help you?”

Yes, my father found this red pebble when he was a boy. When I came to the United States, my mother put it in my suitcase. Been lying around the house ever since. The kids played with it. The baby cut its teeth on it. A rat dragged it into a hole, but I found it. Things been mighty rough with us, real hard times. Been tempted to see if it had any value, but kinda hated to part with it. Been in the family so long. Think it might be worth cuttin’ and polishin’?”

The expert craftsman studied the stone. It proved to be a flawless, perfect ruby, weighing nearly twenty-four carats, perfect in color and texture, beautiful, clear, full of red fire. “Your pebble is a pigeon’s blood ruby worth up to $250,000.” For years this old man and his family had struggled with poverty, had gone without, had suffered, when they had on their shelf that which could have changed everything, but they didn’t realize its value. Wit and Wisdom

Are you searching out treasures of wisdom found in God’s written Word, living Word? Are you making sacrifice to do so? Again from Jesus: Matt. 7:7“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” One difference between person seeking treasure in Christ and those seeking treasure at bottom of ocean – earthly treasure-seekers rarely share the wealth. Heavenly treasure-seekers should bring all they can to participate in blessing.

 

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