Wednesday, November 1, 2023

A Monopoly on Wisdom (Job 12)

“With Him are wisdom and strength” (Job 12:13).

Job’s friends mistakenly presumed that their wisdom was greater than his. For this, Job sharply rebukes them: “No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you!” They acted as if they were the well-spring of understanding, and if they were to die, all wisdom would perish with them. Job declared that God alone is the well-spring of wisdom.

Job’s rebuke is a good reminder for any who might think they have a monopoly on wisdom and who might treat others as inferior to themselves. “It may justly keep us from being proud of our knowledge to consider how many there are that know as much as we do, and perhaps much more and to better purpose,” Henry wrote. “When we are tempted to be harsh in our censures of those we differ from and dispute with, we ought to consider that they also have understanding as well as we, a capacity of judging, and a right of judging for themselves; nay, perhaps they are not inferior to us, but superior, and it is possible that they may be in the right and we in the wrong; and therefore we ought not to judge or despise them (Rom. 14:3), nor pretend to be masters (James 3:1), while all we are brethren, Matthew 23:8. It is a very reasonable allowance to be made to all we converse with, all we contend with, that they are rational creatures as well as we.”

Job’s point is further made when he brings the nature of God into full view. If we tend to think ourselves wise, we are never more wise than God. “With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding.” Job expounds on the exercises of God’s wisdom and strength in His sovereign rule over creation. By doing this, he hoped that his friends would be humbled for making judgments according to their limited knowledge.

Job lists nine ways in which God humbles man: He baffles those who think themselves wise; He brings kings to poverty; He weakens the strong; He silences the eloquent; He brings disgrace upon those in honor; He brings secrets to light; He exalts kingdoms and destroys them; He causes fear to strike the hearts of the bold; and He misdirects the plans of leaders, causing entire nations to grope in the darkness.

Read Job 12:13–25. What does this passage say about God? How should this passage bring you comfort? How should it cause you to fear? Throughout the rest of this week, check how often you consider others as inferior to yourself either in knowledge or ability. Ask the Lord for greater humility before Him and others.