Human Wisdom, True Wisdom, Eternal Wisdom (Job Sermon 16)
June 20, 2021 | Andrew Davis
Biblical Themes, Wisdom
Pastor Andy Davis preaches a sermon on Job 28. This passage is a hymn or poem (possibly spoken by Job) elevating God's wisdom over human ingenuity.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
Turn in your Bibles to Job 28. And we come to a magnificent chapter, a poem, or a hymn to wisdom. This chapter will celebrate God's wisdom over against man's science by using an extended illustration of mining. Mining. It will say men know how to mine precious materials from the earth, but we don't know where to find wisdom. Now, the question that's in front of me as I continue to walk through this complex, this deep book is, what function does this chapter have in the book of Job? Why did the Holy Spirit move that this be part of this book here and now? What purpose does it serve? Well, at the simplest level, it gives us all a break.
I don't know about you, but I feel a need for a bit of a break in the book of Job. I mean, it's been 27 chapters of sorrow and distress and misery. Of Job, a man, a righteous and a godly man who had wave upon wave of affliction and trial that came upon him, who lost much of his wealth in a single day, who lost all ten of his children in that same single day, who then subsequently lost his health to a terrible disease and was greatly afflicted. And then for all these chapters through chapter 27, we've had a cycle of discussions and debates by his friends who have come to comfort him in some way, and you know what that's been like. One of those “with friends like that, who needs enemies” kind of thing. But it's been very distressing and difficult as again and again, Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad have unfolded the same basic theology. You, Job, are suffering because you are a wicked man. You're suffering greatly because your wickedness is great. If you would just confess and renounce your wickedness, the suffering would go away.
And so how does Job 28 fit into that? Well, I think that we should look on Job 28 as part of Job's final defense of his own righteousness. Job 27:1 says, "Job continued his discourse." Job 29:1 says, "Job continued his discourse." So it's kind of right in the middle it seems, of a section of Job's statement. So it's best to just, I think, read it that way. I've said again and again, it really doesn't matter to me who says what, ultimately. I think if we do know we can line it up with what we know about that person and their personality and try to understand their words, but it really is the Holy Spirit that's speaking this book to us and he has a purpose and we have to look to that and understand it. So what does Job 28 say? I've already given you a brief kind of summary.
It is, "Man knows how to mine precious materials from the earth, but we don't know where to find wisdom." That's point one. Then in verse 23 and 28, it will say, "True wisdom comes from God alone. God is the only one who knows where wisdom can be found and who can teach it." And he does teach us wisdom and it culminates in a simple, clear statement in verse 28, "This is wisdom: to fear God and to shun evil is understanding." Well, that's the whole book, whole chapter. How does Job 28 fit into the book of Job? Well, it's part of Job's defense because of verse 28. Verse 28, "To fear God and to shun evil is wisdom." But the very first thing we find out about Job at the beginning of the book is that this is the exact description of Job. God says to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, a man who fears God and shuns evil." That should look very familiar to you.
So Job is a wise man. He's saying this about himself. "I am not who you say I am. I'm not a wicked man. I fear God and shun evil." Now I'm going to unfold that and show how clearly it lines up with Job's life in chapter 31. And we're not going to go to 31, but I'll just tell you that is his ethic. That's how he lives his life. Well, how does Job 28 fit into the Bible? And then how does it speak to us? Well, we've seen in general with the book of Job, there's timeless wisdom here, but it's a shadow compared to the full reality we find in Christ. We get the idea of good, better, best in the unfolding revelation of God. And so while it is true that wisdom is to fear God and shun evil, there's a better wisdom than that. That is true, but it's not sufficient. I would say along with that, not either/or, but both/and, along with fearing God and shunning evil is the delight and the joy and the love that comes in a relationship with God where God becomes our treasure. God becomes our gold, worth more than anything we could ever find in this world. The kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he sold all of the material treasures he found on earth and bought that field and the treasure is Christ, and Christ gives us God.
And so if you put those together, to fear God and shun evil, plus to delight in God and yearn for him and find pleasure in him, now that's wisdom and we find all of that in the gospel of Jesus Christ. All right, so there's the sermon. You can go rest now or kind of take the rest. I'm going to go into a lot of details. Seems beneficial to do so, but you have the overview. I guess if I could just apply it to you, I want you to know, just look at where we're at, where we live, what our setting is here. We're in one of the smartest places in the country. There are a lot of different ways to measure that, but there's just a lot of PhDs around here. There's a lot of high tech companies around here. There's a lot of intelligent people who take human technology and human wisdom and do amazing things with it.
We have high tech companies right near us that are doing semiconductor research. We have software companies. I guess Apple's going to come and build a big campus here and do what they do. You've got pharmaceutical research. We've got all kinds of amazingly intelligent, smart people doing amazingly intelligent, smart things. But those who are not yet converted are not wise. They're not wise. And they need us and the other godly people, other churches in this area, to tell them to flee their foolishness and to find true wisdom in Christ so that we would not be overwhelmingly amazed with human wisdom and human ingenuity and human technology. Not intimidated at all by that, but say, "Can I point you to true wisdom? That wisdom is Christ." And beyond that, I want each of you who are Christians, who came in here today born again, to go home thanking God that he made you wise, that he won you out of your foolishness into a lasting wisdom through Christ. Just thank God for that.
I. Human Wisdom on Display in Mining
Okay. So now let's look at some details. In Job 28:1-11, this section celebrates the staggering levels of human ingenuity found in mining. Maybe you've never thought much about mining before, but that's what's going on in this chapter. These 11 verses talk about mining. Human technology in general is a stunning marvel. It far exceeds the capacities of even the most extraordinary animals and birds, as we shall see. There's a massive, almost immeasurable gap between the intellectual prowess of human beings and every other creature. Human beings, therefore can do amazing things by virtue of their brain power. Now, the example that Job uses in this chapter is the extreme complexity of mining, but as we shall see human ingenuity, technology, science as we know it, is not ultimate wisdom. We may be able to extract gold and gemstones and other precious things from the depths of the earth, but we cannot trade that gold and those gems and those precious things for true wisdom.
"We may be able to extract gold and gemstones and other precious things from the depths of the earth, but we cannot trade that gold and those gems and those precious things for true wisdom."
So however far human science, human wisdom, human technology, and ingenuity takes us, it's going to fall far short of the wisdom that God yearns to work within human hearts. And a lot of that wisdom comes through suffering. Suffering makes us wise. Job feared God and shunned evil before any of this happened, but he feared God more profoundly after God showed up and talked to him at the end of the book. And so whatever level of fearing God and shunning evil you may have in your life, you could have more, should have more. Now let's walk through the details of how this chapter celebrates human skill and mining, human ingenuity and mining. So the existence of rare and valuable materials is a feature of planet earth and it was woven into the physical creation that God made and it's described very early in the Bible in Genesis chapter two.
You remember how there was a river that flowed from the garden of Eden and it broke off into four headwaters of four rivers, and one of those rivers was the Pishon River. And it says, if you were to follow the Pishon river out from the garden of Eden, you would come to the land of Havilah, where there is gold and onyx. So very early in the book, we've got this idea of precious materials and throughout the history of human society, gold has played a major factor in commerce and in wars and in conquest and all kinds of things because of its attributes. Gold is precious because it's malleable, easily meltable, formable, shapeable, and it's incorruptible, it doesn't rust, and it's rare. So as with any economic issue, you've got the law of supply and demand. It's valuable, but rare.
And so Job 28 describes the extreme efforts men have gone to draw precious materials from below the surface of the earth. Now the history of mining must be fascinating. When did people realize that these precious materials could only be brought forth into the light of day by extreme efforts, down into the dark deep, dark recesses of the earth? Perhaps early on men found caves and you know how men are, they just want to explore them. Hey, there's a deep dark hole. I'd like to go into it. I mean, what's up with some people? But that's how they are. And so they would get torches and they would go in there. Maybe they're looking for some water or I don't know what, just that sense of adventure. And in the flickering light of the torch, they see some glitter along the wall, silver maybe, or they find some vein somewhere of silver or gold, and then they kind of chunk it out and bring it out into daylight and start looking at it. In the course of time, they learned how to process it.
And so in Genesis four, we have a man called Tubal-cain, who it says in Genesis 4:22, "forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron," forged them. So that's just technology of learning how to deal with different types of materials that come from the earth. Tubal-cain seems to have been the first blacksmith or at least he's the first one mentioned in the Bible. He's learning to work metals like iron and bronze. Given that he's also in the lineage of Cain and a son of Lamech who delighted in being able to wreak vengeance on his enemies, some of this blacksmithing must have been used for forging weapons.
Herein lies is a big part of the problem of man's ingenuity. Man is brilliant in science, but then he uses his discoveries to make better and more destructive weapons by which he can kill his fellow man and take over his property, his farms. So mankind learns how to do things, but not why or why not to do certain things. Thus, to man's amazing brain is given a low level of wisdom that makes him vastly superior to all animals and other creatures, but man's essential wickedness and foolishness since the fall of Adam, makes that low level technological wisdom actually often damaging or destructive.
Mining is also very dangerous. You could imagine some expeditions going to various hot, dry places where certain things were found and the people have to go down into the depths of the earth and it would be maybe slaves that would be forced to do this. And so you get this economic disparity between the mine owners and the mine workers and all of these kinds of things go on. And it must have been from a very early stage. Under the hard, rocky earth the ground had to be essentially assaulted to pry loose its riches. It was a forceful, violent effort. It was deadly dangerous. In some mining endeavors, a large fire perhaps would be kindled in the shaft or tunnel, which heated the rock to high temperatures. Then cold water was poured on the super-heated rock, causing it to crack. Chunks of rock then fell down and the miners could go down to the bottom of the hole and pick them up and bring those rocks up into the daylight where they could be processed. All right. So that's the nature of mining in general, what we know about it. Let's look at the words, what Job actually says.
First of all, he introduces the topic in verse one and two. "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." So those words are why we're talking about mining today. That's what the text talks about. That's what we're talking about. And so it's about mining. It talks about the challenges of the search for precious metals, the need for light, torches, lanterns to push back the darkness. Look at verse three, "Man puts an end to the darkness. He searches the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness." It stands to reason, it's away from the sunlight. It's deep down in the depths of the earth. There's no light down there and so you need to bring torches. It mentions cutting the shaft in these austere places where no one can live or wants to live and hanging on a trapeze to do the work.
Verse four, "Far from where people dwell he cuts the shaft, in places forgotten by the foot of man. Far from men he dangles and sways." It speaks of these trapezes are there because the pit is deep, and halfway down on the wall there's some precious materials they have to get off. So the only way they'll be able to work them is with ropes and platforms. And so they dangle and sway on those platforms. And then verse 5, "The earth from which food comes is transformed below us by fire." You have to do something to the walls, the rocky walls, you have to do something to get this stuff out. And so it speaks of the transformation of the earth, of holes that are dug that weren't there before, by again human ingenuity, and the products are precious, verse 6, "Sapphires come from its rocks and its dust contains nuggets of gold."
Now mankind's technology makes them far superior to all other creatures. Look at verse seven and eight. "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 prowls there." So these are pinnacle creatures, birds of prey that soar high on the thermals, far above the surface of the earth. The eagles and falcons kind of rule the air. And then lions, the king of beasts kind of rule the jungle. But these lordly creatures never do anything like this. It would never enter their little minds to do this. They're not found there. They know nothing about the subterranean regions of the earth. It is mankind with his relentless thirst for exploration and knowledge, his scientific mind, his sharp eye, his ability to reason and put together technologies that might have seemed to have nothing to do with mining but then it's like, wait a minute, we could use that over here to do this. And so technologies are put together using iron tools, forged in a smith to then mine other precious materials more efficiently. No eagle, no falcon, no lion, no chimpanzee, no really intelligent porpoise is thinking about any of these things.
It also speaks of the violence of the effort. Look at verses 9-10, "Man's hand assaults the flinty rock and lays bare the roots of the mountains. He tunnels through the rock." So the earth does not yield its precious treasures easily or free of cost. In later years, explosives, powerful explosives will be used to crack open the Earth's treasure box. So you imagine the 19th century sticks of TNT or other explosives used to open up the rocky mountain. As a result of that, human lives are lost. Mining accidents occur regularly. Massive boulders are broken loose and rolled down and block the escape of miners that are further down below and, little by little, their air goes away and then they die.
The discovery of hidden treasures in verses 10-11, that's the whole point of all of this.,"His eyes see all its treasures. He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light." So all of this technology, these amazing efforts are made for treasures, material physical treasures brought up from the subterranean regions of the earth. They were hidden from view, but now the sunlight captures their glory and makes them glitter and shine. But, part two, "True wisdom cannot be mined and it cannot be purchased," verses 12-19. This is an analogy, it's really a parable almost, an illustration. Verse 12-14, this is the point of the chapter, "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. The deep says it is not in me." So we humans know how to mine hidden treasures from the depths of the earth, but we don't know where to find wisdom.
II. True Wisdom Cannot Be Mined or Purchased
The true treasure is not found in that way. Human science cannot discover it. We are brilliant at technology, but fools toward God and eternity. Now this very point is the point that Paul makes in 1 Corinthians chapter one, where he says, "For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God. For that reason, God was pleased to the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe in Christ." And so we're not going to find it, not even by philosophical reasoning or by inventing our own religions. We will not find eternal wisdom that way, either. God has ordained that he must teach us wisdom or we will never learn it. We don't know where to find wisdom. Verse 12, "Where can wisdom be found?" We can search for diamonds deep in the earth. We can discover sapphires. We can discover their stony fire and look at their faceted brilliance and it's going to captivate our eyes and our hearts. And it'll be the envy of our neighbors. But we are essentially fools because we can't find wisdom on the earth. We don't know where it dwells.
Verse 13-14, look at it again,"It cannot be found in the land of the living. The deep says, it's not in me. And the sea says, it's not in me." Furthermore, what is wisdom worth? What is wisdom worth? What's the value of wisdom? We cannot set a market price on wisdom and the things we got up, the glittery shiny things we got up out of the depths of the earth, you can't trade that for wisdom. It's not for sale in that sense. Look at verses 15-19, "It cannot be bought with the finest gold nor can 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."
So some rich fool can be surrounded with the rarest gems and gold aplenty, but his restless heart has led him to all manners of corruption and tyranny. His marriage is ruined. His children hate him. He has developed bitter enemies who would love to kill him and take all of his treasures from him. And he's mortal, he's not going to have them forever. When he dies, he'll give them to others. He'll let them go. He is a rich fool and he cannot trade all his gold and jewels that he's so prized for wisdom. Wisdom was far more valuable than all of those things he accumulated all along, but he didn't know it. He was allured, he was deceived by the glitter. He learned how to assault the earth for its hidden treasure but true treasure was truly hidden, because true wisdom comes from God alone.
III. True Wisdom Comes from God Alone
That's the third point. True wisdom comes from God alone verses 20-27. The hymn reveals the source of true wisdom, and that is God. Again, it asks the same question. Verse 20, "Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell?" Then it presses deeper still, verse 21, 22, "It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing concealed, even from the birds of the air. Destruction and death say only a rumor of it has reached our ears." So if you could search every square inch of the surface of the earth, you would not find wisdom openly displayed anywhere. Like gold and diamonds, it starts out hidden from view. It is concealed treasure. But even if you could move all the mountains and probe down to the realm of the grave, the deepest depths of the earth, the place where death and destruction live, the subterranean regions of the earth. If you could probe deeper and wider than any mining enterprise has ever reached, you still would not find wisdom.
A rumor of wisdom, a whiff, an aroma of it would be around you the whole time through the whole search. As though tantalizing you, enticing you and tormenting you, but you wouldn't find it. You would know that something called wisdom existed, but it would elude you. So you are smart. You are a genius with all manner of technological achievements, which have enriched you with the rarest gems the earth possessed. You uncovered them all and you have them on display in your dining halls, in your storehouses, but you are a fool. Ruining your life, finding no lasting peace, no joy, no pleasure. You are a rich, intelligent, accomplished fool, and it would be good for you to know it. A rumor of existence, so the existence of wisdom is there, a whiff, but you cannot find it. But God knows where to find it.
Look at verses 23-24, "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." God knows how to find what you're looking for. He understands the way to it. A journey to the place where it exists, where wisdom exists, but it's not a physical journey, it's a spiritual journey. God knows the way to wisdom for he made the earth and sees every part of it, nothing escapes his notice. And God's creation shows his credentials in giving wisdom. We're going to see this at the end of the book. The book of Job is saturated with what theologians called natural theology, the theology of nature, the theology of creation. Look at verses 25-27, "When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters. When he made a decree for the rain and a path to the thunderstorm, then he looked at wisdom and appraised it. He confirmed it and tested it."
Well if man is wise in science, in studying the earth in its nature and using its attributes, how much wiser is the God who made nature? We're always infinite steps behind him intellectually. He made it, we're studying it, using it. So God is the creator, we are the students of creation. God said, "Let there be light," Isaac Newton studied its attributes. God said, "Let there be gravity and time," Albert Einstein came up with some theories of relativity. God made all life, biologists and botanists and zoologists analyze the species and study their natures and their habitats and genes and all that. But God made it all. The evidence of God's wisdom is everywhere around us. "God is wise," says Job, "in the force of the wind." He knows how much wind to use in every situation.
Sometimes the light breath of a zephyr, barely able to cause leaves to flutter, cool the face of the labored at the end of the day and cause the aromas from the flowering trees, the magnolias, the lilac to fill your nostrils and it's very pleasant. But sometimes he unleashes gale force winds that rip and rend and topple and whip the ocean into a frothy frenzy. God wisely decides how to move the air in the atmosphere and what to do with weather. The weather patterns all over the earth, as he alone sees fit and understands. God is wise also says the text in measuring out waters. The waters. There is enough water to cover the entire surface of the earth, so says the Bible. Noah's flood, everything was covered. There's enough water. But God, in his wisdom, when the flood was over, caused the subterranean areas of the ocean, even to sink down and to accept water into itself and then to move the edge of the ocean back.
And as another text says, "He speaks to the proud waves and says, this far you may come and no farther." He limits the force of the waves. Here you may go and no farther. God measures out also the fresh water. How much of it that we need to stay alive? How much should be sprinkled down from the heavens as we discussed in an earlier sermon, spritzing it down so that there is a bumper crop. He knows how to give just the right amount of rain for a bumper crop. He also knows how to give rain for not a bumper crop, for crop failure, for drought or for a flood. Either way you end up with crop failure and God wisely chooses how much water in each case. God is wise in directing the path of the storms. The thunderstorms may seem completely random to you.
Have you ever seen the flash of a lightning bolt across the sky and you think what causes that jagged shape? Why does it go like that? It's every movement is dictated by the wisdom of God. God made and sustains the entire world by daily wisdom. Not even daily wisdom, instantaneous wisdom. He is flying this planet like a skilled pilot and every moment is ordained by his wise providence. Verse 27 it says, "God confirmed and tested wisdom by creation and by his daily sustaining of creation." Everything in creation, everything in daily providence is the of the wisdom of God. But have you ever driven by some area of the town your whole life? And then one day you had to walk by it and you're like, "Wow, I didn't know that was there. And I didn't know that was there either. And look at that and look." You were blowing by all of these displays of the wisdom of God in providence and you missed almost all of them.
It's okay. In heaven, you get to review them and look at God's mighty works and celebrate his providence in creation, in nature and in history. And then you get to bring him the praise and glory he deserved all along. As it says in Psalm 111:2-4, "Great are the works of the Lord. They are pondered by all who delight in them." Another translation says studied. "Glorious and majestic are his deeds and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered. The Lord is gracious and compassionate." So we who lack wisdom, we can only find it from one source and that is God himself. Human ingenuity and scientific accomplishment will never result in wisdom. It will only produce arrogance and tyranny and materialism and warfare and agonies, if not tempered by the wisdom that God alone can give.
IV. Job’s Preliminary Definition of True Wisdom
Now in verse 28, we come to the crowning moment of the chapter, a definition of true wisdom, verse 28, "And he said to man, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. And to shun evil is understanding." This is the beginning of wisdom we're told in another place. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And that leads to shunning evil. Job is going to make this very clear in Job 31. This is his motive for everything he does. He's going to talk about sexual purity in that chapter, "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a woman." Why? Well, because God sees my ways and counts my every step. That's why. He also treats his servants, men servants and maid servants with justice and fairness. He is kind to the widow and the orphan and cares for them. Again, why? Because he fears God and he's going to have to give an account to God for how he treated them.
As he says in Job 31:13 and 14, "If I have denied justice to my men servants and maid servants when they had a grievance against me, what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account?" He fears God, therefore he treats people well. This is his ethic. This is the way he lived his life. In order to do this, you have to believe that God exists and that God will bring to judgment all of the people who ever lived. That you're going to have to give an account on the day of judgment for everything you've ever done or didn't do. And so this infinite, majestic God should just tower over you at every moment and give you a sense of an appropriate fear of the Lord that leads to a shunning of evil. No book, I think, in the Bible gives such dramatic language of natural theology as does the book of Job.
Later, in a few chapters, Job 37:2-5, Elihu says this, "Listen. Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heavens and sends it to the ends of the earth. And after that comes the sound of his roar, he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back. God's voice thunders in marvelous ways, he does great things beyond our understanding." That's the terror of the Lord. And by faith, we are brought to another place in redemptive history, to the base of Mount Sinai, where God descends in fire and gives his law to mankind and causes the ground to shake beneath our feet. And he speaks with such a mighty voice that the people beg that they never hear that voice again, unless they die.
The fear of the Lord causes us, and he says that in Exodus, he says, "Do not fear. The fear of the Lord has come to keep you from sinning." And so it is a healthy ethic though inadequate, I'll say it more in a moment, healthy but inadequate, but it's still necessary, that all of you who hear me today and I who speak these words should fear God and shun evil. Just in your mind, be brought to the base of Sinai and see God descending in fire on that mountain and hear him speak, because God says it to you. And then go in your mind to the darkness of Gethsemane where Jesus, who feared God like no one has ever feared God, fell to the ground in anticipation of drinking the cup of God's wrath and in terror said, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," and great drops of blood came out of pores of his skin. No one feared God like Jesus.
"No one feared God like Jesus. "
That's wisdom. Fear God and shun evil. We need to understand what evil is. The Bible gives us a whole taxonomy of it. Many sin lists, many. Galatians 5:19-21, it says, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious. Sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like that will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Evil is relentless. It is treacherous. It is devious. It is deceptive. The Bible gives a whole long treatment of what it looks like and how it functions in human society and what happens to the people who do it, like Ahab and Jezebel, dogs licked up their blood. We have whole stories about what happens when you live evil and how God brings judgment. And therefore salvation, in part, consists in the people of God coming to hate evil like God does. We come to that point that we fear the Lord and hate evil, shun evil. As it says about Jesus, that God the Father said about his own Son, "You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness and therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." Jesus loved righteousness and hated wickedness perfectly. And you know what's so beautiful? You know what gives me hope? Someday I will love righteousness and hate wickedness as much as Jesus. And so will all of you who are my brothers and sisters in Christ. That'll be the perfection of our salvation, won't it?
V. Christ is Gods Eternal Wisdom
We need to understand therefore, that God does not, cannot tolerate sin. We need to realize a day of judgment is coming. God is patient. He does not bring judgment immediately, but he does warn us. In this text in the end, Job 28:28, "Fear the Lord and shun evil is a warning” for all of us. Job lived this out. But I want to say to you now, as I already said at the beginning of the sermon, true wisdom goes infinitely beyond that. That negative side is essential, but it's not enough. Christ is God's eternal wisdom and Christ is infinitely greater than “fear God and shun evil.” Christ is the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:23 and 24. "We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. But to those whom God has called both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God."
And I believe like that parable says, the kingdom of heaven is like a man who found treasure hidden in a field. Kind of links up with our mining theme. He mined it up and found it, put it back in, covered it so no one else would buy it. Runs and sells everything he had and with joy, bought that field and that treasure. So there's a fear and a joy aspect of true salvation. And you know what the treasure is? Christ. Christ is the treasure. Colossians 2:3 says, "In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." He is the treasure of God's infinite wisdom. And the thing that's exciting, what I've learned in my studies about heaven is you have only begun to scratch the surface on the infinite majesty of Christ. You'll be studying Christ for the rest of eternity. That's how infinite this treasure is.
So there is a fear and hatred and loathing and negative side of true holiness. And then there's an attractive, alluring, positive, delight, treasure side. Both of those together, are found in Christ and that's true wisdom. Christ is the wisdom of God incarnate. It was wise for God to send his son, his only begotten son into the world to save us, telling us we could not save ourselves. That was wise for God to humble us like that. And it was wise for Christ to be born in humility, born of the virgin, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. It was wise for him to grow up in the normal way. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52. It was wise for him to be hidden and concealed from Israel until he was about 30 years old.
And it was wise for God to send John the Baptist to announce his coming and point at him and say of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” And then it was wise for Jesus to have his public ministry that consists in perfect words and incredible miracles. Rivers of healings, walking on water, stilling the storm, feeding the five thousand, giving multiple evidences of his deity through these miracles. It was wise for him to do that. And the specific miracles he did were very wise and it was wise for him to talk like no man had ever talked before. It's one of my favorite moments when they send some temple police to arrest Jesus and they go and listen for awhile. That was their first mistake. No, that was a good thing to do. They come back empty-handed and say, "No man ever spoke like this man."
It was wise for him to live a sinless life every day under the law of Moses, under the law of God, perfectly fulfilling the righteous demands of the law of God and winning for all of us, a robe of righteousness that he just is willing to give us freely as a gift the act of obedience of Christ, our perfect holiness and righteousness. And it was wise for Jesus, every moment to display all of the attributes of God, the Father. So he can say to his followers, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." But most of all, it was wise for Jesus to die on the cross in our place as a substitute under the wrath of God, that we might not have to face the wrath of God, but would be freed from our sins forever by simple faith. And it was wise for God to raise Christ up from the dead on the third day, triumphing over death in the grave and giving us a hope of eternal life.
And it was wise for him to save us in stages so that we are justified, forgiven, made right in the sight of God by simple faith, apart from works instantaneously. All of our sins forgiven, past, present, and future by faith in the blood of Christ. It was very wise for God to do that. And then it was wise for him to call on us to be holy and to be sanctified and to grow in grace in the knowledge of Christ, day by day, and to wrestle with our sins by the power of the spirit and be humbled thereby, and to learn how much we needed a Savior and still do, and to be humbled by this journey of holiness and to yearn for perfection and holiness. And then it will be wise at the end of all things, at the Second Coming of Christ, in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet, to change all of the children of God instantaneously and give us perfected resurrection bodies to go with our perfected, resurrected souls.
The consummation of our salvation will be perfectly wise as well. And then you'll begin your eternal education in the glory of God in earnest. And you'll become wiser and wiser and wiser and wiser for all eternity, but you'll never get, you'll never be omniscient, for God alone is omniscient. So you'll always have more to learn about the infinite majesty of God. Now, where is all of this wisdom found? This wisdom is found in Scripture. It says, and this is a word for you fathers, how it says in 2 Timothy 3:15, how Timothy from infancy, "from infancy have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." The best thing you fathers could do is sit down with your families, gather them around and crack open this book night after night and pour out the wisdom of God on your children. Pour it out.
But look again what it says, "wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." You want to know where the wisdom of God in Christ is found? You read about it in his book. You don't see it in nature. You're not going to see it in the wind or the storms or the ostriches or any of that. You find it in scripture, alone. So we have an obligation to the people, the really intelligent, smart PhD people of RDU to tell them what true wisdom is, to lead them to find it through faith in Christ. To be bold, even this week in evangelism. Don't be intimidated by them. Esteem it, great. Be interested in their research, that's fine. But change the subject at some point to true wisdom, the wisdom that's found in Christ. And then I'll finish with what I started with. If you are born again, if you're a child of God, your heart right now should be filled with thankfulness that God rescued you out of dark foolishness, into the wisdom that he alone can give. And that is Christ.
"You want to know where the wisdom of God in Christ is found? You read about it in his book. You don't see it in nature. You're not going to see it in the wind or the storms or the ostriches or any of that. You find it in scripture, alone."
Close with me in prayer. Lord, thank you for this time we've had to study Job 28. I thank you for the song that we sang earlier in which we begged you, show us Christ. Lord, I pray that the way that this chapter has shown us Christ would stick with us, that we would realize that Christ is the wisdom, the true wisdom of God and that we would give eternal thanks for that wisdom. Lord, I pray for any that came in here as yet unconverted. I pray that now, even now, you would be drawing them by the sovereign Spirit to faith in Christ. It's in his name I pray. Amen.