What Will You Personally Do?
1. What decision must be made on a personal basis?
THE decision to serve Jehovah is not one that anyone else can make for you. If your marriage mate is a faithful servant of God, that can be a priceless blessing. Similarly, if your parents love Jehovah, you are in a favored position. Such home circumstances may provide an impetus toward association with those who worship Jehovah “with spirit and truth.” (John 4:23, 24) But in time you must make a personal decision. Do you truly love Jehovah and want to be one of his servants? Do you really want to live in a world where righteousness will prevail?
2. (a) Why is the attitude of a parent toward serving Jehovah especially important? (b) What are five things that parents can do to give their children a fine start?
2 If you are a parent, surely you want your children to enjoy the blessing of eternal life under God’s Kingdom. You cannot control what they will do when they grow old enough to chart their own course in life. But what you personally do about true worship can exercise a powerful influence—either for good or for bad. If you were to hold back from serving Jehovah, that would deprive your offspring of what could well be their best opportunity to get started on the way to eternal life. Or if you were to make a dedication to God and then prove indifferent about living up to it, this might lead to spiritual disaster for the entire family, with the loss of everything in the great tribulation. But if you set an example of faithfulness, if you personally help your children to study God’s Word, if you cultivate in yourself and in them love for Jehovah and respect for his visible organization, if you help them to realize how they are safeguarded by doing God’s will, if you show them how to find joy in sacred service, then you are giving them an excellent start on the road leading to life. Only with Jehovah’s blessing is this possible. (Compare 2 Timothy 1:5.) Pray for it incessantly. Much effort is also required on your part. But how worth while the outcome will be!
3. (a) If you encounter opposition from family members, what might be done? (b) But what if the opposition continues?
3 Perhaps the situation that confronts you is that other members of your family do not share your love for Jehovah. Do they try to discourage you from “getting involved”? Or is there outright opposition? What could you do to help them to share your joy in understanding God’s purpose? Oftentimes obstacles can be overcome by inviting family members to go with you to the Kingdom Hall to see for themselves what takes place there. While there, they might speak with one of the elders to clear up questions they have as to the beliefs and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses. But what if opposition continues? Then you need to ask yourself: ‘Do I really love Jehovah and his Son Jesus Christ and am I sufficiently grateful for all the things that they have done for us so that I am willing to put up with some hardship in order to show my love and gratitude? Do I love my own family enough to set a right example so that, if possible, they too might be helped to take hold of God’s provisions for eternal life?’—Matthew 10:36-38; 1 Corinthians 7:12, 13, 16.
THE SIGNAL TO WHICH NATIONS ARE TURNING
4. How can we show that we truly love Jehovah?
4 The opportunity is now being extended to people everywhere to demonstrate their love for Jehovah by aligning themselves with his Messianic Kingdom. That government is the means by which Jehovah’s name will be vindicated. Our attitude toward the Kingdom gives evidence of how we feel about Jehovah himself.
5. (a) At Isaiah 11:10, what was foretold for our day? (b) What does it mean?
5 Jehovah inspired the prophet Isaiah to write: “And it must occur in that day that there will be the root of Jesse that will be standing up as a signal for the peoples. To him even the nations will turn inquiringly, and his resting-place must become glorious.” (Isaiah 11:10) That “root of Jesse” is the glorified Lord Jesus Christ. When he began to exercise kingly authority, as a life-giving “root” he gave new vitality to the line of Messianic kings that came from Jesse through his son King David. (Revelation 5:5; 22:16) Since 1914 he has been “standing up as a signal for the peoples,” a rallying point for people who long for righteous government. Jehovah himself has raised him up as that Signal, the true Messianic King.—Isaiah 11:12.
6. (a) What has enabled humans to gather around a heavenly King? (b) As a result of ‘turning inquiringly’ to the “signal,” what have people learned?
6 But how could humans here on earth gather around a heavenly King? They need to be given information from the Bible so that they can see him with eyes of understanding. Under the direction of holy spirit, the remnant of spiritual Israel has been vigorously carrying out this activity, proclaiming earth wide the good news of the established Messianic Kingdom of God. Individuals out of all nations have listened appreciatively. They have inquired about the divine requirements for them to be subjects of the Kingdom, enjoying an eternity of life on a Paradise earth. Satisfied with the answers provided from the Bible, they have acted in harmony with these and have taken their stand on the side of Jehovah’s Messianic Kingdom. Have you done that?
‘THEY WILL HEAR BUT NOT DO’
7. What reaction to the Bible’s message was foretold at Ezekiel 33:30-33?
7 Because of the zealous activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are a frequent topic for discussion among people. But how do these people feel about the message that Jehovah’s Witnesses proclaim? The reaction of many is like that of the prophet Ezekiel’s fellow exiles in Babylon. Concerning them, Jehovah said: “As for you, O son of man, the sons of your people are speaking with one another . . . saying, ‘Come, please, and hear what the word is that is going forth from Jehovah.’ And they will come in to you, like the coming in of my people, and sit before you as my people; and they will certainly hear your words but these they will not do, for with their mouth they are expressing lustful desires and after their unjust gain is where their heart is going. And, look! you are to them like a song of sensuous loves, like one with a pretty voice and playing a stringed instrument well. And they will certainly hear your words, but there are none doing them. And when it comes true—look! it must come true—they will also have to know that a prophet had proved to be in the midst of them.”—Ezekiel 33:30-33.
8. How do some persons give evidence of that attitude?
8 There are many people who admire Jehovah’s Witnesses and who like their Bible literature. They may even accept the offer of a free home Bible study. Some come with their friends to special meetings held by the Witnesses. At the annual Memorial of the death of Jesus Christ, for example, it is not unusual for the number in attendance to be double the number of active witnesses of Jehovah. In some lands, the attendance runs as high as five times the number of Witnesses. But what are they going to do about the Bible truths they hear? Upwards of two and a half million have personally taken these to heart and brought their lives into harmony with them. But others treat it all as if it were merely pleasant music, something to entertain them. They stay on the sidelines, perhaps offering words of encouragement but not making a dedication of their lives to God and not sharing in his sacred service.
9. Instead of doubting and waiting, what will wise persons do?
9 What is to be gained by doubting and waiting? Certainly not Jehovah’s favor and protection during the coming day of vengeance. To be among the survivors, you must give convincing evidence now that you have ‘joined yourself to Jehovah’ and that you belong to him.—Zechariah 2:11; Matthew 7:21.
THEY MADE THE RIGHT DECISION
10, 11. (a) Who was Hobab, and what invitation was extended to him? (b) How do we know what decision he made?
10 All who have become worshipers of Jehovah as followers of Jesus Christ have made a personal decision to do so. This is true of all who are heirs of the heavenly Kingdom. Now the precious opportunity is open for others to make their choice, with the prospect of surviving the great tribulation and living in perfection on earth. Hobab set an example worthy of their imitation.
11 Hobab was Moses’ brother-in-law. He was not an Israelite but a member of the tribe of Kenites living in Midianite territory. After Israel had received the Law through Moses and had built the sacred tabernacle for Jehovah’s worship, the time came to move north toward the Promised Land. The pillar of cloud representing Jehovah’s presence was to go ahead of them, indicating the route to take and where to camp. But it would be helpful to have with them someone who knew the terrain and where to find things needed by the encampment. Moses invited Hobab to join them, but at first Hobab declined, thinking it would be better to stay with his relatives in the place of his birth. However, Moses urged him to reconsider and to go with them to “serve as eyes” for Israel and thus to be in line to share the blessings that Jehovah would bestow on his people. Wisely Hobab did so, as indicated at Judges 1:16.—Numbers 10:29-32.
12. (a) Who today are like Hobab, and in what ways? (b) What invitation today is like that of Moses to Hobab?
12 There are persons today who were pictured by Hobab. Though not spiritual Israelites, they throw in their lot with these as they travel toward God’s New Order. To do this, they must cut ties with worldly relatives and human governments. Under the leadership of the Greater Moses, Jesus Christ, they have gladly served with the remnant of Christ’s “brothers,” often scouting out new territories for the preaching of the good news. Many of them have moved into areas where the need for Kingdom proclaimers was specially great, often as pioneers or missionaries, using their time to the full to publicize God’s Kingdom as mankind’s only real hope. There are still many opportunities to share in such sacred service. Qualified persons are invited to make themselves available and thus to share in the blessings that go with such enlarged service. Can you?
13. (a) Who was Jael, and what was her husband’s position regarding Jehovah’s servants? (b) How was Jael confronted with a test?
13 Some 180 years after Hobab decided to go with Israel, one of his descendants, a man named Heber, was living with his wife, Jael, not far from Megiddo. Heber had separated himself from the rest of the Kenites and had entered into peaceful relations with Jabin, a Canaanite king who harshly oppressed Israel. When Jehovah raised up Barak as a deliverer of Israel, Jabin’s army chief, Sisera, mustered his army and nine hundred war chariots with iron scythes fixed to the wheels. But Jehovah fought for his people, causing confusion in the enemy camp, and a flash flood to bog down the chariots. Sisera himself abandoned his chariot and fled on foot toward the tent of Jael the wife of Heber. As Sisera had hoped, she invited him into the tent.—Judges 4:4-17; 5:20, 21.
14. What decision did Jael make, and of what did this give evidence?
14 Now the test was on. What would she do to this enemy of Jehovah’s people? She covered Sisera with a blanket, quenched his thirst with curdled milk and waited until he fell asleep. At that she “proceeded to take a pin of the tent and to put the hammer into her hand. Then she went to him stealthily and drove the pin into his temples and beat it into the earth, while he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.” What she did required courage, and love for Jehovah and his people. It also involved positive action and exertion on her part.—Judges 4:18-22; 5:24-27, 31.
15. How are people today proving that they are like Jael?
15 As is true of other non-Israelite worshipers of Jehovah, Jael pictures the “other sheep” who do good to Christ’s spiritual brothers. Regardless of what ties their close relatives may have to the world and its ruling class, the “other sheep” do not approve of oppression of Jehovah’s people by worldly rulers. Their loyalty is to the Greater Barak, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to his true followers. These of the Jael class do not personally raise a hand against the worldly rulers, but they use whatever is at their disposal to counteract efforts to oppress Jehovah’s servants. They do not hold back from making known that they are in full harmony with Jehovah’s purpose to destroy all of his enemies.
16, 17. (a) What example worthy of our imitation is recorded in Acts chapter 8? (b) Thereafter what should we continue to do?
16 There is no time to lose. If you truly have faith in Jehovah and his Messianic Kingdom and if you have brought your life into harmony with the Bible’s requirements, then, without delay, openly manifest that. Reflect the spirit of the Ethiopian eunuch reported on in Acts chapter 8. As soon as he understood what was required of him, he asked Philip, who had explained to him the good news about Jesus: “What prevents me from getting baptized?” And he was promptly immersed in water.
17 Having thus made a fine beginning, daily strengthen your relationship with Jehovah, seek ways to apply his Word more fully in your life, and share as fully as possible in the vital work of Kingdom proclamation being done during the final days of this system of things.