Verse of the Day Devotion: Job 1:21
“He said, naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” – Job 1:21
Job in this verse is dealing with extreme loss, more than most, if not all, in this world has ever experienced. He lived in the land of Uz, and based on Job 1:1, he “was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Job 1:1b. He had ten children, seven sons and three daughters and many possessions including seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred oxen and five hundred female donkeys. He also had many servants who worked for him to take care of all these animals and other things Job owned. In verse three he is declared by the writer as “the greatest of all men of the east.” Job 1:3b.
Now one day Satan came to God, who spoke to Satan saying, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Job 1:8. God said there was no one like him in all the earth, blameless and upright more than anyone else on the earth. Satan responded by saying, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” Job 1:9b-10. Satan was essentially saying you have fortified him with spikes and spears. You have defended him with an unapproachable hedge. He is an object of your specific care and is not exposed to the common trials of life. He then adds the following. “But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.”
God then responds to him by saying, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him. So, Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.” Job 1:12. Then Satan goes to work. First, the Sabeans came and stole all the donkeys and oxen and killed the servants tending them. Then, according to a servant who came to him, fire fell from the sky which he called “the fire of God” and burned up all the sheep and the servants in the field, consuming them. Then the Chaldeans took all the camels and killed all the servants with them. Then worst of all, “While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” Job 1:18-29.
Because of all this, Job lost everything he had. He lost all his oxen and donkeys, his sheep, his camels and all his servants. And worst of all, his ten children were killed when the house they were meeting at collapsed due to heavy winds that came upon it. And because of all this, he tore his garments, shaved or pulled out the hair of his head and threw dust or ashes on his head, and fell on the ground, which were acts by which immense grief was expressed. Job must have felt the bitterness of anguish when he was told that, in addition to the loss of all his property, his children suffered a terrible death.
However, his response was not what Satan expected. “He said, Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21 which is our focus verse. Notice what happened here. Job did not point to the evil men or the natural disasters that took everything away. This would not have eased the sorrow he felt, but he looks at a higher place. He chose to look to the Sovereign Lord of the universe and to put his trust in God’s goodness. At times, God allows hard times to impact those who love Him, and during these times we must cling to the truth that God is good. God is sovereign, and nothing could happen that God does not know about. When the Lord gives, we must praise Him and be thankful. And when the Lord takes away, we must also praise Him and be thankful. We must always remember, no matter what happens, God has our best interests at heart. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. We may mourn our losses, whether they be things or loved ones, however, we must remember that God loves us more than we can understand and therefore works in everything on our behalf. So, no matter what happens, we must always look to Him and, as Job declared in our focus verse, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21b.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.