July 22, 2021

Hidden in Plain Sight

Job 28–31

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Job Continues: Where Is Wisdom?

Surely there is a mine for silver,
    and a place for gold that they refine.
Iron is taken out of the earth,
    and copper is...

Job Continues: Where Is Wisdom?

Surely there is a mine for silver,
    and a place for gold that they refine.
Iron is taken out of the earth,
    and copper is smelted from the ore.
Man puts an end to darkness
    and searches out to the farthest limit
    the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
    they are forgotten by travelers;
    they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.
As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
    but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
Its stones are the place of sapphires, 1
    and it has dust of gold.

That path no bird of prey knows,
    and the falcon's eye has not seen it.
The proud beasts have not trodden it;
    the lion has not passed over it.

Man puts his hand to the flinty rock
    and overturns mountains by the roots.
10  He cuts out channels in the rocks,
    and his eye sees every precious thing.
11  He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle,
    and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.

12  But where shall wisdom be found?
    And where is the place of understanding?
13  Man does not know its worth,
    and it is not found in the land of the living.
14  The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
    and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15  It cannot be bought for gold,
    and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16  It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
    in precious onyx or sapphire.
17  Gold and glass cannot equal it,
    nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18  No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
    the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19  The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
    nor can it be valued in pure gold.

20  From where, then, does wisdom come?
    And where is the place of understanding?
21  It is hidden from the eyes of all living
    and concealed from the birds of the air.
22  Abaddon and Death say,
    ‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’

23  God understands the way to it,
    and he knows its place.
24  For he looks to the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
25  When he gave to the wind its weight
    and apportioned the waters by measure,
26  when he made a decree for the rain
    and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27  then he saw it and declared it;
    he established it, and searched it out.
28  And he said to man,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
    and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”

Job's Summary Defense

And Job again took up his discourse, and said:

“Oh, that I were as in the months of old,
    as in the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone upon my head,
    and by his light I walked through darkness,
as I was in my prime, 2
    when the friendship of God was upon my tent,
when the Almighty was yet with me,
    when my children were all around me,
when my steps were washed with butter,
    and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!
When I went out to the gate of the city,
    when I prepared my seat in the square,
the young men saw me and withdrew,
    and the aged rose and stood;
the princes refrained from talking
    and laid their hand on their mouth;
10  the voice of the nobles was hushed,
    and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.
11  When the ear heard, it called me blessed,
    and when the eye saw, it approved,
12  because I delivered the poor who cried for help,
    and the fatherless who had none to help him.
13  The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,
    and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
14  I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
    my justice was like a robe and a turban.
15  I was eyes to the blind
    and feet to the lame.
16  I was a father to the needy,
    and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.
17  I broke the fangs of the unrighteous
    and made him drop his prey from his teeth.
18  Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,
    and I shall multiply my days as the sand,
19  my roots spread out to the waters,
    with the dew all night on my branches,
20  my glory fresh with me,
    and my bow ever new in my hand.’

21  Men listened to me and waited
    and kept silence for my counsel.
22  After I spoke they did not speak again,
    and my word dropped upon them.
23  They waited for me as for the rain,
    and they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.
24  I smiled on them when they had no confidence,
    and the light of my face they did not cast down.
25  I chose their way and sat as chief,
    and I lived like a king among his troops,
    like one who comforts mourners.

But now they laugh at me,
    men who are younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
    to set with the dogs of my flock.
What could I gain from the strength of their hands,
    men whose vigor is gone?
Through want and hard hunger
    they gnaw the dry ground by night in waste and desolation;
they pick saltwort and the leaves of bushes,
    and the roots of the broom tree for their food. 3
They are driven out from human company;
    they shout after them as after a thief.
In the gullies of the torrents they must dwell,
    in holes of the earth and of the rocks.
Among the bushes they bray;
    under the nettles they huddle together.
A senseless, a nameless brood,
    they have been whipped out of the land.

And now I have become their song;
    I am a byword to them.
10  They abhor me; they keep aloof from me;
    they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.
11  Because God has loosed my cord and humbled me,
    they have cast off restraint 4 in my presence.
12  On my right hand the rabble rise;
    they push away my feet;
    they cast up against me their ways of destruction.
13  They break up my path;
    they promote my calamity;
    they need no one to help them.
14  As through a wide breach they come;
    amid the crash they roll on.
15  Terrors are turned upon me;
    my honor is pursued as by the wind,
    and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.

16  And now my soul is poured out within me;
    days of affliction have taken hold of me.
17  The night racks my bones,
    and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
18  With great force my garment is disfigured;
    it binds me about like the collar of my tunic.
19  God 5 has cast me into the mire,
    and I have become like dust and ashes.
20  I cry to you for help and you do not answer me;
    I stand, and you only look at me.
21  You have turned cruel to me;
    with the might of your hand you persecute me.
22  You lift me up on the wind; you make me ride on it,
    and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.
23  For I know that you will bring me to death
    and to the house appointed for all living.

24  Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand,
    and in his disaster cry for help? 6
25  Did not I weep for him whose day was hard?
    Was not my soul grieved for the needy?
26  But when I hoped for good, evil came,
    and when I waited for light, darkness came.
27  My inward parts are in turmoil and never still;
    days of affliction come to meet me.
28  I go about darkened, but not by the sun;
    I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.
29  I am a brother of jackals
    and a companion of ostriches.
30  My skin turns black and falls from me,
    and my bones burn with heat.
31  My lyre is turned to mourning,
    and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.

Job's Final Appeal

I have made a covenant with my eyes;
    how then could I gaze at a virgin?
What would be my portion from God above
    and my heritage from the Almighty on high?
Is not calamity for the unrighteous,
    and disaster for the workers of iniquity?
Does not he see my ways
    and number all my steps?

If I have walked with falsehood
    and my foot has hastened to deceit;
(Let me be weighed in a just balance,
    and let God know my integrity!)
if my step has turned aside from the way
    and my heart has gone after my eyes,
    and if any spot has stuck to my hands,
then let me sow, and another eat,
    and let what grows for me 7 be rooted out.

If my heart has been enticed toward a woman,
    and I have lain in wait at my neighbor's door,
10  then let my wife grind for another,
    and let others bow down on her.
11  For that would be a heinous crime;
    that would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges;
12  for that would be a fire that consumes as far as Abaddon,
    and it would burn to the root all my increase.

13  If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant,
    when they brought a complaint against me,
14  what then shall I do when God rises up?
    When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?
15  Did not he who made me in the womb make him?
    And did not one fashion us in the womb?

16  If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
    or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
17  or have eaten my morsel alone,
    and the fatherless has not eaten of it
18  (for from my youth the fatherless 8 grew up with me as with a father,
    and from my mother's womb I guided the widow 9 ),
19  if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
    or the needy without covering,
20  if his body has not blessed me, 10
    and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep,
21  if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
    because I saw my help in the gate,
22  then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
    and let my arm be broken from its socket.
23  For I was in terror of calamity from God,
    and I could not have faced his majesty.

24  If I have made gold my trust
    or called fine gold my confidence,
25  if I have rejoiced because my wealth was abundant
    or because my hand had found much,
26  if I have looked at the sun 11 when it shone,
    or the moon moving in splendor,
27  and my heart has been secretly enticed,
    and my mouth has kissed my hand,
28  this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
    for I would have been false to God above.

29  If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me,
    or exulted when evil overtook him
30  (I have not let my mouth sin
    by asking for his life with a curse),
31  if the men of my tent have not said,
    ‘Who is there that has not been filled with his meat?’
32  (the sojourner has not lodged in the street;
    I have opened my doors to the traveler),
33  if I have concealed my transgressions as others do 12
    by hiding my iniquity in my heart,
34  because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
    and the contempt of families terrified me,
    so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors—
35  Oh, that I had one to hear me!
    (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!)
    Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary!
36  Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
    I would bind it on me as a crown;
37  I would give him an account of all my steps;
    like a prince I would approach him.

38  If my land has cried out against me
    and its furrows have wept together,
39  if I have eaten its yield without payment
    and made its owners breathe their last,
40  let thorns grow instead of wheat,
    and foul weeds instead of barley.”

The words of Job are ended.

Footnotes

[1] 28:6 Or lapis lazuli; also verse 16
[2] 29:4 Hebrew my autumn days
[3] 30:4 Or warmth
[4] 30:11 Hebrew the bridle
[5] 30:19 Hebrew He
[6] 30:24 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
[7] 31:8 Or let my descendants
[8] 31:18 Hebrew he
[9] 31:18 Hebrew her
[10] 31:20 Hebrew if his loins have not blessed me
[11] 31:26 Hebrew the light
[12] 31:33 Or as Adam did

Hidden in Plain Sight



Key Verse | Job 28:12-15

"But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Man does not know it's worth,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
The deep says, 'It is not in me,'
and the sea says, 'It is not with me.'
It cannot be bought for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed as its price."

Bio | Rick Jackson

Good morning! My name is Rick Jackson, a forgiven sinner, husband to Kathryn for 30 adventuresome years, and a thankful member of a community group that loves and encourages me through challenging times. God built our family through the miracle of adoption and brought us Will, Anna, and Maggie who all are now in their 20s. My wife and I serve in Merge and have the privilege of leading a Foundation Group with newly married couples. I work in high-tech, cyber security start-ups and enjoy the interesting challenges associated with entrepreneurship. You might be surprised to know my nickname is "Rocket Rick." 

Central Truth

For God to truly transform us by His eternal truths and wisdom, we must humble ourselves, confess our sins, turn away from evil, and live in accordance with God's standard of holiness.

Devotional | Job 28–31

Today, we are drowning in a sea of information. In 2020, there were over 2 trillion searches on Google alone, 5.3 billion internet-connected people, and 84% of the population searching at least three times per...

Today, we are drowning in a sea of information. In 2020, there were over 2 trillion searches on Google alone, 5.3 billion internet-connected people, and 84% of the population searching at least three times per day. Searching, searching, and more searching. With over 50 billion connected devices, individuals are adding billions of pages per day, which is causing the internet to double in size every two years. With all this information available, are we better off now than 2,000 years ago from God's perspective? Job 17:10 states, "But you, come on again, all of you, and I shall not find a wise man among you."

Despite there being more knowledge available at my fingertips than at any time in history, there are many times I simply ignore the greatest treasure of all—finding and following wisdom. Isaiah 5:21 warns us, "Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!" At times, I am a "smart fool" who cannot discern between God's wisdom and my own desires to seek other people's praise or to chase my own ambitions for status and success.

Several years ago, I had accepted a job in San Francisco and agreed to uproot my family without properly seeking God's Word or biblical counseling from my community group. When pressed about why this was a good idea for our family (and believe me, they pressed!), it became apparent that I wanted to follow my own path and had made a poor decision.

The next day, I let the company know I would not be joining them and asked for their forgiveness for prematurely agreeing to the offer and sheepishly mentioned that my community thought the decision was unwise. Well, the CEO called me back and curiously asked, "Who are these community 'wise men'?" As a result of his question, I was able to have a great conversation with an unbeliever about faith, family, and the benefits of biblical community. 

Knowledge is not transformational and often misdirects. God's wisdom, however, is priceless and will never fail me.

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Discussion Questions

1. We find the wisdom of God is revealed in His Word, and we grow in wisdom to navigate the pitfalls of this world as expressed in Psalm 119:98-100. What are practical ways you can seek to spend more time in the Word? What sins are holding you back?

2. We also develop wisdom by learning from our past mistakes and not making the same decision again, while fools simply repeat the same mistakes over and over again (Proverbs 26:11). What mistakes have you made in the past that you have learned from the most? What are mistakes that come back from time to time, and what are ways you can give these to God?

3. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." We ask in faith and decide to obey what God reveals. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to "[t]rust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Can you think of a time when you ignored God's wisdom? What happened? How can you keep from doing that again?

12 Comments available

Kirk McJunkin 7 days ago

Great job with this morning’s devotional. You nailed me and blessed me all at once.

Michael Scaman 7 days ago

Job sums up his arguments

Oh, that I had one to hear me! (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!) Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary!

His 3 friends have nothing to say and in steps Elihu.

Robert Owens 7 days ago

P. S. Stupidity is not the lack of knowledge… but the illusion of it. Robert Owens

Robert Owens 7 days ago

Hi there Rick, Your analysis and reference to knowledge and the internet is accurate and very well presented. Your message started me thinking this morning. The use of knowledge is dangerous if not used for good. There are those who try to manipulate truth into something that is not so. Shameful. Thank you for your devotional today. Robert Owens, Mason County

Sue Bohlin 7 days ago

Super devo, Rocket Rick!

I loved finding the shiny nugget of 28:28 that tells us that God Himself provided the drop-the-mic moment of truth: The fear of the Lord is wisdom, and turning away from evil is understanding. Which we also see in Ps. 111:10, Proverbs 9:10 and 15:33. I’m thankful to know about parallelism in Hebrew literature; the two parts of this verse are two sides of one coin. Fear of the Lord = turning away/departing from evil.

I can’t ever get enough wisdom, so it’s a great reminder that fearing God is the core of it.

Greg Jones 7 days ago

2/2

For what is our lot from God above, our heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong? Does he not see my ways and count my every step?

Job questions a knowledge that comes from that statement. The statement itself is not challenged. Much wisdom is in the statement but all wisdom is not contained in the statement.

Gold is in the earth answers a question. But where? doesn’t question the answer.

Gold is in the earth answers a question. But where? questions the answer.

The book of Job can be ambivalent in that same, good make you think, kind of way.

Greg Jones 7 days ago

1/1 Job, if read as a national commentary rather than an individual account as most biblical scholars understand it’s original purpose, changes what stands out in this book to me.

Job as commentary recognizes five theologians sitting in a room together are smarter than one. However, as a commentary when the car they pooled in won’t start, is paying janitors to push each of them home a good idea? It can seem. When the janitors know a car with no engine will push easier than a car with, removing seems a good idea. When a homeless man with a can of gas is passed and ignored everyday…Where is wisdom found? When 100 are passed, where will chaos be found?

When mined does Job produce golden nuggets or wisdom?

Hugh Stephenson 8 days ago

2 of 2

I LOVE the truth of Job that notes that wisdom cannot be obtained via work like mining an ore; but only through the gift of God:

‘God understands the way to it, and he knows its place. For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.’

Hugh Stephenson 8 days ago

1 of 2

GM Rocket Rick. Clearly the most original opening to a devo ever. Love your testimony about bad job decisions made without counsel. Hopefully the CEO has taken the rock out of his shoe and turned to the LORD.

Q3 – When did I ignore God’s wisdom?

What’s my word limit?

I am taught that the difference between knowledge and wisdom is that wisdom comes from applying knowledge intelligently, especially when relying on the counsel of the wise.

Amy, (Proverbs 31), and I have been incredibly blessed by Blake’s process of using Biblical wisdom. https://www.watermark.org/blog/decision-making-principles

Of course, a great deal of whatever wisdom I have was learned the hard way. A friend notes,

“Good judgement is the result of experience. Experience is the result of bad judgement.”

Hugh Stephenson 8 days ago

GM all. Posting early due to travel. Hugh

Linda Green 8 days ago

Love your focus on wisdom, Rick! Job 28:28 and Proverbs 3:7-8 go with the wonderful ones you included.

Definitely add more than my share of searches! Redeeming part, though- remember even a short part of a verse and it pops up in seconds. Beats thumbing through a concordance any day! And Biblehub.com lexicon helps me understand the original language for each word in a verse.

Have been pondering a personal definition of wisdom, since I’ve spent the majority of my life being pretty stupid. Someone said if we see as God sees, we will be so much more likely to obey Him.

Obedience has never been my default (hence, stupid) so thinking wisdom is asking God for His perspective, and then obeying His word even when I can’t see why.

Don’t think we can ever be wise without knowing His word and then choosing His ways.

Michael Scaman 8 days ago

Job’s 3 friends all spoke in turn. Bildad’s final admonition was only 6 verses. Zophar was completely silent. Job summed up his case in long speeches. His friends speak no more.

And then Elihu speaks.

Some people feel Elihu will act as a buffer between Job’s speech and God speaking, so it will be less like God is speaking ‘on demand’.

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