Posts Tagged ‘gives and takes away’

Day Sixty-Five

 The God Who Gives and Takes Away

“For I declare to you, you will not see Me again until you say, Blessed (magnified in worship, adored, and exalted) is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!” Matt 23:39 Amp

One serious struggle we believers have before and after coming to faith, is rationalizing the character of God against the concept that things are given and things are taken away.  We don’t really like this concept.  In fact I’ve heard several otherwise mature believers say they don’t embrace this notion of “give and take away.” And yet for all our not “receiving” this notion – it is in fact there in black and white, splashed across the Bible terrain for all to see, and it begs the question.  How is God so compassionate and giving but then also just and intractable — set like flint on taking… away? I’m here today to simply testify that this concept exists.  I don’t have the mental prowess nor the wisdom of God to try and explain all of its ins and outs.

Even a cursory review of the Gospel will bring you straight-away into this seeming dichotomy of God:  He gives and He takes away.  It is in this search arena that we become most aware of the fact — God is different from us!  He is the Lord, and we comprehend Him not!  Take comfort in this truth, however, that He is bigger than you and me.  If He were not, and we had what we thought was a “handle’ on Him, I doubt that we’d respect Him let alone obey Him or serve Him.  But as I come to know His character more, I know I can trust Him, even when He behaves contrary to what I understand or agree with. More than that, it is in that very place of tacit disagreement that I learn how to “submit.”

No sadder description of “giving and taking away” exists in history than the Scripture referenced above.  The Jews of Jerusalem have failed to recognize the day of their visitation from God.  Jesus is there, walking in their midst.  He’s teaching, and healing, and living among them.  Yet pride and a preference to maintain the status quo motivates them to not acknowledge Him as their Lord.  Thus, He is leaving them on their own until a future date when they will not only cry out to Him, but will cry out with full recognition.  His departure from the Jews ushers in the age of the church and opens the way for gentiles to be in-grafted into the Body of Christ.  The saddest day for the Jews becomes an entrance to salvation for the people not a people of God – for which we should be simultaneously grateful and humbled.

But back with the Jews, Jesus tells them their house (the temple) is forsaken, desolate, and destitute of God’s help.  He has come to the Jews first – given Himself to them in fact, and now withdraws and takes Himself away.  And this giving and taking away can be seen as a pivotal characteristic of the gospels and the pattern of intervention of God in the life of His saints.

In the Book of Job, (after the destruction of losing family, property, and possessions) Job falls down and worships the Lord saying, “…Naked came I from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I depart.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:20-22)

In Isaiah we are told that unto us a Child is born, and a Son is given. (Isa 9:6)  Later in Isaiah, we see the very cross-beams of the Gospel substructure when we read that it pleased the Father to bruise Him (Jesus).  That on the Cross Jesus bore our iniquities and our guilt.  That Jesus poured out His life unto death, and He let Himself be regarded as a criminal and be numbered with transgressors; yet He bore and took away the sin of many, and made intersession for the transgressors. (Isa 53:10-12)  For all eternity, this stands alone as the singular, most earth shaking, enormously pivotal of all giving and taking away that there has ever been!  The Son was given – and the Son was taken away, (and your sin was taken, and His life was given to you)! (Check your Bible for the “Rest of the Story.”J).

Lastly, in the Gospel of Mark we see another aspect to giving and taking away.  In talking about spiritual knowledge, Jesus says to those listening to His parables: “If any man has ears to hear, let them be listening and let him perceive and comprehend.  And He said to them, “Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you – and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.  For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away [by force].” (Mark 4:23-25)  Translation:  the more you embrace the truth of the word – the more you will have truth.  More will be given to you.  But the more you resist and refute this truth – even what you had previously will dissipate  and decay within you.  Your darkness will become darker.

The concept the God gives and takes away cannot be refuted.  It is there over and over.  What we can’t get a handle on is: the outcome.  Sometimes benefit comes from the taking away of something (like the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us because the Lord has gone to the Father).  Job’s life proved that even in the taking (of family, possessions, fortune, status) Job could triumph over trial as he came before the Lord and chose to continue trusting Him.  As he chose the way of righteousness through the trial not only was his own personal captivity turned by the Lord, but he was blessed with double increase back!

The goal here is not to adopt a winning strategy for handling loss, it is rather to stick close with the One Whom we should trust and obey no matter what is going on! (Matt 24:10)  Don’t desert Him no matter what is thrown your way.  Don’t try to figure it out (and truly we cannot figure it out) — just trust Him.  He is the One worth your trust!  He is the One completely Faithfull!



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