Does God Give and Take Away?

Job_by_ArtistXeroCreationsThe entire Bible is good for you, but you won’t get much out of it unless you know Jesus Christ. To understand the written word, you need to know the Living Word. If you try to read the Bible without an appreciation of Jesus – who He is and what He has done – you may end up taking someone else’s medicine. Some verses will appear to contradict others and you will get confused.

In the first part of this study on God’s gifts, we looked at a sincere lady in the Bible who mistakenly believed that God gives us bad gifts like death and poverty. Today I want to look at a man who had a slightly different problem. He believed that God gives us good gifts only to take them away again. You can probably guess that I’m talking about Job. Job had this one really bad week when his livestock were stolen, his servants were slain, and his kids were killed when a house fell on them. For some reason, Job thought God was behind his loss for he said:

“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (Job 1:21)

If there was ever a scripture that has led to some screwy notions about God’s character, it’s this one. Anyone who has suffered loss has probably heard this verse. It’s often quoted at funerals. We even sing songs about it. For some strange reason people seem to find comfort in believing that God is responsible for their loss.

Now don’t get me wrong – I love Job’s attitude. He’s saying that whatever happens in life, he’s going to praise the name of the Lord. He’s no fair-weather believer. But Job still said some dumb things about God. Later on in the story Job would come to regret his choice of words saying “I spoke of things I did not understand” (Job 42:3).

But the question stands: Does God really give and then take away?

Any picture we have of God needs to be informed by Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “radiance of God’s glory, the exact representation of his being” (Heb 1:3). To get a good understanding of God’s character, we need to look to Jesus, not Job. Can you imagine Jesus stealing or killing? Of course not. So how is it that some people think that God was responsible for Job’s loss?

Now you might say to me, “but Paul, it’s in the Bible, it’s right there in black and white – ‘the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away’.” Let me put it to you like this. If you want the very best insight into God’s character, are you better off looking at:

(a)    Jesus, who said “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9), or
(b)    Job, who had only heard of God but did not actually know him  (see Job 42:5)?

It seems obvious to me that Jesus is the better choice. Form your views of God by looking at the things Jesus said and did.

As we saw in Part 1, Jesus came to reveal God the Great Giver. Have you been given something good? Then see God as your source. He gave it to you:

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (Jas 1:17)

Who’s robbing you?

But what if you have suffered loss, like Job? He lost his health, his wealth, and his family. The temptation may be to blame God for your loss, as if God had a change of heart. But God is not fickle. He does not change like shifting shadows. He is an extraordinary giver who never takes back his gifts.

“God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty – never canceled, never rescinded.” (Rms 11:29, MSG)

So if God is doing the giving, who is doing the taking? Again, Jesus provides the answer:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Joh 10:10)

We ought not to be confused about these two different roles. One is a giver, the other is a taker. If you have been given something good, then give thanks to God. But if you’ve been robbed, don’t blame God. He’s not behind your loss.

Humans are spectacularly slow learners. From the beginning of human history the devil has been trying to steal or ruin everything God gave us and yet there are still some who think that God is the thief! God gave us authority over a planet and the devil took it. God gave us freedom and the devil somehow got us to choose the way of slavery. God gave us eternal life, health and glory, and we lost it all. But thank God for Jesus who took back what the devil stole!

Karma versus grace

If you think that God gives and takes away, then you’ve missed the point of Jesus. Jesus came to reveal a generous Father and to destroy the work of the Thief (1 Jn 3:8). Jesus came that we might have life to the full, not to the half.

If you think that God gives and takes away, then you have more faith in karma than grace. Karma says what goes around comes around. If you’re healthy now, you’ll likely be sick tomorrow. If you’re prospering now, poverty’s waiting just around the next corner. When disappointments and hardships come, you won’t be surprised. You’ll just throw in the towel and say, “I knew it was too good to last.”

The world works according to the principle of give and take, but God just gives. The only thing he’ll take off you – if you let him – is your sin, your shame, your sickness, your worries and your fears. He takes away those things that harm us and only gives us good things that bless us.

Are you a Job or a David?

Both Job and David were robbed. Both were greatly distressed and surrounded by foolish men who gave bad advice. But unlike Job, David did a very Jesusy-thing and took back what was stolen. Why did David fight back when Job quit? We are told that David “encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (1 Sam 30:6). In his pain David considered God’s goodness and realized that God was not behind his loss. He understood that it was not God’s will for him to suffer and, so strengthened, he fought back and prevailed.

I wish I could go back in time and get to Job before his friends did. I would say, “Job, God didn’t kill your kids! He didn’t steal your livelihood and make you sick. You’ve been robbed! The devil is having a go at you. Don’t sit there in the ashes and cry about it, get up and fight! Are you a warrior or a weakling? Are you a victor or a victim?”

The church will never see victory if we think God is behind our suffering. If we think God is robbing us we won’t even resist. We’ll let the devil waltz in and plunder our families all the while singing “He gives and takes away.” Funny, but I can’t imagine Jesus or David doing that.

For too long we have been incapacitated by uncertainty which is really just another name for unbelief. Don’t look to Job, look to Jesus! Jesus was never confused about who was giving and who was taking.
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Comments

  1. Ronald R says:

    Pastor, Can you give me the title of that song that are being sung in funerals? Glory to God!! powerful message.

  2. Susan Vivas says:

    Powerful! Enlightening! Eye opener!!! God Bless!!!!!!!

  3. lesley & Rodney says:

    We are really getting this about our Lord at last! and gradually putting it in to practice. Thankyou for your boldness and sharing.

  4. This is a really great article. I am trying to relearn a lot of incorrect teaching. Thank you.

  5. brandonhutzell says:

    Thanks for sharing. You’re next to last paragraph says… “we’ll let the devil waltz in and plunder…” Job 1:12… “and the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power…” God let the devil waltz in and plunder. The difficulty in what you share in this post is that it simply ignores God’s omnipotence. I think the church needs to recognize the suffering is not always bad. When we come to grips with this truth… we can receive suffering from the hand of God and it will not seem to oppose our correct thinking that only good comes from God.

    • Can you give me an example of “good suffering”? I have heard an argument similar to the one you make, which is this: God is sovereign, therefore suffering reflects God’s sovereign will. I have three problems with this. My first problem is that it is wholly inconsistent with the character of God as revealed in the Bible. Jesus said, “No one is good – except God alone” (Lk 18:19). Moses said, God “does no wrong, upright and just is he” (Deu 32:4). John said, “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 Jn 1:5). Jesus did not teach us to pray, “Our Father, help us to lie down and take all the suffering that life throws at us.” He taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Suffering is not found wherever God’s will is done. There is no suffering in heaven. There was no suffering in the Garden before man rebelled. God is indeed sovereign, but he is not schizophrenic. He’s not good on Sunday and then bad on Monday. He is 100% good 100% of the time.

      My second problem with the notion that God causes suffering is that it’s a faith-killing doctrine. If you think God made you sick, unemployed, or defeated, you won’t fight back. Why would you want to fight God? So you’ll just lie there and take it, believing the devil’s lies.

      My third problem with this doctrine is that it confuses sovereignty with causality. God is the Ultimate Cause, if you like, but he is not the cause of all things. If I come to your house and kick your cat across the living room, would you blame God? If you drive drunk and mow down an infant, should they arrest God for drunk-driving? Of course not. Was it God’s will or mine for your cat to get kicked? Was it God who drank too much or you? We can’t blame God for our mistakes. God didn’t sink the Titanic and God didn’t cause the Netherlands to lose the world cup. This is just fatalism dressed up with Christian clothes.

      What do you get when you combine God’s sovereignty with God’s goodness? You get Jesus. You get redemption. You get miracles. His majesty is not that He hammers people, but that He can bring good out of suffering and tragedy.

      • brandonhutzell says:

        Thank you Paul for the kind response. Let it be known that I appreciate the conversation and in no way have an argumentative attitude. I love and appreciate you as a brother in Christ. I am working through the problem of suffering for myself and am thankful for any input from others.

        as for problem #1… a simple revision of our conception of good will help us understand that suffering can indeed come from a good God. A red-bottomed toddler or a grounded teenager would obviously not call their chastisement good, though we the parents know that the temporary pain of their punishment is producing wisdom and positively shaping their character for the rest of their lives. Discipline is good, and a parent who disciplines is good… (Hebrews 12:6-11)

        problem #2… what if a christian man becomes unemployed because his job has become an idol, and he learns to trust his employer to provide for him instead of God. Should he fight the devil when God removes his paycheck until He learns who his true provider is? If so, he is not learning the intended lesson, and any failed test is necessarily taken again at another time and place. Fighting and quitting are not the only two options in response to suffering… learning is also an option if indeed the suffering is chastisement.

        problem #3… I belive drunk-driving and cat-kicking are not directly by the hand of God. The Ultimate Cause vs. situational cause is a tough discussion. I do not believe that all suffering is from God’s hand… but I also do not believe that all suffering is dispersed freely by satan and his legions… God is more powerful than that. I simply believe we must be more willing to watch for God’s hand and spiritual life lessons in the hardships we face. Constantly fighting the devil for hard things will produce children who are not willing to receive chastisement from father… and Hebrews 12 plainly states the position of such children.

        some other scriptures: I Corinthians 5:5, I Peter 2:20, I Peter 3:14-17

        Thanks again…
        I’m looking forward to another response if you’re so willing

      • Hi again Brandon. Thanks for your gracious comment. I think we share a strong desire to dig deeper into the reality of God and see his reality invade the reality we live in. I have just come from a Bill Johnson meeting where he preached on how the renewed mind is one which sees things from heaven’s superior perspective. This is the challenge every believer faces. Things which aren’t permitted in heaven, ought not to be permitted here on earth. That is God’s will.

        Now you can probably guess that I am talking about suffering, but in your latest comment you take on a broader definition of suffering than what I have in mind. So I want to distinguish three “painful” things. First is the kind of suffering that Job experienced – sickness and tragedy. Let’s be clear – this sort of suffering is not found in heaven and God does not cause it here on earth. Jesus came to deliver people from sickness and death. If God is giving sickness and death while Jesus is taking it away, then their house is divided.

        Second, you mentioned chastisement or discipline. Our loving Father does discipline us, but not through sickness or disease. (What kind of father would give his kids leprosy to teach them a lesson?) I don’t have space to go into this deeply, but the word “chastening” in Heb 12 – which to our minds connotes images of spanked bottoms – can also be translated as “education” or “training.” The Lord trains those He loves. How does He do this? How does He bring correction when we’re off course? Often it is through his word. We read something, the Holy Spirit gives us revelation, we repent and make a course adjustment. This is 100% a good thing and quite different from the physical and mental suffering that Job endured. To be trained by the Spirit is a mark of Sonship (Heb 12:7), and something I’m very pleased to be a part of!

        Third, you mentioned hardships so I would also distinguish persecution. Troubles and persecution can come because of the word. God gives you a promise, and the devil opposes it. You are now faced with a possibly painful choice. Live by what you see or live by faith. Persecution also comes simply from following Jesus and preaching His gospel (Jn 15:20). Think of Saul the persecutor who became Paul the persecuted. God said to Ananias, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name” (Acts 9:16). Paul was beaten, flogged, imprisoned – I would say that was suffering! It happened because of the gospel, but God was not the one beating and flogging him. [Update: See also my post on “Fear and Trembling“.]

        I agree with your view that Satan is not the cause of all suffering. Humanity is more than capable of afflicting suffering on itself without any outside help. But know that God is 100% good. He uses suffering and tragedy (of the first kind) for His redemptive purposes, but He doesn’t cause it. If you are suffering you do not need to wonder, “is this from God?” Just ask yourself, is this type of suffering His will in heaven? Or, did Jesus afflict people with this type of suffering? If the answer to either question is “no”, then you can confidently know His will for your situation.

      • Thanks for your post on this subject. It’s very relevant to me as I lost my 2 daughters (in 2003 and 2011). If Job had it wrong, then what do you make of Job 1:22?

      • I’m very sorry for your loss. I think the author of Job had the same old covenant understanding of God that Job had. As the book plainly states elsewhere, Job did accuse God of wrongdoing (eg: denying him justice in Job 27:2 and ignoring him in Job 9:16). By his own admission, Job was a self-righteous whiner, full of self-pity (Job 3:20, 7:11), who wished he had died at birth (Job 3:11). Happily, he came to understand that God was bigger than he thought and he repented of his unbelief (Job 42:5-6).

      • Thank you Paul for such a great post !!! On the front cover of Adelaides Sunday Mail was the headlines God gives everything and then He takes it all away in regards to the SA bush fire destruction of property – I felt very uncomfortable with this statement knowing it was wrong but not sure where people get this from even my Christian friend over coffee today said its in the bible in Job like it must be true then so when I got home I looked up your post on this and to my delight ( but not surprise ) you nailed it perfectly wow so beautifully put & so I just want to thank you so much as I have shared this on FB to Christian and non Christian friends and family

      • Hi Julie, I’m horrified to hear about that headline. God is not a bush fire! I lived in Australia for 10 years and saw plenty of fires. I even saw a locust plague once – it went through the Wheat Belt. But never did I hear anyone blaming God for those disasters. I’m glad you found my article and are sharing it with your friends. South Australians are going through a tough time right now. They need to hear the good news of God’s love, not the bad news of Job’s superstition.

      • Warren Murray (South Carolina) says:

        Awesome reply to Brandon.
        Blessings,
        Warren (South Carolina, USA)

      • Alice H. says:

        Paul, I was going to ask about Job 1:22 as well. However, your answer leaves me with some confusion: saying that “the author of Job had the same old covenant understanding of God that Job had” seems to be disqualifying that verse, implying that it’s flawed. This contradicts 2 Timothy 3:16 – “every Writing is God-breathed, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for setting aright, for instruction that is in righteousness,” (YLT). How can this be, if the verse Job 1:22 is flawed by an old covenant understanding? But if Job 1:22 is right and it’s not sin to say that God takes away, and lying or accusing God of wrongdoing is sin, then does God take away?
        I’m posting because I was in a panic last night over a sign of a new injury that I thought, and prayed, I had taken care of earlier that day. After my appointment, I was told it would be fine. I prayed throughout the whole procedure. I thanked God afterward that it had gone well & that He had helped me catch it before it got worse. But then late last night I felt pain, and panicked. Your post here was what calmed me down and led me to repent of being angry and afraid. But I remembered Acts 17:11 this morning, so I listened to Job and heard 1:21 immediately followed by “In all this, Job sinned not, nor charged God with wrong.” (KJV) I don’t know what to think.

      • It is very easy to get confused and panicky if you read scriptures without filtering what you read through the lens of Jesus. The written word must be filtered through the Living Word before it will release life. Job missed the mark several ways. He was full of self-pity (Job 7:11). He was bitter (Job 3:20, 27:2). He thought God didn’t care enough to listen (Job 9:16). He wished he had died at birth (Job 3:11) and he longed for death (Job 3:21, 7:15, 17:13). No wonder that after the Lord confronted him he repented for saying so much foolish stuff. “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand” (Job 42:3).

        These things are in the Bible so that we might be instructed in the way of righteousness. Since Job was self-righteous (Job 13:19, 32:1-2), he’s an example NOT to follow. As I say in the post, he does the exact opposite of the man (David) who God said was a man after his own heart. If you would be a woman after God’s heart, don’t follow Job. Follow Jesus. Did Jesus give sickness or injuries to anyone? No, he took them off people. Jesus never takes his gifts away but he surely carried our sins and infirmities (Is 53). Be thankful that he did and live blessed.

    • roger vankuylenburg says:

      Because job was in fear
      Fear is faith in reverse

  6. brandonhutzell says:

    I’m sure you’re a busy guy, so please receive my thanks for the response. I’m working on taking an apparently big jump from my belief about suffering to something similar to your point of view. It is not an easy jump to make and I know their are a lot of variables in the life situations of millions and millions of people inhabiting planet Earth. For now, I join Job in saying… “I spoke of things too wonderful for me to know”. Thanks again and blessings to you brother.

    • Hi Brandon & Paul,
      I love how you two are talking.
      I believe there are 3 sources of hardships;
      a) the devil
      b) a corrupted world where things physically decay
      c) the failure of GRACE in a fallen world
      God is not responsible for any of these.
      God CAN make ALL things work for Good for people who love Him & have been called according to His purposes.
      However He doesn’t NEED these hardships and prefers infinitely that we would know & believe His Word to renew our soul and body.
      Grace & peace.

  7. God's baby girl says:

    Paul, thank you for the article. It is early on the morning I am suppose to join others in singing a popular song with the statement “He gives and takes away.” From the first time I heard the song, when getting to the part “He gives and takes away”, I always stop singing because it is theologically incorrect and unjust to God. Job is the only book that made that statement and we all know the mental state of Job and he did not have the concept of satan. The statement is very religious and it kills. Humanly speaking, why would you give your son or daughter cookie/candy then turn around and take it back forcibly or even peacefully. The child’s cry will be deeper because the same person that gave the sweet snack is the same person that took it away. But if someone else took the cookie/candy from the child, then the child will run to you and tell you what happened and he will want you to give him another cookie/candy and/or request that you take it back from the person that took it from him.

    But hallelujah our SAVIOR JESUS came to destroy the work of the enemy told the truth of who is behind our set backs, IT IS THE DEVIL. The devil is the father of lies, killer, destroyer and a thief and GOD is the GIVER of all good things. OUR GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and NOT TO HARM YOU, plans to give you hope and a future.” We need to change our perspective of God, because to receive goods things from HIM, we must believe that HE is a rewarder, restorer and LOVES to give us the desires of our hearts. AMEN

  8. If God is always good, then why do children die from cancer? If God is always good, then when a car is stopped at a stoplight, and a truck comes flying down the highway, and the truckdriver isn’t paying attention, slams into the car killing everyone it, who caused that? If the ‘enemy’ is a root cause of bad things, then why is God allowing the the bad thing to happen? How many of us would ‘run’ to a Daddy, who when we got to his lap, would grab us by the forearm and slap us across the room? I know many Christians who have suffered. I know many who suffered and died. Life is not always good. I have seen this before my very eyes. If God is in control of everything, then you must admit that God allows bad things to happen even to those that have faith in Him, and even to those that love him. When I had cancer I had to walk through the children’s cancer ward to get to my doctor’s office. I remember their little faces, the IVs hooked up to them. Some crying, some laughing, some sleeping…but all with cancer none the less. I say there are things about God we cannot understand. God has a God brain, not a human brain. His ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts, and what we think is important, he may not think is important at all. I say we are put on the earth not to see how much material things we can accumulate, not to see how much money we can make, but I think we were put here to care for one another. and maybe the bad things going on in the world are because some folks just dont care about one another anymore. But seeing children suffer, children murdered, tortured, raped….that is straight from Satan…so why isn’t it stopped? Ah but then we get back to having to maybe admit there are things that God does not stop from happening even though he knows it is going to happen ‘down the road’..hard pill to swallow.

    • Hi Lou,
      Thanks for writing. I totally agree with you when you say there are things about God we cannot understand. Why doesn’t a good God stop all the evil and suffering? I don’t know. My father died of cancer when he was 36 years old and just a few weeks before my brother was born. Why does God allow this? I don’t know. I don’t write about this sort of thing much because I don’t have all the answers. None of us may ever know this side of eternity why God allows this stuff. But what I do know is that God is on the throne and He is good. Sickness happens to good people but it never comes from a good God. He died to set us free from sickness, sin and poverty. He never asked me to figure everything out. He just asks that I trust Him, and I do. Suffering is a hard pill to swallow, but we can fight back with confidence knowing that it is not His will for us to suffer. We can lay hands on kids with cancer utterly convinced that God wants us to heal them. Any time you doubt His good will in your own life, just look what He did for you at the cross.

      • I think u just never experience loosing your own child due to cancer . You didn’t go through each day of painful journey. You don’t have to ask the mercy of your God everyday to heal your child. You never heard a pray from your own child asking God to heal them and nothing but u saw worse n worse condition. You never experience the pain of seeing the faith of your own child waiting God to heal them

      • Dear Jeannie, I am truly sorry for your loss.

      • Nickolina says:

        i have an answer for this. i hope i can make you understand at least a little by giving you an awesome word ” faith”. now answer this question, if you want god to keep on giving you all good things, will you ever remember his name?/his miraculous works? definitely no, is it? because we are human beings who experiences confusion at times when things happens beyond our control. so in order to remind us that he is still alive, certain bad things happens which is from the satan. so just to test us whether we are still with him in faith, satan gives us bad things. so as god’s children, we should not turn back to satan by giving up god’s faith when we are in trouble. just be strong in your bad times and the battle will be fought against satan exclusively for you by our GREAT GOD!!!

      • Hi Paul, I strongly believe that God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life. I also strongly believe that He is Good. I agree with you that we do not and will not understand everything about God on this side of heaven. However, from His word and my experience in life, I am compelled to believe that God knows what is best for me at any given time of my life. He is in control and on the throne. Therefore, no matter what happens to me – good or bad – I know it is in his will and for my good.

      • This is not faith, but fatalism. It’s actually unbelief in Jesus and what he said. I’m not trying to pick a fight; just trying to get you to filter what you believe through the Word of God (ie: Jesus). More here.

    • Lou,
      God is not in control. That’s the problem you’re butting up against, wrong theology about God being in control. He’s in charge not in control. This video from Bill Johnson explains it well.

    • I believe death is one of the toughest things in Life. I believe that is why many people question and doubt God. First, God is real, his word is true and you have to understand his word and believe in it. I recently had my baby who died, I’m a faithful Christian, and I believe the problem was we had faith, but did not have the works to go with it. So I agree God do not allow bad things, I think it is a result of our actions. I look at it as seed time and harvest, if we plant a seed in the ground, then we do not water it. The seed dies, it is not God fault, we did not do our part. It do not die instantly, but took a while for it to die, we have to do work. God gave us dominion and many things are the people’s fault in the world. A lot of things take a while for it to harvest, good or bad. A baby with cocaine in its system is not their fault. I am responding to encourage and help someone. To stay focus and not waste life. Enjoy life and stay faithful.

      • Hi Tyler you should read Corinth 3 the whole chapter,you are judging yourself for What God is responsible for. This is not from God and I can only assume it is someone else’s poison spoken to you.I am so terribly sorry for your loss, but I can assure you God loses nothing that is his, and Jesus himself said do not stop the children from comment to me. In another place he says unless we become like little children we can not enter heaven.I know you have written to encourage others, but I believe it is you who needs encouragement.

  9. I am deeply moved with tears of thanksgiving for the wisdom God has given you in writing this letter (and your wisdom in responding to honest questions). God bless you Paul Ellis, whoever you are. Recently, I had this church praise song “Blessed be the name of the Lord. You give and take away. ” pop into my head after a string of negative thoughts were pummeling my mind over a loss in my life. I searched for the verse in Job and for answers and found this blog. Thank you!

    • Lisa Radice, Richardson, Tx says:

      “You gave to make a way, You gave to make a way, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name”

  10. I stumbled across this post because Nick Thacker (@loopingworship) retweeted something I said on Twitter. As I was investigating, I saw that you had also been retweeted and found this article.

    I’ve been a worship / music leader for 11 years, and I’ve always tried to eschew songs which are theologically unsound, but Blessed Be Your Name slipped by me. I enjoy this song because of how it encourages us to continue praising God even in the midst of suffering. It never occurred to me that the bridge (You give and take away) could be incorrect. You make a very strong argument. Especially where theology is concerned, I tend to be a slow adopter, but you’ve encouraged me to seriously reconsider some things. Thanks for helping to keep it real.

    • Hi Chris – thanks for your comment. I was in a church recently singing “Blessed be your name.” It’s a really great song! But for myself I changed the refrain to “You give and give and give!” (Are there any lyricists out there who can do better?) As much as I love the story of Job, I don’t identify with his pain-distorted judgments of God’s character.

      • doesn’t Job chapter 2 verse 3 make it very clear just Who is moving against Job?

      • Lisa Radice, Richardson, Tx says:

        “You gave to make a way, You gave to make a way, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name”

      • ‘You give and give again’ is what i sing with great joy!

      • Michael Austin says:

        “You give and make a way” is what our music team changed the words to.

      • “You give not take away!”
        That’s what I sing.
        Blessings.

      • Urgent change of Boolean operator needed!
        “You give NOT take away.”
        Thanks for helping to open my eyes to God’s Hyper, Hyper Grace.
        My life will never be the same.
        Thank you Jesus!

    • I’m with you mate, I’m in the same boat. Now I think about it hey, it just doesn’t make any sence.

      • I have had issue with this song, but I never knew anybody else did! I told my dad, that I when I sing it I change the meaning of the words for me to mean that He gives me all good things, and takes away all my sins. But I really like the way that your worship team changed the words to you give a make a way, I love that! So good bc so scriptural!

  11. I saw somewhere in an earlier post that spoke of Paul’s sufferings. I would like to point out that even then Paul did not suffer unnecessarily. When he disobeyed God (God said not to go to Jerusalem), he took his flogging like a man. But when they tried to flog him another time, he declared his status as a roman citizen with authority.

  12. I’ve always has my doubt on this song when a church I attended sings this during worship service. It just didn’t make sense. But my husband said the part that sings ‘you give and take away’, he interpret as, He ‘gives’ good gifts and blessings, and He ‘takes’ away our pain, diseases and sicknesses. I thought it was not a bad idea to think it this way.

    • Best comment ever from your Husband Fay. ‘Give’ good gifts and blessings and ‘takes’ away oru pain, diseases and sickness and may I add sins. As I rooted thru all the comments after just now discovering the song again, I think this is just a good one for the theme “Escape to Reality”. Upon first knocking into the song on my phone I give it some thought for a while until I come across these passages.

  13. I came across this blog like many seem to have. I have always felt a restriction in my heart when singing the wonderful song ‘Blessed be Your Name’ & get to the bit about ‘You give & take away’ & would often not sing that bit. I was searching the net for helpful commentaries about this. This was the first I saw. I found the above discourse most helpful.

    Initially I found the assertions by Paul Ellis perhaps a little harsh (as the truth often can be). However as I read the thoughtful & humble discourse with brandonhutzell, I was really blessed & appreciated how, in an attitude of love, we can disagree yet influence each other & perhaps come to agree rather than take up entrenched positions & feel threatened.

    Thank you brethren, & all the contributors.

    Just as I thought I had clinched it though, I went back to study the scripture again & read the comment that followed ‘The Lord gives & takes away.’ Job1.22 ‘In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly’. Does this mean that Job’s statement was deemed not to be wrong as he did not sin by his comments or ‘blame God’/ ‘charge God with wrongdoing’?

    • The writer of the book of Job, like every Old Testament writer and Job himself, lived with an incomplete picture of God’s character. If the writer was Moses or some other person living under the old covenant law, it would be consistent to think of God as someone who gives and removes blessings. But this view of God is shaped by an inferior covenant. It describes a temporary way that God chose to relate to people. It does not begin to capture His heart of lovingkindness and His eternally good purposes. We need to form our views about God from Jesus, not Job or any other OT personality. You might say to me, “but Paul, it’s right there in black and white.” But God is bigger than His book. If you look at the chapters where God describes Himself – who He is and what He has done – you will see that He never mentions taking away things. He creates, He gives, and He rules with justice. In fact, God rebukes Job for questioning His judgments (40:8). Job had basically said God was unjust for allowing the bad things to happen. Job later repents saying “I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:3). What was “too wonderful”? How about God’s character?

      Also, don’t forget the very specific nature of the test Job was facing. Satan was agitating to get Job to curse God to His face (1:11). Job said some dumb things, but in all his suffering he never cursed God, and that is the point of Job 1:22.

      • With all due respect, are you sure that Job lived under the covenant of the law?

      • No, my guess is that he lived before the law-keeping covenant had been given. We don’t know exactly when he lived. What we do know for sure is (a) he had an incomplete revelation of God, (b) he and his friends knew nothing of Satan and so attributed Satan’s works to God, and (c) Job was fearful and, frankly, a bit superstitious. This is why he made so many sacrifices. This is why many people make sacrifices today – they are motivated by fear and the false belief that they can atone for their misconduct.

  14. Paul, you say that both Hannah and Job made “dumb comments” and that they had “distorted views” of God’s character, yet I feel that they had a deep understanding of God’s character and that their comments were valid. True God is 100% Good, that there is no evil found in Him.

    But, how can God’s sovereignty be understood without understanding the simple fact that God does IN FACT “give and take away.” God loves us, no doubt about it, He came down as a man and humbled himself to the point of a cross so that we can experience eternity with Him. We did NOTHING to deserve it. In fact all of us because of sin deserve Hell. But Jesus came and SUFFERED for us. Our salvation comes at a cost, but even with all of that, like the Israelites, we are prone to wander, stray and make idols of ourselves and the things of this world, yet because God loves us, He will take a way in order that we will grow closer. Look at Job, by the end of his suffering his relationship with God grew even more. Through sacrifice and loss, when we cling to our Savior, His sacrifice for us becomes more real and our relationship with Him becomes more solid. This is what true blessing is.

    With that said, God will remain sovereign over us and-to us whom He calls-always has our best in mind. Nothing goes on in this world without his consent, if one day he decided to stop our breathing He very much could, and yes He is just in that because He created us. Or did God not Harden pharoah’s heart(note the bible didn’t say it was sin or Satan)? Or send plagues on the Egyptians? If anything as I am writing these things I am feeling humbled knowing that if God wanted to, He could take away the roof over my head, my job, my family and whatever else for His glory.

    • Dear Ulysses, thank you for your comment. You say God takes away His good gifts because He loves us and so that we will draw closer to Him, but you provide no evidence other than old covenant stories. I don’t relate to God under that inferior and obsolete covenant because I’ve met Jesus. Presumably, you have too. The context of your comment is “God brings death” (Hannah) and “God takes away health, possessions and children” (Job). In other words, He kills people and takes things. Can you provide any scriptural evidence for your claim that God is a killer and a thief from the new covenant? I also wonder how you respond to Jesus’ claim that He came to give life while the thief comes to take and destroy it (Jn 10:10). It seems Jesus and you have different points of view about who’s killing and who’s giving.

      Incidentally, I see no inconsistency between a person holding a deep understanding of God’s character yet still saying the occasional dumb thing about Him. We are all growing in the knowledge of His grace and character. By the end of his book Job said that he had spoken of wonderful things “which I did not know” (42:3)

  15. For the record, never did I claim that God was a thief and a killer. You are the one pining me as a “spectacularly slow learner.” You say “old covenant stories” as if to say the God of the old testament is in stark contrast to the God of the New testament (which is absurd because they are the same person, that is if you do in fact believe in a triune God.) With that said Let’s take a look at Romans 9, where Paul speaks to the Romans of God’s sovereign will. When Paul speaks of Jacob and Esau whom before coming out of the womb God says “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated”, he says in Romans 9:14 ESV-
    “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For He says to Moses “I will have compassion on whom I have compassion,” so then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”
    He goes on later to say that, by the example of Pharoah that I used earlier, He “has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever He wills.” Romans 9:18 ESV.
    He yet goes on further to say (and this cut me to the core the first time I read it)
    “You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?” But who are YOU (note I put emphasis on “you” for a purpose), O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to it’s molder, “why have you made me like this?” This sounds very similar to something God said to Job in the Old testament-
    “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me if you have understanding.” Job 38:4 ESV
    My point is that yes if we do believe in Jesus Christ and make Him Lord of our lives that we will spend eternity with Him, but lets not be so quick to assume that because we’re saved that God may not decide to shake up our world a little bit or a lot. It’s very clear in Romans that He decides who recieves the Holy Spirit and who doesn’t. HE gave Satan free reign on Job. When Stephen was stoned in Acts 7 it was God’s WILL that he would be stoned by the Jews. When Paul was mocked, beaten, and imprisoned to the point of death, it was God’s WILL for this to happen. When Peter was martyred, it was God’s WILL for this to happen. Satan did not take them away, or put them through trials and tribulations, God WILLED these things to happen so that He could be glorified. Jesus came to give life to those whom He calls, Satan and his workers come to destroy it. Jesus gave us a new life, but He doesn’t will it to be an easy thing for us, how else are we to draw closer to Him if everything came easily. It’s HIS WILL that Satan is allowed to pester us in order that we cling to Him. It’s HIS WILL that Satan will steal many and bring them into eternal destruction, but God is the one calling the shots! Because it’s all His!
    Jesus loves those He appoints unconditionally, but don’t be so quick to put Jesus in this all grace no wrath category. You put too much importance on the “blessings” of this world as opposed to the eternal blessings in Heaven. If you see earthly blessings praise Him! If you see lose praise Him! Nothing is promised to us here, Our life is but a vapor is it not? Blessed are the sick, the deaf, the lame, the blind, and all those who have gained & lost through God’s sovereign will, for who says that we can’t use what God has taken away to help empower and change someone’s life?

    • Ulysses, you touch on many interesting issues, but you never answered my question. You assume it was God’s will for Peter to be martyred, because Peter was martyred. That’s not evidence, but illogic. According to your reasoning it was God’s will for terrorists to fly into the World Trade Centre. It seems you are a fatalist. By definition, someone who takes things from you is a thief (Jesus’ words not mine – Jn 10:10), and if God is taking life while Jesus is giving life, then they’re working against each other. Oh I’m sure you could construct an elaborate theology to account for these contradictions, but I’m not buying something that requires no faith. God sent His Son because He loved the whole world. He is not willing that any should perish. “Nothing is promised to us here”?! I could not disagree more. In your view, the cross makes no difference here and now and Jesus healed the sick for no reason except to show that He has favorites (and to torment those who aren’t). You are naïve if you think it’s blessed to be sick or handicapped. I guess if I have not been able convince you that God is good all the time and that He wants His will done here as it is in heaven, then nothing I write here will be convince you now. Thanks for sharing your views.

      • Frank Ticas says:

        There seems to be an underlying animosity in your responses when people don’t necessarily “buy” your belief that God doesn’t take away or that He doesn’t work in ways that may seem “unfair”. The Bible does in fact show that He has allowed for “negative” things to happen in order to manifest His power (John 9:1-3 “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him”, John 11:1-5 “he (Jesus) said, This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby”). Niether of these men sinned, and there is no mention of Satan causing neither of these ailments. Jesus also describes in Matthew 25 from verse 34 to 40 the different states in which we might find “the least” of His brothers;hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, in prison, strangers, with no sin attached to any of these conditions in that text. Does it say in these verses that God is responsible for any of these conditions? Do we assume as you have that the devil is behind it all? This in no way shape or form should make us any less grateful and this should not diminish our faith. On the contrary; it should make us realize that nothing escapes God’s greater will for us and that He is interested in perfecting us and purifying us as gold is tested by fire.

      • Hi Frank, with all respect, do you have a point? The point of the post is that Job was blaming God for his loss and this is wrong. Yes, I am hostile to the idea that God robs us because it is a lie from the pit of hell. It leaves Christians wringing their hands and talking about the sovereignty of God and His mysterious ways when we should be fighting back. Here’s my point again: God is a giver; the devil is a thief. If you have a different view, feel free to share it.

    • Roshan Easo says:

      God did not really hate Esau. If you remember in Genesis 32 and 33, Esau was actually extremely wealthy and powerful in his own lifetime. Jacob was even a bit shocked and weary. The hate that Esau experienced was in terms of the lineage of Jesus and the nation of Israel – both went to Jacob. In the same way, the way to read Romans 9 is in terms of accepting the reality of salvation through Christ. God’s point is that “O Man” cannot attain salvation any other way than through Jesus. Outside God’s will of love – which is served and lead by Jesus, man is left to bitter and arrogant self-destruction. God is a God of love, not of robots – so we can decide our own way, or we can trust Jesus. And good news of good news – Jesus said, “I came to give life.”

      • Roshan Easo says:

        The reason that Esau did not receive the promise, was simply because God was trying to demonstrate that it’s not by one’s own power (Esau being eldest) that the promises are received, but rather through weakness. So Jacob was elected. God’s point is not pick favorites – but to give as symbol, that God’s our source rather than self. And that source happens to be a well of good news. Thank goodness we are blessed in Christ, not cursed. We are to fight through curses with the sinless identity we have in Christ – the way Christ fought through the cross, scorning it’s shame for the glory that was to come. He did not conform or give in to the cross – he knew better and his heart was you and me 2000 years later.

  16. Paul, it seems you’ve garnered some attention with this post… it’s clear that many believers carry different viewpoints on suffering. Because suffering is one of the legs on the atheist’s “three legged stool” -(God is absolutely good, God is all powerful, and evil and suffering exist)- it is important we display a unified, truthful answer to nonbelievers who are deceived and confused by this “dilemma” which is really no dilemma at all. I’ve been following each post over the last few months and would like to humbly chime in again.

    You said above: “I don’t relate to God under that inferior and obsolete covenant because I’ve met Jesus.”

    It seems rather bold to take a stand on how YOU’VE DECIDED to relate to God, especially when Jesus said He did not come to abolish the old covenant but to fulfill it. You’re point is well taken, however, and I believe you’re motives are pure. However, God’s allowing Job to suffer occurred before the old covenant ever began.

    Also, it is important to note that though Jesus and God are ONE, yet they are also separate, and there are distinctions among the three persons of the Trinity. The Word says that Jesus “did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him would be saved”. This doesn’t mean that God no longer condemns the world. As a matter of fact, it is the Holy Spirit who moves on the heart of sinners to make them aware of the very condemnation that Father looms over their head… this is the beginning of their coming to Christ for salvation. Spurgeon said that people will not value the sin offering of Christ unless they are fully aware of their sinfulness. God still condemns, and Jesus saves. There are distinctions among the Trinity, and even though we no longer relate to God under the old covenant, He and His ways have not changed.

    The Old Covenant is types and shadows of the gospel of Jesus, and it is also types and shadows of how God works to bring us to the place where we recognize our need for Jesus. (judgement, hunger, wilderness, slavery, etc.) all these things are grace in action if they lead us to a place of eternal salvation.

    I believe the key to helping us stand together on this topic is to be honest, revere the truth, and to understand that suffering has different origins. It is not always Satan, it is not always harvest for our sin, and it is not always God. There are many variables and it is up to the person or persons involved to be lead by the Spirit to determine the origin and purpose of suffering. A blog post is insufficient to paint an accurate broad stroke to define and explain suffering world wide.

    This post has been a blast to follow and I’m looking forward to more visitors and more comments. Love ya brother Paul. cool name Ulysses.

    p.s. doesn’t Job chapter 2 verse 3 make it very clear just Who is moving against Job?

    • Brandon, I’m not sure why you have a problem with me making a decision to put my faith in Christ and then being bold about it. Everyone makes decisions about whether to trust Christ or their own religious performance, but not everyone is clear about their decision. I desire to be clear: None but Jesus!

      When I said the old covenant was inferior and obsolete, I was quoting the Bible (2 Cor 3:11, Heb 8:13). Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the old covenant so we don’t have to. I disagree with the notion that God the Son and God the Father are in a good cop-bad cop routine with humanity, that one saves while the other condemns. Hebrews 1 tells us that the Son is the “exact representation” of the Father. Jesus is not like a housewife protecting her kids from an abusive father. There are distinctions within the Trinity but they are united in purpose, character, desire, and redemptive plan. Everything God the Father said while Jesus walked the earth affirmed the ministry of the Son. Regarding Job 2:3, I have been waiting for my friend Cornel to publish his views on that (but he’s taking his sweet time!). Let me say what I’ve been saying from the beginning: Jesus offers us a far better, far more accurate picture of God the Father than Job and whoever wrote the book of Job. Where there are apparent inconsistencies in Scripture, you’re infinitely safer going with Jesus.

      • brandon hutzell says:

        It’s cool bro, see you at the Marriage Supper… None but Jesus!

      • Happy Christmas Brandon!

      • Let us say there are two adults and one child. One if the adults is the child father. The other adult is the fathers enemy. So, we are the child, the father is God, and the enemy is Satan. So the child has a toy. The enemy decides, since he hates the father, to take away our toy. Now we are sad, but we know that the father is watching us 24/7. So we know the father could have stopped the enemy. And the enemy also knows this. So the enemy is hoping that we will hate the father as the enemy hates him. But instead we fight it, and go against the enemy. (that’s what you are saying Paul) Now, what if it didn’t happen that way. Let’s say the father take away our toy be cause we are finding our joy in the toy, rather than the father that gave us the toy. So the father took it away and we know he could have stopped himself from doing so, but didn’t. But the father sends us another child (Jesus). And that child shows us that our joy should be in the father rather than in the toy. So the child show us how to find joy in the father. After we realize this the child gives us other toy, and we find joy in the father that gave us the toys and the child who showed us how reality really is. See God can be taking away and Jesus can be giving and still be on the same agenda.

      • This is the kind of euphemistic mumbo-jumbo that binds the saints and has them saying “God killed my kids.” God doesn’t give us toys. Toys come from toy shops. Job lost his kids and his livelihood. Are you saying that God killed Job’s kids because he was enjoying them too much!?

      • Someone just wrote me and ended with “God gives and God takes away”. I found your article and I’m sending it to her.
        In the same time I’m going through the comments and counter-comments where Frank Ticca says “There seems to be an underlying animosity in your responses when people don’t necessarily “buy” your belief that God doesn’t take away…” I don’t think so.

        Actually I’m going through something similar actually with the person I’m mentionning above and she accuses me of trying to convince her that I’m right and she’s wrong.
        All I can say is that it’s not easy to preach the grace and goodness of God I found and I might have blown it quite a few times trying to convince.
        But Paul you’re really doing a good job in patience and lovingkindness, I’m learning a lot from you, thank you, blessings to you brother!

    • Lisa Radice, Richardson, Tx says:

      <3 Awe Brandon, you're breaking my heart <3 The Holy Spirit does not condemn, but convicts. There is a huge difference. People are drawn to repentance by God's great mercy and by His goodness, not by their feeling condemned by their own sins. Believe me, I know first hand about this. I have taken a few different approaches in trying to get people to listen to me tell them about Jesus and how they need Him. But two I will mention here are (a) pointing out people's sins and (b) pointing out God's mercy. Well, I did once hold strong to the saying "Law to the proud! Grace to the humble!" But I've never been able to get anyone to listen to me while I had my accusing finger in their face and a Bible in the other hand trying to force feed them the TRUTH! No! It's God's goodness and mercy that attracts people to His saving grace and causes their hearts to soften toward Him. God is love. Love is patient….love is kind….. <3

      If we don't know why something is happening, all we have to do is ask God to give us discernment and to show us what it all means. He is faithful to answer. Always <3

  17. Matt Shockey says:

    Brandon Hutzell,
    You say that anywhere suffering exists God’s will is not being done. I’d encourage you to consider Christ’s bloody, excruciating, work of atonement on the cross. Isaiah 53:5, prophesying about the SUFFERING servant, namely Jesus, says “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” And Isaiah 53:10 goes as far to say “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief.” The greatest thing that has ever happened to a hell-deserving sinner like me is the SUFFERING of Jesus Christ, willed by the Father.

  18. Matt Shockey,

    Thanks for the post, however, the comment your addressing wasn’t made by me, It was made by Mr. Ellis. I agree with you wholeheartedly sir, and I’m thankful you’ve joined the conversation with the very true, amazingly moving scripture that tells us “it pleased the Father” to crush His son for our salvation. By the way, I’ve blogged on Job at http://www.loveleaven.wordpress.com if you’d like to check it out. (blog title: noone is innocent) blessings man…

    • Dear Matt and Brandon,

      I suspect we are talking past each other. As I said in a comment near the top of this thread, there’s more than one kind of suffering. This post is about Job’s kind of suffering – i.e., loss of health, children, and wealth. You might say Job was a classic victim, which I define in the literal sense as one who suffers from adverse circumstances. Jesus was not a victim. His suffering was different from Job’s. As far as we know Jesus never got sick and He was never robbed. I am sure the devil tried to do to Jesus what he did to Job, but Jesus didn’t lie down and take it.

      Yet Jesus suffered incredibly as a result of yielding His will to the Father. All the apostles suffered and all of us will suffer when we live for Christ because His will cuts against the grain of this world. The kingdoms of this world won’t let you seek first His kingdom without some resistance. Pharaoh will not help you pack your bags for the Promised Land. The Bible calls this kind of suffering persecution or trials or troubles. This kind of suffering is inevitable, but cheer up, Jesus has overcome the world! (If you want to learn more about suffering for the gospel and bearing up by the grace of God, read 2nd Corinthians.)

      When your circumstances cause suffering, you have a simple choice. You can lie down and blame God like Job, or you can fight back strengthened in the Lord like David. If you think God is making you sick or killing your kids, how could you do anything other than act like a victim? If the devil can get you to passively accept sickness, he wins. If he can then get you to blame your Father for making you sick, he wins twice over. If you then poison the well for others with your bitter experience, he wins again.

      Let me be perfectly clear: there is no greater tragedy in the world today, than the church telling a lost and dying world that God is the one killing them.

      • Lisa Radice, Richardson, Tx says:

        Amen to that brother Ellis! Amen to that!

      • I really like the way you describe the way the poor devil wins thrice when we see ourselves as victims of God’s mighty hand and sovereinty, I’ll keep it in mind for further convincings.

        I don’t have your experience but I’ve gotten to KNOW my Papa in a greater and more intimate way than ever before in my life since around 4 years now. It is therefore easy and simple to receive everything you share (though like you said somewhere above: no one is 100% right and we’re all growing in the knowledge of Him).
        Also, I can see also from the reactions and the comments that a lot of us know the word and our theologies but have a real hard time, due to our lack of intimacy with the Father to really know Him for Who He is and receive the pure grace. Most know a lot about God and have a great knowledge of scripture but I feel lack the depth of communion with Him and so we still see Him within the consciousness of good and evil, within our own knowledge of good and evil. When it’s about the Tree of Life in us, His Life in us, Jesus, the single eye vision that fills all with His Light, as sitting with Him in heavenly places and seeing all things FROM there.
        I was just wandering on how best communicate God’s grace and unconditionnal love and I got Ephesians 1 & 3, the two prayers of Paul for his fellow brethren that they may grow in the knowledge of Him. Amen, let it be Father for all of us.
        Thanks for teaching!

      • What about when David’s son was sick and died? In 2Sam 12, The LORD caused the baby to get very sick. David fasted and prayed, begged, that the LORD would have pity on him and spare the child and LET him live. But He (God) didn’t and He let him die.

        What about Isaiah 45? I the LORD did all these things. I can’t believe the Creator of the universe is subject to the evil whims of one of HIS creations. Either God is omnipotent, or He isn’t. Either He holds all things together and works them for good for those who are called according to His purposes, or He doesn’t. God’s will for us isn’t necessarily for us to be healthy and wealthy and on PTL. It’s for us to be conformed to the image of Christ. It’s for us to love Him and rejoice in Him in all circumstances. Whether we abound or are abased.

        I’m not a fatalist. I separate God’s omnipotent sovereignty from my responsibility. I still have to fight and struggle and run the race, but my strength is not my own. And no matter what happens, Christ is my reward.

        Does God murder babies? No. Does He allow them to be murdered? Yes. If God can’t stop satan (or humans for that matter) from doing bad things, then he’s just a nice guy with a beard that’s hoping everything works out in the end. He is a good, just, fair God who brutally punished an innocent man for crimes He knew someone else committed, for a greater purpose.

        Oh, and just because the Bible doesn’t say Jesus was never robbed or sick doesn’t mean it never happened. It doesn’t say He pooped either, but I’m confident He did.

      • Hi Tony, it doesn’t sound like you asked your question because you were looking for an answer, but if you were, please read the post “Does God kill babies?

        You seem to be caught on the horns of a dilemma. If God is sovereign, he’s bad (or at least complicit in the badness of others). If he’s not at fault, then he’s not sovereign. Might I suggest a third alternative, which is found in the beginning of his book. God made this world and everything in it good and then he gave it to us to look after. The rest is history.

      • Hi Paul, I’ve been reading many of these posts today. All of this caught my attention because I am grieving the loss of my precious daughter this past January to leukemia. She was in her 30’s and suffered for almost 2 years. She trusted the Lord and never believed she would die..not even up to the morning before she went home. However, she trusted Him with her life and knew if she wasn’t here she’d be with Him. She thanked Him everyday for the life He gave her and encouraged others to do so. She was thankful for what life she had and asked others to thank God daily for what they had and to stop complaining. To wake up every morning and thank Him and it would change your life. Her friends and family are still amazed at her faithfullness to the Lord through everything she endured. Thousands and thousands of people prayed for her healing. I have never seen anyone trust the Lord more than she did. I don’t believe her illness came from God. Are you saying in her case we didn’t have enough faith or prayer for her to be healed? Because if God’s perfect will was done and He took her home…He is good and that was good? If it was satan who got the victory here then we did something wrong? We didn’t roll over…we went to war against this disease and evil and so did she. I am searching for answers here. tx

      • Hi Joanne. My father died in his 30s from leukemia and he also had a great number of people praying for him. I would never say that we didn’t pray enough any more than I would say God took him or your daughter. There are many of us searching for answers and so far I haven’t found them – not when it comes to premature death. But I do know that some of the pat answers that are thrust upon grieving families are cold comfort at best and most likely wrong.

  19. iluvtheword says:

    Hi Paul,
    Loved the article and also loved your gracious and loving responses to comments and questions. Leading a small grace fellowship in Scotland I find myself constantly “fighting” against the attitude that Gos is not always a good God, that He brings illness and disease, and that He does “give and take away”. The post-cross Word just does not show that type of God. He only does good, He only loves; it is the enemy who brings cancer etc.
    Keep up the good work brother,
    Luv from Pastor Vic in Scotland (moraygrace.wordpress.com and mgf.podbean.com)

  20. I think people often confuse natural consequences with punitive action on God’s part. Also, I think that sometimes because of the messes that we make of our lives, sometimes God allows certain things to run their course in order to bring us into alignment with the reality of our identity in Christ as co-heirs and sons. Part of it is simply the tension between the ages as God’s plan of salvation and ultimate victory is still being worked out. However, there is a huge difference between God ordaining and causing something bad and Him using for good what the enemy intended for evil. Scripture attests to the battle / warfare / wrestling that we are enmeshed in. Sometimes there are casualties in that war that we do not understand, but God is never the direct cause of evil.

  21. Gold! I haven’t spent a lot of time looking back through the posts that came before I found e2r. Silly me…lol!

  22. You know I think God is good. Don’t agree with take suffering lying down, but I don’t believe in busting a muscle in warefare prayer either. But the question is, what will you do if something bad does happen? Not asking for that, but our reaction might be an indication of what we are worshipping. Retrospect is always twenty-twenty, but I know there are feet to this teaching, not just wings. The question isn’t will the Trinity heal and bless so much as am I worshipping the Trinity? Truth was tempted, just like we were. But if we give into temptation, it’s idolatry from a relational point of view, but just as significantly, it’s damaging.

    In the Bible, we find righteous poor people, and we find righteous rich people. We find unrighteous poor people, and we find unrighteous rich people. With Jesus, life on earth is the closest thing to hell we will ever experience for all eternity. Without Jesus, life on earth is the closest thing to heaven we will ever experience for all eternity.

  23. why do ppl want to be “like Job”? i am so perplexed at why anyone would choose Job to model their relationship with God on. I read Brandon’s blog post he linked and the one comment that a woman posted, her words, “If suffering aligns my perspective with yours… then I can take it!” oy vey! why do we need suffering to align our perspectives when we have the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth (john 16:13)? I choose to be led of the Spirit not the flesh.

    speaking of hannah and job and their incomplete views of God’s character…i would say that they knew Him according to how much He revealed about Himself and His ways of dealing with ppl at that time (blessings/cursings, sacrifices…). God does not change, but His covenant did… (see Hebrews 8:6-13).

    • Oy vey indeed!

      • brandonhutzell says:

        I’m sure you guys might be familiar with Joni Eareckson Tada’s story, so here are a few quotes from a person who has EXPERIENCED what we’re all TALKING ABOUT.

        “It is a glorious thing to know that your Father God makes no mistakes in directing or permitting that which crosses the path of your life. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter. It is our glory to trust Him, no matter what.”

        “The greatest good suffering can do for me is to increase my capacity for God.”

        “If you had never known physical pain in your life, how could you appreciate the nail scarred hands with which Jesus Christ will meet you?”

    • Right on there crista.
      Can I ask for permission to quote your “God does not change, but His covenant did” line? It hits the nail right on the head

  24. I found your post as a result of a question I have. Recently our Pastor friend lost their daughter at age 22. Perfectly healthy and then died of a blood clot instantly. They are saying God took her and praise Him for it. She was a practicing born again believer. I don’t know how to even talk to someone that is grieving and tell them I don’t believe that God took her. I belive the enemy comes to steal kill and destroy and that God gives life and life more abundant.
    THis is burdensome to me and I feel that if I say anything it would further add grieve to them. My husband told them he didn’t beleive God took her. I have always felt in my spirit any time someone said God gives and takes away very grieved that anyone would take God to be some kind of Father that would use this as a lesson or suffering to teach us.Or because of Job God permitted Satan to take her. Help. I read this whole blog and found that I would have to agree That GOD IS ALWAYS MERCIFUL AND GRACIOUS. He want us to prosper and be in good health even as our soul prospers. Jesus died for all of this.

  25. Outstanding post! I don’t know if this has been mentioned in the comments but when I see Satan before God and He gives him permission what I see missing is an Advocate. A Mediator.

    Job shows perfectly the verse quoted about how the Devil comes to “steal, kill and destroy” and how Jesus came to “destroy the works of the Devil”.

    Since God was kind enough to show me His Grace and how Grace has been distorted and watered down to just thanking God for the turkey sammich I’m seeing Him in a very new Light and it’s Beautiful.

    Knowing what I know now the Lord doesn’t send sickness and even criminals to teach a believer something valuable. Jesus came to destroy those works not use them as a teaching tool. My 2 cents.

  26. Deborah says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t remember anywhere in the NTestament that the disciples ever went with out food, shelter, or clothes. I don’t remember them being in poverty, they wouldn’t have needed a treasurer if they didn’t have money. They were persecuted for proclaiming the gospel. When Jesus died He surrendered His spirit to the Father. When Stephen was stoned for the last time, he surrendered his spirit. Paul did not he just kept going but only suffering persecution for the spreading of the gospel. Even when Paul talks about the thorn in his flesh (human nature, physical or moral) he is very clear about what this was, a messanger (GK – angelio – angel) from Satan. I remember Jesus cursing the fig tree but never a person, not even Judus. ” Father forgive them for they no not what they do.” “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” When we see Jesus we see the Father, He said so, so who am I to not believe Him.

  27. Thank God there are still people who believe HE is really GOOD.

  28. This is a topic that hits close to home for me and my family and is near and dear to us. We have a daughter who… will require regular open heart surgeries throughout her life… I wish with all my heart that it was God’s will to heal every single person of their physical defects, diseases, and sicknesses. And I think it is, just not here and now…. When our daughter was first born we were attending a church that believed in healing very similar to the same way it appears is being taught here. We believed that God would heal our daughter. We were let down. My wife was crushed. The response we kept getting was “just believe”. So we lifted ourselves up and believed again, yet nothing… Does God heal? I believe so, but only when it’s His will. Is it always His will? I don’t believe so. God’s will will be done. We can rest knowing this. We can pray trusting God that if it’s his will then he’ll heal and if not then he’ll provide sufficient grace and it will work together for good in the end. I don’t think God causes sickness, but I think He permits it just as God doesn’t cause sin but permits it…

    I believe it is both foolish and dangerous to say that it is always God’s will to heal… God’s grace brings us rest. We can trust our gracious Father that if it’s His will then He will heal, if not then he will work the sickness together for good likely in this life, but if not here, then most definitely in the coming eternal kingdom. And that’s our hope. Though we suffer, though we feel pain, we look forward to a better and lasting kingdom and life eternal, where those who have gone before us will be resurrected and where we will live with our family and our Father and where there will be no more tears or pain. Just like our salvation…

    Though I believe God uses the things of the enemy for good in the end, sickness and death are His enemy. That’s the beauty of it. He takes those things the enemy uses to try and kill us, and though it’s hard to fully see and understand how this will all work out, He will one day turn it around and the blessing He pours on us will make the sickness and pain all look like nothing.

    • Dear Erik, I normally cut comments off after they reach 250 words. In your case I trimmed your very long comment in such a way that I hope none of your meaning was lost. Thanks for writing in.

      • Hi Paul,

        I do think some meaning was lost but it’s okay. I certainly understand and I apologize for the wordiness. I was at work and rushing so I was thinking as I was writing and I’m sure it came off like that. I also understand about removing the John MacArthur article but I do think it provides a good balance to the conversation, one that may be much needed for people who have struggled with this. Nonetheless, comment sections in blogs are never the best place to discuss things in detail and I can understand wanting to keep them short.

        I hope you understand the spirit in which my comments were written. I’ve read much of what you’ve written here and I thank you for your service to the body of Christ with your very encouraging words.

        I wish peace to you, brother.

  29. Pastor has mentioned many times, if any man wishes to declare that his situation is like Job’s, that person must also acknowledge that Job received double what he lost for his trouble. One cannot really say that they are “Job” until they have seen God restore!

    God gives, and his gifts are without repentance.(Romans 11:29)

  30. Hey paul, i am a semi new christian and soo much stuff (bad and good) has been happening to me. Ive been in bad physical pain and it brought me close to god(its why i started believing in him). God has assurred me it will go away and i have faith it will but i dont know when. My pain was from Boxing and since ive been out of boxing and closer to god i have lost interest in boxing, it was the only thing in my life to ever make me happy and have fun and now since i started believing in god i feel like i dont like it anymore, BUT i want to have the passion i used to have for it. I am not sure if God took it away from me(he gave me it in 1st place) or satan that made me feel like it doesnt interest me anymore. I just wanted to see if you could help me understand why i feel this way that i cant be a boxer anymore and how can i get this back. I hope you read this, god bless.

    • Hi Parker, It sounds as if God’s giving you some new desires that don’t result in so much bad physical pain. Ask Him for wisdom and He’ll point you in a good direction.

  31. I definetly believe God is a thief,a robber to steal and rob us from the things he has given to us. The scripture said “for God so loved the world, then he GAVE.-Jn 3:16. When God should take away that which he has given you, then he refuses to be God, for it has been said in

    Heb 6:18 “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie.”

    God can never Lie, so if he can never lie he will not say “All good and perfect comes from Himself(GOD)”.

    • Kweku, I’m thoroughly confused by your comment; I think you meant to say that Satan is a thief, a robber to steal and rob from us things God has given… but maybe you really do think negatively about God; if so, I hope you’ll accept my apologies for misunderstanding, and I’ll pray you’ll understand Jesus better someday… I wrote about that here.

  32. This is another one of those widely trivial debates about the Bible…

    I don’t know what I would agree on, but they would say that everything in the Bible is Jesus’ words so they would be definitely right.

  33. But I kind of agree with what Paul Ellis said. I dunno but this is really trivial if God really does give and then take away.

  34. Maybe God didn’t take away from Job, but he PERMITTED it…..isn’t that the same thing? (maybe worse?)

    • God is NOT WILLING that any perish, yet people perish – He permits it (2 Pet 3:9). Qn: What is God’s will? Is it that people perish or don’t perish? Do you see the point? You cannot determine God’s will based on what He permits. If you did, you would think everything that happens is His will. You would think everything the devil does and everything man does is God’s will. This is called fatalism.

      If you would know God’s will, look to Jesus. Jesus said “I have come that they might have life; the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy” (Jn 10:10). So if something is stolen, killed or destroy, whose will was it?

  35. keith blond says:

    A great article Paul [as always] but does God not take away our sickness- our hurts- out dissappointments, the list can be as long as one want’s?
    I originally thought, like most people, leave this bit out when ou sing the lovely song, but if we change our mindset then the words make sense.

    • Hi Keith, you could sing that – He certainly takes our guilt and shame. Isaiah might sing it a little differently though. He might sing “He surely took away” (past tense) – see Is 53:4, especially in a literal translation.

    • Daniel Kotin says:

      heheh, I used to never sing that part as well in my early realization of the give and take away thing. And then I realized that I could sing it with my heart and mind set on how he gave me life and took all my death away. It is so very refreshing :)

  36. I don’t know if my reply to Brandon is viewable by all but in the song which is otherwise very good, change the words from “He gives and takes away” to “He came to make a way.”

    Blessings,

  37. I too like the song except sing that phrase differently. I change “He gives and takes away” to “He gives and gives some more”.

  38. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for writing this!!! I have been so passionate that the body see this truth and have often felt like the lone ranger. The lie that God is behind bad things or evil is so prevalent today and is exactly what hinders people from receiving all that Christ died to give us. The verse John 14:9 has been on my heart so much. If we want to know what God is like LOOK AT JESUS! :) I was in tears after reading this… I was just on the phone before I read this talking to someone about needing to “encourage myself in the Lord” like David. Again, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dear Melissa, you are blessed! (Matthew 13:16)

    • I love the Truth our King is a giver we must not allow the enemy to come into our life to take what God has given us . live to his holy will and even if the enemy take,s away for a while we must fight back with our Father,s words. I am a warrior for christ when my family gets attacked in their health or finance my Lord always restores after heartfelt prayer . I love my God so much , he is so mercyful i felt i had to share this because i would explode i feel so loved by him .

  39. ImALittleCrazy says:

    Paul,
    How can we say with certainty that God does or does not cause bad things to happen. (I use the term bad loosely). In the Old Testament, God’s wrath was ever present. God remain’s unchanging. That is one of His Qualities. Malachi 3:6, God says this of himself plainly. However, in the New Covenant, God sends Jesus as our savior. Through Christ, we have forgiveness of our sins. Does this mean we will never be corrected by our heavenly Father, I truthfully don’t know. I feel that if we are saved then our slates have been wiped completely clean of all sin in our life. The biblical consequence of sin is death. With Christ, we will not suffer that death. However, mankind has created this seperation from God through the immoral acts of sin. With the existence of sin in our world, there will also be the existence of pain/loss/suffering/ and the “taken away’s”. So in essence, all bad things in this world can be blamed on Satan and Man’s failure. It’s merely the result of living in a fallen world.

    On a different note, I can say that this article and the discussions that followed created a blessing in my life. I have literally spent the last three hours reading scripture and examining my own beliefs on this topic, and I must say that the results of my finding was very different than what I would have expected if someone just asked the question – “Hey, do you think God causes bad things to happen.” So regardless of the many differing thoughts on this, Thanks to all who commented on it, and to Paul for writing it. You all are responsible for me getting another step closer to God.

    And as far as the song lyrics go, how about ” He gives and Makes a Way”

  40. Isn’t God more concerned about our character rather than if something is “taken away.” There is nothing that God does not know about that happens in our lives. God knows when bad things happen, and I believe it is allowed to happen… to shape our character. Look at Job and how he came out at the end, refined! This is a major point that wasn’t really mentioned in your message. We may go through bad stuff in our lives, but we must trust God through it. God isn’t making it happen, but He is allowing it.. He is God- whatever happens… it is according to what He believes is best for us. You might say, “Well why did God allow me to get stage 4 cancer?” I would come back and say, “I don’t know, but trust Him.” I would really like to say though, “He’s more concerned about you- your salvation, your relationship with Him, then He is about this mortal life. He is concerned about your eternity.” Well, what if I am a true believer and I get a terminal illness? I honestly believe that if God allows you to die that way, it is the death He has planned for you. Whether you are going to be a witness in your faith to the very end and bring people to Christ because of it, or you are going to be miraculously healed and bring people to Christ because of that. Either way, people are coming to Christ for something that was “allowed” to happen. He is more concerned about eternity than this quick time on earth. I hope this makes sense, and it is a very important point.

    • Dear Rachel, thanks for your comment. I agree that this is a very important point. The problem I have with the mindset you espouse is that it leads to uncertainty, which is unbelief, and passivity. Can you imagine Jesus going to the lepers of Judea and saying “I don’t know why God allowed this but trust Him?” The Old Testament gives us a glimpse of the Father’s heart but through Jesus we see Him face-to-face. I will not follow Job. If you came to me with stage 4 cancer I would hope to reveal Jesus. I would rise up in my Christ-given authority and rebuke that cursed disease.

      • ImALittleCrazy says:

        1 Corinthians 2:11 – “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

        You can’t claim certainty in any thing other than Christ Jesus. I do not see the logic in Rachel traveling a path of unbelief or passivity because you think her mindset leads to uncertainty. Rachel, your points are all very valid, and only strenghtened my belief, that regardless of whether or not I understand, I’ll follow God through the example of the life of Christ.

      • 1 Corinthians 2:12 “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”

        I want to be sensitive here because it’s my experience that those who relate to Job are those who are suffering. In no way do I wish my confidence in Christ to come across as condemnation for those who aren’t walking in victory today. (I’m about to go pick a friend up and take them to hospital!)

        My point is this: Job was uncertain because he lacked a clear revelation of Jesus. We have seen Jesus. We know the Father’s heart on all matters relating to the curse of sin (including sickness). We ought not to be uncertain on these points but to exercise our God-given authority. Creation waits for the revelation of the mature sons of God. If you are battling with sickness, consider your symptoms as lying symptoms – they are not acting in accordance with the full truth of Jesus’ sacrifice. By his stripes we were healed. Do not make peace with your illness. That’s like making peace with the enemy. Instead, submit to God and resist your enemy. Don’t take on the burden of your own healing but confidently proclaim what Christ has already accomplished. If you are sick and need encouragement, send me a personal message. I would be happy to pray for you.

      • ImALittleCrazy says:

        I’ll certainly accept your offer to pray for me, however I am blessed to not have any affliction at the moment. I agree that many people do refer to Job through times of trouble. I also agree that Job spoke some thoughts out of agony and defeat, not the victory found in Christ, because Christ had not yet came. I also agree that it is correct to follow the teachings of Christ, as well as the example of Christ, instead of that of a man. What I am in a disagreement with you own is your claim that Rachel’s mindset leads to uncertainty, which IS unbelief ans passivity.
        Uncertainty is in no way unbelief. Admitting that you aren’t certain about the reasons things happen in life is not the same as not believing the truths found in Christ. It is simply admitting, that as a flawed person, although saved by the Grace of God, you don’t know all that is to be known about the reasons things happen. For me, not knowing why doesn’t hinder my faith, but strengthens it. After all, how much faith must one have if they know all that there is to know about God, His thoughts, His reasons, His desires? When there is something that I am uncertain about within my relationship with Christ, I have something to be concerned about. But when it is just a question that I have about God’s Character and reasoning, I study until I either find the answer or I pray until I get some sort of relief from that question. That is neither unbelief nor passivity, but faith in action and agressive learning.

        Also, I disagree with the context in which you use 1 Corinthians 2:12. Perhaps I’m incorrect, but it seems as if you are using that as an argument against my use of 1 Corinthians 2:11. This is what I take from those verses – You know your own thoughts, but no other man does. The Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God, but no other man does. We have recieved (as Christians) the Spirit of God that we may understand what God has freely Given us. What has God freely given us? God has freely given us salvation in Christ Jesus. So looking at it this way, “We have received the Spirit of God so that we may comprehend the salvation that God has given us in Christ Jesus. ” I quote my own interpretation, not the Bible. I just don’t think, based on those verses alone, that we have the ability to claim certain and definate understanding of God’s actions/reasons/thoughts.

        I look forward to your reply to this. I have truly been blessed by all of the comments and replies to comments on this thread.

      • I don’t claim to have God all figured out and I am uncertain about many things. But I am not uncertain about the finished work of the cross. The context of my comment that uncertainty equals unbelief is sickness and healing. Hebrews 11:1 says “faith is being sure… and certain.” If someone is unsure or uncertain then by definition they’re not in faith. How can you believe for something you don’t believe? Belief in the face of uncertainty is hope or wishful thinking, not faith. I want every single person who reads this to be 100% sure and certain that it is God’s will to save every lost person and heal every single sick person every single time. You may say, I don’t see that happening. Well look at Jesus. It happened for Him. He’s the one we follow.

        What has God freely given us? His Son along with everything we need to participate in His divine life here and now (1 Pet 3:4), along with every blessing (Eph 1:3), along with the awesome Holy Spirit to teach us all things (Jn 14:26). The number one reason why Christians are not enjoying these gifts is unbelief arising from ignorance. We have made uncertainty a virtue. It is life-sucking leaven. For too long we have bought into religious mumbo-jumbo that paints a picture of God as distant, mysterious, and unknowable. It’s as if Jesus never came. It’s as if the Holy Spirit never came. It’s as if God was an absentee Father.

      • ImALittleCrazy says:

        Heb. 11 : 8 Was this wishful thinking on the part of Abraham? He didn’t know where he was going, yet out of faith, he went. The point that I am trying to make very clear is that we don’t always know the where’s and the why’s, yet we are expected to have faith in the Deliverer. Is this wishful thinking or just hope? No, not at all.
        I’m not sure who you are referring to in the” “we” have bought into the religous mumbo jumbo god is mysterious and unknowable (paraphrased)” , but thats not what i was saying at all. I don’t think of God as distant, unknowable, or mysterious. I know who God is, but I don’t know His every thought and His reasons; I do not need to know all about God to fully trust and obey Him. The parts of God’s character that is revealed to us in the Bible are numerous. But never in the Bible does it say that it is an all inclusive, conclusive list of who God is.

        “But I am not uncertain about the finished work of the Cross.” – Amen, brother. And thanks be to God for that finished work.

  41. Paul,

    Pack to the garden of Eden, all God created was and is good. Suffering starts from the fall so our choice to disable God and follow the lies of the devil are responsible.

    Isaiah 53: Jesus was innocent but was punished for our sin, wasn’t this suffering ochestrated allowed by God. And christians are blessed when they suffer for Christ as opposed to suffering for unrighteous and wrong choices. God is not obliged to protect any one who is living outside his will but that does not mean that those in obedience to him dont suffer or get trials. How is christian character built in the life of a believer?

    Whether some suffering is caused by the devil or human disobedience, God stays sovereign and all things only happen when he allows them like he allowed the devil to attack job.

    About the song Blessed be the name of the Lord, the lyrics are direct quotations from the book of Job and I believe that all scripture is innerant, inspired by the spirit for reproof, teaching,…. according to Timothy. How we apply it to our life situations could be prone to error since we are all fallible humans. However, that shouln’t mean we look down upon certain verses in the bible or take them out of context.

    God blessed job, allowed the devil to take away but blessed more in the last chapter. My challenge to us is can God look down upon us and tell the devil that “have u considered my blameless servant “put ur name”.

    Since the lyric in question is a direct extract from the bible, its not necessary to critique it, u need the whole counsel of the bible not just the wealth, healthy, abundant life.

    About God not having punished any one with disease, who punished Uziah with leprosy? who allowed david’s first son with bathesba to die? All suffering is not from the devil.

    • Hi Julie, thanks for the comment. If you read Job 1:8 in a literal translation you will not come away with the impression that God was setting him up for a test. Here’s Young’s: “And Jehovah saith unto the Adversary, `Hast thou set thy heart against My servant Job because there is none like him in the land, a man perfect and upright, fearing God, and turning aside from evil?'”

      I submit that a lot of suffering that goes on in the world happens because we – in our ignorance and unbelief – allow it to happen. If the devil attacked me like he attacked Job I wouldn’t sit in the fireplace and grizzle about it. I would resist him and he would flee (Jas 4:7). Job and Jesus could not have been more different. Job did nothing but talk; Jesus healed the sick. It is stunning to me that Christians would seek to follow Job rather than Jesus. The man himself said he spoke of things he didn’t understand. That’s why I have a problem with that lyric. It’s a direct quote from a confused and hurting man. God told Moses to kill all the leaders (Num 25:4). That’s a direct extract from the Bible too. Should we sing about that? Regarding David’s baby, please see my post “Does God kill babies?

  42. The fundamental issue here is God’s character. If you have a religious, harsh, punitive image of God as an avenger, a judge and an executor of divine justice, you will be happy (odd term, I know) to see God as the one who is somehow taking away all your blessings. A lot of atheists, and yes, even some Christians have this view of the God of the bible.

    Then there’s the view of God as shown by Jesus; entirely antithetical to the old-fashioned view of God as harsh, cruel and the robber of our blessings. I don’t recall one instance of Christ killing people, making others sick or poor… do you? Religion does well to portray the Father’s character as that of a harsh, punishing, vindictive god. The sad thing is, many religious today, have bought into the lie. It’s much easier to fear God than it is to love Him, I suppose… The problem is, however, that no one in their right mind wants to WORSHIP a god who is cruel, malicious or a stealer of health, children, finances or other blessings.

    I suspect such dogma is has been the work of hell and its hordes for generations. After all, the complaint that God is not good is the number one grievance most non-believers cite with the bible God. Isn’t that interesting…?

    • I do remember one instance… Jesus blinded Saul on the road to Damascus… and when Jesus spoke with Ananias regarding Saul’s healing 3 days later… He said this “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” Jesus had suffering planned for Paul… Of course we all know God’s response later when Paul prays thrice for relief from the “messenger of Satan” which was assigned to him… God said… “My grace is sufficient”. According to your belief, Martin, the apostle Paul lacked the authority to cast away this messenger of satan because he (and I quote) had “unbelief because of ignorance.” I’ll let you tell him that when we get to heaven…

      • (I’ll respond since you quoted me.) When it comes to matters of salvation and all that Jesus has done for us (eg: provided healing), I refuse to play the excuse-making game. I could provide hundreds of examples of believers not getting healed at times including myself. But I have decided not to filter God’s word through my experience. The suffering that Paul went through was persecution for preaching the gospel. He lists all the things that happened to him – beaten with rods, stoned, left for dead. Not once does he mention getting sick. A thorn in the flesh is not a sickness – it’s a Hebrew idiom that describes troublemakers (see Num 33:55, Jud 2:3).

        I personally know Someone who was never sick and who healed 100% of those who came to Him. He even raised the dead. He said we would do these and greater works and I believe Him. If you don’t that’s your business.

      • Brandon, Your comment has not left my mind, since I too knew a Minister of like character & abilities in healing that suffered from a condition that she was born w/that made her unable to keep much of any food down & it was not uncommon for her to vomit blood. That she lived into her ninety’s w/ this condition is a miracle in itself though.
        She taught of an all loving God that was incapable in it’s own makeup to ever will that anyone suffer or have lack. God was constant & unchanging. If their was any change, We were the changers. It was We that gave power to God one day and the devil the next and it was We that were causing our own suffering & lack etc. because of our false beliefs and ignorance of God. But NEVER was this Gods will for his children.
        I was a child when I knew her but I remembered something that my Mom had told me. She asked the minister why she thought she was never healed of this
        lifelong condition. After all, she had had many miraculous healings in other areas of her body. The minister told her that she thought she was left w/ this condition to keep her humble. WHAT? That went against everything she taught and believed? At what age did she accept this belief? Did she ever really realize that it went against her own teaching? Maybe not? Many of us have deepseated beliefs that we are unaware of. The minister had a similar teaching to A. Wommack (from what I’ve read so far). She was outcast by other ministers not only for what she was teaching but because she was a women (this was in the 50’s, 60’s. 70’s.) She had no one to pray for her or to help her figure this out.
        Has the pastor that you know had anyone successful in healing pray for him? If not, would you like someone to pray for him?
        OOPS,Did I replie to the wrong post, I think it was your next post that I meant to comment on. Anyway, nobody has all the answers. We’re all just doing the best we know how.

      • Thank You Lynn for replying… and yes… many with the gift of healing have prayed and continue to pray for this pastor. And I agree with you 100% that nobody has all the answers… which is exactly why I also believe that we cannot and should not say that it is God’s will to heal “every single sick person every single time”. Think about it… if it is true… than anyone who is a believer and is not healed is left to believe that there faith is weak or incomplete… and “without faith it is impossible to please God”… now the sick Christian is in a position which gives them reason to believe that God is displeased with them. This is obviously not the intention of the “God wants to heal everybody” message… but it can many times be the result.

        I believe that God is ABSOLUTELY GOOD… I also believe that His ways are higher than our ways… and our perception of GOOD is lacking. It is possible that lack and suffering in our lives during this present age could produce fruit, glory, and even salvation for the life to come (which is eternal)… thereby making lack and suffering, in this present age, GOOD. Most Christians agree and have agreed through the ages that we learn our most valuable spiritual lessons… not on the mountaintop… but in the valley. Like Paul said “I reckon that the sufferings of this present age are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

  43. Paul, in a recent response… you said… “I want every single person who reads this to be 100% sure and certain that it is God’s will to save every lost person and heal every single sick person every single time.” Do you honestly believe that every believer who has ever had any sickness, from diabetes to cancer, and didn’t get healed… lacked faith? That’s is a broad stroke and very stereotypical… I personally know a pastor who emptied a small hospital in Africa in one day… and yet he continually suffers severe foot pain from neuropathy as a result of diabetes. The gift of healing operates in his life and he has seen many, many people healed. He is a general in the faith and has served God all his life… he does not lack ignorance and is not uncertain in God’s healing power… now what?

    • Brandon, you are adding to my words. We can be certain it’s God’s will to save and salvation includes healing. I don’t claim to have it all figured out and I don’t heal 100% of those I pray for. There may be various reasons why some people aren’t healed or don’t receive their healing immediately but double-mindedness on God’s part is not one of them.

      • Good response, Paul, I just want to encourage you and let you know that many of these teachings have changed my life and set me free. I thank God for you and others like you. We need more ministers of the Gospel who preach undiluted, pure, and bold grace. Be encouraged brother, you are more appreciated than you even know. Thank you so much for your boldness of speech and I thank God In you and for you, Hallelujah!!

    • Roshan Easo says:

      Brandon, you bring up an amazing point – but your ladder is still leaning on the wrong wall. Brandon, if I were sick with lukemia, it would still be my responsibility to fight – that’s just what it means to be a new creation. If I didn’t fight, I would be a hypocrite against my own nature. I am not of this world. We fight cancer differently in the kingdom. Don’t lump us in with the rest of the human population when Jesus’s sacrifice meant that you and I are no longer to be cynical but rather be greatful and fight. People are wrongly taught to ware out their bodies for work, then to accept the consequences of sickness. It should be the opposite. We work AND resurrect from the energies of God, not of self.

      • Roshan Easo says:

        I mean ‘resurrect’ in the medical sense, not in the greater physical sense – although obviously that’s our inspiration. A true inspiration at that.

  44. Great post paul! I’m right there with ya!

  45. Great discussion. Something all the people who “want to be like Job” miss and are missing here is that Job didn’t see life through God and Satan’s actions. Only God’s. He credits God for giving and taking. He doesn’t even believe God allowed things to happen. He saw God as the CAUSE! But, good news, watch this. Job 1:12 12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in YOUR power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out and he killed, caused the sickness, the storm etc. Job apparently wasn’t even aware of the existence of Satan. He credited God with all that Satan did. God is good all the time and the enemy is bad all the time. Just the fact that God is stirring this conversation is proof to me that He really is waking His kids to see His goodness and that we have bought a lie. Hallelujah what a savior!

  46. Jairus did not quote to Jesus Job 1:21 “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away”. The devil stole the life of his daughter, Jesus raised her and gave her back! God is good. Devil is bad. God gives, devil takes. Theology of Grace 101 :-)

  47. Wow….. I am sensing some changes in my thinking coming up. I have always thought suffering can come from God for His good purposes, but I can see what your saying makes sense. Keep posting and I will keep reading. Thank you so much. I am really enjoying you posts, and 90%of them I have found very helpful. ( that sounds bad tho doesnt it).. lol… ok 90% i agree with and I am open to changing the other 10% :)

    • Hi again Tracy,
      As you can tell from my last comment I’m sensitive to the welfare of babies and children. I want to encourage you. I can see you’re in the middle of a radical turn. For some of us this turn has taken years so please don’t feel any pressure from me to hasten on. Just keep your eyes fixed on Him and you can’t go wrong. God loves His kids more than you love yours. He never, ever, ever inflicts suffering on us to teach us things. He doesn’t beat us with rods, make us sick, or force out of the boat – despite what we’ve heard.

  48. Hi Paul,

    A very interesting read – thanks for all the work you have put into this and your passion for truth.

    I’d just like to clarify what you are saying here. Are you saying that as Christians we are free from all the consequences of sin like sickness and poverty while on this earth?

    It seems to me that while God is in the redeeming business – causing good to come from bad and bringing to life things that were dying or dead – not all of this redemption is going to happen on this earth some of it is reserved for Heaven alone. And some of the redemption He brings about may affect our hearts rather than our physical situations.

    Doesn’t Paul teach us in Phil 4:10-12 (Paul talking about being content in all circumstances) to learn from the circumstances we find ourselves in allowing God to redeem them rather than simply trying to get rid of them all? (I don’t think Paul is saying all these bad things come from God, but he doesn’t feel the need to have only good things happen to him.)

    I guess I see no promise in the Bible that Christians are exempt from living under the consequences of sin while in this life. In fact, isn’t death the ultimate consequence of sin (beyond poverty, sickness or anything else)? And last I checked we all die – even the people Jesus cured of their sickness and raised from the dead went on to die again.

    If we teach that God will cure all our sickness and relieve all our poverty on this earth then when bad things happen don’t we run a risk of destroying people’s faith? (I could certainly cite examples of when this has happened as I’m sure you could as well)

    Thanks again for the huge effort you have put into this, I look forward to following future articles.

    • Hi Dan,
      Thanks for your question. The point of this post is to refute the lie that says God steals and destroys. Jesus said stealing and destroying (not to mention lying and killing) were the devil’s work (see Jn 8:44, 10:10).

      Your concern, if I read you right, is “Let’s not get people’s hopes up. When life disappoints them they’ll quit believing.” With respect, people who operate like that need to fix their eyes on Jesus. If you make faith decisions based on life’s disappointments you’ll live like Job. You’ll develop a carnal theology based on what you’ve seen rather than what God has said.

      I’m not saying I have even half of the answers, but I know where the answers are found. Peter said everything we need for life and godliness comes to us through our knowledge of Him who called us (2 Pet 1:3). Whatever your need, the answer is found in a revelation of Jesus and His finished work. For instance, if you don’t know Jesus healed all the sick, then you won’t have faith for all the sick to be healed.

      There is nothing in the Bible promising you won’t get attacked or persecuted or die (Heb 9:27). But there is plenty indicating that God’s grace is sufficient for all your needs. The average Christian is ignorant of the riches of God’s grace. They believe they’re saved by grace but that’s it. They’re like the freed slaves of the South who remained on the plantations out of ignorance. They’re freed but not free. I write to declare the good news of the emancipation proclamation to all believers.

      We have a blood-bought right to live free from sickness, oppression and poverty. It is our blood-bought right to look forward to the resurrection of the dead. In many ways, we have already crossed over from death to life (Joh 5:24). This is what salvation means.

      • Thanks for your speedy response John,

        I completely agree that the devil is the father of all things evil and that God doesn’t bring any evil on us or even temp us towards evil (Jas 1:13). I also agree that Jesus healed everyone who came to Him for healing (though there are no recordings of Him healing someone from the flu or a cold – I’m not sure if there is any significance to this).

        My concern is that in North America where life is good it is easy for us to attribute the health and wealth of our countries to our faith while most in the world has much less than us but often has a much greater encounter with God. Ironically health and wealth most often lead people away from God (Matt 19:16). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should shoot for poverty or sickness or oppression we should shoot for the opposite! but we live in a world were Adam’s sin and our own sin continue to have consequences. Some of these consequences include death, poverty and sickness. Our role as Christians (especially those of us in the West) is not to live defeated lives saying “there is nothing we can do”, but, like you said, fight against these evils seeking to bring the light of Christ’s justice into these situations. The only point I think I might differ would be in acknowledging that we live in the “already-not-yet; we are new creations, but we still die. God hasn’t promised to take us out of this world, but the be with us while we live in it (Jn 17:15).

        I do believe in the miraculous, but we must serve God not His miracles. It seems to me that while God cares about our temporary physical well being, He is more interested in the eternal state of our souls often using the physical difficulties we experience to draw our hearts towards Him. This perspective allows us to believe God for the miraculous, but also to use the situations we find ourselves in to allow our character and spirit to be transformed like Paul did when he talks about learning the secret to contentment in all circumstances (Phil 4:10-12).

        I certainly don’t mean to be argumentative, this is an issue that is close to my heart right now and one I am working through. I sure do appreciate the forum for dialogue that you have created here.

        God bless you bro.

      • Thanks Paul… not John (oops)

      • Roshan Easo says:

        Dan – just wanted to recommend to you (and to me!) a Bill Johnson video concerning healing of sickness – it’s source, God’s faithfulness, God’s agenda, and our faith. To believe. http://youtu.be/SehJOzfj0Rg

  49. lance puckett says:

    Hey Paul, tonight a heard a sermon talking about how God is a giver not a taker. I was just wondering how you felt about the books Isaiah and Jeremiah, doesn’t God use people to take away from the israelites? Also, if someone comes up to you and asks you if they can steal something from your family member and you say yes, doesn’t that still make you responsible even if you didn’t physically steal from them? Im really trying to wrap my head around this concept. Im so thankful that I found this blog, thanks for everything.

    Lance

    • Hi Lance, welcome to E2R! I love Isaiah and Jeremiah. Those guys had an amazing insight into the new thing that was coming – namely the new covenant. But let’s not forget they lived before the cross and under the inferior covenant of the law. Living on this side of the cross we have it much better. What they dreamed and longed for, we live! For a quick intro into the difference between the old and the new, take a look at this and then this. I also encourage you to have a browse in the archives. If none of that helps, feel free to ask questions.

  50. paul warren says:

    how can you say Job 1:21 is bogus when Job 1:22, the inspired narrator, validates the statement? the narrator also approves of job’s similar statement in chapter 2.

    • I’ll let Jesus answer that: “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father” (Joh 6:46). “No one” includes Job and whoever wrote Job. So here’s my question – who gives us a better picture of God the Father? Those who haven’t seen Him or the One who has? Job said “God did it.” Jesus – and the writer of Job for that matter – said the devil did it.

      • Actually, and I already mentioned this and you did not respond, The commentator/inspired by the Holy Spirit writer of Job said that God did it, not the devil. Job 42:11 So they came to him, all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they dined with him in his house. They comforted him and consoled him for all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.

        Also, concerning God not having sickness and so He can’t give it, (Referring to “Endure Hardship? Or Thresh Mountains” – your reply to post # 3) that totally ignores Exodus 28:20-24. Of course you would say that this is Old Covenant and not New Covenant. Here is New Convenant: Revelation 22:22:18, 19 (God sending plagues upon those who add or take away from the Book of Revelation and even take away their share in the Tree of Life)

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