Does God give and take away?

Mar 29, 2023Theology1 comment


Does God give and take away? Today I want to share fresh insight and understanding of the book of Job. This can completely change false notions. We can discover what God did for Job, not to him. Job’s serious trouble started long before the first calamity struck him. Understanding this changes everything.

What Job said was not correct

In the first chapter his statement sums up the presumed message of the whole book of Job:  Job 1:21 “…The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job’s words were in response to a specific set of events he did not understand. They are quoted to suggest this is the kind of thing God does to the righteous all the time.

Job later admits he spoke of things he did not understand

When he spoke in Chapter 1 Job was basing the statement on how he and his friends presumed God operates. Later in Chapter 42 Job says, “…Therefore [I now see] I have [rashly] uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 42:3 AMPC.

Job was wrong aboiut who was doing the afflicting. He also did not know the reasons why God allowed it, and more. We need to understand what God did for Job. The whole point of the encounter was a divine intervention. Its goal was to deliver Job from a severe paralyzing affliction that preceded his calamities. God delivered Job from a hellish prison of his own making. After this, God was able to bless him liertally twice as much as before.

Does God give and take away?

No! “The Lord gives (calamity), and He takes away (blessing)” is a sacred cow. It incorrectly asserts that a sovereign God may choose to tempt you to deny Him. God may afflict you or your family with sickness, death, and calamity to accomplish this. This is very bad theology. The story clearly teaches that the specific purpose of the calamity is to temp Job to blaspheme God to his face. But who did afflict Job, and why? Satan says, ” But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.

Who made a hedge about Job? God! Who Blessed Job? God! What did Satan want God to do? Satan wanted God to afflict Job. He wanted God to tempt Job to blaspheme God to his face. Who wanted God to tempt Job? Satan!

Will God tempt Job with evil, so that Job will do evil?

James 1:13Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God did not use His power to afflict Job. Instead, God limited what Satan was allowed to do. Who did God say had the power to afflict Job? Satan.

Satan was not aware of just how vulnerable Job already was to affliction and loss. Why did Satan already have the power to afflict Job?  

Life before Job his fear inprisons him fear

Job’s quality of life long before the attack was awesome. The first three verses give a short recount of all that Job is blessed with by God. It also states that at this time he had a reverential “fear”of God Job had h3373. יָרֵא yârê’; reverential awe, respect, and fear of God. This is a holy level of reverential fear that many Old Testament heros of faith shared. This is the same Hebrew word God uses when He prevents Abraham from taking Isaac’s life, I know you “fear” and reverence me.

For many years, Job thrived and had a joyful life full of righteousness and blessings. There is not space in this blog to quote all of chapter 29. This chapter tells how much Job misses the kind of life he enjoyed earlier. Job never used money or power improperly. He “Honored God in all his ways.” Job uses his power and wealth for good. He delivers the poor, widows, and fights evil. He goes to the city gates continually to intervene for the innocent. This was In the days before he became paralyzed with fear.

A hellish prison of his own making

Job Chapter 1 verses 4 and 5 describe a dramatic change in Job’s life from what was described in the first three verses. It is a sharp contrast that might be lost in a quick read. After years of blessing Job allowed a dramatically different kind of fear to take over his life. It put him in a hellish prison of his own making. A new type of fear set in. Job began to greatly fear that his children would curse God and cause him to lose everything. Since they feasted and drank every day, he arose early and made offerings out of fear continually. It got worse. He could not rest and had no peace. Notice the different word now used for “fear” in this verse:

Job 3:25-26

25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me,
and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
26 I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet;
yet trouble came.

The word is h6343. פַּחַד p̱aḥaḏ; from 6342;. It means to to greatly fear; tremble, revere, dread, to be in dread continually.

Fear works just like faith

Job is surprised that what he greatly feared is exactly what overcame him. Fear works like faith. Fear is the confidence that something bad that has not happened will happen. The great fear is consuming him. He has no rest, and is sure that what he fears will come upon him, then he deems it unjust that it comes on him anyway. This is the way that he eroded faith in God preserving him. This is what gave the enemy the power to do what Job feared would happen.

Job and his friends know that righteous men who turn away from righteousness suffer affliction. What they do not understand is that the righteous can suffer affliction because of their fear. They also were not understanding that there is an enemy of the righteous. That enemy is Satan.

Job complains and then God speaks

Job complains. He does not understand the power of fear to erode faith. He does not understand that he tied the hands of God. God was unable to bless Job more, because the fear of its loss would just be greater. Job does not realize God allowed the temptation so that Job could be released from his own fear. Job was able to not curse God. God does answer Job out of the whirlwind. When the maker of the universe tells you some of what you do not know, you put your hand to your mouth and repent.

This story predates much of the Old Testament, and all of the New Testament. We can now look back to see what a loving God was doing. They only know that if you are afflicted, it must be God doing it. Their thoughts prevailed into the days of Jesus on earth.

Who sinned, the blind man or his parents?

When a man was born blind, they were sure it was God bringing a curse on him. His disciples asked who sinned, him or his parents. Jesus refused to blame them for their sin, for all sickness and disease and affliction have the same root cause. It is the result of Adam’s sin enabling Satan to cause Adam to know calamity. Satan will kill, steal, and destroy if we allow it. But Jesus said He must be doing the will of His Father while here. Jesus proceeded to heal the man. Not only did he not afflict him, but He also delivered him from the affliction. Jesus never afflicted, He always healed.

God redeems Job from his folly of fearing Him

God knew that Job did not, could not understand his plight. Job will continue to be in paralysis of fear. This is why God pointed out Job’s weakness to Satan in the first place. God knew the outcome. Job will not understand why afflictionis brought on him, or by whom it came. But Job is able to withstand the attack of Satan without cursing God. This allows God to bless him more than ever, without it engendering fear of God.

God gives blessing and takes away calamity

This is the part of Job’s story few people understand. Job was not doing fine before Satan’s attack. He was greatly fearing the Father God as if God was the cause of his self-inflicted pain, instead of his Deliverer.

The outcome in the end, as we know, is far more wealth. But what most people miss is this. Now Job knows that God is for him, not against him. Job will be able to enjoy twice as much as before, with no sorrow added. God gives blessing and takes away calamity.

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

1 Comment

  1. Theresa Mangano

    Excellent explanation. God does take away sin, thankfully!


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