You Are Involved in a Vital Issue
1, 2. (a) Why does the way you live really matter to you? (b) To whom else does it matter, and why?
HOW YOU live your life really does matter. It will mean for you either a happy future or a miserable one. Eventually it will determine whether you pass away with this world or survive its end into God’s righteous new world where you can live forever.—1 John 2:17; 2 Peter 3:13.
2 But how you live your life affects more than just yourself. Others are involved. What you do affects them too. For example, if your parents are alive, what you do can bring them either honor or shame. The Bible says: “A wise son is the one that makes a father rejoice, and a stupid son is the grief of his mother.” (Proverbs 10:1) More importantly, how you live your life affects Jehovah God. It can either make him rejoice or make him sad. Why? Because of a vital issue in which you are involved.
WILL HUMANS BE FAITHFUL TO GOD?
3. What challenge did Satan make to Jehovah?
3 This issue was raised by Satan the Devil. He raised it when he was able to get Adam and Eve to break God’s law and thus join him in rebellion against God. (Genesis 3:1-6) This provided Satan with what he felt were grounds for addressing Jehovah with the challenge: ‘People serve you only for what they get from you. Just give me the chance and I can turn anybody away from you.’ Although these words do not actually appear in the Bible, it is clear that Satan said something like this to God. This is shown in the Bible book of Job.
4, 5. (a) Who was Job? (b) What happened in heaven in Job’s day?
4 Job was a man who lived many centuries after the rebellion had taken place in the garden of Eden. He was a righteous and faithful servant of God. But did it really matter to God or to Satan that Job was faithful? The Bible shows that it did. It tells us about an appearance of Satan before Jehovah in the courts of heaven. Notice the subject of their conversation:
5 “Now it came to be the day when the sons of the true God entered to take their station before Jehovah, and even Satan proceeded to enter right among them. Then Jehovah said to Satan: ‘Where do you come from?’ At that Satan answered Jehovah and said: ‘From roving about in the earth and from walking about in it.’ And Jehovah went on to say to Satan: ‘Have you set your heart upon my servant Job, that there is no one like him in the earth, a man blameless and upright, fearing God and turning aside from bad?’”—Job 1:6-8.
6. What issue does the Bible show existed in Job’s day?
6 Why did Jehovah mention to Satan that Job was an upright man? Clearly, there was an issue as to whether Job would remain faithful to Jehovah or not. Think about God’s question, “Where do you come from?” and Satan’s reply, “From roving about in the earth and from walking about in it.” This question and Satan’s reply showed that Jehovah was permitting Satan free opportunity to carry out his challenge that he could turn anyone away from God. Well, what was Satan’s reply to Jehovah’s question about Job’s faithfulness?
7, 8. (a) For what reason did Satan say that Job served God? (b) What did Jehovah do to settle the issue?
7 “At that Satan answered Jehovah and said: ‘Is it for nothing that Job has feared God? Have not you yourself put up a hedge about him and about his house and about everything that he has all around? The work of his hands you have blessed, and his livestock itself has spread abroad in the earth. But, for a change, thrust out your hand, please, and touch everything he has and see whether he will not curse you to your very face.’”—Job 1:9-11.
8 By his reply Satan was making an excuse for Job’s faithfulness to God. ‘Job serves you,’ Satan argued, ‘because of the things you give him, not because he loves you.’ Satan also complained that Jehovah was using his greater power in an unfair way. ‘You have always protected him,’ he said. So, to settle the issue, Jehovah answered: “Look! Everything that he has is in your hand. Only against him himself do not thrust out your hand!”—Job 1:12.
9. What trouble did Satan cause for Job, and with what result?
9 Right away Satan began causing trouble for Job. He had all Job’s livestock either killed or stolen. Then he saw to it that Job’s 10 children were killed. Job lost almost everything, yet he remained faithful to Jehovah. He did not curse God. (Job 1:2, 13-22) But that was not the end of the matter.
10. What shows that Satan did not give up?
10 Satan again appeared with the other angels before Jehovah. Once again Jehovah asked Satan if he had seen the faithfulness of Job and said: “Even yet he is holding fast his integrity.” At that Satan answered: “Skin in behalf of skin, and everything that a man has he will give in behalf of his soul. For a change, thrust out your hand, please, and touch as far as his bone and his flesh and see whether he will not curse you to your very face.”—Job 2:1-5.
11. (a) What further trials did Satan cause for Job? (b) What was the outcome?
11 In answer, Jehovah gave Satan permission to do whatever he could to Job, although God said: ‘You are not to kill him.’ (Job 2:6) So Satan struck Job with a terrible disease. Job’s suffering was so great that he prayed to die. (Job 2:7; 14:13, 14) His own wife turned against him, saying: “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9) But Job refused to do that. “Until I expire I shall not take away my integrity from myself!” he said. (Job 27:5) Job remained faithful to God. So it was proved that Satan was wrong in his challenge that Job only served God for material gain and not out of love. It was also shown that Satan could not turn everybody away from serving God.
12. (a) What answer to Satan’s challenge did Job provide God? (b) What did Jesus’ faithfulness to God prove?
12 How do you suppose Job’s faithful course made Jehovah feel? It made him very happy! God’s Word urges: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.” (Proverbs 27:11) It is Satan who is taunting Jehovah. And by his faithful course Job made God’s heart rejoice. This gave God an answer to Satan’s boastful taunt or challenge that humans would not serve Him under test. Many others have also provided God with such an answer. The greatest example was the perfect man Jesus. He held fast his loyalty to God despite all the tests and trials that Satan brought upon him. This proved that the perfect man Adam could have done the same if he had wanted to, and that God was not unrighteous in requiring full obedience from man.
WHERE DO YOU STAND?
13. (a) What does the way you live your life have to do with the issue? (b) How can we make God happy or cause him pain?
13 What about your life? You may not think that it really matters how you live. But it does. Whether you know it or not, it supports either God’s side of the issue or Satan’s side. Jehovah cares for you, and he wants to see you serve him and live forever on the paradise earth. (John 3:16) When the Israelites rebelled against God, he was pained or felt hurt. (Psalm 78:40, 41) Is your course of life one that is making God happy or is he pained by it? Of course, to make God happy you need to learn his laws and obey them.
14. (a) As regards sexual relations, what laws must we obey to make God happy? (b) Why is breaking such laws a crime?
14 A chief aim of Satan is to get persons to break God’s laws that govern the use of their reproductive powers, and his arrangement of marriage and the family. God’s laws to protect our happiness say that unmarried persons should not engage in sexual relations, and that married persons should not have sexual relations with anybody else besides their marriage mate. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Hebrews 13:4) When God’s law is broken, often children are born without parents who love and want them. Mothers may even have an abortion, killing the children before they can be born. Additionally, many who commit fornication get terrible sexual diseases that can damage children that they may bear. It is an act of unfaithfulness, a crime against God, to have sexual relations with someone to whom you are not married. Job said: “If my heart has been enticed toward a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door . . . that would be heinous, a crime to be condemned.”—Job 31:1, 9, 11, The New American Bible.
15. (a) If we commit fornication, whom do we please? (b) Why is it wise to obey God’s laws?
15 We should not be surprised that this Devil-ruled world would make it seem normal and right for you to have sexual relations with a person to whom you are not married. But if you do so, whom are you pleasing? Satan, not Jehovah. To make God happy, you must “flee from fornication.” (1 Corinthians 6:18) True, it is not always easy to be faithful to God. It was not easy for Job either. But remember, it is wise to obey God’s laws. You will be happier now if you do. But, more importantly, you will be supporting God’s side of the issue and will make him happy. And he will bless you with everlasting life in happiness on earth.
16. (a) How was Job blessed for his faithfulness? (b) What can be said about the harm Satan causes, such as the killing of Job’s 10 children?
16 True, Satan was able to reduce Job to poverty and to cause the death of his 10 children. There is no question that this was a deep loss for Job. But when Job proved faithful, God blessed him with twice as much as he had before Satan was permitted to test him. Job also became father to 10 more children. (Job 42:10-17) Furthermore, we can be sure that Job’s 10 children who were killed by Satan will be brought back to life in the resurrection of the dead. Truly, there is no harm or trouble that Satan is permitted to cause that our loving Father, Jehovah, will not correct in his own due time.
17. Why does the way we live really matter?
17 So you will always want to keep in mind that how you live your life really does matter. It matters particularly to Jehovah God and Satan the Devil. This is because you are involved in the issue of whether humans will be faithful to God or not.
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Job met Satan’s challenge that nobody would remain faithful to God under test
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Having sexual relations with someone to whom you are not married is a crime against God
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Jehovah blessed Job for his faithfulness with far more than he had before