Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Lord Taketh Away?

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
       "Naked I came from my mother's womb,
       and naked I will depart.
       The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
       may the name of the LORD be praised."
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. – Job 1: 20-22

Today’s Reading: Job 1-2; Acts 7:22-43

The Lord Taketh away?

So I’m sure many of you have heard the old saying “The Lord giveth, and the lord taketh away.”

Why do people quote this as if it is a spiritual truth? Job is the one who actually said it and it was out of an effort to make sense of all of the disaster happening in his life.

It also wasn’t accurate; Satan did all that stuff to him. But on the flip side God allowed it to happen. So does the allowing it to happen mean that God did it?


The consistent pattern in the Bible is that we lie in the beds that we make for ourselves. Earlier in the chapter it is stated that Job made sacrifices to cover for his kids in case they sinned. So what I inferred from that was that Job was the reason they were protected at that point… they didn’t take it up on themselves to cover themselves and as a result they could get smashed on.

Ummm.  Eh… I don’t know.

But yeah… this is one of those books. It deals with the complexity of trying to understand loss and trials. Where is the purpose in it? How are we supposed to carry ourselves in these times of trouble and pain?

Hopefully Job will teach us something; because as of right now, I don’t get it.


  1. Job is always a tough one. I really like your opinion on one part of this. I had never heard the take before that his family didn't take care to cover themselves in God's eyes. I have to re-read it to see if there is anything there that describes them as "sinners". However, this completely contradicts the main interpretation that I had heard we are supposed to learn from Job.

    “The Lord giveth, and the lord taketh away,” is a way of throwing your hands up in the air and admitting that you have no idea why this happened. That, according to what I have read in Judaism, is what we are supposed to learn here. That above all, we have no way to understand the entirety of God's plan. Thus, no matter if you are a good person like Job, or a horrible person, there is not necessarily any corollary to what will happen to you during the course of your life. We are all line segments that cannot comprehend the line, which is the full vision of God.

    The truth is, even if you are right about Job’s family, he was hurt in the process as well, and he was a great person. This is supposed to be the answer to the question, “why do bad things happen to good people?” The answer is that we don’t have the capabilities to understand the full meaning of these bad things and how they relate to God’s overall plan. Many people, including myself, find this answer to be completely and utterly inadequate.

    Finally, I find it interesting that the passage states that, “Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” This is referring to the moment when Job is extremely angry with God because after a lifetime of worship and good deeds, everything he has loved has been taken away. I think it is eye-opening that according to this, we are allowed to accuse and berate God. This, was not a sin.

  2. A sneak peek ahead in the new testament will give you an idea on why we go through the trials... book of James.

  3. @Danny

    Yeah man.. I was taught the same thing about Job growing up Christian. But on the real.. I don't get it. Like I said in the posts, I will be the first person to say that I'm probably wrong on this but that just doesn't sit well with me. I don't understand this notion of the lord giveth and the lord taketh away. I don't believe it is true. I think it's just our small human minds' attempt to make sense of things that just don't make sense.

    Also on Job's family thing I'm taking a huge leap there. I never noticed until last night the part about Job doing sacrifices for his kids. Here is what I am referring to... Job 1: 4-5.

    I find it curious that this detail was included. Yes it of course says a lot about Job's character, but does it also speak to his children?

    Also the Psalms 91 reference of being covered is here.

    Very fascinating stuff.

    Also on the Job did not sin part... the thing that is interesting about it is that he didn't berate God. He tried to search for meaning but he didn't curse God in the process. That was a herculean effort of faith if you ask me.

    I'm not that strong with mine I can assure you of that.

  4. @JaredJones I'm familiar with the book as it is one of my favorites but what specific passages in James are you referring to?

  5. Enjoyed discovering your blog today. Job happens to be a book of the bible that will always be close to my heart even though there are still lots of questions I have about it. My family went through a pretty rough time a few years back and I felt like God brought me to the book of Job. Anyways...great blog you got here.

  6. @Melody Hey there! I'm glad you stumbled across it. Maybe you will help us all learn to see this book in a new light in the next few weeks.

    I know that I'll be all ears.

    I hope you come back and share in the conversation!

  7. Yea, Job is rough and tough brotha. Not quite sure of what to make of it all myself. However, I never thought of the "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away" having any bearing on who did what to Job. I always thought of it as a reflection on how he perceived life in general, the basic sentiment being, this life is not mine but God's.

    I interpreted his statement to mean that life and everything in it is a gift, something he didn't earn, nor was entitled to for good behavior. Every breath, every modicum of health, his kids, his wive, his wealth were all gifts from God that he should be thankful for. As a consequence it is well within God's right to take them back as he pleases. Some may say that's a cold game, and I generally feel that. But I think my agreement that what happens to Job is so cold comes from my humanity (or my "flesh" as its often called in the Bible) which is essentially selfish:e.g. "this is MY life and if God loves ME, than how dare He takes what belongs to ME on His time and for His purposes. Rather than my spirituality which is essentailly selfless (e.g. God my very being is a testament to your love for me, do with me what you will because I love you and trust that whatever you do serves a righteous purpose).

    Is it not true that every second of our existence is a gift we should be grateful that we have anything for even a second? Is it that our life is a gift from God, and what we do with it is our gift to him? Didn't Job get to honor God with his life in a way that blessed and continued to bless others for millenia to come? For his suffering was he not duly compensated on earth and won't he be additionally compensated in heaven? I'm not presuming I have the answer to these questions. Maybe, all he went through did nothing more than confuse generations of Bible readers to come. Who knows (well God of course)? I guess the readers of Job needs to rap with God 1st to figure it out. Let me know what he tells you.

  8. Great ideas as always Kofi. Why do you always have to make so much sense when you disagree with me??


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