OceanSide church of Christ
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Text: Job 28:20 Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?
Thesis: To show the true source of wisdom…God Himself.
1. Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Why is this happening to me?
2. These questions have been asked since the Garden of Eden.
3. The very fact that “man is able to ask these questions is evidence of the ‘great gulf’ which exists between human beings and animals” ~ Curtis A. Cates.
4. It is sad to think that most people struggle through life alone, not knowing the meaning and purpose of life though it is not necessary.
5. The question and answer is found in the most ancient book of the Bible, and the answer has not changed (Job 28).
6. Mankind has attempted to answer these critical questions of life through several avenues:
A. Human philosophy or reason
B. Science or Nature
C. Revelation (Rom. 1:18-27)
7. In Job, three individuals sought to help Job find the truth through human reason and human experience.
A. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar attempted to affirm that since Job was suffering, then he must be a sinner and that of the worst kind.
B. According to their reasoning, suffering always was a result of a punishment for sin.
C. Eliphaz appealed to what he had observed:
1) Job 4:7-8 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? (8) Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.
D. Bildad appealed to what he had learned from antiquity or history:
1) Job 8:8-10 For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers: (9) (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) (10) Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?
E. Zophar appealed to what he merely assumed:
1) Job 20:2-3 Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste. (3) I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer.
8. Job continually denied that he had committed sin to warrant and bring about his troubles.
A. Although it was not revealed to Job in the book, Job was actually suffering because of his righteousness (Chapters 1, 2)
B. Three rounds of arguments had been refuted by Job, and the question is now asked, “Where shall wisdom be found” (Job 28:12)?
C. He is not convinced by the different schools of thought from his “so-called” friends.
D. Job maintained his integrity before God, though he perceived that God was killing him:
1) Job 13:15-16 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. (16) He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.
E. Job continues to serve God because he loves God, not because of what he receives from Him (Job 1:20-22).
F. God’s honor is vindicated before Satan (Job 1, 2)
G. Through this Job character is developing with even more faith and trust in God; He discovers that true wisdom lies not in man nor in man’s ability to discover.
H. Thus, Job is contemplating just where wisdom can be found as he is rising closer to the “Light.”
9. The Jewish canon rightfully places the book of Job in “Wisdom” Literature.
A. God gave Job the wisdom revealed in it.
B. The Twenty-eighth chapter emphasizes the need to hear God and prepares Job for the Lord’s speeches (Chapters 38-42).
10. The book of Job will show that: 1) Man Cannot Discover Wisdom, 2) Man Cannot Buy Wisdom, and 3) Only God Possesses and Gives Wisdom.
I. MAN CANNOT DISCOVER WISDOM
A. Human research and philosophy cannot discover true wisdom (Job 28:1-11).
1. In spite the fact that man has a dignity which no other earthly creature possesses.
2. The sages (learned men) have spoken, but Job is still in misery; God has remained silent.
3. Man’s ingenuity and determination are praised.
a. The example of mining is used; earth uncovered and much was found.
b. However, the industry and brilliance of man had failed to uncover wisdom!
B. Human skill had brought man much wealth.
1. Job knew of mines which had unearthed gold, silver, iron, copper, and many precious stones (Job 28:1, 2, 6, 10).
a. Egypt, Lebanon, Tarshish, and other areas had extensive mining operations.
b. Tubalcain was a “forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron” (Gen. 4:22), even during the antediluvian period.
2. But, the wicked would not be satisfied with even much gold and silver, and though “He lieth down rich, … he shall not be gathered to his fathers; … God shall hurl at him and not spare” (Job 27:13-23).
a. True wisdom is not theirs, because man cannot search it out.
b. Job realized this; he refused when he had riches to trust in them (Job 31:24-25).
C. Human determination will cause man to risk life and limb.
1. All to uncover precious metals and stones, exploring with torches to the far reaches of darkness (Job 28:3), suspended and swinging by ropes far from other men on the surface (Job 28:4).
2. Evidently, the nourishment from the soil is not enough to satisfy this hunger.
a. Man will seek out hidden treasures, which capability and drive was innate in man according to God’s plan since the creation (Gen. 1:28-30; Psalm 8:6; Heb. 2:8).
b. They rummage through earth’s crust (Job 28:5), for stones and metals are found to be found there (Job 28:6).
3. The eye of the falcon is sharp and keen and hungrily seeks its prey, but has never seen or fathomed the path to these valuable items (Job 28:7).
4. Only man has the wisdom, reasoning ability to do so.
5. Not even the wild beasts have known this path (Job 28:8).
6. The mountains, underground streams, and hardest rocks are only temporary obstacles and set-backs to man in his relentless search…soon the treasures are brought to the surface (Job 28:9-11).
D. After all of this effort and though he has such reasoning power, man is still devoid of wisdom.
E. So, again Job asks, “But where shall wisdom be found” (Job 28:12)?
1. Man is far superior to the animals; yet, wisdom still eludes him.
2. So, the search continues…
II. MAN CANNOT BUY WISDOM
A. It is not discovered in the “land of the living” (Job 28:13).
1. Many have unsuccessfully attempted to purchase true wisdom from soothsayers, philosophers, universities, scientists, theologians, etc.
a. The problem is that “it is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23).
b. The other is that “there is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12).
c. Man cannot purchase it (Job 28:13).
2. The Psalmist writes: “God shall destroy thee for ever…out of the land of the living…Lo, this is the man [the one God would destroy, W.R.] that made not God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness” (Psalm 52:5, 7)
B. The world cannot reveal wisdom.
1. Even if it could, one could not buy it.
a. Explore the depths of the oceans; it’s nowhere to be found (Job 28:14).
b. Cannot be purchased with all the wealth in the world (Job 28:15-19).
2. Though God knows its price, He cannot be bribed.
a. It is not always the richest nation that is blessed with morality, with eternal truths, and with emphasis upon a humane and peaceful existence among men.
b. Much like what is said of the kingdom, this wisdom is not “of this world” (John 18:36).
c. James 3:15-18 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. (16) For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (18) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
3. Worldly wisdom, such as philosophy, astrology, scientism, neo-orthodoxy, etc., cannot give man the ability to understand his destiny.
a. What man prizes most cannot purchase wisdom!
1) Pro 8:19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
2) Psa 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
4. Again, Job asks, “Whence then cometh wisdom” (Job 28:20)?
III. ONLY GOD POSSESSES AND GIVES WISDOM
A. It can only be received by God.
1. It’s hidden from “all the living” (Job 28:21) and “Destruction and Death” had only heard rumors of it (Job 28:22).
2. Man would have to receive it by revelation from God; here’s the answer!
3. God understands it and knows the way of it (Job 28:23) and see all things “under the whole heaven” (Job 28:24).
B. God is the Sovereign Creator (Job 28:24-28) and understanding fully and possessing all wisdom (Job 28:7), it [wisdom] is His to give.
1. Not only does He “understand the way thereof,” but He will and does reveal true wisdom, if he will listen… “and unto man he said…” (Job 28:28).
2. Wisdom was always given through revelation as God spoke; and with that said, The Truth Is Absolute!
a. Heb 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
b. Without this divine revelation from the Creator, wisdom would still be “hid from the land of the living” (Job 28:21).
c. Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
d. Christ made it clear to the apostle Peter that “flesh and blood hath not revealed it [the deity of Christ, W.R.] unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 16:16-17).
1. True wisdom is from above and begins with a fear [respect & awe] of God.
A. That which causes one to humble himself and obey.
1) “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28).
2) “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments” (Psalm 111:10).
3) However, “the foolish despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7).
B. Let it be said of us today, that we like Job are “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1).
1) To be made “perfect” or complete in Christ, one must obey the Gospel of Christ:
2) Believing Jesus to be the Son of God (John 8:24).
3) Repent of sinful practices (Luke 13:3, 5).
4) Confess Jesus before men (Matt. 10:32-33).
5) Be Baptized for salvation (Mark 16:15-16)
6) Let us then continue serving faithful the God of Heaven through His only Son (Matt. 10:22; Rev. 2:10).
2. True wisdom will lead one to follow Christ, because true wisdom has its source with God and not man.
3. Let it lead you today to obey His commands.