In this season of social distancing for most, and extreme isolation for others, as we all try to fight for faith in the face of COVID-19, I decided to share one thought a day from my daily devotional time in the hope of strengthening other’s hands in God (1 Sam 23:16), and encouraging friends forward in faith. You can subscribe at the bottom of the page to receive an email for each new post, and feel free to come back daily and share with anyone who might find them beneficial.
I use a reading plan that has me reading a few chapters in different parts of the Scripture for every day of the week, and so each day’s content will be dictated by the required daily reading of that plan. I will focus in on one unit of thought rather than trying to address the full scope of the day’s reading. I am trusting God that He will speak from different parts of His Word, as He always does.
Wednesday, March 25
Reading: Job 28 -30
I have walked with God for a long time, but for much of that journey I have wrestled with the thought that perhaps true joy would lie in constraining the God of the Bible into the acceptable parameters that I thought He ought to exist within. I thought that I would be happier and more at peace with God if I could limit Him to my wisdom, to my understanding of who He ought to be and how He ought to operate in the world. I have tried to tame God, making Him socially acceptable and prepared to fit in with any of the shifting standards of a constantly evolving zeitgeist. I have tried to limit God, presuming in my quest for understanding His ways that I could conform Him to a construct of my own understanding.
It is ultimately a joyless thing to discover that you have created a very small God.
Job wouldn’t have any part in his friend’s attempts to make a smaller, more understandable God. Job was a man who had lived well and who had pretty much everything anyone could dream of as a result. Until, he lost it all, and when he did, he found himself faced with one of the greatest existential questions that we all ultimately face.
What is wisdom, and where can it be found?
Job was sure of one thing, and that was that wisdom could not be found in any of the places that man is prone to look, and he had looked, and looked, and looked. Job described this quest and its fruitless yield in Job 28:9-15 (ESV).
9 “Man puts his hand to the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots.
10 He cuts out channels in the rocks, and his eye sees every precious thing.
11 He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle, and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.
12 “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’ and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 It cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
In the search for wisdom and meaning, humanity had tried to mine for it, dam up streams of it, look for it in obscure places, or bank it away in secret vaults, but alas, nothing had worked. True wisdom had to be found in something beyond what man could create. So, Job spoke on, about the one who isn’t bound by the limitations of the creaturely wisdom lack that we suffer.
We lack wisdom, but God does not.
We might be limited in what we know because we can’t see everything, but God can see everyone and everything at the same time and so has no limitation to His knowledge (v 24).
We might be limited in the control that we can actually implement in the world, and we therefore find ourselves periodically at the mercies of things outside of ourselves, but God isn’t at the mercy of anything and in fact He sits powerfully above all things directing them according to His purposes (v 25-26).
We might be limited in power, and cannot (as hard as we might try) simply speak realities into being, but God is unlimited in His creative ability and declares realities which simply obey the speaking of His word (v27).
We lack wisdom, but God does not.
And so, in a season of suffering, when many would have demanded explanations from God for the fact that He seemed to be acting outside of the constructs of how people thought he ought to act. When many would have turned within for a wisdom that could explain the situation that Job found himself in, and even as Job’s friends tried to do just just that, Job declared.
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’
– Job 28:28
Job’s search for wisdom leads him to the end of his own rope, which he finds in the dirt at the feet of his Lord. Wisdom is seeing God as more, not as less. Wisdom is worship of a big God, not manipulation of a small one. Wisdom is more obedience, more awe, more wonder, more faith, more trust, more worship, more of God, and altogether less of us. That’s true wisdom.
Friends, in this season where the whole world is looking for wisdom, maybe it is time that we got some of our fear of the Lord back. He knows, we don’t, and so we lay down our constructs of smallness that we have created, and we radically worship the big, marvelous, confounding, loving, magnificent God of the Bible.
Courage, dear friends.