Are you wiser than God?
Job 12:1 ¶ Then Job answered:
Job 12:2 “No doubt you are the people,
and wisdom will die with you.
Job 12:3 But I have understanding as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Who does not know such things as these?
Job 12:4 I am a laughingstock to my friends;
I, who called upon God and he answered me,
a just and blameless man, I am a laughingstock.
I'm sure that we would all answer the question, "Are you wiser than God?" with a resounding "No!" And yet, could it be that our lives sometimes reflect a different kind of attitude? Job's friends had been trying to give him all kinds of advice and now he responds. His opening comment is simply dripping with sarcasm. "No doubt you are the people and wisdom will die with you." In other words -- you are such amazing people and you have the gift of all the wisdom of the world -- and you actually believe that you have all this wisdom and that when you die, the earth will be sad for you will have taken all of this with you!
Then, Job responds to them. They don't have a corner on wisdom, for Job has called upon God. His understanding comes from God because not only has he called on God, but God has answered him. Job is able to discern between the voice of God and the voice of those on the earth. Job has continued to live a faithful life, he knows he is blameless. Sadly, his friends who believe they are wiser than God have made him a laughing stock.
This is a pretty uncomfortable portion of scripture. Job is a good man who is suffering for being just and blameless. Can we ever find ourselves in his place? Yes, I believe that we can and then numerous people try to come around us and give us good-sounding advice without seeking God. Sadly, even those of us who have been serving in the Church for many years can jump to the conclusion that we are the voice of God, when we haven't taken time to seek the face of God. Suddenly we can find ourselves in the very place of Job's friends, and without thinking about it, we may have thought that we were wiser than God. That's why Job's sarcasm is healthy for us. Wait a minute -- are we thinking that we can make decisions or speak for God without first seeking him?
I believe that Job takes a deep breath before he responds. Not only has he been slammed physically and emotionally but now he is struggling with inferiority because of their comments. No -- wait a minute, he is not inferior to these friends of his who believe that they are so wise. Of course, Job does know the common-sense responses, but he knows more than this. Job has walked and talked with God to the point that he recognizes the voice of God when he hears it. Therefore the responses of his friends pale in comparison to the conversations he's had with God. There is no way his friends understand the wisdom of God, because Job has experienced God personally.
There may be times when friends and "people" will try to assume that they are wiser than God. If we are walking and talking with God on a daily basis then we will be able to discern whether the wisdom is from God, or from people.
God is our strength.
God is our refuge.
God is our help in times of need.
Walk with God.
Talk with God.
Live blamelessly and justly before God.
The world around you may laugh -- but you will know God and his wisdom and love will sustain us until the end of our days.
Lord, please give me discernment to hear your voice of wisdom. Amen.