instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, October 05, 2012

Shorter Job

If I had to pick a thesis statement for the Book of Job (yes, my children are taking high school English; why do you ask?), I would go with Jb 1:21b:
The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away:
As it hath pleased the Lord so is it done:
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
On one level, this can be seen as teaching a sort of stoic fidelity. God does whatever He wants, constrained by no absolute rights of ours; and for our part, we ought to bless the Lord always and regardless.This thought aligns well with the verses from Ecclesiastes I quoted the other day, which suggests that we're supposed to work on our day-to-day tasks and leave God to work out His grand plan.

To that, I'll add the suggestion that "the Lord gave" and "the Lord hath taken away" refer to two related but distinct attributes (or names) of God, according to which our blessing takes different aspects.

Very briefly, "the Lord gave" can be taken to signify God as Loving Father and "the Lord hath taken away" to signify God as Sovereign Lord. This is, of course, based more on our own perception of things than any tension in the Divine Will. We like it when the Lord gives, we don't like it when He takes away, and so our blessing of His Name has a different character in the former case than in the latter.

This diversity in the character of the blessing of the name of the Lord is, I suppose, not incidental to the perfection of God's creation.