Daily Devotions

Blessed be the Lord Who gives and takes away!

Job 1:21

‘And (Job) said: “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return!…. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!”‘ Job 1:21.

Calvin remarked in his Institutes I:17:8 & I:18:1,3 & II:4:2: “Had Job turned to the Chaldeans by whom he was plundered, he would instantly have been fired with revenge. But, recognizing the work of the Lord, he solaces himself with this most beautiful sentiment: ‘The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!’ (Job 1:21)….

“Job acknowledge that he was deprived of all his property, and brought to poverty. Because such was the pleasure of God…. The Holy Spirit…certainly dictated this confession to that holy man Job, ‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away’ — when, after being plundered by robbers, he acknowledges that their injustice and mischief was a just chastisement from God…..

“Let us refer to the calamities brought upon holy Job by the Chaldeans. They, having slain his shepherds, carry off his flocks…. Job, however, recognizes it as the work of God. Saying that what the Chaldeans had plundered — ‘the Lord’ had ‘taken away!'”

The first three messengers Job had heard silently, and while sitting. But at the news of the death of his children brought by the fourth, he could no longer overcome his grief.

When the messenger finished telling Job how the tornado had wiped out all his children, Job arose and gave way to the liveliest expressions of grief. He rent his mantle, as his heart was torn with sorrow. He shaved his head unto nakedness, removing every adornment. He cast himself on the ground — laying his forehead in the dust, in deep submission before God. And finally, he spoke.

He said: ‘Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return!’ He describes his later return to a condition of life similar to what had preceded his birth — put back into a state of unconsciousness and seclusion from the light and turmoil of this world similar to his former state in his mother’s womb, and returning to the bosom of mother earth.

‘We brought nothing into the world, and we can carry nothing out of it!’ (First Timothy 6:7). All that a man has, is a gift of God — which He at death recalls. Job blesses God alike — Who both gave, and Who takes away.

Job did not act like someone in despair. Humbling himself under the mighty hand of God, he fell to the ground and prostrated himself — worshipping God. And then, Job spoke again, saying: ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord!’

Here Job does not merely approach God in general, but God the Saviour in particular. Job calls Him blessed. For Job prays: ‘Blessed be the name of Jehovah‘ — Job’s Saviour God! Blessed be the Lord Who gives and takes away!