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“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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7 thoughts on “Blessed be the name of the Lord”

  1. Matti says:

    Doesn’t “name” for the Hebrews mean something like the character and manifestation of the person whom the name belongs to? In that sense Job is also glorifying God’s character. He is blessed even though we are suffering.

  2. Bobby Sparks says:

    Thanks for sharing the Biblical worldview about God’s sovereign rule over man. God doesn’t make mistakes and we own nothing.

  3. Wyeth Duncan says:

    This is a good reminder for me. Unfortunately, more often than not, self-pity wins out when the Lord takes away.

  4. A great post and reminder. We will all face trials and suffering as we follow Christ. When we reach a level of humility and perspective where God’s name being glorified means more than our personal well-being, we have walked a few more paces in the footsteps of Christ.

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Ray Ortlund

Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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