Focal Passages: Job 28:1-4, 12-13, 15-16, 20-23, 26-28
A popular children’s game is “Gossip.” The children sit in a circle and the first person tells a line, such as “The purple dragon eats buttercups and honey.” By the time it has passed through about a dozen ears, the final product may sound something like this, “Purple is my favorite color, and I like to eat honey.” Unfortunately, this children’s game portends real life. Who can you trust with your inner questions, your deepest secrets, your doubts and fears? Further, this quandary is escalated in the present because of social media. To give an example, I recently visited a church member in the hospital. By the time I reached her, word of her admittance was already on Facebook. Later I heard that it was reported that she was in the hospital in Greenville (which she wasn’t) and that she had food poisoning (which she didn’t).
Job had little reason to trust the advice, opinions or diagnoses of his friends. To summarize their third series of speeches to Job: “You’re delusional. No human being is sinless. Not only are you guilty, you are abundantly wicked, you are trying to hide endless iniquities.” Job’s counter was defiant: “I will never affirm that you are right; I will maintain my integrity until I die (27:5).” Job’s dilemma, however, extended far beyond the “sage-like” attempts of Eliphaz and Bildad to give a rational reason for their friend’s misery. Job’s greater problem was making sense of God. He admitted that God was elusive to him, that his search for God was not going well. Further, he was terrified in God’s presence (23:15).
To give Job credit, in chapter 28 he begins to identify a key component to his inner healing: God’s wisdom. He contrasts it with commodities we find precious, such as silver or gold. Yes, we can mine them from the deepest recesses of the earth and buy and sell them, but we can’t exchange them for wisdom. Wisdom comes from God, and we are wise when we fear Him.