In the Book of Job we read his famous words often quoted when someone is in the midst of their trial or test, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (Job 1:21-22)
Job knew unmistakably from whom all blessings flow, but he also was painfully aware who could choose to take them away.
We fixate on the things the Lord gives, because we love getting blessings from God. But, what about when He takes things away? What about when He subtracts, rather than adds? In this context we can easily see but one side of God’s ability to take things away. It’s often viewed in the context of the negative, isn’t it?
Job lost his cattle, his fields, and his children; EVERYTHING in one day. Here we can eerily see how quickly a man can be reduced to near nothing if God so chooses. But, that’s when God takes things away that down deep we feel as if God acted unfairly. It’s as if God is punishing us. Let’s be honest though, aren’t we glad when the coin lands on the other side of “taken away?” What do I mean?
God gets a bad wrap when good things are seemingly stripped from our hands, but aren’t we grateful when God takes some things away from us?
Isaiah 61:3 describes this process of God taking some of the less desirable things and exchanging them for things with immeasurable value:
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
We’re quick to play the victim when God takes the things away we felt attached to, but what about when God’s willing to make a beautiful exchange in return for our willingness to allow Him to take our less than desirable things? After all, the greatest exchange took place over 2000 years ago at Calvary.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:13-15)
Christ didn’t just take our sins, He nailed them to HIS CROSS! What a wonderful exchange. What a great release He has given us all who have been born again into His Kingdom!
May we emphatically declare, the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD! He took my sins away. He took my guilt and shame away. He took my punishment away. He took my death sentence away! And, gave me life eternal in exchange for it all.
This exchange doesn’t end with this life, but in the life to come, Paul says, “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54)
Again to the Philippians Paul reveals our eventual exchange from our Earthly citizenship, to a Heavenly citizenship, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Phil. 3:20-21)
We will exchange an earthly mortal body with a heavenly immortal one in the same fashion as Christ, where Death will be swallowed up in sweet victory at that Heavenly Exchange!
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