Earnestly Seek Jehovah’s Blessing
“[God] becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.”—HEB. 11:6.
“GOD bless you!” In some lands, it is not uncommon to hear complete strangers say this when a person sneezes. The clergy of various religions can be found blessing people, animals, and inanimate objects. Travelers may be lured to some religious sites by the prospect of receiving a blessing. Politicians regularly invoke God’s blessing on their nation. Do you think that such requests for a blessing are appropriate? Are they effective? Who really does receive God’s blessing, and why?
2 Jehovah foretold that in the last days, he would have a clean and peaceable people from all nations, who would preach the good news of the Kingdom to the ends of the earth despite hatred and opposition. (Isa. 2:2-4; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 7:9, 14) Those of us who have accepted the responsibility to live up to that inspired description want—and need—God’s blessing, for without it we could never hope to succeed. (Ps. 127:1) But how can we obtain God’s blessing?
Blessings Overtake Obedient Ones
3 Read Proverbs 10:6, 7. Just before the nation of Israel entered the Promised Land, Jehovah indicated that remarkable prosperity and protection would be theirs if they obeyed his voice. (Deut. 28:1, 2) Jehovah’s blessings would not just come upon God’s people but would “overtake” them. For those obedient ones, the blessings would be absolutely certain.
4 With what attitude were the Israelites to be obedient? God’s Law stated that he would be displeased if his people failed to serve him “with rejoicing and joy of heart.” (Read Deuteronomy 28:45-47.) Jehovah deserves more than mechanical obedience to specific orders, such as can be performed even by animals or demons. (Mark 1:27; Jas. 3:3) Genuine obedience to God is an expression of love. It is marked by joy that stems from faith that Jehovah’s commandments are not burdensome and that “he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.”—Heb. 11:6; 1 John 5:3.
5 Consider how such trusting obedience might have been manifested by keeping the law stated at Deuteronomy 15:7, 8. (Read.) Begrudging compliance with that law might have resulted in some initial relief to the poor, but would it have engendered good relationships and an atmosphere of warmth among God’s people? More important, would it have reflected faith in Jehovah’s ability to provide for his servants and appreciation for the opportunity to mirror his generosity? Hardly! God took note of the heart condition of the truly generous person and promised to bless him in his every deed and every undertaking. (Deut. 15:10) Faith in that promise would give rise to action and would result in many rich blessings.—Prov. 28:20.
6 In addition to having faith in Jehovah as the Rewarder, Hebrews 11:6 highlights another quality that is needed to receive God’s blessing. Note that Jehovah rewards those “earnestly seeking him.” The original-language word used here implies intensity and concentrated effort. How that should assure us of the outworking of the blessing! Its source is the only true God, “who cannot lie.” (Titus 1:2) He has shown over the millenniums that what he promises is absolutely trustworthy. His words never fail; they always come true. (Isa. 55:11) So we can be thoroughly confident that if we manifest true faith, he will in our case prove to be a Rewarder.
7 Jesus Christ proved to be the primary part of Abraham’s “seed.” Anointed Christians form the secondary part of that foretold “seed.” They have been commissioned to “declare abroad the excellencies of the one that called [them] out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (Gal. 3:7-9, 14, 16, 26-29; 1 Pet. 2:9) We cannot hope to acquire a good relationship with Jehovah if we ignore those whom Jesus has appointed to care for his belongings. Without the assistance of “the faithful and discreet slave,” we would neither understand the full import of what we read in God’s Word nor know how to apply it. (Matt. 24:45-47) By putting into practice the things we are learning from the Scriptures, we can secure ourselves God’s blessing.
Keeping God’s Will in Focus
8 The idea of exerting strenuous effort to obtain God’s blessing may well bring to mind the patriarch Jacob. He did not know how God’s promise to Abraham would work out, but he believed that Jehovah would greatly multiply the offspring of his grandfather, whose descendants would become a great nation. Thus, in 1781 B.C.E., Jacob traveled to Haran to find a wife. He was not merely interested in finding someone who would be a pleasant companion; rather, he sought a spiritually-minded woman who was a worshipper of Jehovah and who would be a good mother to his children.
9 We know that Jacob met his relative Rachel. He came to love Rachel and agreed to work for her father, Laban, for seven years in order to obtain her as his wife. This was no mere story of a memorable romance. Jacob certainly knew of the promise that Almighty God had made to his grandfather Abraham and had restated to his father, Isaac. (Gen. 18:18; 22:17, 18; 26:3-5, 24, 25) In turn, Isaac told his son Jacob: “God Almighty will bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and you will certainly become a congregation of peoples. And he will give to you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your seed with you, that you may take possession of the land of your alien residences, which God has given to Abraham.” (Gen. 28:3, 4) So the effort Jacob put forth to find the right wife and produce a family reflected his confidence in what Jehovah had said.
10 Jacob was not seeking wealth to accommodate his family. His mind was on his heritage. His focus was on the outworking of Jehovah’s will. Jacob was determined to do everything in his power to obtain God’s blessing despite obstacles. He carried that attitude into his old age, and Jehovah blessed him for it.—Read Genesis 32:24-29.
11 Like Jacob, we do not know all the details of the outworking of Jehovah’s purpose. Yet, by studying God’s Word, we perceive a general outline of what to expect concerning “Jehovah’s day.” (2 Pet. 3:10, 17) For example, we do not know exactly when that day will come, but we know it is near. We believe God’s Word when it says that by giving a thorough witness in the short time that remains, we will save both ourselves and those who listen to us.—1 Tim. 4:16.
12 We recognize that the end could come at any time; Jehovah’s timing is not contingent on our giving a personal witness to every individual on the planet. (Matt. 10:23) Moreover, we receive good direction on how to carry out our preaching work effectively. In faith, we participate in this work to the best of our ability, using whatever resources are at our disposal. Will we always preach in the most productive territory? Really, how could we know in advance? (Read Ecclesiastes 11:5, 6.) Our job is to preach, trusting that Jehovah will give us his blessing. (1 Cor. 3:6, 7) We can be certain that he sees our strenuous efforts, and by means of his holy spirit, he will provide whatever specific direction we need.—Ps. 32:8.
Seeking Holy Spirit
13 What if we feel inadequate to fulfill an assignment or to engage in the preaching work? We should ask Jehovah to give us his holy spirit to heighten whatever abilities we have in his service. (Read Luke 11:13.) God’s spirit can qualify people for a work or a service privilege regardless of their previous circumstances or experience. For instance, right after the Exodus from Egypt, God’s spirit enabled shepherds and slaves to vanquish their enemies in battle despite being inexperienced in warfare. (Ex. 17:8-13) Soon thereafter, that same spirit equipped Bezalel and Oholiab to carry out the exquisite, divinely inspired architectural plans for the tabernacle.—Ex. 31:2-6; 35:30-35.
14 That powerful spirit equipped modern-day servants of God to care for the needs of the organization when it became necessary to begin their own printing operation. In a letter, Brother R. J. Martin, the factory overseer at the time, explained what had been accomplished by 1927. “At the right time, the Lord opened the door; and the big rotary [press] came into our hands, came into the hands that knew nothing about its construction and operation. But the Lord knows how to quicken the minds of those who have committed their all to him. . . . In a very few weeks, we were able to make that press hum; and it is still humming, doing work that even its makers never knew it could do.” Jehovah has continued to bless such earnest efforts to this day.
15 Jehovah’s spirit operates in a variety of ways. That spirit is available to all of God’s servants, and it helps them to surmount formidable obstacles. What if we feel overwhelmed by temptation? We can draw strength from Paul’s words found at Romans 7:21, 25 and 8:11. Yes, “the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead” can go to work in our behalf, empowering us to win the fight against fleshly desires. That passage was written to spirit-anointed Christians, yet the principle applies to all of God’s servants. All of us gain life by exercising faith in Christ, by exerting ourselves to deaden improper desires, and by living in accord with the spirit’s direction.
16 Can we expect God to impart to us his active force without any effort on our part? No. Besides praying for it, we must diligently feed on God’s inspired Word. (Prov. 2:1-6) In addition, God’s spirit rests upon the Christian congregation. Our regular meeting attendance manifests our desire to “hear what the spirit says to the congregations.” (Rev. 3:6) Moreover, we must humbly respond to what we learn. Proverbs 1:23 counsels us: “Turn back at my reproof. Then to you I will cause my spirit to bubble forth.” Indeed, God gives his holy spirit “to those obeying him as ruler.”—Acts 5:32.
17 While earnest effort is needed to obtain God’s blessing, remember that hard work alone cannot possibly account for the abundance of good things that Jehovah has showered upon his people. The effect of his blessing on our efforts can be compared to the way our bodies benefit from wholesome food. God fashioned our bodies in such a way that we enjoy food and derive vital nourishment from it. He also provides the food. We do not fully know how our food acquires its nutrients, nor can most of us explain how our bodies produce energy from the food that we eat. We just know that the process works and that we cooperate with it by eating. If we choose to eat nourishing food, the results are even better. In like manner, Jehovah sets the requirements for everlasting life, and he gives us the help we need to meet those requirements. Clearly, he does much of the work and deserves the praise. Still, we must cooperate with him, acting in harmony with God’s will, to receive the blessing.—Hag. 2:18, 19.
18 So pour your heart into every assignment. Always look to Jehovah for success. (Mark 11:23, 24) As you do, be assured that “everyone seeking finds.” (Matt. 7:8) Spirit-anointed ones will be blessed with “the crown of life” in the heavens. (Jas. 1:12) Christ’s “other sheep,” who are striving to receive a blessing for themselves by means of Abraham’s seed, will delight to hear Him say: “Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.” (John 10:16; Matt. 25:34) Yes, “those being blessed by [God] will themselves possess the earth, . . . and they will reside forever upon it.”—Ps. 37:22, 29.
Can You Explain?
• What is involved in true obedience?
• What is required to obtain God’s blessing?
• How may we receive God’s holy spirit, and how can it work in our behalf?
1, 2. (a) How do many people seek divine blessings? (b) Why should we be particularly interested in obtaining Jehovah’s blessing?
3. If the Israelites had been obedient, what would have been the result?
4. What does true obedience involve?
5. How would trusting in Jehovah’s promise have aided a person in obeying the law at Deuteronomy 15:7, 8?
6. Hebrews 11:6 should reassure us of what?
7. How can we secure ourselves a blessing by means of Abraham’s “seed”?
8, 9. How did the patriarch Jacob exert himself in harmony with his petitions?
10. Why was Jehovah pleased to bless Jacob?
11. What effort should we make in harmony with God’s revealed will?
12. Of what may we be certain?
13, 14. How has the capacity of God’s holy spirit to qualify his servants been demonstrated?
15. How can Romans 8:11 be of encouragement to those facing temptation?
16. What must we do to receive God’s holy spirit?
17. To what might we liken the effect of God’s blessing on our efforts?
18. What is your determination, and why?
[Pictures on page 9]
Jacob grappled with an angel to get Jehovah’s blessing.
Do you similarly put forth earnest effort?
[Picture on page 10]
God’s holy spirit equipped Bezalel and Oholiab to excel