The Misuse of Job 1:21

Matt Redman wrote a song based on it.

Newsboys has done a cover of that song.

It has entered into our pop culture, for better or worse, and we often have it devoid of its context.

I speak of Job 1:21b

The L-RD gave and the L-RD has taken away; blessed be the name of the L-RD. 

Now, while I have no problem with this verse on it’s own, I do have a problem with its over-application and misapplication to an abundance of situations.

The L-rd does give us gifts and callings. Yet, many times, I have heard pastors say that G-d can take our gifts away if we abuse them. However, this is nowhere supported in Scripture.  Rather, the Word teaches that they are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). He gives gifts, and, under His covenant, does so without repentance.  

As I was in my devotional time this morning, I thought about circumstances in which G-d might take something away from us.  A couple of good examples of this follow.

First, if Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it is impossible to please G-d without faith, then I would imagine G-d would seek to remove obstacles to faith in our lives.  If something keeps us from trusting G-d, then G-d might remove that, and so cause us to trust him. 

This does not include our callings.  The reason for that is that G-d is faithful to execute his word and keep us with the gifts that come from him.  Now, he might remove us from the scene where we are doing damage and abusing with our gifts, but He does not remove our gifts. He has no need to remove our gifts. 


Because, sooner or later, if we walk in gifts combined with bad character, then despite our gifts, our character will show who we truly are, and people will distance themselves naturally from us.  
If we keep operating in our gifts and bad character, either one of two scenarios usually results.
Either our opportunities for ministry will eventually dry up, or we will end up with a ministry to people who still see us as anointed without seeing our faults, and who end us as radically deceived as we are. I have witnessed this phenomenon in churches before, sadly.

 Secondly, G-d will frequently remove from us things that keep us from new levels of trust in Him.  This might be an unhealthy relationship, a job that distracts us from His calling on us, a wrong priority, or something that we hold as an idol.  

But it is not a spiritual gift.

Moreover, G-d does not steal, kill, or destroy.  That is Satan’s job (John 10:10). 

G-d does not kill off our family members or destroy the lives of others, nor does He steal our dreams and hopes in order to force us into a place of despair. His way is the way of breathing life into us.

I have seen people who attribute the loss of their child or the loss of an opportunity to the L-rd’s doing.
“We don’t know why it was their time. We don’t know why G-d called my baby home. The L-rd gave and the L-rd took away.”
Nothing is further from the truth. We can have a calling and a dream and a child that is from G-d and any attacks on those callings and dreams and children are not from the L-rd. Rather, they are from the enemy, who is allowed to attack us.
Now the reasons for those attacks are numerous, but G-d is not responsible for those attacks. He is not culpable. We need to understand and call attacks on things that give us life as attacks of the enemy.
And G-d desires us to handle these battles, not by getting bitter or angry at G-d, but by doing some spiritual warfare to stop Satan in his tracks and pull down some strongholds. G-d wants to use all things to breathe life into us.
And one aspect of G-d’s breathing life into us is by making us, as His sheep and flock, into His majestic warhorse (Zechariah 10:3b). He wants to take you, His sheep, and make you a vessel a weapon in His hand to destroy the works of the devil (Isaiah 54:16-17, 1 John 3:8, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). And He will do and use whatever it takes to ready us for battle, even an enemy attack.
So my question is, who is really reaponsible for that attack in your life?
Is it an attack on some aspect that breathes life into you? If yes, then go to the Scriptures and go to the L-rd and handle the battle that awaits you.
It is time for us to quit treating Job 1:21 as a fatalistic refrain and behaving toward life with apathy. It is time for us to take an active stance and label that death in our lives as the work of Satan and go after him and teceive the abundant life the Father has for us. It is time for us to become the warhorse he wishes us to become (2 Corinthians 5:17).

In His Rest…

So, today I was in the middle of writing a series on Proverbs 3:5-6, in which I was expounding on various ways we trust the L-rd and do not lean on our own understanding.
One of those ways is the way we trust the L-rd and allow him to direct our paths when it comes to our rest in him.
As I was in Psalm 95:7-9, the passage that begins:
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…
I had always read this passage independent of the rest of the Psalm, and even the second half of verse 7 apart from the first half.  The whole of verse 7 alone reads,
For he is our G-d,
And we are the people of his pasture
And the sheep of his hand
Today, if you hear his voice
The rest of the passage finishes the rest of the familiar segment “do not harden your hearts”
As I was reading this passage, John 10:27 came into memory.  Specifically the following phrase
My sheep hear my voice.
Psalm 95 says we are his flock and sheep. John 10 says we hear his voice.
Hearing the Father’s voice is critical to entering his rest. And as his sheep we can hear that clvoice, but we often harden our hearts against obeying that voice,
So there is an connection between Psalm 95:7-9 and John 10:27-30.
If we are his sheep, then we hear his voice. If we obey that voice then we enter the rest that he has for us, and it is not just a one-day-a-week rest. If we refuse to obey, then we refuse his rest.
Are you hardening your heart, or are you obeying what you hear?
Be doers of the word [of the voice that you hear] and not merely hearers, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:22