Nothing Else Matters

By James Brown Jr.
“Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.  For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?  O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.  Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.  Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” —Psalm 43:1-5 

We live in dark times and the emptiness and despair of such a generation is enough to weigh down the strongest of Christian.  Like the Psalmist, we live in an ungodly nation that is dishonest and discriminatory against truth and righteousness.

Every day we are shocked by the depth of depravity that is found in the family, Church and civil government.  It seems that all is lost and there is no hope for the present or the future.  This despair influences many to adopt a philosophy of defeat or apathy.  It is enough to generate a fatalist view among those who hold the good news.

The reason is because we first adopted a false worldview that denies the sovereignty of God.  This man-centered focus distorts the picture by trying to focus on a pixel.

Thankfully, Job did not possess the impatience of man-centered theology.  While he may not have seen the big picture, his worldview accepted the long-suffering needed to see the goodness of God.

Job lost everything—I mean everything.  He didn’t just have a bad day or become depressed due to evil around him but experienced all that evil could muster.  Job lost his family.

Every one of his sons and daughters were killed and his wife forsook him.  Job lost all his worldly possessions and was left bankrupt, homeless and all alone.  Even his friends were a cause of derision.

Yet, in the midst of it all, Job 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” (Job 1:21).

Job may not have completely understood the depths of this doctrine but he practiced it.  He glorified God in all things.  This kind of worldview only comes through true faith.  We cannot rightly glorify God without it.

The Shorter Catechism asks in the first question, “What is man’s chief end?”  To which is rightly answered, “To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

With all the gloom and despair in our nation, how many of us can truly affirm Job’s confession, “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

If we are not able to say this now how shall we declare our reliance, trust and happiness in the ways of God when our troubles are multiplied?  Things will most likely get much worse before they get better.  I do not expect to see the restoration of our nation in my lifetime.  We are reaping what we have sown.

It has taken us many years to reach this point and we will not be saved in a day.  Old Testament Israel turned from the ways of God and had periods of revival, all of which transpired for many generations until they came to their end.  They had to live in destruction and captivity for 70 years.  But even when the restoration began, it took almost 100 years.

Many times Christians look at the story of Job and think all that Job lost was restored overnight.  However, it took time for sons and daughters to be born and time for his wealth to be rebuilt.  This does not take away from the goodness of God or His sovereignty over the affairs of men but reminds us that God works through the laws and means He established.

Restoration does not come easily or cheap.  The cheapness of the modern reduction of God’s grace has taken a toll upon our thinking.  We sin and expect instant restoration.  But God’s grace is not cheap.  It cost eternal Son of God to be made sin for us and to suffer the wrath of God on our behalf.

The restoration of all the things we have lost, unlike Job, due to our rejection of God is not going to come cheap.  The price is more than most can bear because we must first be restored to a proper view of this world.

This world belongs to God and not us.  Our man-centered theology has to die and give way to the only worldview that can sustain mankind.  When we return to a philosophy of life that glorifies God in all things the reformation will begin.

On the surface this may sound pleasant to the ear of modern Christendom but this quickly fades when the specifics of this worldview are heard.

To glorify God in all things means we must see God for who He really is, which also means, we then see ourselves for what we really are.  This requires looking into the mirror of God’s law to see His holiness and our sinfulness.

In seeing this, it implies repentance.  When God’s holiness and our depravity is reflected in God’s mirror, it gives understanding that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

It is our rebellion to acknowledge this first truth in glorifying God that continues this day of reckoning.  So, while we mourn in repentance, let us also rejoice that God’s glory and power is being made known (Romans 3:22).

The Psalmist said it this way, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

Whatever our lot, we have been commissioned by God to do all things unto His glory.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” —1 Corinthians 10:31

Therefore, as Old Testament Israel experienced dark days, the instruction to God’s people was to “Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight” (1 Chronicles 19:13).  The only thing that matters is to live for the purpose of glorifying God in all things.  This proves whether our faith is real.