Hearkening to His Voice
1. What must be ascribed to Jehovah, and why this?
IN Psalm 29:3-9, Jehovah shows how thunderings and lightnings will come forth from the heavens and even the great cedars of Lebanon will be broken like matchsticks. The mountains in the wilderness will shake. In like manner will the nations of earth be shaken by the Sovereign Ruler of the universe, because they will not worship Jehovah God. All the false gods of this world must be destroyed. There is no place for them. When Psalm 29:1 (AS) said, “Ascribe unto Jehovah,” it meant we must give, we must attribute, the right things to Jehovah God. Is it not Jehovah who gave us life? Was he not the Creator of man and all the things in the earth? What else could we give to Jehovah except our praise? We should be grateful. We should show our gratefulness. So worship him, and not false gods.
2. What did Moses, in song, ascribe to Jehovah, and when?
2 It is by what we do and say that we can show Jehovah God that we recognize his great power and supremacy, his strength and his glory. When Jehovah God gave Moses the victory when coming through the Red sea and let him see the destruction of Pharaoh and his armies, Moses sang a song to Jehovah. Forty years later Moses sang another song with these opening words: “Give ear, ye heavens, and I will speak; and let the earth hear the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain; my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb. For I will proclaim the name of Jehovah: Ascribe ye greatness unto our God.”—Deut. 32:1-3, AS.
3. Who today follow Moses’ course in this song, and who not?
3 Today Jehovah’s witnesses proclaim the name of Jehovah, and they ascribe greatness to their God. They appreciate the bounties that fall from God’s throne and the blessings that come down from heaven. They are grateful for an understanding of Jehovah’s teachings and for his instructions as to how we are to live today in a new world society. Oh, there are many who have received the blessings of God who do not give glory to God for the blessings they have received. That was true with the Israelites who turned away from God after having come through the Red sea and after having traveled through the wilderness. They became disgruntled. The song that Moses taught them faded in their minds because they failed to continue in the worship of the Most High. They did not stay close to those who were worshiping Jehovah in holy array, but they isolated themselves and turned away to heathen gods.
4. What miraculous cure by Jesus does this cause us to remember?
4 You remember the ten cleansed lepers. Jesus was passing through upper Palestine at the time. There were ten lepers there and Jesus cleansed them all. After he had done that he said: “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” The reason for doing this was so that they could give praise to Jehovah God in the place of worship. They were to offer their sacrifices of praise to God through the priests, which was according to the arrangement of Jehovah. But was it not strange that only one of them, when he saw that he was healed and was overjoyed about the whole matter, came back to Christ Jesus to glorify God with a loud voice? He sought the feet of Jesus, and it was a Samaritan that gave thanks for the blessings that had fallen upon him. Jesus said to this one: “The ten were cleansed, were they not? Where, then, are the other nine? Were none found that turned back to give glory to God but this man of another nation?”—Luke 17:17, 18, NW.
5. How are many today like the nine cleansed ones who went their way, and how are some like the Samaritan?
5 There are many today who hear the message of Jehovah, there are many who then have dedicated themselves to God, but for just a short period. Yes, they were healed, but where is their giving “glory to God”? They associate themselves for a few weeks, a few months or maybe a few years with Jehovah’s witnesses, but they do not show lasting gratitude to Jehovah God for being cleansed. They are not worshiping Jehovah. They do not sing praises. They do not go out to the houses of the people, from door to door, and preach to the people the good news they have learned. They do not conduct Bible studies. They do not make back-calls on those who want to hear. They do not even study God’s Word thoroughly. They do not want to worship Jehovah in holy array. They merely associate for a while and then drift away. Like the nine cleansed lepers that came near Jesus and partook of his blessing for a while, they never give glory to Jehovah for his blessing. Today, with all the preaching of Jehovah’s witnesses, there are not very many who turn completely aside from this old world and start worshiping Jehovah with his great organization. The responsibility to do so is theirs, because they have knowledge and understanding. Gratitude is a wonderful thing to have, and those who study God’s Word and worship Jehovah in holy array along with his entire organization happily express to their God in heaven the gratitude they have for having received the truth and for being able to see that God’s kingdom has now been born, that the Kingdom is established and is here, that shortly Christ Jesus in Kingdom power will show forth his strength against the nations of earth, and that he will crush them along with Satan the Devil and all his demon organization.
6. What does it take to pull away from this world, and how is this quality exercised regularly toward becoming mature?
6 To pull away from this gaudy tinseled world takes faith on the part of an individual. This faith, though, comes only by a careful study of God’s Word. That is why it is so important for God’s servants in the earth, his slaves, to continually go to Bible studies and meet with their brothers. They must have faith as Abraham had faith. They must appreciate that God’s power can operate on us through his holy Word and make us better servants. One must appreciate that when he comes into the truth he is just a novice. One can grow up. He does not have to be a baby all his life. One can gain more knowledge and understanding of Jehovah’s Word. He can conduct Bible studies if he has the faith in Jehovah God to take a Bible study. He can comment at a Watchtower study if he has faith in Jehovah God that he knows something about his Word. He can come to the meetings of God’s people and there constantly take in knowledge. He can associate himself with the theocratic ministry school of Jehovah’s witnesses and take his part in the speaking program. Eventually, through faith and study and putting forth an earnest effort, one can become a public speaker for Jehovah’s organization. But it takes faith, and you know faith without any effort or works is dead. Make your faith live. Give glory to God like the grateful one, not the nine ungrateful.
7. Whose faith is held up as an example, and in what will the failure or the effort to exercise it result?
7 Too many think, “I can’t do it. That work was not for me.” But everyone who comes under God’s organization must eventually become a good minister, a good preacher. That is part of his training in carrying on true worship in holy array. Why, look at Abraham’s faith. He was an old man when God told him Sarah would bring forth the seed of promise, a son from the freewoman. Paul tells us that there was deadness in the womb of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. “But because of the promise of God he did not waver in a lack of faith, but became powerful by his faith, giving God glory and being fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do. Hence ‘it was counted to him as righteousness’.” (Rom. 4:20-22, NW) Do you have such faith that what appears to be impossible you can do by Jehovah’s help? The help is there. Use it. Make it work for you in all the meetings you attend. Do you believe you could not be a minister? You could not proclaim the good news for Jehovah God? If so, then you lack faith and you will not be a minister. You will not even try. But if you have faith and believe in Jehovah’s power and you put forth every effort to study, and you come to the study meetings and take in knowledge and learn the truth from God’s Word so as to worship him with all his people, then you will worship Jehovah in his great organization, in holy array. You can bring glory to God.
THE TIME TO LISTEN
8. Against whom will Jehovah’s voice be expressed, as stated at Psalm 29:3, but what will be their reaction?
8 Jehovah’s name will be made known, not only to his servants today, but to all the nations of the earth by proclamation of it by his witnesses. But even a greater witness will be made, for he will reveal himself by performing wonderful acts. The psalmist in the 29th Psalm 29 describes a storm, a terrible and mighty storm. It is the power of nature in all its fury, but behind that power stands Jehovah God controlling it at Armageddon to his honor. Ps 29 Verse three says: “The voice of Jehovah is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth, even Jehovah upon many waters.” (AS) Jehovah’s voice is heard in thunder, and at the battle of Armageddon they will know who is striking against the nations of the earth, even as Jehovah struck against Pharaoh in Egypt. In Exodus the ninth chapter, the 23rd verse, it says: “And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and Jehovah sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down unto the earth; and Jehovah rained hail upon the land of Egypt.” (AS) Jehovah’s voice was heard and felt in his expression of wrath upon man and beast and field. However, in the land of Goshen, where Jehovah’s chosen people were, there was no hail nor storm. This plague, along with all the other plagues that were brought against Pharaoh, only hardened his heart. He would not recognize Jehovah’s name, his glory, his power; he would not hearken to the voice of Jehovah. When the battle of Armageddon strikes, the nations of the earth will not hearken either to the voice of Jehovah. Now they can hear it through his faithful witnesses, but then it will be too late. There will not be a last-minute confession on their part that they were wrong and then all running to Jehovah’s side. No, they will harden their hearts as they always had done at hearing Jehovah’s voice.
9. Why is now the time to listen to Jehovah’s voice, and how can one do it?
9 Now is the time for the people to listen to the voice of Jehovah. Now is the time for them to study his Word and listen to Jehovah’s servants, his witnesses in the earth who are proclaiming the message of the Kingdom. Now is the time to study and find out. At Armageddon time it will be too late. Why keep hardening your heart now? Why keep pushing Jehovah farther away from you? Why not listen to his voice and hear what he has to say? Those who do listen to the voice of Jehovah now will worship him in holy array. The psalmist was under inspiration when he wrote, “The voice of Jehovah is upon the waters.” He was writing this about the storm out of which Jehovah God would manifest himself. Certainly Jehovah will show forth his power out of the heavens in the battle of his great day. Why wait until then to listen to the voice?—Jer. 10:12, 13; Ps. 24:7.
10. How do people now fail to hearken to God’s voice, and with what consequences to them?
10 In Psalm 29:4 (AS) David says: “The voice of Jehovah is powerful; the voice of Jehovah is full of majesty.” It is true that very few people in the world today believe the voice of God. They do not hearken to his Word. However, Jehovah God has proved his Word by the things he has done. People in the world despise the Word of God, and those who do are going to take the consequences, just as it is expressed at Numbers 15:31 (AS): “Because he hath despised the word of Jehovah, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.”
11. Can we be choosy about what part of God’s word we want to believe? And what does God require of his sons today?
11 Those who have come to know the Word of God certainly should be obedient to it, because God’s Word means life to those who hearken to it. God does not ask us to just pick out that part of the Bible we want to live by and forget the rest of it. So many of the religious leaders of today are choosy as to what they want to believe, and often when Jehovah’s witnesses discuss matters with clergymen and members of their flock and quote Scripture, they say: “We don’t believe that.” Jehovah is not asking us which part of the Bible we want to believe and which part we do not want to believe. He is giving us his commandments. He expresses the matter very plainly in his own Word: “All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which Jehovah sware unto your fathers.” (Deut. 8:1, AS) Jesus as the Son of God was willing to accept the whole Word of God, that which was given in the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms. He lived by them, and he received eternal life. In fact, it was only three days after he was killed upon the torture stake that his Father in heaven raised him from the dead and gave him the glory which he had before, even greater, for he had him sit down at his right hand until he would make his enemies his footstool. Jehovah God requires of his sons today faithfulness, the same as he required of his Son Christ Jesus. Moses had it clearly in mind when he said: “For Jehovah your God, he is God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty, and the terrible, who regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward. He doth execute justice for the fatherless and widow, and loveth the sojourner, in giving him food and raiment.”—Deut. 10:17, 18, AS.
12. For how long must we worship God? and how did faithless Israelites illustrate it to be disastrous to disregard God’s voice?
12 A person cannot be a servant of the Most High God and carry on worship just for a little while and then expect to go his own way and still expect to get eternal life. It is necessary, therefore, that “thou shalt love Jehovah thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his ordinances, and his commandments, alway”. (Deut. 11:1, AS) What God says is what counts. It is the voice of Jehovah that we should give heed to. It is not for us to run ahead of Jehovah and decide things ourselves and say: “We are going to do them this or that way; God is wrong.” It is better for us to take the counsel of God and listen to his voice. (Deut. 1:41-46) The faithless Israelites on one occasion were told by him not to go out and fight the enemy, but they thought better of it. No, they were going to go up into the mountains and fight those who were opposed to them. And what happened? They were defeated, they were whipped, they were scattered. Jehovah had told them not to go up into the mountain and fight those people. Jehovah said to Moses: “Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies.” (Deut. 1:42, AS) They were very presumptuous, and they went up into the hill country against the commandment of God. They rebelled against Jehovah’s voice and hence were smitten.
13. Why should none be disrespectful and haughty toward God’s Word?
13 We should always remember that Jehovah’s Word has authority behind it. Jehovah’s Word is right, it is powerful. Believe it. No one should show disrespect for what God has set forth in his Word. It is his voice. He is the most majestic one in all the universe. He is the most authoritative one. No greater knowledge or wisdom is to be found in anyone. He is the Almighty, the Most High; he should have our respect. Those who are proud and haughty will certainly be brought low in the battle of Armageddon, when his voice is heard in the storm in the heavens. The prophet Isaiah said concerning the humbling of the haughtiness of man: “For there shall be a day of Jehovah of hosts upon all that is proud and haughty, and upon all that is lifted up; and it shall be brought low: and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan.”—Isa. 2:12, 13, AS.
14. What does Psalm 29:5, 6 indicate will happen to the symbolic cedars of Lebanon and the mountain itself?
14 When that battle of Armageddon strikes men will certainly appear small and puny, even though some may be likened to the great cedars of Lebanon. These mighty trees were there in the high mountains to the north of Israel. Even these mighty trees, great in size and which have stood for centuries, Jehovah will bring low. Psalm 29:5 (AS) said: “The voice of Jehovah breaketh the cedars; yea, Jehovah breaketh in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.” When he breaks them and uproots them they will skip along the snow-covered sides of Mount Lebanon like young calves jumping about. The Ps 29 sixth verse tells us: “He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild-ox.” A small gamboling calf can certainly jump around and be playful. It twists and turns every way. Now, can you imagine a tremendous cedar tree bouncing and jumping around on the side of a mountain? Not one, but all the cedars of Lebanon will be brought low due to a mighty act of Jehovah God. Not only will the trees be moved, but the earth will literally shake. The voice of Jehovah says these things will happen. “The mountains skipped like rams, the little hills like lambs.” (Ps. 114:4, AS) “Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the mountains quaked and were shaken, because he was wroth.” (Ps. 18:7, AS) When Jehovah shows his anger against the nations of earth they certainly will know it. It is not going to be a small thing.
15. How does Psalm 29:7, 8 show over what extent Jehovah will carry the destruction? So what is it now time to do?
15 “The voice of Jehovah cleaveth the flames of fire. The voice of Jehovah shaketh the wilderness; Jehovah shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.” (Ps. 29:7, 8, AS) This is a poetic expression and describes the lightning darting from the clouds. Surely, too, there will be great earthquakes during the battle of Armageddon, even as there are today, only much worse. Now is the time to make the announcement of these things. Now is the time to give the warning of the impending destruction that is coming upon the world of mankind. Now is the time to tell the people of the coming storm, not when it arrives or after it is over. Psalm 29 shows that the storm does not center itself only around the mountains to the north of Palestine, but it sweeps the whole land from one end to the other, even down to Kadesh in the southern extremity in the wilderness. It shows that Jehovah God will sweep through the whole earth and not one nation will be safe.
PROTECTION DURING THE STORM
16. Amid the storm where is protection, and what do those under it say?
16 The only ones to come under his protection will be those who have hearkened to the voice of Jehovah. So he says in Ps 29 verse nine (AS): “The voice of Jehovah maketh the hinds to calve, and strippeth the forests bare: and in his temple everything saith, Glory.” This will be such a fearful time that even the animals in the fields carrying calves will bring them forth in premature birth. This storm will be so fierce that even the trees will be stripped of their branches and leaves, even their bark. And while all this storm is going on, this display of Jehovah’s anger against the nations, this display of his power, this voice of Jehovah speaking to the nations in the battle of Armageddon, he says: “And in his temple everything saith, Glory.” Yes, all who understand God and who have come to know him through his Son will say, “Glory,” for the glory belongs to Jehovah. They will worship him in holy array. All creatures in heaven and in earth who have come to worship him will be glad in this day and will rejoice, for it means the vindication of Jehovah’s name and Word. It means the complete destruction of all wickedness and the Devil’s organization.
17. How did Jehovah sit as King at the Flood?
17 This beautiful description of majestic power in the heavens and upon the earth is now brought to a conclusion in the tenth, and eleventh verses 10, 11 of Psalm 29. It says: “Jehovah sat as King at the Flood; yea, Jehovah sitteth as King for ever. Jehovah will give strength unto his people; Jehovah will bless his people with peace.” (AS) There is certainly no question in the mind of Jehovah’s witnesses that Jehovah was King at the Flood. Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives hearkened to the voice of Jehovah, and it must have been a wonderful array of animals marching into the ark under the direction of these eight persons. And the door of the ark was shut, and then the flood came. Jehovah sat as King at the flood. He had everything under absolute control. When he opened the heavens and the waters poured down on the earth, when the flood came in from all sides, Jehovah was in absolute control, destroying the enemy, bringing to nought all those false gods and their sons, the worshipers of the gods; and there, riding upon the waters, was Noah, his family and all that God desired to have preserved through the flood. He was absolute Ruler; he was King.
18. How will it be likewise at Armageddon, and where will refuge be?
18 So will it be in the battle of Armageddon. He will have full control, directing his Son as to what to do in destroying the Devil and his organization and preserving his own people. Certainly Jehovah’s witnesses can have full confidence in the Sovereign Ruler, Jehovah. Even while this fearful condition exists in the earth, even while terror is thrown into the hearts of the enemy, his servants will have refuge. The words of the psalmist will come to mind: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, and though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof.”—Ps. 46:1-3, AS.
19. For how long is Jehovah King, and why do we not fear coming trouble?
19 It was not only during the Flood that Jehovah was King. He has sat as King and Ruler forever, even from the time that Adam disobeyed God in the garden of Eden. He just allowed Satan and his organization to remain after Satan reestablished it some time following the flood, so that God might show forth his power. He showed his power greatly at the time of the flood. He is going to show forth his power again in the battle of Armageddon. So Jehovah will sit as King then and forever, even throughout all eternity. Jehovah’s witnesses will not be in terror at the things that are going to happen, nor are they fearful of the things that are happening now in the persecution that is brought against them in many lands, because they know that “Jehovah of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge”. (Ps. 46:11, AS) They are fully confident that the end of all this trouble will bring peace, prosperity and blessings in a new world.
20. Why do we look forward to this great battle, and why are we willing to wait till it breaks out?
20 God’s people in the world today meet up with much opposition. They have to work hard to preach this good news of the Kingdom and to make known Jehovah’s name while they are afflicted and persecuted; but they count it all joy. This hatred on the part of the nations is not going to discourage them. They are looking forward to the great battle, this time of trouble, for it means peace to them afterward. They do not look forward to it with an overanxious spirit. They are patient. They are willing to wait until the storm breaks, for they know that between now and the time of that final battle a great work must be accomplished. It is the great work of preaching this good news of God’s kingdom in all the world for a witness, and while they are doing it they are going to worship Jehovah in holy array.
21. Despite what do we continue to preach, and how under circumstances like those of Jehoshaphat’s day?
21 So now they have a big work on their hands, and they know the religionists of all lands are against them in getting their work done. They know that the rulers of all nations are against their message. The Communists refuse to let Jehovah’s witnesses preach concerning Jehovah God’s kingdom, for the Communists believe there is but one form of government that should exist on this earth and that is the communistic form. Why then allow anyone to speak of God’s kingdom and its rule of peace? Communistic opposition or anybody else’s opposition does not dishearten Jehovah’s witnesses. They continue to preach despite all the persecution. They are just like Jehoshaphat and his subjects in his day: “They rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem: believe in Jehovah your God, so shall ye be established: believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed them that should sing unto Jehovah, and give praise in holy array, as they went out before the army, and say, Give thanks unto Jehovah; for his lovingkindness endureth for ever.” (2 Chron. 20:20, 21, AS) His people did not slack the hand then, nor will they now, in singing praises to the Most High. They have the grand privilege of preaching the good news to the poor and bringing forth those who are prisoners of the god of this world. Satan is his name.
22. How do we offer ourselves in Jehovah’s service, and what yeartext do we carry out?
22 The time is here for preaching and comforting the peoples of the world and telling them of the God of the new world. Jehovah is his name. God’s servants are offering themselves in his service willingly. They are joyful in going forth. They are mindful of Psalm 110:3 (AS): “Thy people offer themselves willingly in the day of thy power, in holy array.” With real joy and gladness Jehovah’s witnesses go forward in their work today in unity with one another and as one man to sing the praises of the Most High. What joy is theirs because they listen to the voice of Jehovah! So, in the words of the text which Jehovah’s witnesses have chosen for their 1953 calendar, they will “worship Jehovah in holy array”.—Ps. 29:2, AS.