“And He said to man, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28)
It is interesting to note that the above verse is in the context of the book of Job. We know that Job was a godly man; we also know that he went through tremendous suffering and pain, and yet verse 28 reminds us that even in such a situation, the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and turning away from evil is understanding. In the face of such intense sufferings without any understanding of what was happening, it is surely very difficult to still worship God and to turn away from cursing and ‘swearing at God’, and to continue to avoid evil in our response. Even Job’s wife told him to curse God and die.
Godly wisdom begins with the worship of God for His goodness in both the created and covenantal order, coupled with wonder at human folly – all the egoism and self-centredness, idolatry, immorality, and mishandling of relationships. Wisdom focuses on what direction and style of life make sense in the light of what is known of God’s presence, preferences and providential rule. Such a focus would establish a vision of humble, thoughtful, and God-centred living.
Wise people realise the reality of human limitation; they know that while God has told them much about what He is doing in this world, much is kept hidden from them, and they must not claim to know more of God’s current actions than in fact they do. Even in the midst of suffering and pain, wise persons settle for not knowing, and not even trying to guess, God’s unrevealed purposes in their lives. But instead, they continue to walk by faith, trusting in the Lord, and resting in the conviction that the Lord God is perfect in all His ways, and if He allows certain circumstances, it is out of love for His people, and an extension of His hand of mercy to cause unbelievers to repent and to know that He is God. Truly, God does not desire that any should perish eternally, but Scriptures reveal that men would continue to be rebellious and unrepentant even after much long suffering and patience on the part of the Almighty.
“You yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
Godly wisdom beckons us to live with the consciousness that the Lord may come at any time. The second coming of the Lord Jesus is certain but the date is unannounced – we need to be ready for it every day, starting now. We must learn to live packed and ready to go, and at the same time be soberly involved in the task of advancing Christ’s kingdom and so be ready to stay. The Apostle Paul echoed this truth when he declared that for him to live is Christ and to die is gain.
One way or another, Jesus is coming for each of us and should not find us unprepared, like the ‘foolish virgins’. While our life continues, let us work and pray for the advancing of God’s kingdom. Let us ensure that when He comes for us, whether soon or late, these are the tasks in which He finds us engaged.