Jul

12

2010

Ray Ortlund|6:36 AM CT

Blessed be the name of the Lord

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21

Job did not say, “Blessed be the Lord” but “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” At issue in his life was not only his own reverence for God but also the name of the Lord in the world, how God would be thought about and spoken about and felt about. Job was expressing his own trust and also instructing and admonishing all others, including us, who watch him suffer at the Lord’s hand.

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb.” I came into the world with nothing. I’m not entitled to anything. Everything I’ve received has been of grace.

“Naked shall I return.” When I die, I’ll take nothing with me except what’s in my soul. I will cling to nothing in this life except what prepares me to die.

“The Lord gave.” He has been so good to me, so generous. I am astounded at his bounty toward me.

“The Lord has taken away.” Why not? When he gives, he doesn’t give away. He gives on trust. I am a steward, not an owner. And I don’t need to understand more than that. He doesn’t have to consult with me about what he does with his own property.

“Blessed be the name of the Lord.” God has done nothing wrong. He has been good in his giving and in his taking. Self-pity is an uncomprehending response. What’s happening here is, God’s name is being made more obvious in my life. I’m part of a drama, displaying who God really is here in this world of false appearances. That’s the true meaning of my life, and it’s a privilege to be involved. So I don’t want merely to acquiesce to God; I want to praise God, and I want you to praise him too.

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