In the 16th century, Europe experienced a Renaissance, a “rebirth of light.” As culture moved into this new era it looked back on the Middle Ages that was dominated by the Roman Church and called it “The Dark Ages.” This new era, now referred to as the Modern era, was sparked by new scientific discoveries. Copernicus discovered that the Earth revolved around the sun, shattering the church’s geocentric and church-centric cosmology. Guttenberg invented the printing press which allowed non-church, “protesting,” literature to be distributed quickly. The masses became literate and discovered that there was more to the Bible and to life than the local priest had let on.
All of these new discoveries and been achieved through the persistent curiosity of the human mind and the ingenuity of the human imagination. Within 100 years Europe had come to the belief that human reason, as opposed to God’s revelation, was the ultimate source of truth. And so, for the next 400 years Western European culture began to expand, explore, and dominate the Earth. Scientific curiosity led to the Industrial Revolution, mass-production, better medicine, trans-global travel, and trans-global communication. In the 19th century it seemed as if man could do anything he set his mind to do.
Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, we have a chance to reflect on the fruit of man’s reason…the 20th century. Yes, we have invented amazing things; air travel, space travel, telecommunications, cyberspace, vaccinations, etc. But, we have also figured out how to kill everyone on the planet with the push of a button, we kill babies that are only weeks old. We’ve been through two world wars and a number of other devastating conflicts. We’ve learned how to live on credit and have plunged whole nations into trillions of dollars of debt. We have razed the Earth of much of its natural resources, contaminated fresh water sources, and allowed radioactive waste to fill the ground. As the younger generations move into this century they look at what they have inherited from the modern era and wonder, “If this is what human reason calls the benefit of wisdom, then what is wisdom?”
This is the question Job is asking in ch. 28. He says, “Hey, man can dig deep into the ground to find jewels, but we can never dig deep enough to find God’s wisdom. No amount of human reason and ingenuity can ever discover or unlock the mysteries of God.” It would do us well to latch on to Job’s thoughts here. Too many times, when faced with ethical and critical decisions, we look to the scientists and the politicians to figure out what is best for us. Job reminds us that there is only one place where true wisdom can be found for humanity. It is only in the fear of the Lord that we can tap into wise living. Like a four-year-old child walking next to her father, so are we in the hands of God. We do not understand His ways, nor can we. We must simply trust that His ways are good and He is looking out for our best interest.
May we walk in the faith and fear of the Lord today. Spend time asking God to allow your heart to surrender all your worries and your efforts to manipulate your situation. Let go of your worry, do what you know to be right according to God’s ways, and trust that He will direct your paths.