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Job 1:21 – God Gives and God Takes Away

Summary

After the first wave of troubles comes to Job, he stoically accepts what happens as God's will. It is God who gives and, therefore, God can take away.

Analysis

This is one of the best known passages from the book of Job. It is passages like this (and Job 2:9-10) that have led to the picture of Job as the patient, accepting survivor of disasters. He desperately hangs on to his beliefs in a God who is in charge of everything and who will ultimately work things out on his behalf. This raises important theological questions about whether God is in control of everything that happens, even the bad things. Job seems to think so. When a little girl is killed by a hit-and-run driver, is that God's will, or is it the irresponsible act of another person, or is it somehow both?

In the past, this verse was frequently read at funerals. Everything is put in God's hands. God gave life and God can take it again. In recent years, the verse shows up much less frequently. Though it may still seem helpful to talk about the death of an old person who has led a good and long life and now has been "called home," it does not work so well for the young victim of a terrible automobile accident.

Job 1:21

21He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’

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10 February 2011

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