Scripture to meditate on:
There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.
Iron is taken from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.
Mortals put an end to the darkness;
they search out the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
in places untouched by human feet;
far from other people they dangle and sway.
The earth, from which food comes,
is transformed below as by fire;
lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcon’s eye has seen it.
Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
and no lion prowls there.
People assault the flinty rock with their hands
and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
They tunnel through the rock;
their eyes see all its treasures.
They search the sources of the rivers
and bring hidden things to light.
But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?
No mortal comprehends its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.
The deep says, “It is not in me”;
the sea says, “It is not with me.”
It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
it cannot be bought with pure gold.
Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds in the sky.
Destruction and Death say,
“Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.” – Job 28
At the time of Job, civilizations had not yet developed coins or currency. Most wealth was held in land or livestock. This was difficult to trade as it could not be moved or transported easily or discretely.
Extreme wealth in these ancient civilizations was mined from the ground and refined by fire; gold, silver and cooper. Even today, mining these metals is not easily accomplished. For the ancient man without currency, precious metals and gems represented wealth, ease and abundance.
Job would have been well acquainted with this kind of wealth and abundance. The story makes clear that Job was among the super-rich of his community.
But now, Job seems to have changed his thinking of the true value of this kind of wealth. Chapter 28 reads almost like an investment guide for the ancient man. What Job is seeking now however, cannot be mined from the ground or cut from rocks. Job is seeking wisdom; understanding of his place in God’s plan, answers for his suffering. Job does not know the answers to these things, but he is certain they will not be found in wealth.
Wisdom, he notes, cannot be purchased and knows no price.
“But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?” – Job 28:12
Questions to ponder:
- What do you value most? Wealth or Wisdom?
- Which do you spend more of your time seeking?