Reading Time: 7 minutesIt Is Not In Me
“The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’ and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’” (Job 28:4, ESV)
longing for the word
This week, I would like to focus briefly on “wisdom” for our weekly devotional. Regarding our text for today, Job is confronting a question about wisdom two verses previously, and throughout the whole of chapter 28:
“But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?” (Job 28:12, ESV)
In Job 28:13, Job concludes how that “Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living.” The very beginning of Job 28, in the first verse uses an analogy of sorts, stating how “there is a mine for silver, and a place for gold that they refine,” and then by the time we get to today’s text, Job starts to recite some conclusions about wisdom by saying “If I go down to all these deep places where gold or silver is mined, I cannot find wisdom anywhere in places like that! Its a very good way to illustrate the point.
Sometimes, in the Bible, the word “deep” (as also used in Gen 1:2), can mean subterranean waters, (Gen 7:11, Deut 8:7), but the idea here in the Book of Job is clearly to convey how that we may investigate/explore the vast depths of the oceans or the earth but true wisdom will not be found there. It would seem that this chapter in the Book of Job is not an argument to “defend” a doctrine per se; but more of a meditation. Its design seems to be to show that people must accept Divine Providence even though he may not understand it. Job shows that man has made surprising discoveries regarding nature, yet he still concluded that true wisdom is found only in the knowing, seeing fellowship of our Lord, and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
It is of value to note how that the mining of silver and gold is mentioned as an example of the skill of human beings. Elsewhere in Scripture, mining is mentioned in the OT, I think, only in Deut 8:9, where Canaan is described as a land of iron and copper. Diodorus describes ancient mining operations thus: The shafts follow veins of quartz deep into the mountain. Fire was used to make the stone brittle, then it was hoed out by men who carried lamps. The quartz was crushed, pounded into dust, and washed until the gold remained. The book of Job reveals that, even in his distant days of the past, such arts as mining were known. (see Gen 2:11, 12; Gen 4:22).
Iron is mentioned here as an illustration of the skill and accomplishments of humanity at the time. (see Gen 4:22; Num 35:16; Deut 27:5). Brass is also mentioned in this chapter of Job. By “brass” is meant copper or bronze (see Gen 4:22; Exodus 25:3; 26:11). The mention of “stone,” from which it is molten, shows that the metal was extracted from ore. This is proof that copper is intended. Brass is properly an alloy of copper and zinc and must be compounded. The alloy came into general use centuries later. Bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, is much older. Whenever “brass” is mentioned in the OT either copper or bronze is meant.
In Job 28:3 “an end to darkness” is mentioned. The direct reference still seems to be to the operations of mining, and the idea is that people always delve into the darkest regions. They bring light—either artificial or the light of day—into regions that never before saw light. This makes me think about a very distant thing, that sometimes sees no light at all. I have noticed how “dark” life feels sometimes when trouble strikes. And when dire needs present. And I say to myself, like Job of old: “Its not in me.” “The wisdom I need for whats going on in my world today is not in me!” I know what it feels like to see my self as impossibly far away from Jesus, and Church, and all manner of other things in life. Especially does wisdom for the day seem to appear very far away during times of political turmoils at times. But deep calls unto deep, telling us that true wisdom cannot be found there any way.
As the Psalmist put it
“Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.” (Psalms 42:7).
If you are experiencing today the “waves and billows going right over you,” and your heart yearns for God’s wisdom, for a heavenly solution to your dire need, then Jesus really is the answer. Right now He may seem very distant because of the problems that we, as a society, or as individuals are now facing. Political storms. Domestic tornadoes of emotions. Wondering what to do next. What’s going to happen next. Heavenly things can just seem so far away during times like this. Jesus may even seem distant and too quiet. But this weekly has a message to bear that is very encouraging. One verse says it like this:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph 2:13).
We do not need to feel that we are far away from The One who gave all to us, or for us. We don’t need to blame anyone else for our troubles and our sometimes desperate need. The cross puts everyone on an equal footing, with no one having any advantage over anyone else, when it comes to the true wisdom from heaven. If it’s from heaven; it has to come from Jesus. Back in the day, pious Jews considered all non-Jews (Gentiles) ceremonially unclean. They thought of themselves as pure and clean because of their national heritage and religious ceremonies. Paul pointed out that Jews and Gentiles alike were unclean before God and needed to be cleansed by Christ. In order to realize how great a gift salvation is, we need to remember our former natural, unclean condition. Have you ever felt separate, excluded, hopeless? These verses are for you. No one is alienated from Christ’s love and His wisdom is freely available to us all:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5, ESV).
“By “wisdom,” James is talking not only about knowledge but about the ability to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances. Whenever we need wisdom, we can pray to God, and he will generously supply what we need. Christians don’t have to grope around in the dark, hoping to stumble upon answers. We can ask for God’s wisdom to guide our choices.
The wisdom that we need has three distinct characteristics:
(1) It is practical. The wisdom from God relates to life even during the most trying times. It is not a wisdom isolated from suffering and trials. This wisdom is the tool by which trials are overcome. An intelligent person may have profound ideas, but a wise person puts profound ideas into action. Intelligence will allow someone to describe several reasons why the car broke down. The wise person chooses the most likely reason and proceeds to take action.
(2) It is divine. God’s wisdom goes beyond common sense. Common sense does not lead us to choose joy in the middle of trials. This wisdom begins with respect for God, leads to living by God’s direction, and results in the ability to tell right from wrong. It is a wisdom that James will describe at length in chapter 3.
(3) It is Christlike. Asking for wisdom is ultimately asking to be like Christ. The Bible identifies Christ as the “wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24; 1 Cor 2:1-7). (taken from Life Application Notes for James 1:5)
As we see from further examination of Job 28, Job makes very good use of the analogy of mining to illustrate in part, the human condition, and our dire need of true wisdom:
“Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is smelted from the ore. [We] put an end to darkness and search out to the farthest limit the ore in gloom and deep darkness. [We] open shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives; they are forgotten by travellers; they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.” (Job 28:2,3,4).
The idea here is that we will often delve into the darkest regions. We bring light—either artificial or the light of day—into regions underground that never before saw light. And Jesus is “the Light of the world,” He wants us to have His light in us. The Psalmist uses something from nature again here to illustrate that wisdom comes from God:
“His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles.” (Psalms 97:4)
This is precisely how Jesus says the world will see that we are Christians. Lightning is the perfect object lesson here:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Mat 5:14)
Can you picture that kind of lightning flashing across the biggest hill you face in your life? THAT has to be the very light Jesus was referring to on that “hill.”
Too many of us make religious excuses to “explain” why we cant increase our church attendance, or convince others to ask Jesus into their hearts. Could it be that we do not really know what that is ourselves? Is this why no one else can see what we thought was “our light?” I thought it was supposed to be “The Light Of Christ, The precious Gospel Light? One thing is for sure, if indeed one has “The Light of Christ,” then the Bible tells us that it will be impossible for us to hide! How are you hiding your light today? I am reminded of someone earlier this week who is dying. They have been struggling to not be afraid and to have the wisdom to know what to do next. I explained to them how the Bible has given me hope, comfort, and a direction to go in and that it didn’t always solve my problems, but would always help me get through them. A couple days later, this person who was not a Christian, sent me a note that said, in part, “Im going out today to get a Bible.”
In verity, asking for wisdom from Jesus is like asking to be Christ-like in a given situation. And if we are Christ-like, it will be impossible to hide. It will literally just come pouring out of us (Acts 2:18), and people will see that and ask about our saviour. People will see the Light. People will ask for THAT wisdom! No “evangelism” needed! No “programs” needed. No “obedience” lists needed. Just be like Jesus! THAT is THE program!
“He is our peace!” (Eph 2:14)
He is our Light! (John 8:12)
The ruler of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They cannot see the light of the Good News—the message about the divine greatness of Christ. Christ is the one who is exactly like God. (2 Cor 4:4)
“…Jesus talked to the people again. He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never live in darkness. They will have the light that gives life.” (John 8:12)
“This is what the Lord told us to do: ‘I have made you a light for the other nations, to show people all over the world the way to be saved.'” (Acts 14:37).
Be the Light. Thats exactly how we SEND THE LIGHT!
“Send The Light!”
And you will see people say to you, perhaps for the first time, or maybe for their own, personal, “great reset,” and wanting to try again:
“Im going right out to buy a Bible!”
THAT is true wisdom in work clothes!