Does God give and take away?

The whole 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. 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 an earlier article, I looked at a lady who mistakenly believed that God gives us bad gifts like death and poverty. Today I want to look at a man who had a 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:

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 screwy notions about God’s character, it’s this one. Anyone who has suffered loss has probably heard this verse. It’s quoted at funerals. We 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. But Job said some dumb things about God. Later on Job would come to regret his choice of words. “I spoke of things I did not understand” (Job 42:3).

The question stands: Does God give and 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?

“But Paul, it’s in the Bible, it’s right there in black and white.” 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” (John 14:9), or
(b)    Job, who had only heard of God but did not actually know him  (see Job 42:5)?

Jesus is the better choice. Jesus came to reveal God the Giver. Have you been given something good? Then see God as your source:

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. (Romans 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. (John 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, give thanks to God. But if you’ve been robbed, don’t blame God. He’s not behind your loss. And Satan is not his sheepdog.

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, 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 God gives and takes away, you have more faith in karma than grace. Karma says what goes around comes around. If you’re healthy now, you’ll be sick tomorrow. If you’re prospering now, poverty’s waiting 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 is your sin, your shame, your sickness, your worries, and your fears. He takes away those things that harm us and gives us good things that bless us.

Are you Job or 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 Jesusy-thing and took back what was stolen. Why did David fight back when Job quit? Because 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, “God didn’t kill your kids! He didn’t steal your livestock 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 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.

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106 Comments on Does God give and take away?

  1. Paul you are a real blessing, its been almost 3 years, am following the blog, and my relationship with GOD has been radically changed with these teaching. Thanks

    • I still got an issue with experiencing the miraculous. There is a friend of mine who died, and we actually stood in faith for him to rise back up, but nothing happened. I know about the faith of GOD and just displaying it, then why didnt it work?

  2. God is happy if we are suffering, iv been his servant as long as I can remember. I’m 24 years old, I cant recall any happy times in my life but suffering and pain. everything iv ever desired to have I don’t have, I am lonely. my parents died when I was six months old. the family who raised me only cared and loved me 10%of the time, and they used to make fun of me for being a Christian. I had two friends of which I dearly loved they were like sisters to me until God took them away from me LEAVING me alone. NOTHING is nice about my life (lovelife, school, and “family”)everything is terrible!! BUT thnx to my suffering I now know that God created humans to be his pets, most people think he is silent NO he not he is busy proving a point to the devil by making people suffer(Job). doing good,praying,forgiving and all that really you are wasting your time(been there done that). the devil is a liar and he uses people to what he wants but atleast he admits,unlike the most high God who claims to be a giver,a father etc. he hasn’t given me anything except the life I didn’t ask.

    • It sounds like you have had a hard life, but don’t make it worse by believing the devil’s lies. You seem to have some understanding that the devil is a liar, but you don’t recognize his lies. Look to Jesus. How many people did Jesus kill or afflict with suffering? Jesus came to reveal our heavenly Father who is truly good and cares for you. You need a father – we all do. And he God your Father who loves you even now, just as you are.

      • God loves you just as you are and He will manifest it and explain to you in a way you will understand. Grace and peace to you

  3. First, I do agree with you that there are passages in The Book of Job that characterize God in a way that cannot be reconciled with the character of God as it has been revealed by Jesus. You rightly point out that Job himself did not have the revelation of God that Jesus Christ had/has (or that we Christians have, for that matter). And because of Job’s limited understanding, we can simply dismiss some of what he said as error. Fair enough! But this approach to reconciling The Book of Job to the truths of the New Testament only works with those parts of the book which are actual quotations from Job and the other human characters in the story. This approach does not work for either the narrative itself, including Job 1:1-12, nor the parts of the book where the Almighty is speaking, e.g. Job 38ff. For those passages, we would have to say the narrator and the character of the Almighty in the story are in error, or better, that the *writer* of the book was himself in error. And from what I can see there is plenty of material in these other parts of the book that is not only inconsistent with New Testament teaching, but in some places is downright hostile to gospel teaching; in places, these passages strongly assert things that the gospel message says are untrue….

    From the standpoint of gospel teaching, The Book of Job is at best a mess, but I think it’s more accurate to say that it’s expressly hostile to the gospel, that it is indifferent to or maybe even despising of the sufferings and the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and that it is opposed to the doctrine of God’s goodness. Again, it is the man (or woman) who penned The Book of Job that I oppose. I’m persuaded he and I are, as they say, *not on the same team.* Needless to say, it’s obvious to me that he did not pen his book under the unction of the Spirit of Christ.

  4. I love this. I now find strength to always fight back the devil! Amen!

    • Thank you all for your replies they opened my eyes a bit, I hope I will find my way to Christ again some day. Paul we love and appreciate what you are doing. Be blessed.

  5. Warren (South Carolina) // June 8, 2015 at 12:35 am // Reply

    Great post Paul. I quit singing that song “You give and take away” in church a few years ago, for the exact reasons you laid out.

    God is the giver, satan is the taker.

    Warren (South Carolina)

  6. God does give and take away. I used to be in direct communication with God, daily and almost constantly, but then one night he told me: Let’s get rid of the ego, so I will put Satan in my place. I will still be in the background. Just be careful with IT (meaning Satan).

    Since then my life has been hell. Whenever I tried to reach God and ask anything, all I got was LIES and deception. God sure did what he said he would do.

    God took away HIMSELF. He took away all JOY.

    It’s now been over two years like this, and finally I stopped praying. I mean, what’s the use, when God is in Hiding, having placed Satan in his place. I’ve become more and more depressed and now I’m on anti-depressants, which has helped a little.

    This is the way God operates: He makes those suffer, who try to please him and serve him. He tortures the innocent. Like what he did to Job, his wife, his children and even servants.

    I will never forgive what God did to Job, or the Saints, or Jesus, or myself. He is the Creator and Allower of EVIL. And that makes God the most EVIL of all. I HATE HIM. I will never again love such a pcyhopathic monster.

    • That’s not the God that Jesus reveals but some demonic counterfeit who has deceived you.

      • Are you saying it wasn’t God who talked with me initially, and who told me what was to become – and then it all came true.

        Of course there is a demonic counterfeit who is deceiving me, I just told you I got to meet Satan.

        But I got to meet Satan because God himself willed it. He thinks it’s a good idea for me to get acquainted with Satan, to know it’s ways.

        But I can’t even describe the hell that it means. Satan is the true liar, the true evil, the true angel of deception. Satan is an angel who lives in heaven, but not in GOD. There are many layers of heavens, and some say there are three layers, and God Almighty resides in the third, being pure, and no-one can enter there but pure. In the second heaven there is Satan and all the other angels, and there is spiritual warfare. That’s where my soul has been hurt.

        Yes I know that Satan did it. He is TRULY EVIL.

        But who created Satan? Wasn’t it God who created Satan, long before people were created.

        This is the dark night of the soul. God told me before any of this happened, that there would be a purging period, also known as dark night of the soul, and it would last for two and a half years. I tell you, it’s been hell! Satan can only do what God allows him to do. You know, like with Job.

      • I am so happy there is someone like you,sm1 who knows the real God. If a christian hasn’t gone to what you went thru they are not doing it right PERIOD! the problem with us Christians we pretend to be happy in the Lord even if we see that we are treated unfairly, few of us come out and say “NO! THIS IS NOT IT”. you said God is a monster, well you are right HE IS! i miss my good relationship with God but now i am so scared of Him. its been almost 6mnths everytime i try to pray i just cry coz i dont know what to say. BUT hey hang in there pray read the word it’l soon be over. He’s God and we are just His puppets.

  7. Hey Paul, people are busy talking about September 2015 they say the world is ending,they say thrl be shortage of food,thrl be no electricity,and the mark of the beast and all that. the old me would pray and seek answers for such rumors but now……..(sad). I am so scared i just searched this things on the net and its all there that made me even more scared. is it really true? i know its a weird question to ask hens the bible says “no one knows the day nor the hour”.

  8. I have suffered now for nearly a decade. I built a business from zzero, employed hundreds of people; I truly lived to be a servant to those I employed and those my company served. Taught and gave with no expectation of reciprocal gain; never stole; did it the right way. Had the business stolen through fraud, fought back righteously and won jury trial, only to have the judge overrule jury and in the end lost $5-10M (don’t want to give too many specifics for privacy reasons). I re-doubled my efforts but was unable to compete with the massive business I had stolen from me that my enemies were able to wield against me, and got wiped out.

    This is the sum total of the bulk of the earning years of my life; there are no do-over’s here. It is a reality. My life has been permanently altered – it cannot be rectified.

    The questions that play over and over in my head again are these:
    1) Given that I still love and believe in my lovely God, can I reconcile a rationale that God favors others more that I, even if they repeatedly destroy the lives of myself and other and prosper greatly from it. That is, even though I still love my God, is it okay to believe God “hates” me for lack of a better term? If He has “chosen” people, He must have people he hasn’t chosen too right? Stand to reason there must be somebody in that category; why not me right?
    2) Is it possible that it is simply part of God’s plan that I (along with my young family) suffer at the hands of those who stole from me and my family?
    3) If it is part of God’s plan that I suffer, isn’t it fair that I be allowed to despair after years of struggling with maximum effort? I have worked hard enough and made enough positive personal impacts on others to last 3 lifetimes; and I have taught dozens of others the skills they need to prosper. Have I done enough to earn God’s favor after I die; is it okay that I am now legitimately tired from the struggle and wish that the suffering of God’s plan simply end?

    • The answer to all 3 of your questions is another question.
      Does God the Father ever participate in child abuse?

      • Job White // August 13, 2015 at 7:32 pm //

        I’m sorry – is that a rhetorical question?

      • Colleen G // August 14, 2015 at 8:46 am //

        It is any honest question with a point. The answer to my question is THE answer to all your questions that you posted above. Does God participate in child abuse, that is abusing HIs children? NO! Not once, not ever! Your troubles are not ever from God.
        Until you can let go the notion that God causes and even wants suffering upon His children yes you will be tired to the point of death because it is a burden that we are not meant to bear. Jesus came to give us abundant inner life, not slavery to suffering.
        Sinners sin against us God never promises that they will not. The same offering of free will to chose Him unfortunately allows others to chose against Him and His ways, thus sinful acts.
        Your suffering does not buy favor from God. No one can show from scripture that our suffering buys God’s favor, blessing or mercy. Yet many passages say it is our faith that pleases Him and gains us all those things.
        You are in Christ not matter your personal feelings. So ask can God hate Jesus? No, then neither can He hate you.
        Who is better served by your suffering and now your utter exhaustion? God or the one who desires to kill, steal and destroy?

  9. I was just wondering how you interpret the passage un Isaiah 45.7: “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.”

    It seems to me that God is more than just permiting calamity, he makes it. The difference between us as Children’s of the Living God is that we trust in God’s Goodness even in calamity when God present us with calamities.

  10. Nipun Gautam // September 4, 2015 at 8:20 am // Reply

    I think you have misunderstood the karma my brother……
    Karma is the very basic principle which states that all the acts of an individual is accountable to him. Karma defines justice. Karma creates hope amung the sufferers and fear amung the sinner. If a person do good then he will get only good in return .its his Wright and he is likely to get it sooner or later. Lord krishna has also said that an good person shuld remain in one state of peace regardless of the conditions. He shuld not become mad in good or bad time. God has said to focus only on the fight and not on the prize. And yes I am an indian…….and I respect each religions and there sentiments. ..

  11. I would like to know,how do we fight this battle,Paul all I would like is advice,for I am a man I lost my way,and failed to make right choices,I have never doubted the almighty God but I doubted myself in fight the devil,instead I blamed God for not giving the right tools,I have heard that God is Good,and everything he gives its good,so I wanna be able to fight the devil with right tools this time,suffering its now my name,how do I change all of that in Jesus name,I need advice from christians for I am too,help

  12. Herb, please don’t accuse God! In The first part of Job, God is speaking to the devil and say’s everything he had was in his hands. Why? because he is the god of this world. He has power by default. Adam gave up his rule by transgression.
    Now Christ is the second Adam, and now “in Christ” we have that authority back.
    But satan has authority to operate, “rough shod”, his evil on those that are outside of His protection, as was Job, because “the thing he feared the most”, caused that “hedge of protection “ to fall. Fear hath torment.
    Job did it to himself, and today, it is no different.
    If it is God that puts sickness on us, then God cast Himself out by His own power? No, Matthew 12:22-28, tells us clearly who does what! Satan is the evil, God is the good!
    Conclusion;verse 28, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” Exactly what we see in, Acts 10:38,This is very clear as to who brings sickness!
    We can avoid sickness through judging ourselves. 1 Corinthians 11:31. David said, Psalm 119:67
    “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.”
    As for Jobs friends, really? with friends like that, who needs enemies? Job 38:2, God seems displeased with their council! So, would not take to heart what “they” said!
    Can God use satan? Yes, 1 Timothy 1:20 and even,1 Corinthians 5:5.
    I will give that much for Jobs friends, as far as trying to explain, who does what to who and how!

  13. Am bless by ur world.God bless and give more grace in ur life

  14. Warren (South Carolina, USA) // November 6, 2015 at 6:19 am // Reply

    Saint Paul!
    Does this post hold the record for the most comments? At the time of my post, there are 413 comments. Also, thanks for the post.

    Does Job 1:10 get covered anywhere in any of your posts? I did a search for it but was unable to find anything. Job 1:10 talks about God having placed a hedge around Job.

    To me that is satan saying that, and obviously he is a liar and anything he says should not be considered true or actually even considered (as that will get us in trouble as it did Adam and Eve).

    But, from this verse a lot of people (including myself) have always thought and prayed about “God, place your hedge of protection around such and such”. I am not sure this thought is clear elsewhere in scripture that I am aware of.

    Any thoughts?

    Warren (South Carolina, USA)

    • I talk briefly about the hedge of protection in this comment.

      • Warren (South Carolina, USA) // November 6, 2015 at 4:11 pm //

        Awesome and thanks for the link. As I suspected, most of the church presents the “hedge” lie from satan as true. I suspect whenever satan is quoted like that, we can almost always assume it’s a lie and it’s meant to steal, kill or destroy us somehow.
        Warren (South Carolina, USA)

  15. You give and give some more, you give and give some more….

  16. Well God never gave me a wife and family that i always wanted to have which he has Blessed so many others with that Gift of life. And i just Don’t understand why he would do such a thing to many of us that really wanted that Gift as well since we are No different than the ones that have that. Our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, were very Blessed since it was much Easier for them to find love in those days which today it is very Difficult for many of us.

    • Mike, I’m not sure why you’re blaming God for not giving you another person’s heart. That is a gift he cannot give. The Bible says he who finds a wife finds a good thing. Seek and you shall find. And God can certainly help with the finding!

  17. Pastor please read Deuteronomy 32:39 and interprete for me please !

  18. Thanks very much for such powerful eye openner message.
    God bless u man of God.
    but I have a question.
    what about the story of Joseph? all his misfortunes leading him to his fortunes. He even said in Genesis 50:20 “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

    Was God not behind all his misfortunes in other words, was God not responsible for all the bad things which happened to Joseph???
    Rom 8:18 says, the suffering of this present stage are not worthy to be compared to the Glory that shall be revealed.

    Hoping to hear frm u man of God

    • To say God was behind Joseph’s misfortunes is to say he conspired evil with Joseph’s brothers, helped throw him in the pit, sold him to slavers, and seduced him with another man’s wife. Of course, this is absurd. Joseph says, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” In other words, you did evil, but God brought good out of it. Truly this is a prime example of how God redeems the broken messes of our lives (Romans 8:28), but he certainly doesn’t cause them.

      • Amen, Joseph knew who was the author of good. God is good and he cannot deny himself (1Tim 2:13). the Greek literal means he does not have the power to be other than HIMSELF … GOOD!

  19. It’s years later now according to post dates; Paul, as hard as it can be when in darkness to comprehend the light, all things which You said are correct, and John 10:8 states The Truth of both Job and David. John 10 is a very dear testimony to many lovingly things. It hurts to hear one say Job was weak though, for blessed are the poor in spirit, and I am meek and lowly. Christ Jesus of Nazareth Is; and blessed is who believes, for he did not come to condemn, but woe unto who blasphemes of The Holy Spirit and believes not in His only begotten Son in whom He is well pleased and beloved, for The Wrath of God abideth on Him. To suffer is of the flesh, and to die is of the flesh, but eternal life is of One; who and what is the suffering for but that the will of God be done to bring us to Him waiting w/His loving arms held up opened wide to enter Himself last upon our victory of becoming into The Kingdom of Heavenly Eternity w/Him.

    It’s All Jesus- Holy Spirit God The Father Christ Jesus The Son -Bless this, that, which was is and is to come. AllwayZ. AMEN.

  20. I believe a good, and truly loving God, assuredly takes away good things from us in order to give us greater things (most often, more of Him). The Bible is full of those examples.

    In this fallen world, it could be said, and supported by a systematic understanding of biblical theology, that suffering is the economy by what God accomplishes His purposes here on Earth.

    We need to be careful about putting negative connotations on the element of suffering in our lives. If you ever go through a very deep time of suffering where you find yourself at the end of yourself with only God there front and center before you, you will then have the opportunity to taste and see that the Lord is God. And that the suffering was necessary for that to come about.

    Job did say some things later in the book of Job that amounted to crazy talk, but Job 1:22 says that in saying that the LORD has given and taken away he did not sin. We see that again in Job 2:10. God said his words were not sinful, so who are we to call it wrong?

  21. It’s amazing that this thread has gone on for more than 5 years. This is the first time I was able to stumble upon it.

    I haven’t read all comments so forgive me if I might be repeating what was already said before.

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

    – whether you would consider that ultimate causality, or sovereignty, or however you want to call it, God works in every thing. Every situation. Every good. Every gift. Every joy. Every pain. Every sickness. Every loss.

    – and in these, God does it for our good. Whether it was a bad thing, in the end we must trust that it is for our good. God is in control of everything.

    That is why I will sing with Matt Redman, “You give and take away, blessed be Your name!” Everything that happens is a blessing, for our good!

    • With respect, losing a child is not a blessing. Nor is having your house destroyed and getting sick. As you note, Romans 8:28 is one of the most encouraging scriptures in the Bible. It says God can fix, redeem, or make good, all the crud that life hands us. But it certainly does not suggest that God is responsible for the crud. Nor does it suggest that God is in control of everything, for that would contradict what Jesus taught in John 10:10 and what the Bible says here: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).

      The good news is not “God killed your children and made you sick,” but that he can take all our hurts and sorrows and bring his good purposes to pass.

    • God does not and never will cause evil. That hyper control idea has driven many away from God straight into the arena of rabid atheism. Both of the God hating, Christian hating atheists that I debated online grew up in church, one had even been to seminary but that unbiblical hyper sovereignty made them ill because of the horrible, unloving, injustice of it and them threw everything out and turned away. I have seen the hint from others and I myself wrestled to mesh the ideas of God is love with God is directly causing the terrible things in your life. Love won, truth won and misunderstood tradition lost out. God is still big, Romans 8:28 is still true but now I lay the blame from life’s terrible things at the biblical sources, the after effects of living in a sin decaying world, other people’s choices to sin, and at the feet of that great deceiver satan who loves nothing more than to make the God of perfect love look more evil and demented than he is.

  22. I thought I was the only one that was troubled by the song, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” I’ve also rewrote it and sing, “You give, and give some more.”

    Now, from everyone’s gracious comments, I’m going to look at it and think of the “take away” as taking away our pains, lack, disease, sadness etc, etc. Taking away all the junk and funk.

    Thanks to one and all for the posts. This has been an encouragement & a emancipation!


    • momzilla76 // March 23, 2016 at 8:05 am // Reply

      What an evil thing you thing God is. I suggest doing a deep, deep study on Jesus)if you have seen me you have seen the Father), God’s holiness and the character of God but only from the New Testament. Then come back and read Job through the renewed eyes of Jesus, the full character of God and the new covenant and see if the book of Job looks very, very different.

    • Exactly! God gives to us, and allows to devil to take it away (kill steal destroy) according to Gods will.

  24. My little brother who just passed in a freak car accident was in love with Jesus and spread His word all over USA has left behind two girls 10 and 8. He was the sole provider of his family. I’m am leaning to the Lord, and trying to find peace in this, but my mother, she needs a lot of prayer. She was already in the dark of this world and I fear that she push the light of day away from this tragedy. So if you would please lift my mother up in your prayers. I’m not ready to loose her too. Thank you and in Jesus name I ask that my mother would be delivered from the evil of this world. amen

    • Codie, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I will definitely pray for your family and your mother in particular. May the God of all comfort, comfort you in your difficult time.

  25. Kevin Williamson // July 29, 2016 at 9:45 am // Reply

    I think God exposed Satan in the book of Job for what the adversary really is: thief, murderer and destroyer. Satan asked God to stretch out His hand against Job; God did not. Instead, God told Satan that all Job has is in “your power” (Job 1:11-12). With that authority in tow, the devil went and vented his evil nature against Job and his family. He couldn’t help himself — that’s who he is. Satan showed no mercy. He went full bore, bent on destruction. It’s like God has conveyed to us through this book: “Look at the prince of darkness. See his intentions.” After Satan’s violent attacks, God then revealed His nature . . . merciful and restoring.

  26. There is a difference between causing and allowing. God ALLOWS suffering. A missing point of reference is that Satan had God’s PERMISSION to take from Job to prove to the devil his(Job) faith in God, and in the end, God got the glory, was able to show His strength through Job’s weakness AND Job was blessed for standing. Forgive me I am at work and cannot pull up that scripture, maybe someone would be kind enough to find it? As it was put to me, if there was no bad, how would we know good? And if God answered all out prayers, what need would we have of Him? Without suffering and loss, what will drive us to our knees and remind us of our need for a Savior? As for God’s will in our lives….is that we all know Him and share the Good News to others. I have come to understand, through E2R, that God is love, all the time, not to make us suffer or pay, for that is why He sent His Son…period. We live in a fallen world, which means sin, sickness and physical death. That was never His plan. COULD He wipe out the world, sure, but how many would go to hell? Anyhow, I think I have rambled enough. God Bless♡

    • It is a common misperception that Satan had God’s permission to torture Job and murder his kids. He most certainly did not. The idea that God would “allow” Satan to murder and steal is at odds with the picture Jesus painted of the devil as a murderer and a thief. It is a lie that opens the door to all sorts of deception and unnecessary suffering.

      (Please don’t take my blunt response as a personal attack. I wish God’s grace and peace be yours in abundance! But I get a little fired up by the lies religion has sold us about the goodness of God.)

  27. Finally…truth!! Thank you! Always been VERY uncomfortable singing that recent song “Blessed be the name …He gives and takes away…He gives and takes away” It just didn’t fit with the God I know and trust. Just shows that we need to be careful what we sing and say. Cut a different path. Question always.

  28. You are mistaken. God can give and take away. Read 1Samuel 15:10. God said that He was sorry to have made Saul king and he took back the kingdom from Saul. God sent His Son so that He wouldn’t have to take back His gifts to us, but you are mistaken to think that he won’t. He took back the presence of Adam and Eve in His garden, which was His gift. You need to correct your teaching because God said feed His people His word and to lean not to your own understanding.

    • If God took back his calling and gifts, then the Apostle Paul was mistaken when he wrote Rom 11:29 (“the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable”). Indeed, the story of Saul proves that God’s gifts are without revocation, for even though God regretted making Saul king, he never took back Saul’s crown. Saul remained king for years, until his death.

      Ditto for Adam and Eve. God did not withdraw his presence but went with them when they left the garden. (How do we know? Because Adam’s son was familiar with God’s voice.)

      If you are to drink the medicine you offer to others, I trust you will renew your mind and believe the good news preached by the Apostle Paul, rather than the bad news preached by a man in pain.

      • And you may hide my words. But you cannot hide from God’s word and remember none will be judged so harshly as those who lead God’s people astray. Feed God’s word to His sheep because your word is chaff.

    • Cynthia Look to Jesus to settle this dispute. What He says about it speaks loudly for those who will hear it.
      In John 14:9 Jesus says that if you have seen Him you have seen the Father when asked to show people the Father. In John 5:19 Jesus also said that He could not do anything unless He saw the Father doing it first.
      Now when did Jesus take anything good away from people? Anything except for bad things that is.
      And as for Paul’s response it is very accurate but not according to tradition. According to the scriptures it is spot on.

      • Stewart Patrick // January 31, 2017 at 12:51 pm //

        In India the story is told of a man whose only son broke his leg and could not help in the fields. Everyone told the man, “That is bad.” The old man responded, “It may be good or it may be bad; only God knows.” The next day the army took all the young men in the village to fight a battle in which all were killed, but the man’s son was left behind because of the broken leg. The people with one voice opined, “That was good that your son broke his leg.” The man again responded, “It may be good or it may be bad; only God knows.” The story goes on for some time through various twists and turns, but it makes a clear point. We know nothing at all of an occurrence’s purpose at its beginning; the end of the natural incident is often the supernatural action of God.
        The good or the bad happen, but they are not the signs of God’s pleasure or displeasure. God’s working the supernatural into the lives of believers requires all that takes place in the natural. We must be silent until we see the end.
        –Michael Wells, Heavenly Discipleship, page 213

      • My Buddhist friends who would enjoy this story. To my mind, it’s foolishness. If my son broke his leg and was unable to work, that would be a bad thing. Could God turn that bad situation around for good? Definitely (see Romans 8:28). And that’s what I would pray for. I would not stay silent. Jesus healed all the sick. Imagine if David had stayed passive and silent after his wife and children had been taken captive at Ziklag (1 Sam 30:3).

      • Colleen G // February 1, 2017 at 1:52 am //

        Yeah that is a very Buddhist story. The Buddhist moral of the story is that you never know if a situation is going to end up good or bad so accept it without judgement. 😉
        Seeing it is the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy means we should not passively by and let him dance all over us.

      • brandonhutzell // February 1, 2017 at 3:01 am //

        Colleen, Paul, I am curious how you find it so easy to quote John 14:9 and entirely dismiss the character and actions of our Heavenly Father? Jesus is only one part of the trinity. In 2 Chronicles 26:19-21, the Lord smote Uzziah with leprosy “until the day he died”. Nebuchadnezzar was driven to madness by God until he came to understand that “the Most High rules in the affairs of men” (Daniel 4). An angel of the Lord killed Herod for simply attempting to claim the glory that belonged to God alone. (Acts 12:21-23) And don’t forget Ananias and Sapphira, killed by God after lying to the Holy Spirit in the midst of the congregation.

      • I appreciate different people have recorded different pictures of God in the scriptures and some of these seem contradictory. Some of the OT pictures seem at odds with the revelation of God given by Jesus. But don’t you find it interesting that Jesus said “No one has seen the Father except me” (John 6:46)? There were plenty of people in the OT who saw the hand of God behind things, or thought they did, and in some cases they were flat out wrong. Which may be why Jesus said what he said. The only hard and fast rule I have here is that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father (Heb 1:3). If you want to know what God is like – his character and nature – he is EXACTLY like Jesus.

        BTW, I don’t believe God killed anyone after the cross – neither Herod nor Ananias and Sapphira.

  29. Stewart Patrick // January 31, 2017 at 4:13 pm // Reply

    And imagine if David had stayed agressive in 1 Samuel 25 after God had sent Abigail to correct him? He judged that event totally wrong, and that is always our problem when we see things as ‘good or bad’, without waiting on the Lord. We are eating from that forbidden tree once again. Of course we pray Paul, and we are to seek the heart of the Lord for each situation, waiting on the Lord. But I know I get it wrong too often when I judge or jump to conclusions, rather than having to wait in faith, trusting that God is always working the natural events of life too.

    • Never stopping to seek God is not the only option other than to assume everything is from God and submit to it all. 🙂 Waiting on God does not mean I cease fighting against something painful.

  30. Jesus Himself said “my God why have you forsaken me?”

    David waited to see if God would save his babies life and yet that life was over.

    If our days on earth are numbered Who numbers them? Is it not God. Job, David and all us who believe are partaking in Suffering. Jesus is our suffering Messiah so why shouldn’t we expect to suffer and the rise above it as our Savior did! My son passed away and the suffering from that pivotal time changed me forever. Put such a God focus that was barely there before. Satan is the taker but God CAN step in yet sometimes does not. And God is too WONDERFUL for me to understand.

  31. I learned from Jesus that in the absence of an accuser neither does God accuse. But there is an accuser(Satan), and with the help of his disciples(men) he makes accusations . . . lots of them. Mostly the accusation is self-righteousness.

    What is Satans problem? What’s his primary acussation? (Leading with my chin here) . . .”these mere humans are totally lead by their senses, they don’t understand the true nature of the relationship with you(God). I(Satan) am equal with you(God), not these flesh creatures you have favoured. I’m(Satan) totally spiritual and they(men) are not and therefore not worthy. You(God) made a mistake”.

    Faith, is the knowledge of our relationship, and our works of Faith are our response to that knowledge. i.e. Abraham knew that the God who spoke to him could do what he said, that was the nature of the relationship. Abraham acted differently after he had Faith in the one who spoke. Abraham believed God. But there was lots more to learn and lots more to have Faith in.
    i.e. Abraham was given the Promised Land but his senses said it was not worth having so he went Egypt ! ! !

    Satan’s accusation against Job was, “He doesn’t know the true nature of his relationship, if you affect his senses he will speak it out of his own mouth”.
    Satan goes about impersonating an angry King(roaring lion) so we will think God is against(angry) us. The true nature of our relationship with God Is “loving Father and beloved and accepted children”
    If you will, questions on Sovereignty, God’s will, our role, can be explored down this line?

  32. Job 1:21- “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away” is truly stated (Job did say it) but it is not a statement of truth. Job simply wasn’t aware that Satan even existed. And he surely didn’t have the same authority we have in Christ to defend himself against Satan.

  33. Charlie Fischer // April 23, 2017 at 12:10 am // Reply

    Who’s in charge, then? Watching my 18 year old son die in the hospital last year as a result of a car accident has really rattled me. God was given every opportunity to restore and heal him, yet he chose not to. We prayed, fasted–for days, fully expecting him to recover, yet he died. I won’t give credit to his adversary for that. Yet, I certainly can’t thank God for it, either. This has really brought some questions to the surface for me, as you might be able to imagine.

  34. What about God’s conversation with the devil where he says “have you considered my servant Job” and then gives him permission to afflict Job? Or, to put it into the words of Jesus to Peter, “satan has requested to sift you”. If the devil has free reign then God isn’t in charge, if He is in charge then the devil can only do as he’s allowed which still comes under the blanket of God’s will. It’s not karma, it’s seeing with a single or pure eye (Matthew 6:22) that everything which occurs in our life is an expression of God’s love whether we judge it “good” or “evil”. As soon as we judge it we are at the wrong tree, the tree of death rather than life, when we stop judging our circumstances we are able to be content in all of them.

    • You may be interested in this related article on Job and this recent one on sifting.

    • In my country there are long established laws addressing abuse on so many levels, yet for the lack of knowledge many will suffer abuse . . . ignorant of the laws that protect them.

      You could excuse new comers to our country for assuming some problems from their homeland are also entrenched in our culture, and especially confusing for these immigrants seeking a new life when the locals suffer from the same ignorance as the new comers to our country. Those who suffer abuse could wrongly conclude that the government supports abuse because many people are subject to it.
      For the lack of understanding and knowledge people live and suffer because of their own culture.

      Judges don’t patrol the streets looking to enforce laws, it is up to the people to make a complaint which leans on established law. The law requires a petition to “remind” the executors of the law.

      If we don’t know the relationship between law/judge/citizen and those who would kill, steal and destroy, we may live lives crying out for justice which has already been provided. The Judge does not control what happens, we do . . . we are in control, not the Judge. We are the ones that limit or permit the full force of the law to bring justice.

      The Kingdom of heaven has been established on “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”, this law has set us free from “the law of sin and death”, and yet these are not two laws, but one.

      The law goes like this, “if all men are condemned by one unrighteous man, then all men can be made redeemed by one righteous man”.

    • We are to judge ourselves, as that is what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:31,32. Even the unbeliever, before he can receive from the Lord, so great salvation, must first judge himself a sinner. No, judgments’ on our part is to avoid chasten on Gods part. But chasten (show of love) he will! The great Tribulation mentioned in Revelations is for chastisement, to turn mans attention toward heaven, seeing they have not made judgment for themselves!
      Just as Jesus told the one he healed, “you are made whole: sin no more, unless a worse thing come unto you”, John 5:14. This man was given a choice, judge himself or get judged, for when we are judged (for lack of judging ourselves), we are chastened (love tapped) of the Lord!

      • I used to read the scripture as you do Thomas . . . Judging myself against my performance instead of the performance of Jesus. And of course I extended the same judgement I used on myself onto others.

        I now see that even though I sin I am no longer a sinner, everything has changed I am no longer defined by my sin, I am a son of God, a citizen of the Kingdom of heaven. The only variable that I may choose is whether I will glorify my God, my Father, my King, by my Faith here on earth. Part of Glorifying our God happens when we feel condemnation and judge that Jesus is greater than my guilt. Similarly,if I suffer from sickness then I acknowledge(judge) that Jesus suffered all the curse of sin so that I would not have to.

        By Jesus blood I am Justified and therefore free from condemnation and guilt. In the same way, by Jesus suffering stripes on his back I was healed. If we don’t judge correctly we will feel guilty and condemned by our actions, and if we suffer sickness, instead of receiving what Jesus already gave us, that sickness may lead to death.

        Sinners are self-reliant and independent, they judge themselves by their actions, be them good or bad, these are self-righteous. The righteous know they cannot be justified by their actions and begin to know the Love that saved them through Jesus.

        Our response to the knowledge of this love Glorifies God.

      • “Judging myself against my performance instead of the performance of Jesus.” But that is the very thing John tells us in 1 John 3:7 not to be deceived about. Judgments on our part is to make sure we are not deceived, but doing righteousness as Jesus is. Its in the “doing”.

        “The only variable that I may choose is whether I will glorify my God” And that is the very thing Paul E. shared about this scripture; “…we are bad advertisements for Jesus when we act like Corinthians during communion…”, meaning not glorifying God. Our righteous walk is all about “His names sake”, Psalms 23:3.
        We are to depart from bad advertisement, 2 Timothy 2:19, as “How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer there in” Romans 6:1. John also mentions this, 1 John 3:6. Does he have it wrong? No, John makes allowance for sin, only in that, “if” any man sin we have an advocate Christ Jesus 1 John 2:1. Notice, “if”, not “when”. If you say “when” something happens, you imply it definitely will happen, even if the precise timing is unknown. You use “if “when there’s uncertainty about whether the event will happen at all. Which should be our resolve!
        We should be living the “crucified with Christ” life, and “abiding in Christ” life and to do that, one must not allow deception, through examination.
        To make something other, of 1 Corinthians. 11:29-32, than what it plainly say’s, is a stretch!

      • richard elson // February 21, 2018 at 4:37 pm //

        I found an excellent article on the nature of sin. If we do the right actions out of the wrong motivation, those actions are very likely to be sin. Our sinless life is no longer about right or wrong, or whether we do right or wrong.

        Repentance is known by most as changing your mind, bravo, but the religious will have a 1000 different ideas of how they might qualify someone as being repentant. The religious will define themselves by their particular ideas or as you say, actions(doings) they do or don’t do. Repentance is not a decision to do better, and sinless living is not doing better. Israel(some of) repented from their pursuit of God through the religious system, they understood they were no closer to being righteous than their fore fathers 1600 years previous. John the baptiser pointed this out to prepare the people to receive Jesus. “Show me fruits of repentance”, John shouted up to those still dressed in their religious robes.

        True repentance is changing your mind about your religious approach to God, therefore wearing your temple clothes is a dead giveaway that nothing has changed, and while they trusted in themselves to achieve holiness they still had something invested in themselves. They had pride in themselves. Repent of trusting in yourself, your nationality, your lineage, your education, your strength. Matt 5 3-11, is a description of the people after they had been prepared by John, and Jesus says “you’re blessed to be in this position of lose, and hunger, and thirsting, of singular(pure) motivation, getting persecuted by the religious. They had become “dead” to being their own solution. . . They had become humble. They were ready to enter the kingdom of Heaven.

        When we repent of trusting in our-self we can begin to trust in Jesus, to rely on him. The Holy Spirit will convict you of your righteousness because of where Jesus went, NOT because of what you do. The Holy Spirit will convict you of the singular sin of not trusting Jesus. Our doings are righteous when we trust in him. . .when we act out of Faith.

  35. The article is really nice thanks for uploading this,this may help. Lot of people to understand about GOD who blesses us only with good gifts…amen

  36. I was prompted to read this blog again after a friend was quoting Job. I shall be sharing this.

  37. Have you considered Job being a ‘playwright’? Much like ‘Beauty and the Beast’..

  38. Terry Thompson // November 26, 2017 at 1:18 am // Reply

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

    There is not a word there that would support the assertion that Jesus does not take away, or kill, or destroy, but it does teach us that Satan comes to do *only* those things, and that Jesus comes to give life, and that, abundantly.

    Let scripture speak what it speaks without adding personal preferences. Using Bible verses alone for understanding God is a sure way to be deceived by a personal false god, namely, ourselves.

  39. Ernesto Cuevas // January 16, 2018 at 4:06 am // Reply

    This is unbiblical. The next verse…read it!
    21And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

    22In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. JOB WAS CORRECT. HE WAS NOT CHARGING GOD FOOLISHLY (as you say he was)
    Plus God agrees that He rose up against Job.
    11Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him:

  40. Sir Paul Ellis, I believe you 100 percent that Gods Gifts to us are all irrevocable.. Then how can you explain the parable of the talents sir?

  41. Daniel Duke’ // February 21, 2018 at 12:12 pm // Reply

    So Paul since I can’t find Job 2:22 could you please quote it for me? Thank you I also ask you show me where it said his brothers and sisters said some dumb things, speculation is not truth ! Can you please show me where God ever suggested Job was a bitter suicidal old man? You know what they say about assuming ,don’t you ?

  42. Hi Sir Paul, I have a question the text in that is written in Romans 11:29. For the Gifts and the Callings of God are irrevocable. Are those only spiritual gifts or it means all of the gifts which God has given to us? Hoping for your answer sir.

  43. Fabian Ramirez // March 29, 2018 at 7:09 am // Reply

    Amen! Well said and explained it very well! I used to think that God gives and takes away but when I finally got the revelation to God’s grace it now bothers me to sing any song with those words in it because its not true, God is an awesome generous giver who gave us His only Son as our sacrifice for our sins so that tells us that God is an amazing Father! God bless you

  44. Let us not forget Job repented from all he had said. Jobe 42:3 Yes, I have stated things I didn’t understand, things too mysterious for me to know.

    this includes “… the Lord takes away ..”

  45. I don’t know if someone has already asked or mentioned this but how come the Bible words it “then the Lord struck David’s child ill…” and then the child died. And before that Nathan said something like “because you did this God will kill your son.” I’m having a hard time believing this. Also in the Old Testament God would send angels and lightening (fire from heaven) to kill people etc. and a bear to kill people.. etc.

  46. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32)

    Here Satan asked (Hebrew: “demanded for trial”) Jesus that he may sift Peter, and as in the Book of Job, Jesus DID NOT PREVENT Satan but instead just prayed that Peter’s faith fail not.

    It’s like you see someone pushing another person into the see and just pray that the person in the water won’t drown, when in fact you can just avoid that tragedy to even happen!

    How many people are suffering just because God is allowing it? In our world full of sins we have laws that condemn people that fail to assist people in danger when they are able to help, but don’t. How is it possible that God can just do the opposite, allowing Satan to torture people?

    My life until now has been worse than that of Job, and when I tried to call God for help He would just give the opposite of what I need, more sufferings, or just remain silent. I have no protection against the desires of my enemies. If I cannot ask God for protection, what can I do? I have come to a point that, while I still believe in God, I cannot pray anymore, and I am now unable to love God as He desires.

    • Blaming God for all the suffering in the world is pointless. As you say, we live in a world full of sin. Who sinned? Not God. A better question to ask is why do we allow this? Why point fingers when we could lend a hand? I have written elsewhere on the sifting passage.

      • Paul,

        You are responding exactly like Job’s three friends responded to Job. It’s not funny!

      • It was not my intention to come across as self-righteous but to interrupt a narrative of self-pity. I know from personal experience how destructive self-pity can be, and with nothing but love in my heart, I encourage everyone to resist it vigorously. Self-pity is insidious. It is a potent enemy that causes us to see ourselves as powerless victims. It leads us to blame God for our suffering and view him as unjust. I hope this sounds more like Elihu.

  47. Yes. Thank you. Thank you! I couldn’t stop praying after reading this. My spirit was uplifted. Praise God for your life. I’m the child of the Giver. Blessings.

  48. Amissah Joseph // March 30, 2019 at 1:12 am // Reply

    Great message for God’s people

  49. Elisabeth Ward // January 15, 2020 at 5:34 pm // Reply

    I enjoyed the article . Always believed that my God is a Giver not a Taker .I skip over the line of the song that says he gives and takes away .What about the story of David where Nathan tells David zGod has forgiven his sin and he woul not die , but his son would .And God struck him with a sickness and he died .

  50. You say King David fought back after being robbed and won, how do we fight back when robbed?
    What if God gives a gift, allows the enemy to steal it as part of his work and growth in us? (reveal what we cherish most – him or the gift, teach us to hold lightly in life etc)

    • “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jas 4:7). We resist the thief by refusing to believe the lie that “God allowed this to happen.” We resist him by standing firm in the Lord. God is not behind your sickness and suffering and he certainly doesn’t train us by killing our kids.

      • In Job, at the start, it clearly shows God *allowing* Satan to take away from Job. To prove Satan wrong that Job does fear God for nothing. Job still trusted God despite all he lost.

        God doesn’t do the taking away, but permits Satan limits towards us. God has a reason for allowing all things that happen to us, to happen. Believing that ‘God allowed this to happen’ isn’t a lie. If God didn’t allow it to happen, then it wouldn’t, it only does, because God allows it to, just as Job shows.

      • Chloe, if you think God is in league with the devil or gives him permission to kill and steal, why would you resist him? Job said some daft things that he later acknowledged were wrong. I would encourage you to look at how Jesus stood up to the devil healing all who were oppressed by him (Acts 10:38). Jesus would never have done that if he thought God had allowed sickness or brought it about to teach us things.

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