Now that my nephew is growing and showing more of his personality, it is obvious that he is related to his mom’s side of the family (mine). He likes to have his own way.
While babysitting him, we had a bit of a, ahem, disagreement. Well, it wasn’t a disagreement. He wanted to do something he wasn’t allowed to do, and I stopped him. There was some unhappiness, shall we say. If he thought he would beat me, he was wrong. I’ve been stubborn since before his mother was born. Ha!
Nor did I give him the satisfaction of sitting him down and explaining all the hows, whys, and wherefores of why I said “no.”
You cannot explain a child into obedience. Disobedience isn’t a mind matter; it is a heart matter. I don’t mind teaching moments, but I don’t always see the need to tell a child my thinking. Here’s why:
- If they’re rebelling, nothing I say would matter.
- I have about 3 decades of life experience on my nephew. Some of the rules that parents/guardians give their children can’t be explained. They don’t have the physical or emotional maturity to handle heavy realities.
- Sometimes “Because I said so,” is the best answer to learn that understanding does not always (or should) come before obedient behavior or attitude.
So, what does this have to do with our favorite inscrutable wisdom book of the Bible?
Job is a difficult book because we are faced with intense suffering and there doesn’t seem to be an answer. God never explains to Job why He allowed Satan to test him. When God finally answers Job, He asks questions that Job cannot answer. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Boom, God goes right back to the beginning when nothing else except the eternal Godhead existed.
(I wonder if Satan was listening to this part of God’s response to Job. If so, it’s a good rebuke to Satan. Though Lucifer and the other angels were created early in the creation week, they were still created and not eternally existing.)
I believe that God’s response to Job is a reminder that obedience doesn’t always come with understanding. Yet even with all of Job’s stature and wisdom, he was still a man of finite understanding compared to God. The response of God in Job is a fancy way of God saying “Because I said so,” and reminds us that He has every single right to say so. We can pretty good at searching all of human knowledge. It’s called Google. We cannot search out God’s understanding.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
Measured heaven with a span
And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?
Weighed the mountains in scales
And the hills in a balance?
Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
Or as His counselor has taught Him?
With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,
And taught Him in the path of justice?
Who taught Him knowledge,
And showed Him the way of understanding?
— Is 40:12-14
The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God and His unsearchable knowledge. Job teaches us that the beginning of wisdom is being silent before God.
God is not distressed or angered when we come to Him with questions as a child to their father. I do not want to imply that we should serve Him or go through trials as unfeeling robots. We are told to seek for wisdom and to seek after the Lord when He can be found.
He may answer us, but He never answers to us. He only answers to Himself. Therefore, we come to him in humility and gratefulness. And obedience. It has been in suffering that I have craved answers the most. Yet it is in those agonizing days that I have found that obedience is often being willing to accept that I may never have answers. Even so… God is still good.
As He [God] also says in another place: “You [Jesus] are a priest foreverHebrews 5:6-8
According to the order of Melchizedek”; who, in the days of His [Christ’s] flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
In the garden before His crucifixion, Jesus cries out in agony to the Father, but we do not know how or if God answered Him. Yet we see Jesus giving Himself over to the will of the Father in obedience. “For the joy set before Him” as it says later in Hebrews (12:2).
I believe that when we get to heaven, when we are in the presence of our Savior, we will see Jesus, His plan and purpose, were worth whatever we suffered on earth. Then, we will say — not as Jesus did, “Your will be done” — but “Your will was done.”
That is wisdom indeed.