“But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?”
~Job 28:12 (NIV).
“Unless you become familiar with the wisdom of God you cannot make much real progress in the Christian life.”
~Sinclair Ferguson, A Heart for God, 1987.
The mysteries of God enfold themselves throughout life creating many perplexing problems we simply cannot resolve. When we arrive at the end of ourselves—in the mix of all the confusion—then there is God. God, and the wisdom of God, commences where the very best efforts of humanity, and our understanding, end.
This is seen very dramatically in Job. Even at the end of such a paralysingly mystical book we still have little idea of the justice afforded Job. There’s no real hint of the cause and effect correlation we’d expect for straight-forward justice.
Job 28 – the Mystery that Is God’s Wisdom
God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-wise. The only capable response we as humanity have to this world that God has thrust us into is to fear God, which is to know God; which is to know that God’s wisdom is a mystery—and to accept same as we go about life, living as faithfully as we can.
The whys and wherefores of life are so utterly beyond us, as are the theories, and the acts of our fellow human beings, indeed of ourselves, and finally of God.
Our Very Best Investment – Into the Wisdom of God
Going back now to the Sinclair Ferguson quote, we can readily see that until we begin grappling with, and accepting without resentment, this wisdom of God’s—which is the way this world works as God wills it in connection with us—we will not actually progress to fruitfulness, for we’ll forever be held back on the basics.
Hebrews 6:1-8 majors on this theme. What good are the basic things if we never go beyond them?
Wisdom is what stands between us and the prize we’re beckoned by God toward. Wisdom is those sets of hurdles on the sprint of life. It’s that thing that when we’re undone in life picks us back up and dusts us off ready for a more resilient tilt next time.
Perhaps without much doubt the best thing any of us can do—as an input to gaining wisdom, the beginning of which is the fear of the Lord (Job 28:28; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10)—is regularly take up our portions of wisdom, for which intentional, in-depth studies of Proverbs and the like are marvellous.
The most precious indication of our wisdom aligning with God’s will always be, however, how well integrated we are to the motion of life so far as God has it, and how harmoniously—from an emotional and spiritual viewpoint—we’re relating with our world.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
General Reference: Derek Thomas, The Storm Breaks – Job Simply Explained (Welwyn Commentary Series) (Durham, England: Evangelical Press, 1995), pp. 214-15.