God Knows and Protects His Own
“Surely he that toucheth you toucheth the pupil of mine eye.”—Zech. 2:8, Ro.
“JEHOVAH knows those who belong to him.” (2 Tim. 2:19, NW) His creatures, then, should try to know Jehovah. The majority of men have failed in gaining knowledge of Jehovah because of their indifference toward his Word. It is through his Word, the Bible, that Jehovah has revealed himself to men; yet very few persons have taken time to read this collection of letters to us or even to listen to those who have read and are familiar with the Bible. The many letters and books contained within the Bible were written under inspiration for our learning and admonition. However, by far the greater number of the human race have chosen a god to their own liking or have set themselves above God and outside his authority. They do not see how he shows loving-kindness and protection under any and all conditions to those who belong to him. At the same time, men of the world do not fear Jehovah, the one who is able to destroy those opposing him.
2 When Paul wrote to Timothy the words, “Jehovah knows those who belong to him,” he had in mind a situation that existed many centuries earlier. It was an occasion that happened in the wilderness near Sinai where Moses had led the children of Israel when they left the land of Egypt. This was what happened: Korah, Dathan and Abiram became arrogant and, along with two hundred and fifty of the Israelites who were leaders in the community, gathered together and protested against Moses and Aaron. They said they had had enough of Moses and Aaron and that they needed their services no longer. They claimed these two men had exalted themselves above the Lord’s assembly. (Num. 16:1-3) God’s Word shows us that it was Jehovah who chose and used Moses as his mediator and special servant to express his will, not only before kings as he did before Pharaoh, but also before the children of Israel. Even though the Israelites had been brought through the Red sea and protected by the hand of Almighty God, and although he had used Moses to lead them all the way, still these Jews were against Moses. So Moses told this wicked group and the whole community of Israel, “In the morning the LORD will show who belongs to him and who is holy, that he may have him come near him; and whomsoever he chooses he will have come near him.” (Num. 16:5, AT) Readers of God’s Word know the results of the next day’s happenings.
3 The account informs us that Moses directed the children of Israel to withdraw from the neighborhood of the dwellings of these obstreperous persons. He told them, “Move away from the tents of these wicked men, and do not touch anything at all that belongs to them, lest you be swept away with all their sins.” (Num. 16:26, AT) So those who did not want to be contaminated with unrighteous deeds moved away from the neighborhood of the dwellings where Korah, Dathan and Abiram were. When Dathan and Abiram came out of their tents and stood in the doorways with their wives, sons and their little ones, then Moses spoke to the entire congregation: “Hereby shall you know that the LORD has sent me to do all these deeds, and that it has not been of my own choice: if these men die as all men die, and suffer the fate of all men, it is not the LORD who has sent me; but if the LORD does something new, and the ground opens its mouth, and swallows them up, with all that belongs to them, and they descend into Sheol alive, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD.” (Num. 16:28-30, AT) That is just what happened: the ground moved away from under their feet and the men disappeared, swallowed up alive in the crevice that was made. They descended into Sheol, the grave, and then the earth closed over them and they perished from among the children of Israel. Yes, it is true that “Jehovah knows those who belong to him”, and he is able to remove forever the unrighteous ones and those who speak evil, separating them from “those who belong to him”.
4 On other occasions Jehovah God took an opposite course of action. He removed his righteous servants from the evil ones. A case in point is that of Lot. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were filled with wickedness; so God directed his angels to take Lot, his two daughters and his wife out of the wicked city. “Remember Lot’s wife.” She did not have full confidence and faith in the deliverance that Jehovah God made for them. Her interest was in the old system of things; so she looked back and as a result was turned into a pillar of salt. (Gen. 19:1-26; Luke 17:28-32) Jehovah knows those who belong to him, and he will be faithful to his promises if we heed his instructions.
5 We have another true account in the book of Genesis, beginning with Ge chapter six, about a man who had great faith in Jehovah. He lived in a time when there was terrible debauchery among the people and the minds of all the people were filled with evilness. This man was Noah. With him were his three sons. All four were married men. They kept themselves clean from the wicked world and followed the instructions of Jehovah. Noah was told to build a boat. To do this would take many years, and it would require faith on his part, because he was to build this boat on dry land. There is no indication from the Scriptural account that this boat was built near a river; for it says that when the rain fell “the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lifted up above the earth”. (Gen. 7:17, AS) Noah must have built the ark in a locality where there was plenty of gopher wood on hand to cut down and to shape into such form that he could construct the vessel according to God’s instructions. (Gen. 6:13-22) During all the years of construction “Noah, a preacher of righteousness”, gave due warning to all walking in an ungodly way. (2 Pet. 2:5, NW) When the time came for Jehovah God to show his displeasure with the wicked conditions that existed in the earth, he opened the windows of heaven and rain poured down for forty days and forty nights. The earth was flooded with water. But Noah and his household, along with the animals that he was directed to take into the great ark, floated on the surface of the water. Jehovah knew those who belonged to him, and he preserved them through that great flood that destroyed the old world.
6 Therefore, it is quite evident from the Lord’s Word that those who renounce unrighteousness can gain the favor of Jehovah God. That is why Paul said to Timothy, “For all that, the solid foundation of God stays standing, having this seal, ‘Jehovah knows those who belong to him,’ and, ‘Let everyone mentioning the name of Jehovah renounce unrighteousness.’” (2 Tim. 2:19, NW) It is necessary, then, for every creature who loves life to “do your utmost to present yourself approved to God, a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright”. (2 Tim. 2:15, NW) This is the time to shun the empty speeches of those who have so much to say but who do not have God’s backing, much like Korah and the 250 older men of influence of the Israelites, all of whom were fighting against God’s servants. Individually, everyone must see to it that he understands the Lord’s Word, studies it well and keeps presenting himself before God in service so as to be an approved person. Doing the work that is assigned to you to do is what counts. If you do that which is proper in the Lord’s sight, he will bless you richly and you will find that you have an abundance. Service in God’s organization anywhere satisfies! When one turns to the Father of all mercy and the God of all comfort and relies on Jehovah, doing his will, he finds that great stores of blessing are on hand for him. One must truly be interested in the work of God and want to know him well. “Jehovah knows those who belong to him,” and we, his creatures, should certainly want to know him. To do so means life everlasting.