on wisdom

April 22, 2010

“There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined.
Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore.
Man puts an end to the darkness; he searches the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
Far from where people dwell he cuts a shaft,
in places forgotten by the foot of man; far from men he dangles and sways.
The earth from where food comes, is transformed below as by fire;
sapphires come from its rocks, and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcon’s eye has seen it.
Proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion prowl there.” -Job 28:1-8

It’s amazing what man does to search for knowledge. For wisdom. This world offers so many explanations, theories, laws, formulas, methods, philosophies. But still the path to wisdom is hidden to man.

“Man’s hand assaults the flinty rock and lays bare the roots of the mountains.
He tunnels through the rock; his eyes see all its treasures.
He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light.
But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?
Man does not comprehend its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.” -Job 28:9-13

So man continues to struggle in his search. He does everything he can, gives his best effort. Then he sees treasures; things he considers valuable. And truth comes out that man does not know the value of wisdom. All along only his treasures are what he cares for.

“The deep says, ‘It is not in me’: the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
It cannot be bought with the finest gold,nor its price be weighed in silver.
It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or sapphires.
Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it; it cannot be bought with pure gold.” -Job 28:14-19

So he goes about accumulating every treasure he sees, every treasure he can lay his hands on. He collects them and treats them as his prized possessions. But then he finds that all these are nothing compared to wisdom, so he asks..

“Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell?
It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed from the birds of the air.
Destruction and Death say, ‘Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.’ ” -Job 28:20-22

And at the end of it all, when every effort has been rendered useless and man dies to himself and acknowledges that he cannot attain wisdom on his own, he finds that..

“God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells,
for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.
When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters,
when he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm,
then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it.
And he said to man, ‘The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.’ ” -Job 28:23-28

I am amazed with how God spoke to me through this part of scripture. Amazed that he has chosen to bestow wisdom on mortals. To those who sincerely ask for it by faith. If there’s one blessing that I really thank God for right now, it is a heart that he enables to listen and to follow him.

God has also shown me how this chapter is like the chronicling of my whole academic life. I have treasured knowledge ever since. I have regarded everything I was able to learn as treasure. So much so that I depended on them to give me a bright future. Funny how Job used the imagery of mining which is very close to my previous course of metallurgy and even mentioned food in verse 5 which is what my current course is all about.

But God has shown that in all these, in all the things I have learned in school, all the amazing facts from the sciences and all the beauty I find in the arts and languages, all of them point to how awesome, great and wonderful God is. So that, very much like the end of the chapter, I now see that wisdom can only be found in God. I can now clearly see why he has given me a mind that loves to learn; so that I can understand in so many ways just how great He is. (For a while there, I was wondering why he gave me a knack for being so appreciative of facts and details.) And even then, there’s so much more to know of God because He is infinite and we are just finite beings.

In his wisdom, he didn’t give me what I was aspiring for: to graduate with honors. He knew beforehand that it would just make me puffed up and depend on my own abilities again. Instead he gave me a heart that wants to listen to him.

I prayed tonight thanking God it was my sister who received that cum laude. She really deserves it and God knew that it wouldn’t cause her to wander away from him. Instead it made her honor God more. God knew what I needed. And it wasn’t latin honors.

Someone once commented in one of my blogs when I was wondering if I would get a decent job (what “a bright future” was to me before) after 6 hard years of college education, “Think of it this way, 6 years of growing in relationship with God, prepared you for the next step.” I can now attest to this more strongly. And I really thank God for all the things he is showing and teaching me of himself.

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!” -Romans 11:33



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