BrueggemannW300The dialectic of Job 28, which looks back to confident experience and forward to inscrutability, is perhaps best stated in the formula of Job 1:21 “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away.” At one level that sounds uncritically pious. But if we linger there, it may suggest something else. It may suggest that as the Lord gives, we are free to probe fully and exult in our knowledge. But the Lord also takes away. This may mean that the truth is always out beyond, and we are left only to revere and to wait. Our calling is not to choose one of these over the other, not to prefer either the giving or the taking away, not to relish exclusively in the knowledge from experience or the knowledge held to God alone. Rather, true discernment or genuine wisdom is to stay with God in the seasons, to move in and out on the giving which lets us understand, and on to the taking away which places us always in new perspective. That dialectic has been hopelessly collapsed in much of our education. Both belong. Both are crucial for mature faith, and which of the two is to be emphasized depends very much on where people are and how the world is understood.

Walter Brueggemann, The Creative Word: Canon as a Model for Biblical Education, page 75