So many people believe that God is the creator of most tragedies the happen in their life. They do not realize that they have been deceived, tricked into blaming God for them instead of praising God, and asking for help with them. And while the Old Testament scriptures have done more to support the image of a cruel, ruthless, and merciless deity, whose only purpose appears to be the chastisement of his creation by indiscriminately allowing bad things to happen to seemingly innocent men, women, and children, there is one infamous statement by Job that has done more to further this mentality.
And 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 (Job 1:21).
Because of his losses, we know that Job spoke this statement, but it is very apparent, from the traditional teachings on the subject, that this statement has been used to define God for many of us.
Just the fact that God, the sovereign being that he is, would give something like life to his creation and then turn around and take back that same life has circled through the generations of mankind like the earth has circled the sun for many years.. There has been little to no deviation in the belief or the traditional teachings associated with this belief in as many years. And so, the infamous statement continues to be spoken during times when people believe God is teaching mankind lessons in long-suffering and faithfulness and whenever there are great tragedies, such as the loss of life.
But there are some very serious problems with Job’s infamous statement. The most serious of all of the problems is that it is not truth. And before you throw this out with the dishwater, please give us an opportunity to explain what we mean. Afterwards, if you do not agree with the explanation, then you can still throw it and us out with the dishwater. For many years, we have been taught that the Bible is the uncompromising, inerrant, and infallible word of God. We also have been taught that all scripture is given by inspiration of God to tell us what to believe, what is wrong, how to correct the wrong and how to live so that the man (child) of God may grow in maturity, to be perfect, and do what God wants (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The first problem is that the Bible is not the book that many believe it to be. The Bible is not the uncompromising, inerrant, and infallible word of God in any form, any shape, or any fashion. Do not forget that you agreed to give us the opportunity to explain what we meant before you threw us out. The truth is, the Bible contains the uncompromising, inerrant, and infallible word of God, but the Bible itself is not such a book. And while all scripture is given by inspiration of God, not all scripture is inspired by God. We remember listening to a teaching by Dr. Fred Price where he said, Everything in the Bible is truly stated, but not everything in the Bible is a statement of truth. We remember when he first said the statement; we had to really think about what he had just said. And the interesting thing about what he said was the fact that he knew what he had said was so deep and so profound that after he said it, he paused for a few minutes, as if he was checking to make sure that what he had said, he had said correctly, before he repeated the statement again. And he did repeat it several more times, each pausing in the same manner as he did before.
We believe that he paused so that his congregation could have a moment or two to absorb and ponder what was said, because what he said did require the thought processors to kick into overdrive. He knew that because of complexity of thought associated with this statement, his congregation, not to mention everyone that heard it, would need a few moments to process it. This was such a deep and profound statement that he know his congregation, not to mention me, would need a little help understanding what he was trying to convey. And guess what passage Dr. Price used to illustrate his point? Yes, that is right, he used Job infamous 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 statement.
As he was telling his congregation Job’s story, we could not help but remember all the times we had heard preachers preach sermons on this very topic many, many years past. Because they used this phrase so freely, we believed this was the standard operating procedure for God. We remember primarily hearing these words whenever there was a death or some type of loss of material possession due to so-called acts of God. Preachers would inadvertently recite these words, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Other would recite these words as they came to terms with their loss. We remember growing up believing that God gave us life and then at some random point in time, he took back that life.
The really sad part was that we were not the only ones who had come to this same conclusion, completely believing that this was what God really did. We, to this very day, still hear people who claim that God has taken or called home their family members, usually in the form similar to, God took my mother or God called my father home. We have even heard the phrase used in conjunction with their pets. We have come to realize that people really do not fully understand what they are saying when they make these statements. They do not realize that they are saying in one breathe that God is the giver of life and at the same time, they are saying that he is the taker of life. They believe this to be some kind of truism about God because they have seen it in the Bible and have heard the phrase used countless times. They have never felt the need to questions its validity. But God has a version of things that is just a little different from the one that we have been taught or the one that we have been led to accept.
For God’s gifts and has call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises (Romans 11:29 – The Living Bible).
According to this passage, God does not withdraw nor does he take back his gifts and he never goes back on his promises. And if you did not know this, let us tell you that life itself is a gift from God. And since this be the case, then what Job said is not the truth about God. God does not give you something and then take that something back. According to the scriptures, this is not something that God does. However, this apparently is something that God does according to Job. But here lies the problem.
This was the very thing that Dr. Price alluded to in his teaching. You see, the statement was something that Job said about God; the statement was not something that God had said about himself. It was Job that said the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. This was not something that God had said. So, here is what Dr. Price meant by his deep and profound statement. He went on to say that what Job had said was truly stated, meaning that it was true that Job did make the statement, but what Job said was not true, because it was not a statement of truth. It was not true that God takes back what he gives. This was something that Job had said, not something that God said. Dr, Price said that people have noticed it and have inappropriately used it because they believed it to be something directly from God and something that God wanted us to know about him.
Can you now see why we say that the Bible itself is not the uncompromising, inerrant, and infallible word of God? However, please understand that the Bible does contain, among other things, the uncompromising, inerrant, and infallible word of God. And it is this word that we, his children, have to be able to rightly divide. We have to be able to rightly divide his word from those words of others that are quoted in the Bible. And this is something that cannot be done without knowledge of his word. You have to have some kind of knowledge about a thing before you can become proficient with or using it. You have to know about God’s word before you can become proficient at rightly dividing it. And this is why God tells his children to study his word so that we can recognize his word, so that we can recognize his actions, so that we can recognize what he does, and so that we can recognize who he truly is; that way there is no confusion about what he is telling us. He wants us to study this word of truth and rightly divide it so that we are no longer deceived by the great deceiver. Here is another passage about the gifts of God.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness (variation), neither shadow of turning (James 1:17).
From this passage, we see that whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God and shines forever without change or the possibility of turning. Since every good and perfect gift comes to us from God then it makes us wonder about the thief, who cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). And it is our great enemy, the devil, who prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8).
In the story of Job, God allowed Satan to put forth his hands and touch all that Job had and touch his bones and flesh. The disasters that befell Job were of human interactions (Sebeans and Chaldeans) and of natural sources (fire and wind), even though Satan’s power was behind it all.
And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee (Job 1:15).
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee (Job 1:17).
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee (Job 1:16).
And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee (Job 1:19).
The Sebeans were a nomadic Bedouin tribe known for their treachery and cruelty, who often plundered other people as a means of survival. The Chaldeans were also a band of nomadic marauders, who would later conquer Babylon. It is interesting to note that each of these four tragic events took place on the same day, each included the lost of human life, and each was completely orchestrated by Satan himself. (to be continued).
Enjoy your blessings - KW