May 11 – Trials’ Lessons: Increased Wisdom

“But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living.”

Job 28:12–13


God’s wisdom is our source for understanding life and all its trials.

The supernatural wisdom believers need in order to understand their trials is simply not available from our society. During Job’s ordeal he soon learned the utter inadequacy both of his reason and his friends’ misguided advice. That led him to the profound conclusion that the Lord’s wisdom is the only source for comprehending life and all its difficulties.

Wisdom in general has always been among the highest, most respected virtues believers can have. The Lord was greatly pleased when Solomon asked for wisdom rather than riches or power (1 Kings 3:5–13), and Solomon later set forth the basic importance of God’s wisdom: “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6).

God’s wisdom puts things in the right perspective during trials and helps us endure them. But as we have already noted, it is not something we will have automatically. The apostle James, in the context of a passage about trials, says we must ask for wisdom: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

In keeping with our series on trials’ lessons, it’s crucial that as we experience difficult tests, we ask God for wisdom to persevere according to His Word. Without a practical understanding of how to live according to His will and Word, we will not see His sovereign hand of providence at work in our trials. And we will miss one of God’s most important purposes in bringing sufferings and trials to us—that we would become more dependent on Him.

Once we have the Lord’s wisdom and realize that we have become more and more dependent on Him, we’ll be like Job, who received this answer to his earlier questions: “ ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding’ ” (28:28).


Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that you would be more diligent in gleaning wisdom from your study of Scripture.

For Further Study: Read 1 Kings 3:5–13. What does Solomon’s request reveal about his character? ✧ What rewards and closing promise did God give to him as a result?[1]

12–14 The refrain states the theme and is followed by a response. (It is also possible that the refrain in v. 12 concludes the section and vv. 13–14 begin the next stanza, which concludes with a repeat of the refrain in v. 20.) Compare the refrain followed by response in Psalm 107:8 and 9; 15 and 16; 21 and 22; 31 and 32.

In v. 13 the response is clearer when the Hebrew translated “comprehend its worth” is rendered “know its abode” (see Notes). It is important to observe how as a refrain vv. 12–14 are parallel in form and meaning with vv. 20–22. In v. 14 “the deep” and “the sea” give the same negative response as do “Destruction” and “Death” in v. 22. The thrust is that even if one were able to probe these inaccessible places, wisdom cannot be found.[2]

28:12 Job cannot fathom God’s ways, but wisdom is found ultimately in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30; Col. 2:3).[3]

28:12 But from where will wisdom be found While people go to great lengths to find precious metals or stones, they do not know where to find wisdom. It is not found on earth (v. 13), under the earth, or in the sea (v. 14).[4]

28:12 This transitional verse emphasizes that technological know-how is incapable of providing spiritual insight.[5]

28:12 As a part of Job’s continuing effort to gain enough wisdom to understand the mystery of suffering, he reviews man’s exhaustive efforts to gain material treasures (vv. 1–11). However, physical effort and searching does not produce the greatest treasure. God’s wisdom cannot be bought (vv. 12–19).[6]

28:12 The word wisdom (v. 20) may emphasize the true wisdom that only the Lord knows (vv. 23–27) and that people may learn in relationship with Him (v. 28).[7]

[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] Smick, E. B. (2010). Job. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Chronicles–Job (Revised Edition) (Vol. 4, p. 827). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 910). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Job 28:12). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 799). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

[6] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Job 28:12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 633). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.


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