A PARABLE OF JOB
Job begins to ponder the knowledge of God in a form of parable.
Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it. Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone. He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death. The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men. As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire. Job 28:1-5
There is a place to find silver, gold, brass, and iron. God knows where these things are found in the earth, but he also knows where to find gold in the hearts of men. Miners find their metals but they also find floods in the mines. The waters come and go, and the earth produces both bread and volcanoes.
The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold. There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen: The lion’s whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it. He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots. He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing. Job 28:6-10
That earth has mineral treasures and hidden paths. Nothing knows those paths, and God changes that earth by re-shaping the mountains. God carves out new rivers and he sees everything of value.
He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light. But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. Job 28:11-15
God contains the rivers and exposes hidden things, but man cannot know the hidden things of God. Wisdom is priceless, and it is not found in the earth, the sea, or in wealth.
It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? Job 28:16-20
The wisdom of God outweighs the value of precious gems and gold. Where is it found then?
Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. Job 28:21-25
The wisdom of God is hidden and dark places know only the rumors of it? God knows where it is as he can know and measure all.
When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out. And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. Job 28:26-28
God created nature to reflect the wisdom of nature and physics, but he revealed another kind of wisdom to man. To fear God and turn away from evil is wisdom. Where is the wisdom of man? It’s not hidden in the rocks and rivers, or in the physics of the universe; it is found in man. Only God can discern the inner thoughts of the heart and mind, so only he knows which men have found his wisdom. He knows who has feared God, and who has fled from evil doing.
Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me; Job29:1-5
Now we are reminded that this is a parable of Job. Indeed Job himself is the parable, and this is his book. His words reflect on the easy days when life was good for him. He thinks that his children were alive an well because God had not forsaken him at that time.
When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil; When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street! The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up. The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth. The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth. Job29:6-10
In the good old days he had wealth to use butter and oil for washing the steps or other mundane things. He was wealthy enough to waste material goods, and respected by young and old alike. Men of power and leaders felt him to be of greater wisdom in leadership.
When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. Job29:11-15
Anyone who heard or saw Job blessed him as a friend of the oppressed. He helped to feed and clothe others and it became a robe of righteousness to him. He provided the needs of the needy.
I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth. Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand. My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch. My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand. Job29:16-20
Job recalls how he had gone looking for ways to be helpful to others. He prosecuted thieves and cheaters and expected a good life. He hoped to die in his own home, not in a nursing home, but free for many years. He was anchored as a tree by the river and in the prime of his life.
Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel. After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them. And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain. If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down. I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mourners. Job29:21-25
Job recalls that he was accepted by honorable men and credited with wisdom by all. He was a source of direction to all and a leader of men. He was their comfort and the final authority of their direction.
Job had lost all of this and been reduced to insults and rejection by his friends. He had horrible pain and illness that left him with no comfort now. It was hard to look forward when what he had left behind was so good. The day he lived in now was all harshness and pain without the evidence of God’s help.
As we look at our modern world we may wonder where the honor and respect of the Christian faith has gone. Men of God founded this nation to let all worship and live in freedom. Now we may be looking at a future that steals our children and perverts the values that we have clung to for thousands of years. We see men of god being slain for their faith around the world. Our leaders reject our fear of the Lord, and are clearly not found to be the home of godly wisdom. But you who do hold the secret wisdom will see your hope, even as Job soon will. God will find your buried treasure.