He gives and takes away?

You know what really irks me? Worship songs that say stupid stuff. I’m sorry, they just really tick me off. I love to sing, I’m not great at it, but I love doing it. I love to raise my hands and close my eyes and just go for it during worship, but then I hear these goofy lyrics and it just messes up my whole vibe.

There’s this song, Praise you in this Storm. It is absolutely amazing, the words are just so great because they’re talking about praising God during difficult times, which I have found myself in a lot in recent months.  Another great one is Blessed Be the Name, such a great song, but in both of them,  lo and behold, they bust out with a He gives and takes away. Uh, what? I hate that! Where are they getting that? Is that in the Bible somewhere? In the New Testament? Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. I believe God is a giver, and the devil is a taker.

I used to just not sing those lines, but then it hit me, maybe the writers meant that He takes away our pain, our sorrows, our struggles, our mountains, our giants! Maybe they meant He gives good and takes away bad. Do you think that’s possible? Because I just don’t know. I kind of think they were probably just rolling up some religion and smoking it.

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18 thoughts on “He gives and takes away?

  1. JRB says:

    Great song until it gets to that “gives and takes away” part in the middle — and if you don’t catch yourself quick enough, you start singing along … I love that you’re attempting to give that melodic verse an “upside” but I think the belief behind the words is probably something we’re all too familiar with — and heartily disagree with: the message of suffering! Reminds me of another song which includes: “I will go through the valley, if you want me to..” HUH!?! Thanks for getting me going this morning… Better than coffee ;o)

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  2. April Lynn says:

    My darling, if you ever decide to change careers try comedian, I am still laughing over rolling up some religion and smoking it. I think maybe those strange words in the songs are down to poetic license, also not words you would find in the Bible. I like your interpretation.

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  3. Carol Tornquist says:

    I just wrote my gazillionth arrangement of that song yesterday… and (as usual) I left out the ‘giving and taking’ part. (This ‘bridge’ adds nothing to the song from a musical perspective either!)

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  4. Melinda says:

    Julie,
    There is a scripture that the well-meaning, but mislead Christian songwriters are using in this case –Job 1:21″…the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job said this after he lost his family, but we certainly need to discern here that this was Job’s perspective concerning his own situation. Why new testament Christians want to identify more with the guy who lost nearly everything, (never remembering how the Lord blessed him with so much more), instead of the blessings of life in abundance that we enjoy in Christ in the new covenant, is unkown to me. Sadly, we give up so much blessing when we attribute the giving AND the taking to our Father, Who we should know gives us every GOOD and PERFECT gift, and never changes. (James 1:17).
    I don’t usually leave comments, but today, you were just singing my song. As a worship leader and pastor, I feel obligated to preach the true gospel through the musical word as well as the spoken word. We are blessed today with so many worship songs from which to choose that I don’t mind missing a catchy tune or two to make sure that what we preach through song is as scriptural as what we say in the pulpit.
    Music is such a powerful medium; thanks for being “ticked off” today. 🙂

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  5. Michael Jones says:

    Job was saying basically the same thing Daniel’s three friends were saying when they were threatened with being incinerated: even when (from Job’s perspective) God has taken away something good, God is still worthy of our worship. The similar (but less offensive to our 20th-century American evangelical eyes) passage in Daniel 3 is: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter [of why we won’t worship your idol]. If this be so [you’re going to try to execute us], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” The “but if not” in there is sometimes taken to mean “if God does not deliver us out of your hand.” So, it is an important truth of the Bible that we should trust God and understand that He has our best interests in mind, even if it looks like He’s letting terrible things happen (or even doing them Himself).

    But as a songwriter, I have always agreed with you that that bridge of “Blessed Be Your Name” is unfortunate. I think the Theology of it is too easily misunderstood to just appear in the middle of the song like that with no explanation. It fits in context, but only if you have a grip on the larger context of the book of Job (which actually is pretty darn difficult to figure out anyway… and it’s not particularly gripping reading. )

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  6. Elizabeth says:

    I LOVE THIS POST!!!! the content yes, but also, the angry cat picture…(being a dog girl myself) I find that picture to totally depict the mood…well done.

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  7. cindy Smith says:

    Oh Juli I so agree with you on that song!!! I thought I was the only one….. Such a good song besides that …(he gives and takes away) The problem is most Christians believe that God is the bad guy and forget all about the Devil is a roaring lion roaming around seeking whom to devour. You tell them girl!!!!!

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  8. Matt says:

    1 Samuel 2:6-7 (BBE)
    6 The Lord is the giver of death and life: sending men down to the underworld and lifting them up. 7 The Lord gives wealth and takes a man’s goods from him: crushing men down and again lifting them up;

    You can change it if you like but it is biblically sound…… nothing happens that either God doesn’t do or doesn’t allow.

    We can’t take the parts of God we like and discard the parts we don’t. He is GOD!

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  9. Mary Daynes says:

    can’t see much of the joy of the Lord is my strength in this song been through cancer and it is knowing my God is for me not against me that keeps me ok and that he is not waiting to dish out bout number three in case I didn’t really get what I was supposed to learn so I hate this song and he has shown me when the chips are down he is in my corner Mary

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  10. Ty says:

    I am concerned by the group here that God would ever take anything from us. Just looking at the section of scripture in Job 1-2.

    It is God who brings up Job to Satan. Not the other way around.

    Satan can’t touch Job until God gives him permission …. And it’s under Gods terms.

    God used Satan to achieve His purpose in and through Job, but it was still God who did it.

    God is absolutely sovereign. Nothing in this world happens without God either causing it directly or passively allowing it.

    If you don’t agree with this, I would love to hear biblical reasoning for your position.

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  11. Lee says:

    I agree with Matt and Ty. Satan may be the one who takes away but God allows it. We don’t always understand what God is doing but He is ultimately in charge and He loves us. Jesus who is part of the God Head died for us and took on our sin. He has proven His great love for us. Do you have enough faith to say I don’t understand bad times but I trust God because He is always loving and good and He knows what He is doing. Let’s not be so scared of the truth that God is always, ultimately in charge that we think Satan could do anything that God does not allow. I love that song—all of it.

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  12. Lee says:

    Mary, I truly believe God is 100% with you and for you. I wrote what I truly believe but I am sorry that you have had to deal with cancer and just because I said what I did does not mean I take your pain lightly. I am stopping now to say a prayer for you.

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    • Mary Daynes says:

      Won’t sing when the darkness closes in not really a life statement it is pretty negative I am not asking or speaking darkness over my life nor am I saying somehow satan over rules I know there are no guarantees in this life wasen’t really talking about pain the fact it was round 2 is hard to handle seems some thoughts are this would indicate not hearing what God has to say through this or not figuring out who I hadn’t forgiven nearly wrote me and the car off twice after this one on the way to get ctscan before second operation
      God is for me Ended up with family walking over when I had no one saying they believed God wanted them to pray for me surgeon also said at an after operation appointment I couldn’t be standing there looking that good if it was a Feb op checking his computer oh yes I was if you listen to the words it would seem like the singer has decided they are having darkness

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  13. Mike says:

    I too have always been troubled by these song lyrics. The elephant in the room here is my Salvation. He offered it, I believed, accepted and received it. He promised to never leave me or forsake me. I take Him at His word. Then how is there any room for this give and take away business? Do these lyrics cause doubt and fear or reinforce our faith?

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