Right Conduct Under the Smiles and Frowns of God
Job 1:21
And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away…

I. MEN OUGHT TO ACKNOWLEDGE GOD UNDER THE SMILES AND FROWNS OF PROVIDENCE. God is the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things. He rules in the kingdoms of nature, providence, and grace. He controls all the views, purposes, and actions of men. No good nor evil can come to them but under His direction and by virtue of His influence. Since God guides all the wheels of providence and governs all secondary causes, all good and evil are to be traced up to His holy, wise, powerful, righteous, and sovereign hand.

II. MEN OUGHT TO BLESS AS WELL AS ACKNOWLEDGE GOD UNDER BOTH THE SMILES AND FROWNS OF HIS PROVIDENCE. Job acknowledged that God had given and taken away, and then adds what was still more important, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

1. God never takes away any favours from mankind but what He meant to take away when He gave them. As He always has some purpose to answer by every good gift, so when that good gift has answered the purpose for which it was given, He takes it away, and not before. So that He acts from the same benevolent motive in taking away as in bestowing favours.

2. It becomes men to bless God in taking away as well as in giving peculiar favours, because the favours He continues are generally more numerous and more important than those He removes.

3. The afflicted always know that whatever personal evils God brings upon them, He constantly seeks the general good of the universe; and that all the sufferings they endure are calculated and designed to answer that wise and benevolent purpose.

4. The afflicted and bereaved have often reason to bless God, because the evils they are suffering are so much lighter than those that many others have suffered and are suffering. They are apt to think and say there is no sorrow like unto our sorrow.

5. Men should always bless God, because this is the only way to make all His dealings towards them eventually work for their good. There is an infallible connection between their feeling and acting right under Divine corrections, and their receiving spiritual and everlasting benefit from them.Reflections —

1. This subject suggests the propriety of drawing near to God, and conversing with Him under His correcting hand. His providential dealings have a meaning and a voice, which the afflicted ought to hear and understand.

2. See the nature of true submission under the afflicting and bereaving hand of God. It is something very different from stupidity and insensibility under Divine chastenings. This is not submitting to them, but despising them, which is highly displeasing to God.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And said, 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.

WEB: He said, "Naked I came out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. Yahweh gave, and Yahweh has taken away. Blessed be the name of Yahweh."

Praise for Resignation
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