True Wisdom

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Job 28

“Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom.” (v. 28)

The debate between Job and his friends has continued through three long cycles of discussion. The friends ridicule Job, and Job defends his innocence. Job is ostracized but insists that God alone is his Judge and Redeemer. The friends continue to rant about Job’s wickedness, and Job questions and laments. Finally a poem appears, seemingly out of nowhere, to interrupt the debate. It’s a hymn in praise of wisdom.

“But where shall wisdom be found?” Humans do not know how to find it, we are told, for wisdom cannot be purchased with silver nor gotten with gold. The price of wisdom, moreover, is above coral and exceeds pearls. Nothing can compare with it. Indeed, the place of wisdom is hidden from all living creatures. Only God knows its home. Only the One who gave weight to the wind and measured out the waters understands the way of wisdom. And so the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. Here in Job, as in Psalm 111:10 and Proverbs 9:10, we hear this refrain: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Only in reverence and respect for our Creator-Redeemer can we expect to know how to live wisely and well.


God, Source of all wisdom, grant us through your Spirit true wisdom, that we may walk in the ways of shalom.