Sunday, 18 September 2011

The world is still not enough....

One of Shakespeare's favourite books in the Bible was the Book of Job, which is a great dramatic dialogue, with a astonishing beginning and end.   It is also, probably, the greatest work of literature, apart from being in the Bible.

Agonised Job, in Job 28, says:  Man, inquisitive and acquisitive, can retrieve useful metals, gold, silver and gems from the earth with flinty determination, enduring terrible dangers in isolated mines which are so remote that birds have never seen it. But where can Wisdom be found on earth? 

Man does not "mine" Wisdom as precious gems, because Man does not understand its great worth. He cannot buy Wisdom with gold, and yet its "price is beyond rubies".  Wisdom is hidden even from the all-seeing birds and all powerful Death.  Only God understands "the way to Wisdom" because at the foundation of the world he put a price on it and found its worth to be infinite.  The passage ends by saying that the price of finding Wisdom is:

"The fear of the Lord - that is Wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding".

Clearly, God created the World in such as a way that Wisdom is not lying around like "pearls unto pigs";  the "way to Wisdom" may be harder and more challenging than mining. 

There are severals sub-sets of  Wisdom : there is the revealed will of God, which is in the Scriptures and the hidden will of God, part of which not even the Son knows (e.g. the end date of the world).  The hidden will of God is behind the Book of Job, and not even Job gets to glimpse it (the reader does).

Clearly, not even the wealthy or highly educated, even with great libraries and the internet are sitting in "the signalbox of life", directing and perceiving life. We hardly even understand ourselves (though God knows precisely "how we are made"). Unlike Him, we cannot see the wide picture so we cannot judge His Providence.  We cannot even predict human geography and history, which is behind the unfolding of events.

Even now, highly educated people cannot say for sure whether a 1930s style Depression is about to come upon the West.  This, and all history, is in the hand and knowledge of God. However, some are called to study His revealed wisdom, through regular, educated study of Scripture.

The prize of daily studying Scripture may not be wealth or worldly success, but the infinitely more precious gift, given through the Holy Spirit, of the Son, in whom are all good gifts such as:  a temporal understanding of good and evil, our true purpose, the "good life" and an understanding of the true God.

This is "God's truth" which liberates us from manipulation, self-deception and falsehoods and which uplifts, energizes, comforts, integrates, inspires and ultimately saves.

A pearl of great price....

1 comment:

  1. Agree wholeheartedly. Our church's Bible reading plan took us through a chapter of a day of Job in August. Also had some of these verses from Ch 28 on a study day this weekend.