Is It Biblical to Say “the Lord Gives, and the Lord Takes Away”?

You might have sung the verse in church or heard it at a funeral, perhaps as a way to explain the inexplicable: The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.

But what does this phrase actually mean? Is it biblical, and does it accurately describe the nature of God?

While the term “the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away” is biblical in that it does appear in the Bible, uttered by Job in a seemingly worshipful, accepting manner after his family and possessions are destroyed, it’s important to understand that it does not necessarily reflect the truth of who God is in relation to his love for humanity.

What Does It Mean, “the Lord Gives and the Lord Takes Away?”?
We find the phrase in Job 1:21, after Job—a man described as blameless and upright, who loved God, shunned evil and was the greatest among all the people of the East (vv. 1-2)—lost his 10 children, thousands of livestock, and countless servants in a single day. This came some time after God and Satan were said to have argued over Job’s character. God described Job as God-fearing, but the devil said Job was only so fearful and righteous because all had gone well for him. God then granted the devil power over all Job had, though He said the devil could not hurt the man himself (v. 12).

When the cursed day arrived and Job did indeed lose everything, he was devastated. He tore his robe, shaved his head, and worshipped God, crying, “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” (Job 1:21).

Essentially, Job is acknowledging that despite what happened, God is sovereign. He rules over all and has all under control, and this appears to bring Job comfort. He does not blame God for any of this.

Is the Phrase “the Lord Gives and the Lord Takes Away” Biblical?
On one hand, the verse is biblical, meaning these words are indeed contained in the Bible. It is a statement uttered by a righteous man of God in the face of calamity. He’s lost it all, and he clings to the powerful nature of the Almighty God, who created us in the first place and gave us all the blessings we possess. It is a way Job is attempting to worship God, praising God’s stable and triumphant rulership when all else is lost.

And indeed, on the surface, there is truth in this. Genesis 1:1 tells us God “created the heavens and the earth” and went on to create all things in them—people, animals, planets, seas, stars, and more. Revelation 22:13 proclaims God as “Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Elsewhere, we are reminded of God’s sovereignty. Colossians 1:16-17 tells us that in God, “All things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Ephesians 1:11 says much the same, noting, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”

But taking a look at the entire book of Job gives us more context and understanding of the verse, which should not be read and interpreted on its own.

While at first Job praises this sovereign God who gives and takes away, later more destruction occurs. He is plagued with painful sores, and his wife and friends begin to falsely accuse him of bringing these sorrows upon himself—perhaps his sin prompted God’s retribution.

Soon, Job sinks into a depressive state. His view of God as one who would arbitrarily give and take away translates into despair. He sees it as an abuse of power, this God who destroys at will, seemingly for the fun of it. He moves away from God, and begins to see God as an enemy unworthy, perhaps, of his adoration.

As he finally utters in Job 30:20-22, “I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me. You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me. You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm.”

But ultimately, Job repents of this perspective. He understands he cannot define God as cruel or arbitrary. He cannot even say, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away” (Job 3:21).

As he reflects in Job 42:3-6, “You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.’”

Is Everything That Happens to Us because of God’s Will?
God does indeed have a plan for the world. He has a purpose and a will. And on one hand, God Almighty, who is all-knowing and all-encompassing, is indeed sovereign over everything. But not everything that happens is God’s will. For instance, God does not want us to sin, yet we do. In the case of Job, God was clearly delighted with Job, but while He didn’t cause the calamity to happen, He did allow the devil to do as he wished in the man’s life.

We cannot understand the ways of God, as Job ultimately concludes. But we do know God orchestrates all according to His ultimate purpose, no matter what.

As Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Why Does God Take Away?
It’s important to know that God’s plan is not for humans to live separated from Him by sin forever. He gave us temporary bodies on purpose, knowing that if we chose the true path—His Son, Jesus—we would be blessed with eternal life in heaven, where tears, sadness, and pain do not exist. Bad things do happen, but God uses them for His good purpose. And we can take comfort that when these bad things do happen, this world is not the end. Heaven is our ultimate destination. And the bad things we experience on earth enable us to be prepared for ministry in a deeper, more compassionate way.

We might not understand God’s reasons or even begin to understand a kernel of His plan, but we can trust that He loves us. We can trust that He makes a better way for us—a life removed from the sinful world and all its death and destruction.

A Prayer to Faithfully Trust God’s Plan
If you are in a place where bad things are happening to you or around you and you cannot fathom why a good and loving God can seem to give and take away, can seem to bless and curse in the same breath, here is a prayer that might help:

Father God, help us remember the words of Your servant Job, who understood after all his painful experiences that Your ways are beyond comprehension. I am but a human being, sinful and without full understanding. Some things are simply, as Job said, too wonderful for me to know. Help me, Lord, to trust that You are almighty. You created the world, and You have a plan that is being fulfilled. I might not be able to see it or even define it, but I put my faith in You, resting in the perfect peace that You are in full control. I surrender all to You. In Your holy and precious name I pray, Amen.

God knows all, sees all, and encompasses all. As God said through the prophet Isaiah, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

We can indeed trust God in good times and in bad. We are given this life, and breath in our lungs. Because of God’s great mercy and love, we are also given eternal salvation through His Son, Jesus.

This world and its happenings are not the end.

MORE ARTICLES ALL CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE AWARE OF….

Every Christian Should Watch This Before Its Too late – CLICK HERE TO WATCH!

Russian Attack On America’s Power Grid “Imminent?” – CLICK HERE FOR INFO!

Anyone with Enlarged Prostate Should Watch This – CLICK HERE

If You Believe in God, CLICK HERE to Watch This. It Will Blow Your Mind!

Shocking Truth About The Biggest Threat To Come – CLICK HERE FOR INFO!

Urologist: Try This if You Have An Enlarged Prostate – CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO!

Tests Christians Must Pass to Prepare for Your Calling

God has a call upon your life.” I hear that statement spoken so regularly, yet meet so few Christians who seem to know what their “calling” entails. In a culture that applauds vision, grit, and hustle to make it happen, how do we know when we are pursuing our calling or merely pursuing selfish ambition? Scripture offers some stunning patterns in how God issues a call upon people’s lives.

Maybe you’ve wrestled with your own calling. Life did not unfold the way you imagined and you feel forgotten or wonder if you missed it. You speculate if the stirring in your heart reflects the call of God. Or maybe you sensed a call but it feels stagnant and you deliberate how and when you might move forward. If the call feels too monumental, you doubt your ability to carry it forward. God, in His great grace, helps us to cease speculation by offering some samples of how He calls His people. An examination of these ancient Biblical patterns helps us discover God’s ways and His will for us today.

The Contrast of the Call
Most Biblical figures rarely responded with a resounding, “Now that’s what I’m talking about! I was made for this!” when God arrived announcing a call. Most experienced fear, expressed self-doubt or bewilderment, or the Bible does not offer an inkling of how they felt about it at all. I cannot think of a single scriptural instance in which the person prayed for a specific call of God upon their lives and God granted them an affirmative, “Yes.” More often than not, the assignment is one they never would have chosen for themselves. Something beyond their wildest imagination, like a virgin birth, or utterly inconceivable based upon their passion and giftedness.

Paul’s call fits into this pattern perfectly. Talk about vision and hustle, Saul the Pharisee sought the fast track to religious success. He cites an impressive resume for us: “a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless” (Philippians 3:5-6). Then Jesus showed up and rocked his world. In a heavenly vision, Jesus issued a new call upon Saul’s life: missionary to the Gentiles (See Acts 9:1-17).

His plan to rise above the ranks in the Sanhedrin became abruptly interrupted by a blinding light with a new call. Whoa! Paul left Jerusalem and headed toward Damascus in order to persecute and arrest those who followed Jesus. Until he became a follower himself. What displeased Paul even more than Jews who followed Jesus? Gentiles. Paul disdained Gentiles, yet now he would spend the remainder of his life serving them. An inconceivable calling.

5 Tests to Carry Out the Call
While the call itself seems unexpected and unanticipated in most scriptural accounts, walking out the call presents patterns to prepare us. Unlike the world, which tells us that when we are pursuing our call and giftedness we should experience exhilaration and success when we strive consistently, Paul’s example proves otherwise. We see Paul face five specific tests as he fulfills his call as a missionary to the Gentiles.

  1. The Test of Waiting. Paul waited a minimum of ten years since Jesus first appeared to him on the road to Damascus and he began actively ministering at the church in Antioch. Other than a three–year stint where he went down to Arabia to fully grasp the gospel of grace, we are not told how he spent his time. We know at some point he returned to his hometown of Tarsus, but that is all we are told. Until Barnabas arrived from Antioch to bring Paul to the predominantly Gentile church, Paul continued to wait for his calling to be fulfilled. We see a season of waiting often in Scripture beginning with Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, Ezekiel, Nehemiah, and even Christ Himself, living thirty long years before the onset of His ministry. God knows where He is leading in the round–a­–bout wait.
  2. The Test of Spiritual Opposition. After Paul spent a year of preparation teaching at the church in Antioch alongside Barnabas, both embarked upon their first missionary journey together. God allowed these men to bond in service together in a thriving church before sending them out to face opposition on missionary soil. Once on the island of Cyprus, they faced the forces of darkness. We see this same pattern with Jesus in Luke 4. God brings us into battle with evil so we learn to trust in His victory. When walking out our calling we should expect opposition.
  3. The Test of Emotional Opposition. After leaving Cyprus, Paul and Barnabas traveled to Iconium where their motives were questioned and their character slandered. When we step into the fullness of our calling others will downplay, distract and discredit us. Some might even desecrate us emotionally. God calls His servants to lean on Him emotionally in the oftentimes lonely place of living out one’s calling. Strife erupting does not signify that we have stepped outside of His call for us. Moses and David ran for their lives. Elijah and Ezekiel hid in foreign countries. The dynamic duo Paul and Barnabas disputed over John Mark.
  4. The Test of Praise. After leaving Iconium, Paul and Barnabas traveled to Lystra where they were worshiped as gods in response to a miracle. When God begins to do the unexplainable among and through us, people will start to praise the messenger rather than the Miracle Working God. Will we pass the test and humbly point them to Jesus or begin to think we are something special? Man’s heart is tested most severely in the crucible of praise. We must be prepared to handle God working wonders through us, in spite of us.
  5. The Test of Release.When Paul and Barnabas finished their missionary journey, they returned home to Antioch. Undoubtedly, they wonder how their fledgling churches would fare in their absence. It would be tempting to stay and continue to disciple each church for longer periods, yet they both knew they were called to spread the gospel to new lands. This meant letting God go and trusting God to finish what He had started through their faithful service. Sometimes in our calling, we can fall into the trap of being needed– as if God’s kingdom plans rest solely on our ability or involvement. We cannot release the good for God to call us to what is best. We have to let go of something in order for God to place His call within our grasp.

Preparing for the Tests
These tests often make us question our call as they are occurring. When the call feels so utterly foreign to our expectations we begin to believe our doubts and doubt our beliefs. Waiting exacerbates our confusion forcing us into greater faith. Opposition entices us to believe we are outside of God’s will for our lives. Praise invites us to move forward in our own strength and letting go of questions about our purpose or significance. Do you notice the one common denominator in the call? Death to self–reliance.

Whether you feel as though you are walking in your calling or waiting for it to be fulfilled, God calls us to intentionally prepare for what’s ahead. Passing these tests will never be easy. We prepare by intently examining these patterns of Scripture rather than self-analyzing or striving in our own strength. Are you walking through one of these tests? Chances are you are closer to carrying out your calling than you might think.

MORE ARTICLES ALL CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE AWARE OF….

Every Christian Should Watch This Before Its Too late – CLICK HERE TO WATCH!

Russian Attack On America’s Power Grid “Imminent?” – CLICK HERE FOR INFO!

Anyone with Enlarged Prostate Should Watch This – CLICK HERE

If You Believe in God, CLICK HERE to Watch This. It Will Blow Your Mind!

Shocking Truth About The Biggest Threat To Come – CLICK HERE FOR INFO!

Urologist: Try This if You Have An Enlarged Prostate – CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO!