Job was one of the godliest and wealthiest men of the ancient world. The Bible says he “was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil…he was the greatest man among all the people of the East” (Job 1:1, 3).
One day when the angels gathered, God presented Job for Satan’s consideration. Satan suggests that Job only fears God because God has protected him. He taunts that if God would strike Job down, Job would surely curse Him.
God gives Satan permission to do to Job whatever he pleases (except take his life). In one day Job loses his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, sons, and daughters. After this Satan afflicts him with painful sores all over his body.
But Job keeps his faith and maintains his integrity. The Bible says, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing…in all this, Job did not sin in what he said” (Job 1:22, 2:10).
When three of Job’s friends hear of his troubles, they come to “sympathize with him and comfort him” (Job 2:11). Unfortunately, they prove much better at accusing than comforting! They say he must repent of sin for his suffering to be alleviated.
Yet Job defends his innocence. He longs for someone to plead his case before God. He also longs to appear in court with God, so he can bring a charge against Him.
Finally, God appears to Job to settle the matter. He asks what right Job has to question Him. Job confesses, “I spoke of things I did not understand…therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:3, 6).
God restores Job’s wealth and allows him to live a long life. The Bible says He “made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before…[He] blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first” (Job 42:10, 12).
(You can read Job’s full story in the book of Job.)
Jesus and Job
In the midst of suffering and despair, Job confesses his hope in God. He believes there is someone upholding his cause. He declares, “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high” (Job 16:19).
In his most famous statement of faith he proclaims, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” (Job 19:25-26)
Job’s longing for a mediator is fulfilled in Jesus. 1 John 2:1 says, “If anyone does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the righteous one.” Jesus defends us the way Job longed to be defended.
Even more profoundly, in his suffering Job serves as a preview of Jesus. Hebrews 5:8 says, “Although [Jesus] was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”
New Testament Perspective
Job is an Old Testament person but as Christians we must see him from a New Testament perspective. He suffered for nothing more than being a righteous man. Yet he sets a remarkable example of Christian perseverance, for his faith was actually in Jesus.
More importantly, he shows us how Jesus persevered in His faith. Like Job, He suffered for nothing more than being a righteous man. But unlike Job, He was “tempted in every way…yet was without sin.” And unlike Job, He suffered “so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
How has the book of Job informed your perspective on pain and suffering? Leave your thoughts with a comment below!
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2 thoughts on “The LORD Gave and the LORD Has Taken Away”
Sometimes I want to feel like this is my story too but this story is a reminder that what I am or have gone through pales in comparison to Job’s suffering. I’ve not suffered any loss as great as his…”I felt bad for a man who had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet” it could always be worse -rejoice always.
The book of Job proves that notions like karma are completely wrong. We shouldn’t expect earthly rewards when we serve God. Our reward is in heaven. We must fix our eyes on the city with everlasting foundations (Hebrews 11:10), ignoring the distracting vicissitudes of earthly wealth (Mark 4:19).
We should expect trial and persecution (John 15:20; John 16:33). We should pray for discipline and maturity; we should pray to be pruned by the Gardener (John 15:2). We should rejoice when He answers our prayers (James 1:2).
The church should ardently oppose the prosperity gospel, which perverts God’s grace into a means for financial gain. Paul talks leads by example in his first letter to Timothy: Paul warns Timothy against people “who think that godliness is a means to financial gain” (1 Timothy 6:5). We must boldly confront false doctrines.
In the same letter to Timothy, Paul echoes the book of Job when he says, “we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Timothy 6:7). Job says, “”Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21). The cohesive unity of the OT and NT is obvious by such parallels.
Furthermore, God records Job’s suffering in the Bible.The Bible is the eternal Word of God: “Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89). Think of the glory God gave Job by giving him an entire book of the Bible! Just like Job, God gave Jesus immense glory after He suffered. We should remember this when we face hardship: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Our suffering on earth is so short compared to our future with God!
God records everything we do: “The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books” (Revelation 20:12). Will we persevere like Job and receive eternal glory? Or will we sell Jesus for a few worthless silver coins and be thrown into the lake of eternal fire to be tormented day and night for ever and ever?
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). I choose Jesus.