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JOB 28

A view of what may be the structural and theological center of the great Old Testament Book of Job

 

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

LESSON 1 ...

The debate will never end.

What is the the grand over-all theme of the Book of Job?

Is it "patience?"

Is it "suffering?"

Is it "creation?"

Is it just "God and His awesome might?"

Any of these are worthy studies in themselves!

BUT none alone seems to fit all the criteria for being the CENTRAL theme of Job!

Well, Job 28 just might provide us a "clue!"

It has long puzzled commentators and teachers of Scripture.

Is it the words of Job or one of the so-called "wise" his friends?

Or is Job himself speaking?

Or is it the words of the Holy Spirit Himself, as a Kind of glorified Narrator?

Does it provide some type of an outline for the whole Book? (A massive 42 chapters!)  I now believe it does!

We shall investigate these matters in the days ahead, Lord willing.

Let me give you a foretaste right now.

It's more and more looking to me like the real subject of the Book of Job is ... WISDOM!

I'm sure no one will have any trouble agreeing with that, but can a strong case be made that my premise is true?

How can one possibly tie the advice of three (then four) "friends" into the same string as Job's (at first) trusting and then (later) doubting words?  Then how can God's great discourses be linked to all the rest?

WISDOM ... the search for it and the Source of it ... may fit everything together!

If so ... chapter 28 is the "key!"

Lord willing ... more tomorrow!

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

I must now print for you the entire 28th chapter of Job.  We will need it for our further Bible studies.

Job 28

1 Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it. 2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone. 3 He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death. 4 The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men. 5 As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire. 6 The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold. 7 There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen: 8 The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it. 9 He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots. 10 He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing. 11 He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light. 12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? 13 Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. 14 The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. 15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. 16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. 17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. 18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. 19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. 20 Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? 21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. 22 Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. 23 God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. 24 For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; 25 To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. 26 When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: 27 Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out. 28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

I want you to notice some "patterns" in this little chapter.

It looks like there is similarity between verses 12-14 and 20-22!  Let's see for sure:

12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? 13 Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. 14 The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me.

Compare these verses with ...

20 Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? 21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. 22 Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. 

Yet there is a third similarity, which is the answer to the preceding questions:

28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

Now ... this whole chapter is obviously a quest for Wisdom!

In the first 14 verses the "where" of Wisdom is asked.  Where may it be found?

Then beginning in verse 15 the "price" of Wisdom is discussed!  At what cost may it be obtained?

But by verse 23 an abrupt change is noticed.  For here GOD is mentioned for the first time in the chapter.  Also note that He is the First Word of the verse! 

And God remains the Subject for the rest of the chapter too!

Wow!

One student outlined it this way:

Verses 1-14         Man finds earth's treasures ... but cannot find Wisdom!        

                            Man knows the place of riches!  (verses 1-6)

                            Man knows the way to riches!  (verses 7-11)

                            Man does NOT know the place or way to Wisdom!  (verses 12-14)

Verses 15-22      Man accumulates  great wealth, but fails to acquire Wisdom!

                            The earth's treasures are not equal to Wisdom's value!  (vss. 15-19)

                            Man's effort is unable to obtain Wisdom!  (verses 20-22)

Verses 23-28       God possesses all Wisdom and offers it to man!

                            God has known and possessed Wisdom from creation!  (vss. 23-27)

                            God gives Wisdom to man through the Fear of the Lord!  (verse 28)

 

Glory to God!

This chapter seems to "hint" that the whole Book of Job just may not be about suffering or friendship or final rewards ... but about WISDOM, the Wisdom of God!

We shall examine it further later.

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

Today I would like to show you the critical position Job 28 occupies in the Book as a whole.

One author has found a "symmetrical pattern" in Job that centers on chapter 28.

It looks like this:

Prologue (opening information)  chapters 1 and 2

       Job's first words  chapter 3

              Three cycles of speeches (from friends) with responses from Job  chapters 4-27

                    CHAPTER 28 --- THE GREAT POEM OF PRAISE ON WISDOM!

              Three monologues (from Job, Elihu and God)  chapters 29-41

       Job's closing words  chapter 42:1-6

Epilogue (final information)  chapter 42:7-17

Can you see the "balance?"

It is quite apparent!

This outline makes chapter 28 the apex, the high point, the pivot around which the Book is structured!

In fact one might notice that the whole "mood" of the chapter differs from its surrounding context!

The so called "friends" of Job are becoming more and more abusive in their accusations of him.

And Job is becoming more and more unstable in his wavering between faith and doubt.  (Although Job is the one whom God approves at the end ...not the friends!)

BUT chapter 28 is quiet and meditative and filled with wise counsel and beautiful illustration!

Sometimes chapter 28 is called a "hymn to wisdom."

If you will look carefully chapter 28 is also marked in this sense.  Job's name does not appear in it at all! Neither do the names of the friends of Job.  The Name prominent there is the Lord our God!

The "liberals" say the chapter is an added editorial feature due to its lack of similarity to the context!  They are wrong.

God has the chapter right where it belongs!

I am beginning to think that without a proper view of Job 28 one will only confuse the rest of Job's 41 chapters!

My remarks today are beginning to establish the fact that Job 28 just may be the structural center of the whole Book!

And if it is that, watch out!  That argues that it well could be the theological center of the Book too!

Lord willing, we shall see!  

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

The opening 11 verses of Job 28 are interesting for sure!

"Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it.  Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone.  He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.  The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men.  As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire.  The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold."  Job 28:1-6

It looks to me like they are describing some sort of "mining" process.  Man is looking for gold and silver and iron and brass and even sapphires and other precious things!  And you know what?  Man has had good success finding those precious minerals too!

In the first 6 verses the "place" of these treasures is discussed. 

Every treasure has its "place!"  (He is leading up to this ... every treasure, including Wisdom has its place!)

Verse 1:  The word "vein" can even mean watercourse!  See 2 Chronicles 32:30.  And a "place" is a home or a room!  Our verse here  lists two of the precious metals.

Verse 2:  The word for "iron" is twice translated axe-head in the King James Bible. See 2 Kings 6:5.  The verb "molten" means poured!   Here are listed the more common metals.

Verses 3 and 4 are harder.  They are "triple" verses, the only ones in the whole chapter!  (Each verse has 3 parts!)  In essence they are telling us the men have had to descend into the darkness to mine their metals!  (Into the shadow of death to bring forth gold!)  That sounds like Calvary to me!  The expression "shadow of death" occurs 20 times in the Bible!  I believe verse 4 implies the moving of watercourses to gain access to precious metals and stones!  May will FIND those valuable commodities!  (Again, the underlying thought ... but will he find Wisdom?)

Then verses 5 and 6 continue to describe the places where earthly treasures are found. While we farm the earth's surface, enjoying the vegetables and fruits ... underneath all that the miners are fighting fire and intense heat ... to reach their valuable silver and gold and other natural resources.  The expression "dust of gold" suggests what lengths man will pursue to get even a little gold DUST!  The word for "dust" is translated "ashes" twice and "rubbish" twice more in the King James Version!  Again ... implied is:  Man's precious gold ... pales in comparison to God's precious Wisdom!

More tomorrow, Lord willing.

Meanwhile all day long man's search continues ... for gold and silver and diamonds. But NOT for God's Wisdom!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

Job 28 continues.

Verses 7-11 describe how man gets to the earth's treasures!  (Verses 1-6 told us the WHERE of the treasures!  Now verses 7-11 will tell us HOW to get to them!)

Man is on a quest!  He's looking for valuables!

"There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen:  The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.  He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots.  He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing.  He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light."  Job 28:7-11

To get to earth's silver and gold and precious stones, man has to go where even the birds have not been.  Even to where the eagles' eyes have not seen!

Man in his search leaves a "path!"  The noun means that which is "trodden with the feet!"  Mining leaves "footprints" wherever it is done! 

Watch the "bird" illustration go from general to specific!  First, no "fowl" knows how to reach those precious resources!  Then, no "vulture" does!  The noun for "fowl" literally means a bird of prey!  This is translated ("ayit") ravenous bird twice in Scripture!  (Is man here being pictured as a predator too?)  The Hebrew word for vulture is only used 3 times in the whole Bible!

Neither has the "king" of beasts, the lion, been there!  The noun "whelps" is just "ben" in Hebrew, a son! 

Where is man going in his search?

To the rocks of the earth!

He puts his hand to them and even overturns the mountains in his mining procedures!  Hard rock mining is still practiced today!  (Man today by looking in the wrong places for Wisdom is still upsetting the rock!  The Rock!  Ignoring the dear Lord Jesus!)

This ROCK man has split ("cutteth out" literally means "to split") is first used in Scripture in Deuteronomy 8:15 --- "Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint!" 

The word for "rock" in verse 10 is different from the word for "rock" in verse 9!  The first Bible use of  it is in Exodus 17:6 --- "Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel."

The struck Rock produced life saving water!  (Just as the crucified Jesus produced eternal life, salvation, living Water!)

Here's our word for ROCK yet again:  "He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock."  Deuteronomy 32:13

Also the word is used of Jesus (!!!) in Isaiah 50:7 --- "For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed."  Man looks for precious things in the flinty rocks of earth!  Christians look for them in the face of Jesus which was set like a flinty Rock to go die on Calvary!

In the great mining process, man even occasionally diverts the flow of rivers and utilizes massive amounts of water to locate the valuables!  (Spiritually massive amounts of water ... God's Word ... reveals nuggets of gold too!)

"He (man) bindeth the floods from overflowing" is thought to be a reference to man's ability to dam up rivers in order to further control his search for natural resources. "Overflowing" means "weeping" in Hebrew!  Man's mining techniques can bring about sorrow and destruction!  (Again, the spiritual search for Wisdom ... the most precious of all commodities ... leads to a place of weeping too ... the Cross where Jesus died!)

Finally the hidden things (precious things, secret things) are brought forth to light!

Man well knows HOW to mine for gold and silver ... but not how to mine for Wisdom!

Lord willing, more tomorrow!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

Two sets of verses in Job 28 serve as "refrains."  These are like the "choruses" at the end of the verses in our song books!

A refrain will be repeated in a text.

Let me show you what I mean:

"But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?  Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.  The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me."  Job 28:12-14

Then nearly identical is ...

"Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?  Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears."  Job 28:20-22

Each paragraph begins with a question and follows with a statement of frustration! After that is a negative answer to the question!

What beauty!

Our "text" today (verses 12-14) introduces the very word Wisdom for the first time in the chapter!  (Yet it is the Subject of the whole chapter!)

"But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?"

This word "wisdom" (in Hebrew = "chokmah") means skill or prudence.  We are defining it spiritually here in this study as "seeing and responding to life from God's point of view."

Wisdom is made parallel to "understanding."  They are similar terms.  "Biyn" comes from a verb that means to distinguish or to separate into layers!  It is being able to "discern" the various issues of life from a Biblical viewpoint!

The bad news is that man knows neither the value nor the location of true Wisdom! (No living man, anyway!)

 "Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living."

Summary:  Man has been well able to find earth's treasures ... but not real Wisdom!

Even "the deep" does not know!  That is another way of identifying "the sea!"

"The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me."

Wisdom is not confined to the depths of the oceans!

Then ... where is it?

That answer is coming, dear friend!

One thing is for sure!  Man alone can't find It!

Genuine Wisdom will NOT be found "coming up" from below ... but "coming down" from above!

Wait and see!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

We today enter the next "paragraph" of Job 28.

It seems that man reasons:  then if Wisdom cannot be found, perhaps it can be purchased!

Let's hear his reasoning:

"It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.  It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.  The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.  No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.  The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. "  Job 28:15-19

I can already give you the answer to the question.  No!  Wisdom is far too expensive for any man to be able to purchase It!  It is not even for sale!

The word "gold" appears in this short section of Job 28 five times!  (With 4 different Hebrew words!  ("segor" and "kethem" and "zahab" and "paz" then "kethem" once again!  I have listed these words in their order of occurrence in the text.)  "Segor" means that which is "shut up" (enclosed)!  "Kethem" means something "carved out" or even engraved!  (Exactly what happens when gold is removed from its natural environment!)  "Zahab" means "to shimmer" or to reflect light as gold does!  And "paz" means refined or purified!  The sudden return to "kethem" apparently indicates more carving is yet to be done!

I see in the sequence of these words a spiritual picture!  It is a type of what the Holy Spirit of God does to us as He forms us into the Image of the darling Son of God! Romans 8:29 tells us:  "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son!"  Glory to God!

Job even compares himself to "gold" as he goes through these fiery trials!  In Job 23:10 he states:  "But He (God) knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."

In addition to the gold seven terms are used for valuable gemstones!  The onyx ("shoham" = 11 times in the Bible all translated "onyx") and the sapphire ("sappiyr" = 11 times in the Bible all realted to the sapphire) and crystal ("zekukiyth" = only used this 1 time in the whole Bible) meaning some kind of fine glass (jewels) plus the coral ("ramah" = found twice in Scripture and both times rendered as coral) then pearls (only here is "gabiysh" used) followed by rubies ("paniyn" = 6 times in the Bible always as rubies) and the topaz ("pitdah" = 4 times in Scripture all translated as topaz) are listed!

Wow!

In Hebrew the "root" meaning for these stones are:

The onyx word's background means "to blanch!"  (To scald, to bleach!)

The sapphire root means "to mark or score or engrave!"

The crystal means "to be translucent (light can travel through it)!"  The meaning is thought to be one of "innocence!"

Coral's verbal stem means "to rise!"  Likely ... to rise in value!

Pearls ... "to freeze!"  (Apparently from its appearance as ice!)

Isn't Hebrew a picturesque language?

Rubies means "to turn" as in turning a corner.  Probably referring to its being ground and shaped into a lovely round sphere for beauty and utility!

Lastly the topaz is listed which has an unknown meaning!  Here is what Strong's Concordance says:  "Of foreign derivation, a precious gem!"  I guess it does have "far country" implications!  (Like "heaven" maybe!)

Then watch the verbs:  "gotten, weighed, valued, equaled, exchanged, mentioned and priced!"  There are some great spiritual implications in these words too!  For example, "gotten" is "nathan" and means given!  (Gift or Grace language here!)  And just think of the scales on which God weighs things!  Valued means tossed aside or made light of!  Equaled means to arrange or set in order!  Exchanged means to substitute for!  To mention means to remember!  Even the word price has significance:  to draw up or to fish out!

It sounds like God really knows the terms for acquiring precious stones!  In Malachi 3:17 we are told that God says:  "And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."  Wow!

The whole point of our paragraph today is that Wisdom cannot be bought!

But ... the burning question remains!  Then WHERE can Wisdom be found and HOW can man acquire It?

And that my friend is where this rapidly ascending chapter is headed!

To the Place of Wisdom!

We'll be there soon!

Of course many of you already know Him!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

Up until a few years ago, I would have always told you that the Book of Job is exclusively about suffering.

Then I read Dr. Henry Morris' little Book on the suffering old Testament saint (again, that's Job).  He says that if the subject is suffering ... WHY does God not mention it in His great speech at the end of the Book?

If the sole subject is suffering WHY is the problem of pain not answered anywhere in the Book?

Of course the final answer to much of this will have to wait until we get to heaven! But I have come to believe that just maybe the subject of Job might be ... WISDOM! In other words, God knows what He is doing!  He makes no mistakes!  And even when life is painful and confused and I can find no answers, GOD IS!  And God is in control!  And I KNOW that great God!  And knowing God far surpasses comfort! Knowing God far exceeds the friendships of Bildad or Zophar or anyone else!  At the end of the Book of Job ... knowing God and communing with Him is EVERYTHING! (Job thought so too!)

And ... ponder this ... if one truly knows God ... in the final end EVERYTHING will work out well!  It surely did so with Job! 

Preacher Bagwell, why WISDOM?

Several key passages in Job move me toward my answer.

Here's one of them:

"Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?  Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears."  Job 28:20-22

For 19 verses in Job 28 man has been seeking for treasures; precious minerals and metals and jewels of all kinds!  He has been surprisingly successful locating and acquiring them too!

BUT man cannot get true Wisdom on his own!

(He can't even find the place of true Wisdom?  Where does It live?  Name its abode please!  Is it at Harvard University?  No!  Maybe at MIT?  No!  How about the University of ___(Put any State here!)___?  Not there either!

The verb "come" is in Hebrew "bo" (in the active voice and with an incomplete sense of time ... wisdom comes and comes and comes)!  It means to come or to enter or even to fall upon or to light upon!  Often in the Old Testament it has the idea of "coming down," which is exactly what Wisdom has to do! 

It's first Bible use is almost scientific in nature!  In Genesis 2:19 is is translated "brought."  Watch it carefully:  "And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof."  Wow!

Here's the second time it is used in the whole Bible.  This one concerns a Bride for Adam (a type of Christ)!  "And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."   Genesis 2:22   (Again ...Wow!)

In Genesis 6:18 it is rendered "come!"  God is speaking to Noah and He says:  "But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee."  

And in Genesis 6:4 it is apparently used in some kind of an intimate way!  "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown."

But it all gets marred for sure in Genesis 4:3 where we are told:  "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD."  Man has again ruined a beautiful word by his disobedience!

Now remember, wisdom and understanding have to do with seeing life from God's point of view (only possible through the Bible) and then responding to life from God's point of view (only possible through the Holy Spirit)!  Excuse me!  Wow!

The noun "place" is from a background that means "to rise!"  Hence it is a "standing place."  I am seeing all kinds of "hints" of Jesus this morning!

Next we are told that Wisdom is "hid" (the Hebrew verb means hidden or made secret ...),  literally, to veil from sight "from all living!"  But God is able and willing to reveal it to whomsoever will come to Him!  That is, whoever comes seeking It with an humble and repentant heart!

But why are we told that even the fowls can't find or get wisdom?  "Kept close" means to hide!  This verb has a "perfect" sense of time.  The action is completed! Birds by decree do not have God's true wisdom!  (They can teach us certain things about the Lord and His ways ... but not real Wisdom!)  The "treasures of Wisdom" must be found elsewhere!  Where?  That's the BIG question in Job!  But I'll go ahead and give you the answer right now.  Paul, speaking of Jesus, says:  "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."  Amen!

Remember that in Matthew 13:32 the "birds of the air" represent unclean teachings and false doctrines!  (The very opposite of Wisdom!)  Or see Luke 19:13 for the same reference ... using our exact words "the fowls of the air!"

Lastly even destruction (in Hebrew = "abaddon") and death (in Hebrew = "maveth") say they cannot get Wisdom!  In fact, the pits of hell are the last place true Wisdom will be found!  After all, that place was originally prepared for the devil and his angels! (Matthew 25:41)  The word "abaddon" surfaces again in the Book of Revelation too. There we are told of a large army of demons:  "And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon." Revelation 9:11  (The root verb behind that noun "abaddon" means to wander away! To be lost!  And the word for "death" actually means "to kill!"  Something killed mankind!  Sin did!  "The wages of sin is death!"  Romans 6:23)

The noun "ear" is from that well-known word picture of a "broadened" ear!  (To expand one's ear with his hand in order to hear more intently!)  To "cup" one's ear!

I wish we had time for the next paragraph of Job 28 today!

It gets exciting!

It introduces us to the One Who can give Real Wisdom!

Goodness!  Let's "peak" just a bit!  Here's just one more verse.  We'll have to study it later.

"God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof."  Job 28:23

There's the answer!

In fact That's the answer to ALL of life's questions!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9:

We now come to one of the most exciting parts of the whole chapter!

Our God becomes the obvious Subject!

"God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:  Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out."  Job 28:23-27

Our Creator God is in full view here!

God knows where Wisdom is!

This "all knowing" trait of God's is called "omniscience!"  God knows all ... even the end from the beginning!

God knows Wisdom because God is Wisdom!  Three times the New Testament calls Him the "only wise God!"   Romans 16:27 and 1 Timothy 1:17 and Jude 25!

Next God looketh to the ends of the whole earth!  This is a controlling look too! Here we have pictured God's "omnipresence!"  He is everywhere at once!

Then we see God's omnipotence!  He can do everything!  (Omnipotence means "all power!")  God handles the rain and the wind and the lightning and the thunder!

It seems man is not quite as smart as he thinks!

Only God is fully in control!

Our verses may be describing creation week too.

If so, Wisdom is present as the worlds are made!

"The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew."  Proverbs 3:19-20

Or listen to Wisdom speak in Proverbs 8:27-30.  "When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:  When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him."

Man searches and digs for gold and silver and precious stones.

God knows where an even greater treasure is ... Wisdom!

Hebrew scholars tell us that there are 9 words employed in verses 23-24 that are used previously in verses 1-22!  What man does unsuccessfully ... God does perfectly!

The term "weight of the winds" is interesting!  Man for centuries did not even attribute "weight" to the winds!  Yet here we have it in God's Word!  In fact the weight of the winds and the atmosphere is critical in the study of meteorology!  And the winds are critical to the science of flight too!  The word for "winds" here is "ruach" and is also translated "spirit!"  Remember Proverbs 16:2 --- "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits."

And the "weight of the waters" is mentioned here.  This has to do with the whole hydrological system that gives us rain!  Clouds do not (can not) rain until the water droplets get heavy enough to fall through the atmosphere!

Talk about Wisdom!

Our text also suggests that God has created "laws" for the lightning and thunder to follow!  Man is certainly still learning about these.

Man digs in the earth for rocks.

God controls the heavens and all of life!

I do believe we serve THE ONLY WISE GOD!

And if we are even going to acquire REAL Wisdom ... we must go to The Source!

That's tomorrow's verse, Lord willing!

                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10:

Well, here we are finally!

To the "peak" verse in Job 28!

Verse 28 records God's direct words!

In verse 23 God is introduced as the Subject of this last paragraph.  "God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof."

Verse 27 further links the Lord's message:  "Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out."

Now we are ready for verse 28, the "capstone" of the chapter! 

Job 28:28 --- "And unto man he (God) said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."

Now, look.

There was "direct address" in Job 28:14.  "The depth saith, It (Wisdom) is not in me: and the sea saith, It (Wisdom) is not with me."

Also we found "direct address" in Job 28:22  "Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof (of Wisdom) with our ears."

But, most importantly of all, God participates in this pattern of direct address saying:  "And unto man he (God) said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."

And God hereby answers THE question of the whole chapter!

Where can Wisdom be found?

What will It cost?

Can It be seen?

The liberals and Bible haters attack this verse of course.  They say it uses a Name for God That is not found elsewhere in the whole Book.  A sign, they say, of a later "editor" tampering with the text!

I reject all that categorically.

I believe there are NO mistakes in the Bible!

It is true that the Hebrew noun for God, "Adonay," is only found once (and it's here) in all the Job corpus (body).

It is also true that God is called "Jehovah" 24 times in Job.

But can't God the Holy Spirit use another Name for God anytime He chooses?

Adonai is God's Name that emphasizes His absolute Lordship and Control over the universe.  Does not that fit the context of Job 28 perfectly?  He is the God Who knows Wisdom and controls Wisdom and gives Wisdom and lays out the conditions for receiving Wisdom!

We are here told that while man has sought Wisdom all his days ... God has possessed and It eternally!  And man can only acquire It by submission to That great God!

God here seems to give Wisdom in increasing amounts to one as he or she grows and matures in the Fear of the Lord!

To get Wisdom man must do two things.

Turn to God!

Then turn from evil!

This is basically what Ecclesiastes says in its closing paragraph.  "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."  Ecclesiastes 12:13   (And thereby according to Job 28:28 man also receives Wisdom!)

Wisdom is God's closest Companion.

He delights in It daily! 

It brings Him great joy!  (Proverbs 8:30)

The teachers call this whole chapter a "Poem to Wisdom!"

I call it the pure Word of God ... pointing man to Jesus Christ and eternal life!

John says it well.  "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."  1 John 1:3

Why Jesus?

Because, as Paul says in Colossians 2:3 --- "In whom (Jesus) are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

Amen!

What Peace ... when one finds real Wisdom!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11:

Today I want us to compare chapter 28 to the opening and closing sections of Job. The opening section is called the prologue and the closing section is called the epilogue.

The prologue involves chapters 1 and 2 of Job.  It may be analyzed in the following manner:

                           Introduction of Job (the godly man)!

                               Then ... a scene in heaven followed by a scene on earth.

                          Next is the introduction of Job's 3 "friends!"

                               Followed by another scene in heaven and a scene on earth.

The prologue operates with the understanding that there exists "hidden truth" to which Job does not have access!

And that's exactly what Job 28 teaches too!

Likewise the epilogue (Job 42:7-17) reveals some unfathomable qualities of our great God!  It presents Him as The Source of all knowledge and Wisdom!

And, again, that's exactly what Job 28 does!

There is "linkage" here!

Let's stop just a minute and ask ourselves this:  What "hidden truths" are necessary to fully interpret Job's dilemma and restoration?

What things did God know that man didn't know?

     *   That God is IN CONTROL of it all!

       *   That God is willing to test Job to put him on display!

         *   That God puts restraints on the devil!

           *   That the devil is cruel!

             *   That Job was truly a godly man!

               *  That God is the CREATOR and RULER of all the universe!

                 *  That, in the end, God always rewards His own!  (Maybe doubly so!)

And Job 28 tells us that the only way to gain these facts of Wisdom is to KNOW God and to fear (worship) Him with all your heart!  (Job 28:28 --- "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."

And here's another amazing thing!

I'm not at all sure God has told us the real purpose behind Job's suffering yet!  I believe He still withholds some aspects of Wisdom ... for future communion!  Praise His dear Name!

Wow!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 12:

Let's summarize today.

Here's the story of Job in a few sentences.

In the beginning, Job had it all!

Job had godliness.

Job had family.

Job had wealth.

Job had health.

Job even had esteem with God!

But he lost his family.

And he lost his wealth.

Then he also lost his health.

And he did not know WHY!

Job nearly lost his godliness!  He several times dangerously wavered between faith and doubt.

The Job began his search.

He searched for reasons ... and found none.

He searched for fairness ... and found none.

He even searched for his God ... and found Him neither!  In Job 23:3 he cries: "Oh that I knew where I might find him (God)!  that I might come even to his seat!"

Yet he know that somewhere God was near!  He never lost all hope.  Job 19:25 proves that.  "For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth."

And ... after all his fruitless searches ... one day God appears!

With no explanations and no apologies and no pity at all ... God just reveals Himself! (In His power and majesty too!)

And ... for Job ... once He has again seen His God ... things are once more well!

He found all he had lost in GOD!

He found all his meaning in GOD!

He found all his hopes in GOD!

He found all for which he had been searching in GOD!

God is the Answer!

And, dear friend, the story of Job is also the story of Job chapter 28.

There man searches.

Then he finds!

Next he knows something is missing.

(All his "allies" could not find it for him either ... just as Job's "friends" could not help him!)

What was missing?  GOD!

God and the Wisdom He supplies!

Job 28 is parallel to the rest of the whole Book (of Job).

Job 28 is a synopsis.

It is a summary.

By the way, friend, what are YOU missing today?

Is It True Wisdom?

If so ... I know where it can be found!

I'll just let the last verse of Job 28 tell you though.

"And unto man He said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."  Job 28:28

Wow!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 13:

I realize that probably I'm trying to cover too much material today.  The "speeches" of Job's 3 friends and Elihu cover a lot of the Book of Job!

But even their words fall into the pattern of Job chapter 28!

They each seek wisdom.  They want to deal with Job's problems ... but fail to truly see things from God's point of view!

They represent the attempts of man to find the "key" to Job's suffering.

In other words, just like the men of the world in chapter 28 ... they search for nuggets (of truth), finding many of them ... but none of ultimate value to Job's situation!

In the process their "advice" seems to grow progressively weaker.

They all seem to work from a basic truth ... "man reaps what he sows!"  (And that IS a basic Bible truth, folks!)  BUT it does not perfectly apply in Job's situation.  These men do not have the Wisdom of God in their deliberations!

They do not know about the "contest" with Satan!

They do not know that God is going to reward Job with double blessings soon!

They do not know how godly Job's heart really has been!

And without that Wisdom ... they are doomed to failure.

That does not mean that they do not say some great things.  But the things they say usually do not apply to Job!

In fact, once Job said to them:  "Miserable comforters are ye all."  Job 16:2

Now to those of you who are doubting my word here, listen to what God tells the three "friends" of Job:  "Ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.  Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job."  Job 42:7-8

Really, their speeches "boil down" to this view.  Be godly ... God blesses you.  Be wicked ... God curses you!  What you get from God you have earned and you deserve solely based upon your actions!

And that is a wrong approach in Job's case!

That view, if pressed stringently, overrules the Omnipotence of God and the Grace of God and the whole Plan of Salvation! 

In fact, it's the same approach the devil used!

Come to God to get your pay!  To get your rewards!  If God does not "pay" ... then no one will come!

And God was thrilled to find a man like Job who would serve Him whether he got paid to do it or not!

Listen to Job again:  "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."  Job 13:15

Glory to God!

(One additional proof of the error of the words from Job's "friends" ... their speeches get shorter and shorter and begin to break down after a while!  Their human understanding sputters and quits!  And soon now ... when man's exhausts his ramblings ... God will speak!  And that's the exact pattern of Job 28 also!)

I can hardly wait!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 14:

Job seeks some answers! 

Why has he been subjected to such suffering?

(He is not privileged to know about the "contest" between God and Satan.)

In his deliberations Job makes some absolutely amazing statements ... and some rather misguided ones too.

Yet one distinct difference must be noted.

Job's "friends" get further from the real truth the longer they speak.  Their logic eventually breaks into pieces.

Job however becomes more fixed and confident as time progresses!

Job is looking for Something ... and he finds it in the end!

It is also clear that Job wavers under the load of his trials.

(Some liberals even say there are two different Jobs in this book.  One is a man of doubt they say.  And the other is a man of faith!  I believe no such thing.  Job, a Believer, is fighting a battle within himself!  His two natures rage one against the other.  Its the old "faith vs. doubt" syndrome.)

Now, while we will all admit Job is human and has things yet to learn ... the Bible sure puts him in good "light."

In Ezekiel 14:14 and 20 Job is included with 2 other great Bible heroes.  Overall Daniel and Noah were men of great faith.  And Job is in their company in God's eyes!

James 5:11 also uses Job as a sterling example!

Godly old Job didn't go far wrong, did he?

Listen to God ... concerning Job.  In Job 42:7 the Lord told the "friends" --- "For ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath." 

It is true that Job repented in 42:6, but God never once charged him with sin!

I can't find where God was filled with wrath toward Job.

I can't find where God accused Job of foolishness.  (Just lack of knowledge)

God does get pretty rough with Job in chapter 38, but only to lead him to the true Fount of Wisdom!  (The Lord God Almighty Himself!)

Job's searching has proved empty ... until God chooses to intervene!

God speaks to Job in two long discourses.

In the first Job is proved to have limited knowledge on how God controls and directs the earth!

In the second Job is proved to come up short in moral understanding as well.  (The great battle of the ages!  God and righteousness versus Satan and wickedness!)

When both charges are advanced ... Job is left silent!

He falls at the feet of an Omniscient Creator/Redeemer God, worthy of all worship!

In the end Job discovers that answers to the problem of suffering are not what he needs!  Rather ... He just needs GOD!

And GOD he gets!

Job ends with the Patriarch a happy man!

Not because he is wealthy again.  Not because he has ten more children!  Not because he is highly esteemed by others as before!

BUT because he is in full fellowship with God, The Wise God, The Only Wise God of all the universe.

And, dear friend, THAT is also the story of Job 28!

Here it is again.  Man searches and searches!  And searching man finds some precious things ... but not the most valuable thing (Wisdom)!  Only God can give That!  To have true Wisdom one must find the Fear of the Lord! Job 28:28 concludes:  "And unto man He (the Lord) said, Behold, the Fear of the Lord, that is Wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."

And Job did find the Fear of the Lord and the True Wisdom That accompanies Him!

God revealed it to him!

Job's story is parallel to the thought line in Job 28.

Job 28 (for sure) is the central chapter of the Book!

In it is the "key" that unlocks the whole Jobian text of  42 chapters!

Christian friends, aren't you glad you have found Him?  True Wisdom?  That is the Lord Jesus Christ!  Paul says in Colossians 2:3 --- "In Whom (Jesus) are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

Glory to God!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 15:

Truly the entire Bible IS the Word of God!

Scripture Itself has settled that long ago.

For example, Paul declares in 2 Timothy 3:16 that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."

 As you know, "inspiration" has the idea of being God breathed!

God authored the Bible!

Yet it is also true that there are certain sections of Scripture that declare "word for word" something God has said in direct address to someone!

Such is the case in God's responses to Job!  Twice God shared with Job personal conversation!

A few Bible teachers have "discovered" a series of "links" between God's words to Job and the truth presented in Job chapter 28!

Job 28 has been called by some a great "poem to Wisdom!"

Here are some of the "links:"

Chapter 28 does NOT discuss Job's most obvious problem --- suffering!  Neither do God's Speeches!

Chapter 28 leaves true Wisdom unattainable apart from God Himself!  God's Speeches also prove that Wisdom is unattainable by natural man.

Chapter 28 proves that God alone is The Source of Wisdom!  So do the two Speeches of the Almighty!

Chapter 28 illustrates some aspects of Wisdom in terms of the created world!  So does God in His Words to Job!  (Creation in many ways apparently pictures the Wisdom of God!)

Chapter 28 ends with the only way to know Wisdom ... a relationship with God! And of course God's Words to Job emphasize that Wise Relationship as well!

Again, there is "linkage" between the two!

God's first response to Job (Job chapters 38-39) proves again and again that man cannot know all the facets of God's power, knowledge and Wisdom!  (Just as Job 28 so proved!)  Here God basically says to Job ... here's how very little you know, old boy!  (Yet remember that God never reverses His declaration that Job is a "perfect and upright man!  One that feared God and hated evil!"  See Job 1:1.)

God's second response to Job illustrates with two great creatures --- behemoth and leviathan.  I believe that both these giant creatures may represent evil in some form or another!  (As does the serpent or the roaring lion or the dragon elsewhere in Scripture.)  In fact leviathan sounds extremely similar to the dragons of Scripture! That noun Dragon (or its plural) occurs 35 times in the King James Version of the Bible.)

God alone can control these two beasts!

So ... God alone can control Satan and bring wickedness to final judgment!

See what God is saying to Job?  Do not question my rightness, Job.  I can handle all things ... even the evil things of the heavens and the earth!

(Even a Devil, a Satan, who questions all of Job's motives!  And did so back in chapters 1 and 2.)

Here's what God has said to Job in the closing chapters of that great Book.  Son, listen to Me!  You can neither comprehend My Wisdom in creation (first speech) or in My Wisdom in controlling evil (second speech)!  BUT you can know Me and My Wisdom by means of trust in the Lord Jesus Christ!  And this trust certainly IS the Fear of The Lord!

And in so saying these things in this way ... God has outlined for us the 28th chapter of Job!  (A chapter which echoes God's very thoughts!)

The Book ends with a lot of unsolved riddles for old Job!  There are many things he never knows!  (The contest between God and Satan being the main one perhaps!)

BUT Job reaches this conclusion --- THE RIDDLES OF GOD ARE MORE SATISFYING THAN THE SOLUTIONS OF MAN!

Job says a hearty AMEN to the closing verse of chapter 28 --- "And unto man He (God) said, Behold, the Fear of the Lord, that is Wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."

Let me say it one more time ... Job 28 is apparently the structural center of the whole Book (of Job).  It seems to be the "key" that unlocks everything!  (I have know God to put those unlocking "keys" at the front of a text before!  And at the end of a text too!  But this is the first time I've seen one in the middle of the text like this! Wow!  You have to get "in" ... to find the "key!" 

And, guess what?

Jesus is the Only Way in!

Proof needed?  Hear the Lord in John 14:6 --- "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Need I say more?

This Saturday, September 11th, thank God dear friends that you KNOW real Wisdom!  I mean Jesus --- "In Whom are hid all the treasures of Wisdom and knowledge."  Colossians 2:3

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 16:

I trust that you have not grown tired of the Book of Job!

Lord willing, this is our last study on Job chapter 28.

Some may be wondering just WHY Job is so important!

(Just because it is in the Word of God is enough reason of course!)

But I am really beginning to believe that Job here is a picture (type) of our Lord Jesus Christ!

(And please no one write and tell me that you can't see JESUS in Job!)

Job, speaking of God, longed for a "Daysman" to intercede!  ("Neither is there any Daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both."  Job 9:33)

Now, you tell me.  WHO is the Mediator (Daysman) between God and man?  (Paul answers that clearly.  "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."  1 Timothy 2:5)

And in Job 13:15-16 we nearly see Jesus by name!  "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him. He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him."  That noun "salvation" is the Hebrew word for Saviour!

Also in Job 16:18-20 the suffering saint affirms that he has a Witness in heaven!  I believe he is talking about Jesus!  "O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place.  Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.  My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God."

And the "classic" Jobian text about our Redeemer must be included here!  "For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth."  Job 19:25

But even in addition to these I believe one can see Jesus in Job!

Look at Job 1:1.  "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil."  Is that not a description of Jesus also?  Perfect!  One who fears God?  One who hates evil?

Does not Job open with an account of Satan trying to tempt Job?  And Jesus' public ministry opens the same way!

And just as Satan lost his case with Job ... he lost his case with Jesus!

Job's family turned against him.  Job tells us:  "He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.  My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me." (Job 19:13-14)  So did Jesus' family not believe in Him!  (John 7:5 says:  "For neither did his brethren believe in him.")

Job became poor!  So did Jesus!  See 2 Corinthians 8:9!

Job endured terrible physical suffering!  So did Jesus!

Job says that God had forsaken him!  God DID forsake Jesus (on the cross)!

Yet, after all the whole ordeal, God restored Job to double blessings and honor!  And God, after Calvary, raised Jesus from the dead and crowned Him with (double, triple, quadruple ... plus much more ...) honor!

I am so glad we have stopped a little while and looked at Job!

I personally believe you can find Jesus anywhere in Scripture if you look intently!  I KNOW you can find Him in Job!

Praise the dear Lord!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

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