GIVE AND TAKE AWAY?
Quite often we sing in church, “He gives and takes away.” It is not the way I can picture God. He is the giver of all good gifts, but He is not the one that takes away. Who then is the one that takes away and makes us look as if we were the enemies of God? The Book of Job gives us clearer insight.
To begin with, we must be high on God’s list for the devil to take an interest. To qualify, one must be like Job: blameless, upright, fear God and shun evil (Job 1:1). Such people are thorns in Satan’s eyes because they remain faithful to God even when circumstances are unfavorable (Job 2:10). Job lost everything he had built: his wealth, his ten children, his health, and his wife wanted him to curse God and die. Then his four friends treated him as the worst sinner that was being punished justly by God. Job could not recall what it was that could have angered God; nevertheless, Job accepted his fate as coming from the hand of God. Only, it was not God, but the devil that was robbing and torturing Job.
If everything is thumbs-up, then we too might be drifting away from God. Satan likes nothing better than when we take God for granted. As long as we keep our faith to ourselves, he has no reason to be alarmed. But, the moment we step out and live for Jesus and obey his orders, the devil with full force will be on our backs. Like Job and his friends, many among us believe that God is behind our misfortunes. God is the giver of everything that is good (James 1:17). It is Satan that binds God-fearing people with misery and sickness (Luke 13:16).
Does that mean Christians cannot have earthly riches? Jesus promised that his followers would receive a hundredfold in the new world and not in this one (Matthew 19:29). But the reward comes after they have proven themselves faithful to God. For Job, his life, the life of his children and all his goods were second to God and that is why he was blessed double than he was before (Job 42:10-17). Riches kept the Young Ruler from following Jesus and many rich people out of heaven (Mark 10:17-31). That is why Jesus refused the devil’s offer and pointed out that God comes first (Luke 4:5-8). God wants us to have earthy goods. He shall even multiply them when we are faithful (Matthew 25:14-30). But if we gain wealth for selfish reasons, He may not let us enjoy it (Luke 12:13-21). And since God’s reign is not of this world, good people like Job will endure Satan’s fury (John 18:36).