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Where is Wisdom? by Ray Stedman

December 17, 2008

From the Writings of Ray Stedman.

 

READ: Job 27-28

But 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 (Job 28:12-13).

Job points out the elusiveness of wisdom. What is this wisdom Job is talking about? All through this book we have been confronted with the question, “Why does God treat Job this way?” But we have information that Job does not have. He has no knowledge of Satan’s challenge to God regarding him, and so his questioning is even deeper than ours. But we often feel this way ourselves.

On one occasion my wife and I were in San Diego, and a naval officer invited us to dinner. We noticed as he led us into the officer’s club that he walked with a cane. Inquiring of some other friends, we learned that he was suffering from melanoma, a cancer that was threatening his life. The friend also told us that this man had lost two sons at the age of nineteen from cancer, and just that week he had received word that his fourteen-year-old son also had cancer. Our hearts went out to him, but his spirit was strong and triumphant. He was gracious, saying no word of this himself, and he appeared to be a man utterly free from care. But our hearts cried out, “Why? Why do these kinds of things happen?”

Life presents these riddles to us. And when we wonder why these things happen, wisdom is the answer. Wisdom is the knowledge of the nature of things, the reasons behind what happens. Someone has described wisdom as the right use of knowledge. It is how to use situations in such a way that things work out right. That is what we lack. We can do all kinds of things with knowledge, but we do not do the right things with it. That is why knowledge of nuclear physics ends up with atom bombs that destroy and become malicious instruments of warfare. Humans lack wisdom. They have lots of knowledge, but they have no wisdom on how to use it. This is what Job in his long hours of torment is searching for: What is the reason behind these things?

Once when I shared the platform with Dr. Henry Brandt, he told of an incident in his ministry as a Christian psychologist when a man and his wife came to see him about marital problems. He discovered that this man was a professional negotiator who earned his money mediating difficulties, working out solutions in a peaceful way. But he and his wife drove to see Dr. Brandt in separate cars and sat on opposite sides of the room, unable to communicate with each other! The whole problem was that they could not decide what to do with their cat!

Isn’t it amazing that a man who makes his living putting divergent views together could not get together with his wife on what to do with their cat? An incident such as this one is why Job says humans do not know the way to wisdom. It is not found in the land of the living.

Lord, I am humbled because I lack wisdom. Thank You for this promise: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God… and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

 

 

This daily devotion was inspired by one of Ray’s sermons. Please read “The Wrong Of Self-Defense” (or listen to the audio file Listen to Ray) for more on this portion of scripture.

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