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God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ, who gave to the uttermost (Mark 15:37; John 19:30).

I mentioned back on July 10th how much I enjoy listening to contemporary Christian music.  Casting Crowns, a favorite group of mine, has a song I enjoy called, “I’ll Praise You in this Storm.”  However, I have an issue with it.  In the chorus they sing, “I’ll raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.”  My issue is not with the lyric, because the lyric is taken almost directly from the Bible.  I do try my best to keep God’s praise always on my lips, but when it comes to God giving and taking away, I check my thinking regularly.  I simply remind myself that I do not understand and apply the verse like most Christians do.

Job 1:21:
And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Yes, it’s true Job said those words:  “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away.”  Because of when it is recorded people often jump and think the lord gave Job wealth, and He took it away.  The Lord also gave Job health, and then took it away, too.  However, we must remember the devastation Job just experienced.  He had lost just about everything.  How would you feel?  I am comforted simply knowing that in spite of what happened to him, he still declared, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”  Furthermore Job 1 22 continues saying, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” [NIV]; or “by blaming God” [NLT].  He knew his calamity did not come from the hand of God.

Of course, the Hebrew idiom of permission required Job to speak with words attributing to God what Satan had done.  Clearly Satan is the one who took Job’s health and wealth.  If we want to ascribe any point to Job’s calamities it should be garnered from Job 42:10 which says, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his prosperity and doubled his previous possessions” [HCSB].  We just handled the Hebrew idiom of permission the last 4 days, so here is an occasion to see how it clarifies the truth for us.  (See also James 5:11.)

Yes, I believe the lord gives and takes away, but not like most of the Christian world does.  God is not fickle and His will is not fickle.  Neither He nor His Word is capricious, irresolute, or unstable.  Sure, people say God’s will is fickle and whimsical when it comes to healing and prosperity.  As if sometimes He wants to heal, and sometimes He wants you to be sick.  Sometimes He heals in response to our prayer because He loves us, and other times He refuses to heal because He wants to teach us patience or longsuffering or whatever misery they deem is important.

God does not change, and God’s will does not change.  He desires above all things that we should prosper and be in health (III John 2).  He has sent His Word and continues to send it to heal us and deliver us from all destruction (Psalms 107:20).  Who forgives all your iniquities?  Who heals all your diseases? (Psalms 103:3) God does!  When we allow Him to by claiming and believing His promises, He is always faithful to.  But be absolutely sure that His will is to heal always.

I do believe the Lord gives and takes away, but He does it like he declares in His Word he does.  He gives like He declared in Isaiah 61:3.

Isaiah 61:3:
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

That’s how God gives.  He gives beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  Get it?  He gives good stuff and takes away the bad stuff.  He gives righteousness and removes our sin.  He replaces our shame, guilt, and sin consciousness with a sound mind that acknowledges all Jesus did for us.  That’s the God we love and serve.  He promised to restore all that the locusts have eaten, so we can eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD our God, that hath dealt wondrously with us so we need never be ashamed (Joel 2:25-26).

Let’s remember that a difficult verse like Job 1:21 must be in harmony with all other verses in God’s Word.  Don’t accept the world’s version of truth.  Let’s come the fountain of truth where God fully satisfies the thirsty soul.