December - Reading 5

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Dec 5, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
    Job

    Sunday Scholl 6/23/06




    In the Book of Job, chapters 28 through 31 are commonly classified as the “Job Speeches.” These three poems come at the conclusion of the dialogue between Job and his three friends who have offered him no comfort but rather accusations of evil as the innocent man suffered. The three poems make no mention of the friends nor the arguments they presented. Chapter 28 does not name a speaker. Instead it is a general presentation of the elusiveness of wisdom for man and as such some scholars believe it may be the oldest section of the entire Book.

    True wisdom is inaccessible to man. Though some seek it, it can neither be found nor bought. Only God possesses true wisdom. God in turn presents to man the beginning of wisdom: to worship and avoid evil. With this beginning establishing man’s piety and morality God equips his creation to get through life without possession of the ultimate secrets.

    Job was a man who, like us, was in the dark on the ultimate secrets of life. He did not possess ultimate knowledge. Yet God had given him what he needed to cope. The advice that this wisdom gives him is to keep on doing what he had always done: fear the Lord and turn from evil.

    Job 28:1-11 A Mine for Silver

    There were no mines in Palestine and precious metals had to be imported from far away. In those places the work was extremely dangerous as men had to excavate deep caverns to get at the veins of gold and silver, copper and iron. It was a complicated and tedious process for smelting the ore and extracting the pure elemental metals. Yet for all these hardships, men were able to accomplish the task of obtaining metals.

    The poet states that the surface of the earth produces bread (grains) but under the surface precious minerals grow. No mortal eye, man or beast, has witnessed these things grow but man is able to dig and search for these treasures. He excavates and moves earth and uncovers the secrets of the deep, deep ground. He overcomes the inherent dangers of mining in order that he may bring the precious stones of earth to light.

    Job 28:12-22 Where Shall One Find Wisdom?

    The poet now contrasts man’s great success in finding metals and jewels to the utter frustration in his search for wisdom. As is a common hallmark of Jewish poetry, wisdom and understanding are paired in this stanza. Wisdom is, by definition:

    The right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them. This is wisdom in act, effect, or practice. If wisdom is to be considered as a faculty of the mind, it is the faculty of discerning or judging what is most just, proper and useful, and if it is to be considered as an acquirement, it is the knowledge and use of what is best, most just, most proper, most conducive to prosperity or happiness. Wisdom in the first sense, or practical wisdom, is nearly synonymous with discretion. I differs somewhat from prudence, in this respect; prudence is the exercise of sound judgment in avoiding evils; wisdom is the exercise of sound judgment either in avoiding evils or attempting good. Prudence then is a species, of which wisdom is the genus. – Webster’s 1828

    It should be noted at this juncture that Job is classified with the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament being grouped with Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. It is at this point in the Job narrative that we see the heavy influence it had on these later works.

    So where can wisdom be found? Verse 13 gives a rather pessimistic answer. The way that men live clearly demonstrates that they are unable to find it. By his own nature he does not possess the qualities of the mind for good and successful living. No matter where he looks, wisdom eludes him.

    Since man is capable of exploring the deeps of the earth to obtain minerals, wisdom, as a personified entity, must be far beyond his reach, else he would have it. Man can extract treasures from the sea but he can not extract wisdom from his own mind.

    Nor can he buy it. The word translated “gold” in verse 15 is the word for “bullion,” meaning great amounts of gold. Verses 17 – 19 continue to list some of the most precious materials of the time but none of them are equal in value to purchase wisdom, even if it were for sale.

    Verse 17 repeats the question of verse 12: Where is wisdom? It is frustratingly hidden from all mortal eyes, even the sharp eyes of the birds of prey. Even beyond the range of the living, the realm of the dead report no more than a rumor of wisdom. To “hear with our ears” means to only have a second hand report.

    Job 28:23-27 God Understands It

    Though man is unable to and is frustrated by his inability to find wisdom, God and God alone knows the way to it. Wisdom is, in fact, a natural thing for God. He knows where wisdom is and all of its ways. The following verses draw upon His creation to illustrate His control of wisdom.

    God in His omnipotence surveys all of creation. Nothing is beyond His scope of vision. Wisdom and understanding were the means through which God created the universe. (Proverbs 3:19). God applied wisdom when He created the winds and the waters of the sea. He displayed His wisdom when He made the rain. It was by decree of the Almighty that all elements of nature came to be and came to function.

    Verse 27 summarizes God’s use of wisdom. Knowing what it was and where it could be found, He put it to use in the ordering of nature. He tested that wisdom in the process of creation. That wisdom that can control the forces of the universe can also be used for the working of all good things that satisfy the deepest spiritual and social needs of man. Yet we must never lose sight of the fact that such wisdom is in the providence of God and only in the providence of God.

    God’s Wisdom for Man

    The final verse of the poem of chapter 28 takes an abrupt turn and is considered an addition by many scholars. Addition or not, it is completely necessary and appropriate for the story of Job.

    The phrase “and he said to man” breaks the meter of the poem but it is necessary to show that man was unable to discover the great truth about to be revealed on his own. This knowledge had to be revealed to man by His Creator. For the Book of Job, we see that Job had been meted out wisdom from above and it has sustained him to this point.

    This verse is echoed with slight variations throughout much of the Old Testament. It clarifies the concept of practical religion. Fear is the attitude one takes in worship. The verse balances piety and morality. Wisdom and understanding must never become excuses for presumption and libertinism. To fear the Lord and turn from evil are the extent of the heavenly wisdom man can grasp. They are sufficient for his well-being.
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4

Share This Page

Loading...