Evil men cannot understand justice.—Prov. 28:5.
As the last days near their end, the wicked continue to “sprout like weeds.” (Ps. 92:7) It comes as no surprise, therefore, that moral standards are being abandoned. In this environment, how can we “be young children as to badness” yet “full-grown in [our] understanding”? (1 Cor. 14:20) The answer is found in our text for today, which says in part: “Those who seek Jehovah can understand everything”—that is, everything necessary to please him. A similar thought is expressed at Proverbs 2:7, 9, which says that Jehovah “treasures up practical wisdom for the upright.” As a result, the upright are able to “understand what is righteous and just and fair, the entire course of what is good.” Noah, Daniel, and Job acquired that wisdom. (Ezek. 14:14) The same is true of God’s people today. What about you personally? Do you “understand everything” necessary to please Jehovah? The key is to have accurate knowledge of him. w18.02 8 ¶1-3
They got baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.—Acts 19:5.
No one should feel pressured by a parent, a Bible teacher, or anyone else in the congregation to get baptized. That is not Jehovah’s way. (1 John 4:8) Rather, as we teach such ones, we ought to emphasize the importance of building a personal relationship with God. It is the student’s heartfelt appreciation for the truth and his desire to shoulder the yoke of Christian discipleship that will move him to get baptized. (2 Cor. 5:14, 15) There is no set age at which one should get baptized. Each student grows and matures at a different rate. The day of one’s baptism is a time for genuine rejoicing. It is also a time for sober reflection. Living up to one’s dedication involves hard work. That is why Jesus compared Christian discipleship to a yoke. Jesus’ disciples must “live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised up.”—2 Cor. 5:15; Matt. 16:24. w18.03 6-7 ¶14-17
Do not forget hospitality, for through it some unknowingly entertained angels.—Heb. 13:2.
Have you held back from offering hospitality? If so, you may have missed out on opportunities for delightful company and for forming lasting friendships. Hospitality is one of the finest antidotes to loneliness. But you may wonder, ‘Why would anyone hold back?’ There could be a number of reasons. One is that Jehovah’s servants are very busy and often have multiple commitments. Some may feel that they simply do not have the time or energy to show hospitality. If that is your situation, it may be that you need to examine your current schedule of activities. Could you make some adjustments so that you will have time and energy to accept or offer hospitality? The Scriptures urge Christians to extend hospitality. It is not wrong to make time for this; actually, it is the right thing to do. You may, of course, need to be willing to limit some optional activities. w18.03 16 ¶13-14
I must also declare the good news of the Kingdom of God to other cities, because for this I was sent.—Luke 4:43.
Of all the people who have lived, who is the most outstanding example of a spiritual person? It is Jesus, of course. Throughout his life and ministry, he showed that he wanted to imitate his Father, Jehovah. He thought, felt, and acted like Jehovah and lived in harmony with God’s will and standards. (John 8:29; 14:9; 15:10) Note, for example, how Jehovah’s feelings of compassion are described by the prophet Isaiah, and compare that description with what the Gospel writer Mark reports about Jesus’ feelings. (Isa. 63:9; Mark 6:34) Are we like Jesus, ever ready to show compassionate concern when we meet people who need help? In addition, Jesus devoted himself to the work of preaching and teaching the good news. All such feelings and actions are marks of a spiritual person. w18.02 21 ¶12
[Bring up your children] in the discipline and admonition of Jehovah.—Eph. 6:4.
Raising children is a major undertaking, especially in today’s world. (2 Tim. 3:1-5) Of course, children are not born knowing right from wrong. They are born with the faculty of conscience, but it needs to be educated, or disciplined. (Rom. 2:14, 15) One Bible reference work suggests that the Greek word translated “discipline” might be rendered “child development.” Children who are lovingly disciplined usually feel secure. They learn that freedom has boundaries and that decisions and conduct have consequences—good or bad. How important, then, that Christian parents look to Jehovah for guidance. Do not forget that ideas and methods vary from culture to culture and from generation to generation. When parents listen to God, successful child-rearing does not become a matter of guesswork; nor does it depend on human experience or human thinking. w18.03 30 ¶8-9
Keep working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.—Phil. 2:12.
As a young baptized Christian, you are now responsible for your own salvation, even if you still live under your parents’ roof. Why is it important to remember that? Because you will face new feelings and pressures as you enter and pass through adolescence. One teenage girl put it this way: “A child usually won’t resent being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses just because of not having a piece of birthday cake at school. But in a few years when the urge to have sex becomes stronger, he or she needs to be thoroughly convinced that obeying Jehovah’s laws is always the best choice.” Even those who got baptized as adults face many unanticipated tests of faith. Such tests may have to do with marriage, health issues, or employment. Really, everyone, regardless of his or her age, will encounter situations that require faithfulness to Jehovah.—Jas. 1:12-14. w17.12 24 ¶4-5
Be wrathful, but do not sin.—Eph. 4:26.
Few people have been treated as badly as David was. Still, that friend of God did not allow resentment to gnaw away at him. Rather, he wrote: “Let go of anger and abandon rage; do not become upset and turn to doing evil.” (Ps. 37:8) The most important reason to “let go” of anger is to imitate Jehovah, who “has not dealt with us according to our sins.” (Ps. 103:10) But there are also practical benefits to ‘letting go’ of anger. Anger can cause such physical problems as high blood pressure and respiratory trouble. It can affect the liver and the pancreas, and it can cause digestive problems. When we are angry, we do not always think clearly. And at times a fit of anger may be followed by a prolonged period of depression. On the other hand, “a calm heart gives life to the body,” says the Bible. (Prov. 14:30) How, then, can we deal with hurt feelings and gain our brother? We can do so successfully by applying the Bible’s wise advice. w18.01 10 ¶14-15
You will not leave me in the Grave. You will not allow your loyal one to see the pit.—Ps. 16:10.
David was not saying that he would never die or be in the common grave of mankind. God’s Word is plain that David did grow old. After he died, he “was laid to rest with his forefathers and was buried in the City of David.” (1 Ki. 2:1, 10) What, then, is Psalm 16:10 saying? Weeks after Jesus died and was raised, Peter spoke to thousands of Jews and proselytes about Psalm 16:10. (Acts 2:29-32) He mentioned that David had indeed died and been buried. Those listening to Peter knew that. And the record does not say that any of them disputed Peter’s statement that David “foresaw and spoke about the resurrection” of the coming Messiah. Peter reinforced his point by quoting David’s statement at Psalm 110:1. (Acts 2:33-36) Peter’s reasoning helped to convince the large crowd that Jesus was “both Lord and Christ.” The people acknowledged that Psalm 16:10 was fulfilled when Jesus was resurrected from the dead. w17.12 10 ¶10-12
Everything was numbered and weighed, and all the weight was recorded.—Ezra 8:34.
With prayerful consideration, the Governing Body strives to be faithful and discreet with regard to how the organization’s funds are used. (Matt. 24:45) The funds that are received are budgeted and spent accordingly. (Luke 14:28) The apostle Paul collected funds as a relief ministration for the brothers in Judea. He took steps to ensure that those delivering the funds cared for “everything honestly, not only in the sight of Jehovah but also in the sight of men.” (2 Cor. 8:18-21) Imitating the examples of Ezra and Paul, our organization today follows strict procedures when it comes to handling and spending donated funds. (Ezra 8:24-33) In recent years, there have been many exciting new initiatives. The organization looks for ways to reduce expenses and simplify the work so as to be able to accomplish the most that it can with your generous donations. w18.01 19-20 ¶12-13
Let the peace of the Christ rule in your hearts.—Col. 3:15.
Love and kindness can help us to be forgiving toward one another. For example, if we feel hurt by the words or actions of a fellow Christian, we can try to recall occasions when we spoke or acted unkindly. Do we not appreciate the love and kindness of the brothers and sisters who overlooked our errors? (Eccl. 7:21, 22) Especially are we thankful for Christ’s kindness in gathering true worshippers into unity. We all love the same God, preach the same message, and face many of the same challenges. By kindly and lovingly forgiving one another, we contribute to Christian unity and keep our eyes on the prize of life. Warning examples in the Bible remind us that jealousy can deprive us of the prize. For instance, Cain became jealous of his brother Abel and killed him. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram became jealous of Moses and opposed him. Also, King Saul became jealous of David’s success and tried to kill him. w17.11 27 ¶9-10
You should look into the matter, making a thorough investigation and inquiry.—Deut. 13:14.
When elders serve on judicial committees, they must carefully determine whether a Christian guilty of serious sin is repentant. Repentance—or the lack of it—is not always obvious. It involves a person’s viewpoint, disposition, and heart condition. (Rev. 3:3) A sinner must be repentant if he is to receive mercy. Unlike Jehovah and Jesus, elders cannot read hearts. If you are an elder, then, how can you meet the challenge of discerning heartfelt repentance? First, pray for wisdom and discernment. (1 Ki. 3:9) Second, consult God’s Word and publications from the faithful slave to help you distinguish “sadness of the world” from “sadness in a godly way,” genuine repentance. (2 Cor. 7:10, 11) See how the Scriptures portray both repentant and unrepentant ones. How does the Bible describe their feelings, their attitude, and their conduct? w17.11 17 ¶16-17
[Children] will be . . . disobedient to parents.—2 Tim. 3:2.
While such behavior is sometimes accepted and even encouraged in books, movies, and television programs today, disobedience undermines the stability of the most important social unit in society—the family. This principle has long been understood. Interestingly, in ancient Greece, if a man struck his parents, he would lose all his civil rights; in Roman law, to strike a father was as serious as murder. Both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Greek Scriptures admonish children to honor their parents. (Ex. 20:12; Eph. 6:1-3) Children can protect themselves from being infected with the spirit of disobedience by reflecting on what their parents have done for them. An appreciative attitude is bolstered by the understanding that obedience is required by God, the Father of us all. By speaking positively about their parents, young ones can help other youths view their own parents in a positive light. w18.01 29 ¶8-9
Each one will be like a hiding place from the wind, a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless land, like the shadow of a massive crag in a parched land.—Isa. 32:2.
Today, a Christian guilty of serious sin needs to seek the help of congregation elders to recover. Why is this so important? First, the arrangement for elders to handle cases of serious sin comes from Jehovah, as outlined in his Word. (Jas. 5:14-16) Second, this arrangement fortifies repentant wrongdoers to remain in God’s care and to avoid a pattern of sin. (Gal. 6:1; Heb. 12:11) Third, elders are commissioned and trained to reassure repentant sinners, helping to ease their pain and guilt. Jehovah calls these older men “a refuge from the rainstorm.” (Isa. 32:2, ftn.) Would you not agree that this arrangement is an expression of God’s mercy? Many of God’s servants have discovered the relief that comes from seeking and receiving help from the elders. w17.11 10 ¶8-9
Discipline . . . is painful.—Heb. 12:11.
Despite our pain of heart, we must avoid normal contact with a disfellowshipped family member by telephone, text messages, letters, e-mails, or social media. Yet, maintain hope. Love “hopes all things,” including that those who have left Jehovah will come back to him. (1 Cor. 13:7) If you see evidence that a close family member is having a change of heart, you could pray that he or she gain strength from the Scriptures and respond to Jehovah’s appeal: “Return to me.” (Isa. 44:22) Jesus said that if we were to put any human before him, we would not be worthy of him. Yet, he was confident that his disciples would have the courage to maintain their loyalty to him despite family opposition. If following Jesus has brought “a sword” into your family, rely on Jehovah to help you deal with the challenges successfully. (Isa. 41:10, 13) Find joy in knowing that Jehovah and Jesus are pleased with you and that they will reward your faithful course. w17.10 16 ¶19-21
Clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion.—Col. 3:12.
When we see others experiencing the effects of Adamic sin, we are rightly moved to show compassion. We long to see sickness and aging brought to an end. So we pray for God’s Kingdom to come. In the meantime, we do what we can to assist those in need. Consider what one author wrote about his elderly mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. One day, she soiled her clothes. As she was trying to clean up, the doorbell rang. The visitors turned out to be two Witnesses who regularly called on the woman. The sisters asked if there was anything they could do to help. “It is embarrassing but yes,” the woman replied. The visitors helped her to clean up. Then they made her a cup of tea and stayed for a chat. The son was most grateful. “Hats off to these Witnesses,” he wrote. “They practice what they preach.” Does your compassion for the sick and the elderly move you to do all you can to lessen their suffering?—Phil. 2:3, 4. w17.09 9 ¶5; 12 ¶14
We should love, not in word or with the tongue, but in deed and truth.—1 John 3:18.
We should be willing to perform acts of love for our brothers “in secret,” or out of the limelight, when this is possible. (Matt. 6:1-4) We should also take the lead in showing honor to others. (Rom. 12:10) Jesus set the pattern in honoring others by performing the lowliest of tasks. (John 13:3-5, 12-15) We may have to work hard to develop the humility needed to show honor to others in this way. Even the apostles could not fully understand Jesus’ actions until they received holy spirit. (John 13:7) We can show honor to others by not thinking too much of ourselves because of our education, material possessions, or privileges in Jehovah’s service. (Rom. 12:3) And rather than envying those who receive praise, we rejoice with them even if we feel that we deserve equal honor or a share of the credit for what was done. w17.10 9 ¶9-10
I do all things for the sake of the good news, in order to share it with others.—1 Cor. 9:23.
Many have found that using God’s Word in the ministry can have a profound impact on those to whom they preach. Consider an example. A brother made a return visit on an elderly gentleman who had read our magazines for a number of years. Instead of simply presenting the latest issue of The Watchtower, the brother decided to read a scripture found in that issue. He read 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4, which says: “The Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort . . . comforts us in all our trials.” The householder was so moved by those words that he asked our brother to read the scripture a second time. The man mentioned how much he and his wife needed comfort, and he now showed interest in the Bible’s message. Would you not agree that God’s Word exerts power in our ministry?—Acts 19:20. w17.09 26 ¶9-10
Strike his bone and flesh, and he will surely curse you to your very face.—Job 2:5.
The Devil’s challenge no doubt aroused indignation, anger, and contempt among heavenly creatures loyal to God. Jehovah, however, did not react hastily. His response was measured and entirely fitting. He has been slow to anger and has been just in dealing with Satan’s revolt. (Ex. 34:6; Job 2:2-6) Why? Jehovah has allowed time to pass because he does not want anyone to be destroyed but “desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9) Jehovah’s exercise of self-control teaches us that we too ought to weigh our words and consider our steps carefully; we should not rush into things. When you face an important issue, give yourself the time you need to act wisely. Pray for wisdom to say or do the right thing. (Ps. 141:3) In the heat of the moment, it is all too easy to react emotionally. Many of us have lived to regret hasty words or rash actions!—Prov. 14:29; 15:28; 19:2. w17.09 4 ¶6-7
Put [the crown] on the head of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest.—Zech. 6:11.
Did the crowning of High Priest Joshua make him a king? No, Joshua was not from the royal line of David and thus did not qualify to be king. His crowning was prophetic, pointing to a future and eternal king and priest. The high priest who is made king is named Sprout. The Scriptures clearly indicate that Sprout is Jesus Christ. (Isa. 11:1; Matt. 2:23, ftn.) Acting as both King and High Priest, Jesus is the leader of Jehovah’s heavenly army. As such, he works diligently so that God’s people as a whole may dwell in security despite living in the midst of this hostile world. (Jer. 23:5, 6) In the near future, Christ will take the lead in conquering the nations in support of God’s sovereignty and in defending Jehovah’s people. (Rev. 17:12-14; 19:11, 14, 15) Before executing judgment, however, Sprout has a great work to accomplish. w17.10 29 ¶12-14
Strip off the old personality with its practices.—Col. 3:9.
What would you do if your clothing became dirty, perhaps even having a foul odor? You would strip off the soiled garment as soon as possible. Similarly, we need to act with urgency in obeying the command to strip off habits that are contrary to God’s personality. We want to heed Paul’s clear instruction to Christians in his day: “You must put them all away from you.” One of the sinful practices listed by Paul is sexual immorality. (Col. 3:5-9) The meaning of the original Bible word translated “sexual immorality” includes sexual relations between individuals who are not legally married to each other and homosexuality. Paul told fellow Christians to “deaden” their “body members”—that is, to eliminate any desires—“as respects sexual immorality.” Paul’s descriptive language clearly shows that strong measures are needed to wipe out such wrong desires. Yet, the fight against sinful desires can be won. w17.08 18 ¶5-6
I will show a waiting attitude for the God of my salvation.—Mic. 7:7.
The conditions we face today are similar to those in the days of the prophet Micah. He lived during the reign of wicked King Ahaz, a time when all sorts of corruption prevailed. In fact, the people had become “expert at doing what is bad.” (Mic. 7:1-3) Micah realized that he could not personally change these conditions. If we have faith like that of Micah, we will be willing to wait for Jehovah. Our situation is not like that of a prisoner who is waiting in his cell for his execution. He is forced to wait, and he is not looking forward to the outcome. How different things are for us! We are willing to wait for Jehovah because we know that he will fulfill his promise to give us everlasting life at exactly the right time, the best time! So we “endure fully with patience and joy.” (Col. 1:11, 12) To do otherwise—to wait while complaining and grumbling that Jehovah is not acting fast enough—would be displeasing to our God.—Col. 3:12. w17.08 4 ¶6-7
Jehovah raises up the meek.—Ps. 147:6.
How can we benefit from Jehovah’s readiness to act in our behalf? We have to have a good relationship with him. To have that, we need to cultivate meekness. (Zeph. 2:3) Meek ones wait on God to correct any wrongs and to undo the injuries inflicted on them. Jehovah looks on such ones with his smile of approval. On the other hand, God “hurls the wicked to the ground.” (Ps. 147:6b) These are strong words! To benefit from Jehovah’s loyal love and to avoid his wrath, we have to hate what he hates. (Ps. 97:10) For instance, we are to hate sexual immorality. This means that we have to stay away from anything that could lead us into such wrongdoing, including pornography. (Ps. 119:37; Matt. 5:28) This may be a hard fight, but having Jehovah’s blessing is worth any effort we must put forth. In fighting this battle, we need to rely on Jehovah, not on ourselves. We must approach Jehovah, begging for his help. w17.07 19-20 ¶11-13
The one showing favor to the lowly is lending to Jehovah.—Prov. 19:17.
Using material assets to advance Kingdom interests allows us to take advantage of our circumstances to help others. Those who have this world’s means but cannot share in the full-time ministry or move abroad have the satisfaction of knowing that their donated funds support the ministry of others. Voluntary contributions help to supply literature and support the preaching work in territories where poverty abounds but where there is great spiritual growth. For years, in such lands as Congo, Madagascar, and Rwanda, brothers often had to choose between having food for their families and having copies of the Bible, which sometimes cost the equivalent of a weekly or a monthly wage. Now, by means of the contributions of many and “an equalizing” of finances, Jehovah’s organization has sponsored the translation and distribution of Bibles to each member of the family as well as to spiritually hungry Bible students.—2 Cor. 8:13-15. w17.07 9 ¶11
Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, so that I can make a reply to him who taunts me.—Prov. 27:11.
Why is it comforting to reflect on the value of our faithfulness? Because it means that our trials serve a purpose. Far from indicating Jehovah’s displeasure, they provide for us a means to show that we support God’s sovereignty. Our endurance produces “an approved condition” and strengthens our hope. (Rom. 5:3-5) The record of Job bears out that “Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.” (Jas. 5:11) So we can be sure that he will reward us and all who uphold his sovereignty. Knowing this helps us “endure fully with patience and joy.” (Col. 1:11) Granted, keeping our eyes on the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty can be challenging. Therefore, we do well to remind ourselves regularly of the importance of supporting God’s sovereignty when we face difficult circumstances. w17.06 26 ¶15-16
Guard against every sort of greed.—Luke 12:15.
Many today are obsessed with the latest fashions, electronic gadgets, and so forth. Therefore, each Christian regularly needs to examine his own desires by asking himself such questions as: ‘Have material things become so important to me that I spend more time researching and thinking about the latest cars or fashions than I do preparing for congregation meetings? Have I become so preoccupied with the everyday affairs of life that I spend less time praying or reading the Bible?’ If we realize that our love for material things is eclipsing our love for the Christ, we should reflect on Jesus’ words found in today’s text. Jesus stated that “no one can slave for two masters.” He added: “You cannot slave for God and for Riches.” That is because both “masters” require exclusive devotion. (Matt. 6:24) As imperfect people, all of us need to keep up our fight against “the desires of our flesh,” including materialism.—Eph. 2:3. w17.05 25-26 ¶15-16
I do all things for the sake of the good news, in order to share it with others.—1 Cor. 9:23.
Although we are simply imperfect earthen vessels, the message we preach can bring everlasting life to us and to those who listen to us. The apostle Paul’s love for the ministry moved him to work hard at making disciples. (Rom. 1:14, 15; 2 Tim. 4:2) That helped him to endure severe opposition. (1 Thess. 2:2) How can we demonstrate such love for the ministry? One way that Paul demonstrated appreciation for the ministry was by being alert to opportunities to speak to others. Like the apostles and early Christians, we preach informally, publicly, and from house to house. (Acts 5:42; 20:20) As our circumstances allow, we look for ways to expand our ministry, perhaps by serving as an auxiliary or a regular pioneer. We might also learn another language, move to another area in our own country, or even move to another land.—Acts 16:9, 10. w17.06 10-11 ¶8-9
Every mountain and every island was removed from its place.—Rev. 6:14.
Much of the evil that is done in this world is the work not of individuals but of organizations. Think of the religious organizations that deceive millions of people about the nature of God, the trustworthiness of the Bible, the future of the earth and mankind—and many other subjects. Or what about the governments that promote war and ethnic violence, that oppress the poor and defenseless, that thrive on bribery and favoritism? What about greedy corporations that pollute the environment, deplete natural resources, and exploit the gullibility of consumers in order to bring untold wealth to a few while millions struggle in poverty? God’s Word foretells that the governments of this old world and all their dependent organizations will be rocked from their foundations—destroyed—along with all those who side with them against God’s Kingdom.—Jer. 25:31-33. w17.04 11 ¶7-8
I will not bring the calamity during his lifetime.—1 Ki. 21:29.
Jehovah, “the examiner of hearts,” extended a measure of mercy to Ahab. (Prov. 17:3) How did this decision affect those who knew of Ahab’s terrible crime? This seeming reversal may have tested the faith of Naboth’s family and friends. If so, humility would have protected them, prompting them to continue faithful in their worship of Jehovah, confident that their God is incapable of injustice. (Deut. 32:3, 4) Naboth, his sons, and their families will experience perfect justice when Jehovah resurrects the righteous ones. (Job 14:14, 15; John 5:28, 29) Furthermore, a humble person remembers that “the true God will judge every deed, including every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad.” (Eccl. 12:14) Yes, when rendering judgment, Jehovah takes into consideration factors that are unknown to us. Thus, humility protects innocent ones from spiritual disaster. w17.04 24 ¶8-9
A true friend shows love at all times.—Prov. 17:17.
Because of world conditions, many of our brothers have become refugees. The transition can be overwhelming. Imagine trying to learn a new language and to adapt to new laws and expectations regarding manners, punctuality, taxes, bill paying, school attendance, and child discipline—all at once! Can you patiently and respectfully help brothers and sisters who face such challenges? (Phil. 2:3, 4) Further, authorities have at times made it difficult for these brothers to contact the congregation. Some agencies have threatened to cut off assistance or deny our brothers asylum if they refuse to accept employment that requires them to miss meetings. Frightened and vulnerable, a few brothers have given in to such pressures. Therefore, it is urgent to meet our refugee brothers as soon as possible after their arrival. They need to see that we care about them. Our compassion and practical help can strengthen their faith.—Prov. 12:25. w17.05 5 ¶9-10
The love of the greater number will grow cold.—Matt. 24:12.
One facet of the sign that Jesus gave regarding “the conclusion of the system of things” was that “the love of the greater number [would] grow cold.” (Matt. 24:3) In the first century, the Jews, who claimed to be God’s people, allowed their love for God to grow cold. On the other hand, most Christians at that time kept busy “declaring the good news about the Christ” and showing love for God, for fellow Christians, and for unbelievers. (Acts 2:44-47; 5:42) Nevertheless, some of Jesus’ followers in the first century did allow their love to grow cold. Speaking to first-century Christians living in Ephesus, the resurrected Jesus Christ said: “I hold this against you, that you have left the love you had at first.” (Rev. 2:4) What may have been one reason for this? These early disciples of Christ may have been influenced by the fleshly-minded world.—Eph. 2:2, 3. w17.05 17 ¶1-3
You must pay your vows to Jehovah.—Matt. 5:33.
He was a valiant leader; she was a submissive wife. He was a brave warrior; she was a humble homemaker. Besides worshipping the same God, what could Judge Jephthah and Elkanah’s wife Hannah possibly have in common? Each was under a vow to God, and they both faithfully paid their vow to him. They are excellent examples for men and women today who choose to make vows to Jehovah. As used in the Bible, a vow is a solemn promise that is made to God. A person promises to perform some act, to offer some gift, to enter some type of service, or to abstain from certain things. Vows are made voluntarily, of one’s own free will. Nevertheless, they are sacred and binding in God’s eyes because they carry the force of an oath—a sworn statement—that promises that a person will or will not do a certain thing.—Gen. 14:22, 23; Heb. 6:16, 17. w17.04 3 ¶1-2