Traditional Wisdom

Listen to these words from Job to his “friends” in chapter 10:

"I’m sure you speak for all the experts,
and when you die there’ll be no one left to tell us how to live.
But don’t forget that I also have a brain—
I don’t intend to play second fiddle to you.
It doesn’t take an expert to know these things.

… ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
let the birds tell you what’s going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn’t it clear that they all know and agree
that God is sovereign, that he holds all things in his hand—
Every living soul, yes,
every breathing creature?
Isn’t this all just common sense,
as common as the sense of taste?
Do you think the elderly have a corner on wisdom,
that you have to grow old before you understand life?”

Who expects to find stuff like this in the Bible?

Here—and in lots of other places—Job argues that old age doesn’t always lead to wisdom and youth doesn’t always equate to foolishness. As a relatively young person, this is refreshing to hear.

Job’s friends rely on traditional wisdom as they lecture him about his situation. Job, because of his experience, knows the traditional wisdom is wrong. In challenging it, Job opens himself up to heaps of criticism, but, as we see at the end of the book, he’s rewarded for his persistence.

God is truth—not tradition. Sometimes the traditional wisdom is right on the money. But sometimes it’s wrong. And, most likely, it’ll be a young person who figures that out.

The challenge to older people is to be wise enough to discern truth from tradition and embrace truth even when it’s a young person who opens your eyes to it.

The challenge to younger people is to be persistent. When you think you’ve found truth, don’t trade it for a lie. Even if the lie is really old.