Ode to Wisdom

Satan before the throne of GodWhile reading the book of Job, today, I found this passage that–while being read aloud–reminded me of epic poetry. Although, I know the book of Job is of the poetic kind, I don’t think I had ever read it and caught up with the beauty of its lyrics, its verses. There’s a rhythm to each line read, and there’s also something pretty marvelous about its diction. I especially like the passage because it centered on wisdom; it reflects on wisdom and understanding, and how different both are from the material and what is within man’s reach.

Here is the passage, and the bold type shows the verses I loved most.

28 There is a mine for silver                                                                                                                                                                                                       and a place where gold is refined.
Iron is taken from the earth,
    and copper is smelted from ore.
Mortals put an end to the darkness;
    they search out the farthest recesses
    for ore in the blackest darkness.
Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
    in places untouched by human feet;
    far from other people they dangle and sway.
The earth, from which food comes,
is transformed below as by fire;
lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcon’s eye has seen it.
Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
and no lion prowls there.
People assault the flinty rock with their hands
and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
10 They tunnel through the rock;
their eyes see all its treasures.
11 They search[a] the sources of the rivers
and bring hidden things to light.

12 But where can wisdom be found?
    Where does understanding dwell?
13 No mortal comprehends its worth;
    it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, “It is not in me”;
the sea says, “It is not with me.”
15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
 the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
it cannot be bought with pure gold.

20 Where then does wisdom come from?
    Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
    concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction[b] and Death say,
“Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it
    and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”

-Job 28

Journeying into Love

works of loveA few months ago, I began going with Mercy to Barnes & Noble to study. Every time I would give myself a break after finishing an assignment and would wander from aisle to aisle while admiring the books. One afternoon, I walked through the Philosophy section and grabbed a book title Works of Love. I read the review and was tempted to buy the book, but when I looked at the price decided to place it back in its shelf. However, my mind changed after a few visits and I decided to spoil myself, so I bought the book.

It was not until yesterday, however, that I was able to begin reading Kierkegaard’s piece. I read the foreword, translators’ introduction, author’s preface, and prayer–then I stopped. There were two things that kept me from reading ahead: something mentioned by the author of the foreword (George Pattison), and something mentioned by Kierkegaard.

First, Pattison suggest a way in which we ought to read the Kierkegaard’s discourses: “Although…there is often a clear link between one discourse and the next, each is a self-sufficient entity that it can be read and appreciated on its own. We are not to finish one and hurry on to the next, but are to consider how each can be made fruitful in its own terms” (xvi).

Second, Kierkegaard writes in his own preface: “These are Christian reflections; therefore they are not about love but about the works of love” (xxvii).

These two statements make me both excited and afraid to read the reflections. Works of Love refer to my actions as a Christian, as a product of the love in me, as a reflection of Christ who lives in me. I am afraid to continue reading and find that my actions are not the fruit produced by God’s love in me. I’m afraid I will find that I have not been a good enough neighbor, friend, daughter. Nonetheless, I am anxious to read on and be illuminated. I am anxious to know  if my actions have not been the fruit of love, for if it is so, then I will be challenged and changed.

Additionally, Pattison’s statement calls me to take time and think about each reflection read. As a form of reflection I will write, blog; And hopefully invite anyone who reads this to be illuminated and transformed along with me.

God’s Sovereignty

Lately, I have been reading some stuff by Abraham Kuyper. The book I’m currently reading focuses more on his idea of common grace in science and the arts, but it also touches slightly on his idea of sphere sovereignty. Now, there is a sweet and short introduction to this book that briefly explains Kuyper’s “sphere sovereignty:” “from God’s sovereignty there derives more discrete sovereign ‘spheres’ such as the state, business, the family, and the church… Sphere sovereignty describes a pluralism of both social structures and world views and is one prominent feature in Kuyper’s approach to public life” (Wisdom and Wonder, 2011, p. 24-25).

Last night, during Bible Study, we looked at chapter 9 of Romans–God’s sovereignty, best known as predestination. After going through the chapter with the girls that came, we had a discussion. There is one girl who usually talks, but while she pulled a personal application of the chapter, her voice began to sound shaky and her lips began quivering. I looked over and thought she was on the verge of tears. Then she mentioned how overwhelmed she was by the fact that accepting God’s sovereignty also means accepting that God is present in every area of life.

Today, there have been small occurrences that have made me attune to this teaching. My small revelation for the day has been that God’s sovereignty is present in each one of our lives in a way that is not oppressing, but in a way that offers grace and mercy to humanity (which, if you want to know more about, please read Romans 9).

Lastly, someone saw me reading the book and asked me why I was reading it. I told them that I recognized the author’s last name from some history class in high school; so, I picked it up. Then, she asked me if I was sure that’s how the name was pronounced. I realized I wasn’t sure, so I decided to look. I found confirmation in this awesome video–on one theologian from another theologian.