Mining for Wisdom

Scripture Focus: Job 28.23, 28
God understands the way to it
    and he alone knows where it dwells…

And he said to the human race,
    “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
    and to shun evil is understanding.”    

Reflection: Mining for Wisdom
By Erin Newton

In Tolkien’s tale of Middle Earth, Bilbo and the thirteen dwarves venture toward the Lonely Mountain to recapture the dwarf kingdom. The movie elaborates on the dwarves mining for the “heart of the mountain,” the Arkenstone. Once possessing this stone, the owner gained the right to rule under the mountain. However, the king was corrupted by intense greed and the dragon destroyed the kingdom.

The interlude in dialogue between Job and his friends describes similar mining expertise. Iron, gold, and lapis lazuli are all found within dark caverns explored by humans. The author of Job indicates that not even animals can fathom the root of these precious minerals and stones.
Wisdom is placed in parallel to gold, silver, jewels and gemstones. They are all precious, valuable, and rare. Although one with dwarf-like accuracy can locate and extract veins of gold in the depths of the earth, the location of wisdom is evasive.

Wisdom is not a naturally occurring phenomenon. Wisdom is not “among the living” (v13). Wisdom is not in the primordial depths (v14), a term reminiscent of creation where the Spirit hovered over these waters. Wisdom is not among death and destruction (v22), terms echoing ancient cosmology about the underworld. From primordial creation to cosmological death, wisdom is absent.

“Where then does wisdom come from?” As all other options are exhausted, the conclusion is that wisdom resides with he who is outside of time and space, God. The fear of the Lord is the apex of spiritual mining. Just as the miner studies the formations of the earth to search for a starting point, we are told that all pursuits of wisdom begin with a relationship with God.

Some prefer to seek wisdom through intellect, looking to become wise through a series of academic degrees. Some prefer to seek wisdom through prestige gained through wealth or popularity. Some seek wisdom through rebellion, going against the grain of typical society. The age-old Edenic pursuit was to seek wisdom from anything outside of a relationship with God. Like dwarves, we often dig too deep into pursuits that bring about our destruction. 

It can be frustrating for such a worthy, invaluable asset such as wisdom to be summarized in simple terms. Although difficult to find, wisdom is freely given. The difficulty is not in its availability but in our pride. Wisdom is from God. To gain it is to know Him. 

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Let us make a vow to the Lord our God and keep it; let all around him bring gifts to him who is worthy to be feared. — Psalm 76.11

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Job 28 (Listen – 2:44)
Psalm 37 (Listen – 4:21)

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Read more about Where is Wisdom :: A Guided Prayer
Ask God to open to us the true and timeless wisdom that comes from one unlimited source.

Where is Wisdom :: A Guided Prayer

Scripture Focus: Job 28.20-21
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.

Reflection: Where is Wisdom :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

As February winds down, we pause to seek God’s wisdom in a responsive prayer beginning with the words of Job.

Finding Wisdom:

“There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined…
But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?”

Reflect briefly on some decisions you have made. Move chronologically backward. Spend no more than sixty seconds weighing each one as wise or unwise.

Reflect on one from yesterday.
Then one from the weekend.
Then one from last week.
Then one from two weeks or more.
Now return to the words of Job on wisdom’s value.

“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.”

Reflect on some places you have looked for wisdom.
Articles? Advisors? Academic research?

Thank God for human wisdom! We must, however, confess to God that human wisdom can only take us as far as human understanding, which even the greatest of scientists would admit continually finds more questions than it answers.

Ask God to open to us the true and timeless wisdom that comes from one unlimited source.

“God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
…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.’”

Thank God for his wisdom that is first of all pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Ask God for his continual grace to grant you his wisdom in each moment of the remaining week, the remaining month, and the rest of this year.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Behold, God is my helper; it is the Lord who sustains my life. — Psalm 54.4

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Job 28 (Listen -2:44)
1 Corinthians 14 (Listen -5:40)

Read more about The Root of Wisdom
You have made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you.

Read more about Seeking after a Seeking God
Wherever and however we draw near to God, he will draw near to us.