The Wise Fear the Lord (Job 28:23–28) - Radical

The Wise Fear the Lord (Job 28:23–28)

God understands the way to it. And he knows its place. For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure, when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning and the thunder, then he saw it and declared it. He established it and searched it out. And he said to man, behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. And to turn away from evil, is understanding.
– Job 28:23–28

And before I read these verses, I should just point out, this is what many Bible scholars say is the central climax and theme of the book of Job. And there’s a sense in which obviously that climax is coming in the last chapters when God speaks to Job. But in this book that is classified as wisdom literature here in job 28, the question that’s asked right in the middle of this book is, where can wisdom be found? And here’s the answer, Job 28:23–28. There is so much we could talk about here but… Well, the way I put it in a recent sermon on Job and how I would encourage you today, is with this biblical truth right at the heart of the book of Job.

Job 28:23–28 Reminds Us that God is All-Wise

Amidst all our questions about why, we must remember that God is all-wise. Just say that again and I try to phrase this in a way that would be memorable. Amidst our questions about why, which we have so many in each of our lives, amidst all our questions about why, we must remember that God is all-wise. That what Job 28 verse 23 and following is saying is true. That God knows wisdom. God sees everything. He knows everything. And he’s the one who established wisdom in the first place.

Job 28:23–28 Reveres the Lord

And when we walk through trials and suffering, and when we have questions about why in our lives, there are so many things we don’t know. And so many things we don’t see. And so many things we don’t understand, but this is faith in that moment to trust that God knows it all, that God sees it all, that God understands it all. And so what do we do? We fear the Lord. We revere the Lord. We trust the Lord. That is wisdom. And it makes sense.

The wisest thing we can do, is trust the one who knows all, sees all, the one who ordains and establishes all things to work together for the good of those who love him and trust in him and live and are called according to his purpose. So we pray amidst all our questions about why, oh God, we say together right now, we trust that you are all wise. God, we trust that you see things we don’t see. That you know things we don’t know. That you are doing things we don’t realize.

Led Us to Pray for Wisdom

So, God, we pray for wisdom. We pray for fear of you and reverence of you and trust in you. And pray that you to help us to turn away from evil, to turn away from evil, it’s understanding God, we pray that you keep us from thinking evil thoughts or having evil desires or saying evil things, believing lies. God, we pray that you help us to trust in you.

And in this to be wise, to live wise in the middle of suffering, the middle of whatever we may experience in this world. God, we praise you for this chapter in the heart of Job. We praise you for being the one who understands the way to wisdom, knows its place. The one who saw it and declared it and established it. We trust in your wisdom, oh God, amidst all our questions about why. And we praise you, even for your infinite wisdom.

Called to Look to Christ

As I think about 1 Corinthians 1, how the cross is a picture of your wisdom. That no one would’ve planned, dreamed or imagined that you would send your son to be a sacrifice for our sin, so that we might be saved from our sin and saved from evil and ultimate suffering. We might have eternal life with you through trust in you. Jesus, you are our wisdom and we praise you, oh God, for your wisdom in the cross, for your wisdom and our salvation.

And so we say, yes, if we can trust you with our eternity, if we can trust you for the next 10 trillion years, then surely we can trust you today with all our questions about why. We praise you for your wisdom. We pray you would help us to trust you in your wisdom, to fear you in your wisdom. And in this to be wise. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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