Having answered his friends, Job now begins his final speech. And he begins by declaring outright that God is unjust in His treatment of Job (27:2). He insists that in all he has said that he has said nothing false (vv. 3-4), and he refuses to accept what his friends have said, because he, Job, is righteous – implying that they, his friends, are not (vv. 5-6). Job then says that justice will be done, but in the world to come (vv. 7-10). He then tells his friends to heed what he is about to say (v. 11), and that they should know from their own experience that he is right (v. 12).
Job then sarcastically lays out the argument of his friends: the wicked will not prosper in this world. His children die through war or famine (v. 14), or pestilence (v. 15). What he gains in this world, God takes away and gives to the righteous (vv. 16-19). He is removed from this world, afraid and alone (vv. 20-23). And as we have seen, neither our nor Job’s experience proves that out.
Job then explains how out of the deepest, darkest parts of the earth are found treasure. Silver and gold, iron and copper (28:2-6). Indeed, even something as destructive as fire yields precious stones and gold. And man seeks this out, and man alone – no other creature cares to go to such depths or through such trouble to find these treasures (vv. 7-11). And yet, man doesn’t care to seek out wisdom, because he doesn’t value it (vv. 12-13), even though its worth is incomparably greater than those worldly treasures man seeks (vv. 14-19).
So then, how do we gain wisdom (v. 20)? Well, no creature has it (v. 21). On our own, we die without it (v. 22). True wisdom is in God alone, the Creator of all that is (vv. 23-27). And God has revealed to man the way to that Godly wisdom – fearing the Lord and turning from evil (v. 28 – see Prov 1:7 and 3:7).
Job is explaining the difference between worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom. Worldly wisdom seeks treasure from this world. Godly wisdom seeks treasure from God. Man is ingenious enough to acquire worldly treasure through any means necessary, but usually not wise enough to seek true treasure in God.
And we see the irony of Job’s words! He understands what true wisdom is, yet in his suffering he resorts to folly by accusing God of injustice. Job had great riches in this world, and he had great riches in God. When the prior is taken away, often, the latter is forgotten. But those riches in God cannot be lost! While worldly possessions come and go, what we have in God, we have forever. And note that Job talks about the great lengths man goes to – the work he puts in – to gain worldly riches, while the riches we have in God cannot be gained through work. It can’t be found unless God reveals it to man.
Where do we seek wisdom? In the world, or in God? Where do we seek riches? In the world, or in God? Do we seek to attain what this world has, or are we satisfied with what God has given us?
God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:28–31 (ESV)