So the New Year has begun and for many of us, it’s often an opportunity for us to set goals or perhaps pick up some goals we haven’t quite completed in the previous year, and approach them with a new found energy.
We set goals in all manners of areas – fitness, career, education, travel and even spiritual goals. At this point I must confess I’m not typically one to set New Year resolutions, but I do sometimes make a few small adjustments to my routine. This year however, I said I would read more and try to use my spare time more constructively. Rather than watch Netflix when bored I decided I would read more, learn more – and generally add to my knowledge.
Earlier this week, I stopped at a library on the way home and I borrowed a book. I must confess a few pages into this non-fiction piece I was hooked. I thought amazing, what a great way to start the year and we are only one week in. Next thing I knew I was on Amazon adding to my ‘books’ wish list mentally patting myself on the back. Books about business, the power of thought, inspiration, critical thinking – things I generally feel would help me develop as a whole both as a person and professionally.
Good so far right? Well honestly I’m not sure (*smiles*).
It was fine until I hit Bible study time a few days later and was lead to Job 28. It was only then when I held the word up to myself like a mirror, that I realised I was I was actually looking for something.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with learning and educating yourself. I do think we should try and become somewhat experts in our individual fields and use our talents to the fullest, but it is important to ask yourself what you are truly seeking and be honest in your answer.
Job 28 starts by describing a few things we consider precious, silver gold and the likes. It describes how hidden these things are – think, if they were so easy to come by we would hardly call them precious. Men have to dig deep, overcoming great obstacles and achieving great feats in engineering and technology just to find them. They cut shafts and often venture where no man has been and where there is no light. Even when found, these precious metals often have to be extracted. It’s a long process, one requiring great determination.
Job 28 vs 1-4 (NIV)
1 There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.
2 Iron is taken from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.
3 Mortals put an end to the darkness;
they search out the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
4 Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
in places untouched by human feet;
far from other people they dangle and sway.
They literally put their lives as risk, dangling and swaying in the darkest depths with the aim of finding what we call ‘precious’ stones. The emphasis continues in vs 9-11, and we can see the sheer determination of man in search of something valuable.
Job 28 vs 9-11 (NIV)
9 People assault the flinty rock with their hands
and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
10 They tunnel through the rock;
their eyes see all its treasures.
11 They search the sources of the rivers
and bring hidden things to light.
I look at the courage they show and diligence they apply in seeking wealth of a perishable nature, and I have to examine myself. We can grow tired, weary and faint-hearted even though what we pursue in Christ is TRUE riches.
On earth, what is better than rubies and emeralds or any other precious stone? I would have to say Wisdom. Proverbs 4 puts it perfectly and is titled ‘Get Wisdom At Any Cost’.
Proverbs 4 vs 5-9 (NIV)
5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honour you.
9 She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.”
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! I always think of Solomon who stood before the Lord and asked for wisdom instead of anything else (riches, long life or the death of his enemies) – and we are told that because he asked for wisdom not only would he have it, but he would also have riches and long life if he remained obedient.
It’s so important that we have our priorities straight and seek the right things. There was nothing wrong with my reading and hunger for knowledge, but on some level deep down I was seeking something from it. My motivation was greatness and increase through the knowledge of man. I planned to buy more books with the aim of becoming greater through it.
How should we get wisdom?
Adam and Eve sought wisdom in a forbidden way. Eve looked and in her eyes the tree of knowledge was pleasant and something to be desired to make one wise. They ate from it, and instead of gaining, they in fact lost all the wisdom they had. By not remaining obedient and not setting the fear of the Lord in their hearts; they in fact became foolish and wicked.
Genesis 3 vs 6-7 (NIV)
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
So where should they have looked? Where can wisdom be found?
Job 28 vs 12-15 (NIV)
12 But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?
13 No mortal comprehends its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, “It is not in me”;
the sea says, “It is not with me.”
15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
20 Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction and Death say,
“Only a rumour of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens
The funny thing is, what this scripture tells us is that there is no wisdom to be found in all the earth. With the millions of books and thousand of libraries in the world we are told there is no wisdom there. Imagine that!
I think I understand what Apostle Paul meant when he said he considers all these things dung.
Philippians 3 vs 8 (NASB)
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Wisdom cannot be found in all the earth, but can only be revealed by the revelation and knowledge of God – it cannot be bought. So what is it and how does one gain it?
Job 28 vs 28 (NIV)
28 And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”
In this verse, God Himself instructs the human race and tells us fear of Him – that is wisdom. We’ve all heard this statement repeated, and paraphrased over and over again (Psalm 111 vs 10).
If wisdom comes from Gods revelation, then right relationship with Him is the key to wisdom.
Job here in this verse speaks of wisdom and understanding – its worth is infinitely more than all the riches in this world. But the knowledge of God’s revealed will is within our reach, It is a gift of the Holy Spirit which cannot be bought with money.
Let us make that which is most precious in God’s sight, also precious in ours as we walk in obedience to His word.
Let a man learn this truth, and he has learned enough! All else will follow.
How much easier and safer than the lengths people go to in order to gain counterfeit wisdom! Yet gold and silver is what people seek, and the grace which has been made available to us is so often neglected. Truly – all we need for life and godliness has been made available to us.
James 1 vs 5 (NIV)
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
In closing – this year, let us not neglect the wisdom made available to us, through God’s word. Let us set our minds to seek first the kingdom of God; truly all other things will follow.
God Bless x