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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Gold or God

Silver and gold lay in the depths of the earth. At what length will man go to obtain this wealth? Job provides an answer to that question in chapter 28 as he describes the mining and refining process. 
  • Mining and refining precious metal is arduous work
  • Digging at great depths is required and dangerous 
  • Mining and refining is rewarding

Job says all this to make a point: few seek wisdom as they seek for wealth. Wisdom, the greatest treasure, lays hardly mined by man. Why? Because man, on bended knee, has to come to God to obtain it, “God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the end of the earth and sees everything under the heavens” (Job 28:23-34). 
Two trees stood in the garden of Eden. The tree of life offered its fruit to man but he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead. The pursuit of prosperity (really anything but God) instead of wisdom has haunted man ever since. The foolish man spends his entire life in pursuit of earthly treasure. 
Job’s discourse on earthly wealth and the wisdom of God teaches a number of truths:
  • Pursuing God is arduous work. The one who pursues God denies self (a job in and of itself!), takes up his cross (embraces a crucified life) and follows Him (into hard places). 
  • Mining the depths of God’s wisdom drives a man to his knees in prayer, to his study in the Word, and to a helpless dependance upon Jesus Christ for righteousness. A real enemy lurks at every turn. Discipline and watchfulness are required.
  • Getting to know God in this life is the reward. The writer of Hebrews highlights this reward, “For without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently [not casually or infrequently] seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). 
Suffering didn’t cause Job to give up in his pursuit of God, but drove his pursuit harder. 
God offers His wisdom to those who pursue Him. It takes real spiritual hunger and hyper-diligence to fight the rushing current of a world gone mad in earthly pursuits. 

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The Fear of the Lord


"And he said to man, 'The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding" (Job 28:28).

Job introduces a theme that flows throughout the Bible-the fear of the Lord. He waxes eloquently about wisdom, acknowleding that it is too high for man to find and that it must be revealed to man by God. At the end of his soliloquy, Job confesses that wisdom is only found in the fear of the Lord. And indeed, wisdom summarized is the fear of the Lord.

What is the fear of the Lord? David spoke of this fear in the Psalms. Solomon spoke of this fear both in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Jesus spoke of this fear in the Gospels. And Paul discussed it in his letters.

This fear of the Lord is the realization that one day we will stand before God and give an account for the things that we do. This realization drives sinners to salvation and ought to permeate the message of every evangelist. When Paul spoke to Felix he reasoned with him of soberness, righteousness, and judgment to come; when he spoke of judgment Felix trembled because the one thing lost people fear is facing eternal judgment.


This fear of the Lord ought also to be every Christian's motivation. While we will not stand at the great white throne of judgment for our sins we will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ in the judgment of the talents. What did we do with what we were given? This fear so motivated Paul that Kenneth Boa said that "Paul had two days on his calendar: today and that Day (the day that he would stand before the Lord), and he lived every today in the light of that Day."

Job's fear of the Lord sustained him throughout his suffering. Yes, he could "curse God and die", according to the counsel of his wife. Death would provide an escape from suffering but it could not, however, provide an escape from God. Are you living in the fear of the Lord?

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Job 27:1-29:25
  • What will happen to Job's enemies on the day of judgment?
  • To what extent will man go to mine gold and silver? (How much more man needs the wisdom of God)
  • For several chapters now Job has continued to protest his integrity. Why does he continue returning to this theme of personal integrity?
  • Why or why not should a person's integrity be the foundation of their confidence before God?
  • What illustrations does Job use to demonstrate man's inability to find true wisdom?
  • What had physical suffering cost Job?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to help you walk daily in the fear of the Lord, in the awareness that you will give an answer to how you lived your life on that Day. Pray that you will be unashamed when you stand before the Lord. And, finally, pray that you will help others, both believers and others live for that Day.