Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: Wisdom, Like
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? …I will question you, and you shall declare to me.”
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?”
“Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, so that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? …Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?”
“Declare, if you know all this. Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home? Surely you know, for you were born then, and you have lived for so many years!”
1. Do you believe people get wiser as they grow older?
2. What are you less sure about today than you were when you were ten, twenty, or thirty years younger?
3. What are you more sure about now than you were when you were younger?
4. Have you ever experienced a moment in which you felt humbled, maybe even silenced, by God’s majesty and mystery? A moment when you knew there are things that are truly beyond human comprehension? Recall that moment and share what it was like to experience it.
What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
Surely you know, for you were born then,
you have lived so many years!’ – Job 38:19-21
There’s wisdom that comes with growing old. I know, because I’m doing it, and I do think I’m wiser about some things now. Like the fact that nothing lasts: not your waistline or your hairline or your bottom line or your brother’s really bad marriage. Like how it’s best to deal with things directly and soon: nothing important solves itself by neglect. Like things not being a worthy substitute for love. Like you really can’t do everything.
But age doesn’t guarantee wisdom, especially when it comes to the ego. Mine still thinks it’s the center of the universe, and more or less in charge of it. Still thinks it knows what’s best. Still feels certain of its opinions. Still needs you to share them. Still bristles when contradicted. Still thinks it has (or can Google) an answer to everything.
All of which is laughable and demonstrably false, and which I know to be so in fleeting moments. Like when I step out under the vast sky at night. Like when I wake up in the wee hours and understand that I will die, sooner now than ever. Like when I’m sitting by the lake in the sharpness of dawn, and a moose comes crashing through the woods, wades out knee-deep, and stands stock still for what seems like hours, majestically alive without my aid. Like when I open my mouth to sing the hymn and all that emerges is a choke of tears.
No one is like you. Teach me that, and I will be wise.