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God Is Not Helping Us

By Curtis Pugh of Poteau, Oklahoma


A long-time friend recently said to me, “God is not helping us. We go to church and try to do right by everybody. My husband applies for jobs, but cannot get work. We just aren’t getting by. We can’t pay our bills. People tell us that God is just testing us, but what is the use of trying to serve God and do right?” This lady has attended Baptist churches from her youth. She went on to say that her husband does not any longer want to attend church services. Several thoughts and feelings immediately surfaced in this preacher’s mind at hearing these words. Some of us have been sharing food with this couple and others have helped them financially. We feel their pain. But sympathy was only one of the feelings that arose in this preacher’s heart and mind: something else – a more serious concern – came to mind. That concern is that these two friends just do not know the Lord. Not that God is not prospering them – no, that is not the concern: rather my concern is that they are trying to live right because of what they think they can get from God. They are of the mistaken notion that they have something to trade with God in order to get things they desire.


One of the predominant ideas that fill the minds of natural, unregenerate men and women is this: if I serve God I will prosper. At least I will not suffer serious financial problems. Churches and other religious organizations are built upon this very idea. TV preachers fund themselves quite well off this idea, scamming money from credulous people. Credulous people – people ready to believe something without good evidence – believe this false idea probably because they want to believe it. They think it is possible to serve God motivated by a desire for the things they can get in this life plus heaven in the next life. The question is this: is this desire for things and prosperity a proper motive for living right? By that we mean is this a motive that God accepts? Is God pleased with religious actions based upon this motive? Or, is this nothing more than a false religion based upon selfishness? Is it devotion to God, really? Or is it just bartering with God? Does God operate such a flea market as some people seem to think? This fleshly idea sometimes results in exactly the feelings expressed by my friends words: We are not getting along well in our lives, so what is the use in serving God? Actually such people have not served God at all: they have served their own bellies for selfish reasons. They are like some who attend church as long as the church gives them food, pays their bills, etc., but when the church stops doing those things, they stop attending and look for another generous benefactor. They do not want God: they want a sugar daddy and would settle for a fairy godmother if such creatures existed.


It seems that the devil may be the originator of this idea. At least he is the propagator of it. For this reason, God initiated a confrontation with the devil that involved a man named Job. God held Job up to the devil as an example of a righteous man – not a sinless man, but a just one. “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face” ( Job 1:8-11). It is a fact: God had blessed Job in every way. He was prosperous – so much so that he was styled “the greatest of all the men of the east” ( Job 1:3). Satan’s reasoning was that of the natural (unsaved) man. He thought that Job was serving God for what he could get from Him. He raised the question we wish to deal with in this article, namely: will a man serve God for nothing? That is another way of asking what Satan asked: “Doth Job fear God for nought?” Will a man serve God whether God prospers him or not? Will a man serve God because it is right and proper to do so? Will a man worship and serve God because God is worthy of our worship and service? Do you serve God for nothing? It is important to understand that this confrontation with the devil was started by God. We think God had several things in mind to accomplish by this confrontation with the devil. He accomplished some things in Job’s life and no doubt in the lives of his wife and perhaps others who observed Job’s experience. One thing God did: He proved to the devil and his demons as well as angels and men for all time that there are some people who really do serve God for the right reason.


Living before the law was given and thus before there was a Levitical priesthood, Job was faithful in continually sacrificing on behalf of his children as a father-priest. He “...was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1). By this description of him, we know that Job was a true child of God for nothing like this can be ascribed to a natural or unregenerate man. We can be assured that Job knew God. More importantly, God knew Job and described him as “my servant Job” (Job 1:1). His outward righteous life was an outworking of what God had done within him. We know that God regarded Job equally as righteous as Noah and Daniel. In speaking of the sinfulness of Israel, God said, “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness” (Ezek. 14:20). Now then, we are expressly told that “...Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Gen. 6:8). Of the servants of the Lord we read, “...their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD” (Isa. 54:17). God is righteous. Righteousness is what He demands and righteousness is what He provides for His children by imputation. But imputed righteousness can never be divorced from actual righteousness. By that we mean that while God imputes righteousness to all who believe, He also begins the work of sanctification in them. He declares His children righteous and sets about the process that will eventually conform them to the image of His dear Son. So it was that God justified Noah, Daniel and Job and continued His work in bringing them into a holy walk before him. Job said, “The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger” ( Job 17:9). God’s children are preserved, and because they are preserved, they persevere in holiness. God does not begin a work in a person without completing it (see Philippians 1:6). So we conclude that Job found grace in the eyes of the LORD. In other words, God had saved him and was in him.


And so it was that Job served God for the right reason. His old stony heart had been replaced by a new heart - a tender one that sought to please his Savior. We too, by grace, are enabled to serve God for the right and acceptable reason. Hebrews 12:28-29 makes this clear. There we read, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” It does matter why you do what you do! It does matter why you serve God! In spite of the fact that the religious world is filled with people who have no concern as to the proper motive for worship and service to God, there are some people who do have such a concern. And there are people who serve God “acceptably with reverence and godly fear”. They are not your foot-stomping, hand-clapping, get-me-all-I-can-get-from-God crowd. They are not the ones who brag on being a part of “the flock on the block that rocks”. They are the ones who say, like Mary to the angel, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). She expected stares, comments and questions regarding her supernatural pregnancy. She had not yet been taken in marriage by her husband. She knew of the possibility – nay, probability – that Joseph would put her away. And if put away she would have nothing. And yet, she was willing to experience the will of God in her life. She would worship and serve God whether He prospered her or not! And there are a remnant of people today – God’s true children – who say Lord, whatever you will for me to have or not to have, it is right for me to worship and serve you. If you will give me grace to do it, I will do it. Such people as these do not boast of themselves. Nor do they think themselves entitled to receive good things from God because of their obedience. They serve God with a reverential fear and heart-felt love for Him and His truth.


Sorrowfully, we make this observation: those who are out for what they can get from God do not know Him. They have not experienced His grace – and rest assured, there is an experience of grace. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people” (Titus 2:11-14). Regarding this last quoted text we note these things: first of all we doubt that the grace of God has appeared to all men – that is all men without exception, but it has appeared to all kinds of men and we think this is the meaning. Second: we point out that it is grace that brings salvation to individuals. Grace is not an offer to be spurned or received according to man’s whim. Grace brings salvation! Grace does not offer salvation, it actually brings it. Since salvation is by grace, it does not come to those who seek to be right in God’s eyes by their works or law-keeping. Third: the same grace that brings salvation teaches us to deny ungodly lusts, to live seriously, righteously and godly right in the middle of this wicked world. Further, it teaches us to live expecting the return of our Lord Jesus Christ who redeemed us and made us what we are. And what we are is a people of God’s own particular possession – a people who serve God for nought! There is a way that seems right to man but which ends in disaster (see Proverbs 16:25). Man thinks he has things figured out. He thinks God is like he is (Psalm 50:21) and concludes that he can bargain with God. God wants man to do right, he reasons, so if I do right, God will give me what I want. This kind of swap is completely reasonable to the natural man’s mind. It is the same reasoning that caused the three-year-old preacher-boy to say, “People, if you’re good, God loves you. If you’re not good, God doesn’t love you. People be good.” It is works for salvation! But that is all it is: it is the natural reasoning of one who has not experienced God’s grace and has not been taught the Word of God. Peter spoke of some people “that are unlearned and unstable”. These, he wrote, “wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (II Pet. 3:16). So it is that some who think to follow the Bible are actually torturing the Scriptures by making them say that people can obtain things by serving God for them. Their wresting is finding proof for their fleshly ideas in the Bible. They make the Bible say what they want it to say instead of letting it say what it says!


This all-important question must be asked: do you serve God for nought? Or are you serving Him for selfish reasons? If yours is only a thinly disguised seeking after things rather than Him whom to know aright is life everlasting, you are yet in your sins. If your so-called faith in Christ is in reality an attempt to get good things from Him, you have not the faith of God’s elect. The Lord Jesus said: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Has God made Himself known to you? Has the grace of God which brings salvation taught you? Paul, writing about Israel as a nation said, “...they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2). That last statement may be applied to many people today – even we fear, many who are called Baptists – whose zeal of God is actually a selfish desire for His temporal blessings. They have a zeal of God, but it is ignorance of the truth. Thus they miss God and their religion is fleshly in every way and springs from a fleshly motive. Is it any wonder that this crowd of “unbelieving Christians” ends up seeking to entertain the flesh in their socalled worship services. They tickle the flesh with their music, dramatics, media presentations, and all that makes religion popular and pleasant to the flesh. Their aim is not edification of saints, but entertainment of sinners. Oh sir: Oh madam: seek to worship and serve God in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (See John 4:23-24). True believer, serve God for nought – leaving the consequences in His capable hands. Serve Him in prosperity and in adversity. Serve Him! Serve Him for nought! He is worthy of our adoration, our service and our worship.