God, I don’t understand!
We will never understand everything that is going on.
But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding?
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God, I don’t understand!
Job has lost virtually everything in his life. God allowed Satan to send one calamity after another until he was left sitting in the ash-heap with boils from head to foot. It is not hard to imagine that Job might want to understand why all this was happening to him. He believed that he was a righteous man, that there was no reason why God should want to punish him. And he was right; God even declared Job to be a righteous man.
It is during the difficult times of life that we search most earnestly for wisdom and understanding. Job would like to understand why his life was going the way it was. His three friends have suggested to him repeatedly that it was a matter of Job’s own sin. And as Job searched his heart and life, He could see no proof of that. This is not to suggest that Job was perfect, but that everything that needed to be dealt with between him and God had been done.
So Job’s questions are where do you go to find wisdom and understanding. In the previous verses of the chapter, he stated that men know how to find precious things in the earth, like gold, silver, and precious stones. But where do you go find something even more precious than these things; namely wisdom and understanding.
The book of Proverbs repeatedly tells us that we ought to seek out wisdom and understanding more than gold, silver, or precious stones. It is more valuable than any other thing in this life. Thankfully, Job doesn’t leave us without an answer. This chapter closes by telling us that God knows where both can be found and then says, “The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.”
The fear of the Lord is one of those concepts that are not always easy to grasp. This is primarily because we have a very narrow definition of the ‘fear’. We think of terror when we use or hear this word. But when we use it in reference to God, it means ‘reverential awe’. The word awe implies a sense of wonder. The more we get to know God, the more we will be filled with wonder and amazement. To reverence God is to esteem Him in some way. Again, as we get to know God, we hold Him higher and higher. There should also be a sense of terror because God is mighty and holy, and His anger toward sin is terrible.
That is where knowledge comes in. If God is wonderful and if we are reverencing Him and we acknowledge His hatred of sin, then we will ‘forsake evil’. That doesn’t mean we will never sin again; it means we will not choose to walk in sin. We will choose to live a life of increasing holiness. When we sin, we don’t continue in them, but as quickly as we can, we repent and confess it to Him. And as we walk in that way wisdom and knowledge will flow into our lives and through our lives into the lives of others. We will never understand everything that is going on, but as we get to know God better, the more we will trust Him with the things we don’t understand. Jesus, teach us to know You and trust You.
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