“…The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord,” (1:21).
Confession time. I have not been too excited about this part of our three-year journey through Scripture. Job is not a book I naturally gravitate to; perhaps it’s even one I deliberately avoid. And in light of the days we live in, it feels a bit like courting trouble to spend the next forty days with Job.
But when you commit to go through His Word, you have to do just that. Avoidance is not an option. All of Scripture is His Inspired Word, and All of Scripture reveals what we need for “teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16).
And while we have a definite advantage of being privy to the scene in the Heavenlies that Job did not have, it still does not answer all our questions. But this journey through His Word was never intended to answer every question. Some things will forever be a mystery, for how can we possibly expect to understand everything about our Magnificent, Majestic God. Let’s just admit that He is an Eternal Enigma beyond our comprehension; but in His perfect wisdom, He has disclosed what we need to know. We must trust Him with the things we don’t understand; and those things He has clearly revealed, we are to obey and treasure.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to use and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law,” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
By way of reminder, the goal of The Planting Place is that we would see Him increase. And in that process of His taking center stage through truth and faith, we in turn would decrease (John 3:30); decrease in our own wisdom, importance and plans; that His will and ways would be magnified and exalted each and every day.
Being familiar with the overall premise of the book of Job did not bring comfort or confidence as I approached His Word. I knew the first two chapters would introduce us to the undesired visitor before His throne; that this fallen one would be given permission to test Job through the loss of every gift Job had ever received from God, with the exception of his own life; and that three friends would show up to show sympathy and comfort, that is until they opened their mouths.
So yes, right off the bat there are definitely some secret things I don’t fully understand, secret things that belong to Him.
But in the first chapter of Job, there is this passage… one we may all be very familiar with. One portion is routinely shared at funerals, and the other became a very popular worship song in the early 2000’s, Blessed Be Your Name, by Matt Redman.
It was Job’s response, after he had lost all his possessions, and more devastatingly, his ten children. A response that just may knock the wind right out of us; Job worshipped.
Job, in his gut honest faith, understood: all of his wealth, every possession, each blessing, and yes, even his ten children, were good gifts from his Good God. And Job also understood that God, in His Sovereignty, had the right to both Give and Take Away.
And in his prayer of worship, amidst the direst of circumstances, Job lifts a declaration of truth in worship that resonates with encouragement and praise, even from the midst of the inconsolable grief over his tragic loss.
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said,
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord,” (1:20-21).
And another truth rose out of the depths of human despair and desperation, a Truth that is beyond our human comprehension. The Truth of Him Who Gave and Has Taken Away.
Consider Him Who Gave and Has Taken Away
- He Gave His Son:
- But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, (John 1:12).
- “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life, (John 3:16).
- He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32).
- He Has Taken Away our iniquity and sins:
- He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven,” (Isaiah 6:7).
- The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29).
- You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin, (1 John 3:5).
How do we respond to Him Who Gave and Has Taken Away?
If only, if only we could respond like Job; with faith and worship. Even after he has lost everything; not only was he in emotional anguish and pain after losing every gift he had received from God, he is then afflicted with complete bodily torment and agony. And when his own wife suggests to what Job is the unthinkable, he again responds in faith and worship
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips, (2:9-10).
Job understood. God has the right, and He is right, in the good and in adversity. And while we may not always be able to grasp the why; why some of the things are happening in our lives and all around us, there is one thing the Lord would have us know: although the message of the Gospel when received by faith, grants us eternal life, the Gospel does not promise us an easy life. Actually, quite the contrary.
- Stephen would know:
- They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60 Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep, (Acts 7:59-60).
- Ananias would know:
- But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16).
- Paul would know:
- For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, (Philippians 1:29).
- Timothy would know:
- Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, (2 Timothy 3:12).
- Peter would know:
- Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation, (1 Peter 4:12-13).
- And none would know better than Jesus:
- And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:25-26).
So, the truth is, we don’t have to completely understand in order to know. For Jesus said, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32).
His Truth will make us free to respond in faith and worship.
And Jesus also told us the way to know His Truth, the way that we can take hold of His Truth and His Truth can take hold of us and empower us to follow Him, even in the times when our understanding is darkened by events that just don’t make sense to our natural mind.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;” (John 8:31).
As His disciples who continue in His Word, we will be strengthened to follow Him where He leads, in faith and worship.
Today, let’s wrap up our time in His Word by responding in praise. Whatever is going on today, we can trust and praise Him for His wisdom, even if we don’t understand.
“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to men of understanding.
22 “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him,” (Daniel 2:20-22).
And we can be thankful; for He Gave His Son and Has Taken Away our sin. And because of His Truth, we have His Peace. There is no better reason to worship and praise and bless the Name of the Lord!
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful,” (John 14:27).
Oh, that we would learn well this lesson from Job. We came into this world with nothing, but every day we can praise Him Who Gave and Has Taken Away, because we have salvation in Jesus; and in Jesus, we have everything.
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places, (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, (Ephesians 1:3).
Today, let’s choose to bless His Name at all times. Oh, that the Lord would use our lives as a testimony and invitation, that others would also know and join us in praising Him for the amazing grace we have received from Him Who Gave and Has Taken Away.
I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul will make its boast in the Lord;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
3 O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together, (Psalm 34:1-3).