Does God Really Care?
Has God abandoned the earth? Does he care what men say or do? Is he concerned in earth’s affairs or its destiny? Many today say he does not really care, that he does not see the evil, that he will not act to halt it. Does the Bible agree with this view? Do the facts fit it? Does God no longer care for man? Or is it man that no longer cares for God?
BY WAY of illustration, think of a man with vast holdings. One of his choice possessions he places in the care of his children, to belong to them and their offspring after them. It is a vast land of superb natural beauty, productive of all its dwellers desire. The father instructs the children in the care of the land and the animal life upon it. No want is lacking, no needed instruction is withheld. Mistakes are forgiven, correction is mercifully offered. He sends his representatives to guide and direct, and letters to instruct and correct. But the children rebel, their offspring are bent toward evil. They mar the beauty of the land, ruin its soil, exploit its resources, slaughter its wildlife and war among themselves. They ignore their father, disregard his instructions, refuse to read or follow his letters, persecute and kill his representatives. Because of this their woes increase, but they harden in their wicked course and even turn to another as their master. For being unappreciative, unfaithful, unloving, their misery multiplies and bitterness sinks its roots deep. And though they refuse to reform and return in obedience to their father’s care, they raise caustic cries that he does not really care for them, that he has abandoned and forsaken them. Are not their charges ridiculous? Do not they have things backward? Rather than their father’s forsaking them, have they not forsaken him? Rather than their father’s not caring, are not they the ones that do not care?
So it is with Jehovah God and men on the earth. God created the universe. His holdings are vast, limitless. The earth and its fullness are his. He made it for man, put man on it, told him to fill it, dress it, keep it, care for it and for the animal life on it. He instructed man, and when man went wrong he corrected man. He sent priests and prophets as his representatives, but they were persecuted and killed. His own Son they foully murdered. His letters were compiled in a book called the Bible. It is in millions of homes, but is read very little and obeyed much less. Men in general have abandoned Jehovah, his Word, his way, and have turned to this world under Satan, “the god of this system of things.” “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” Their tongues may say they serve Jehovah, but their deeds say they serve Satan: “Do you not know that if you keep presenting yourselves to anyone as slaves to obey him, you are slaves of him because you obey him?” By their exploitation of the earth, the shaving off of the forests, the ruining of the soil, the gouging out of its precious metals for misuse, the wanton slaughter of animals and the gory killing of their fellow men, wicked worldlings prove they are serving Satan. They bring forth his fruits. Any verbal whisper to the contrary is drowned out by the mighty shout of their deeds.—2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 5:19; Rom. 6:16, NW.
But despite the undeniable forsaking of God by men of this world, some cry out in bitterness that God has forsaken men, that he does not really care about the earth or men on it. Any who think that Jehovah is ignoring the earth only prove that they are ignoring his Word. God is not blind to the good and evil of men, even if many men have closed their eyes to the promise of reward and retribution from God. “The eyes of Jehovah run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” “My eyes are upon all their ways, they are not concealed from me, nor is their guilt wrapped up from my sight. And I will doubly repay their guilt and their sin.” “There is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting.” Men who today think that God does not care are not the first to so blunder.—2 Chron. 16:9, AS; Jer. 16:17, 18, AT; Heb. 4:13, NW.
EXAMPLES THAT PROVE GOD CARES
Prior to the flood of Noah’s day “the badness of man had become great in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.” Did Jehovah care? So much so that he “felt regrets that he had made men in the earth and he felt hurt at his heart.” He cared so much that he determined to act: “I am going to wipe men whom I have created off the surface of the ground.” But he did not regret making obedient men such as Noah and his household. He cared so much for them that he instructed them in how to survive the flood, and because they followed his instructions they were preserved. Then all except Noah’s household were concentrating on selfish pursuits and fleshly lusts, oblivious to Jehovah’s will or warning. Today the majority pursue a self-centered course, not caring about Jehovah’s pleasure or purpose. Our day was pictured by Noah’s, as Jesus said: “Just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be.”—Gen. 6:5-8; Matt. 24:37-39, NW.
Sodom and Gomorrah were cities that had become grossly wicked and depraved, not even ten righteous ones residing there. But Lot was distressed by their loose conduct and “was tormenting his righteous soul by reason of their lawless deeds.” Lot cared. So did Jehovah, for he sent angels to destroy these cities, which angels said: “The outcry against them has grown loud before Jehovah, so that Jehovah sent us to destroy the city.” But the perverted inhabitants generally did not care. When Lot gave warning to these scoffers “he seemed like a man who was joking.” But the fiery destruction that followed was no joke to those cities then, nor is it now, for these cities “are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.” And Jesus said that just as that rain of fire and sulphur caught them unawares, “the same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed.”—2 Pet. 2:8; Gen. 19:13, 14; Jude 7; Luke 17:30, NW.
During the period when judges ruled Israel faithful Gideon thought Jehovah had abandoned them because of the troubles befalling them from enemies round about, and Gideon said: “Now Jehovah has deserted us and he gives us into the palm of Midian.” But not so, for Gideon himself was used to deliver Israel from the Midianites.—Judg. 6:13, NW.
In Solomon’s day some thought oppression and injustice went unnoticed, but Solomon taught that Higher Powers watched the wickedness of human officials: “If you see the oppression of the poor, and justice and right exploited in the province, be not amazed at the situation, for one high official watches over another, and there are those higher than both.” Because punishment seems slow in coming many men think it is never coming and set out on a course of evil, convinced God does not care: “Because the sentence upon an evil deed is not quickly executed, therefore the minds of the sons of men are fully determined to do evil. Even though a sinner does wrong a hundred times and still continues living, yet I know that it shall be well with those who fear God, who are in awe before him; but it shall not be well with the wicked, nor shall he prolong his life.” The sinner may seem to prosper while the righteous suffer, but the life of the wicked will not be prolonged to last forever in Jehovah’s new world. Now what befalls the righteous would more fittingly descend on the wicked, while what happens to the wicked would be more appropriate for the righteous: “There are righteous men to whom it happens in accordance with what should be done to the wicked, and there are wicked men to whom it happens in accordance with what should be done to the righteous.” This perversion of matters is only temporary. Jehovah will reverse things permanently in his new world, because he does care.—Eccl. 5:8; 8:11-14, AT.
During a time of stress in Judah the enemies of God are portrayed as saying to themselves: “God hath forgotten, he hideth his face, he will never see it.” Still later, when many from Judah had already been taken into Babylonian captivity, those yet in Jerusalem thought that Jehovah would not see their idolatry, that he had forsaken the land, that he did not care: “Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in his chambers of imagery? for they say, Jehovah seeth us not; Jehovah hath forsaken the land.” “Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of wresting of judgment: for they say, Jehovah hath forsaken the land, and Jehovah seeth not.” But Jehovah did see and he brought a retribution on the evildoers, giving them over to sword and famine and pestilence and captivity.—Ps. 10:11; Ezek. 8:12; 9:9, AS.
GOD SOON TO SHOW HE CARES
Jehovah’s announced purpose is that the earth shall abide forever, shall be inhabited forever, and shall be at peace forever. That purpose will not be thwarted by man or Devil: “I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” How? By means of his promised new world of righteousness. The world of Noah’s day turned wicked and perished in the flood. This present evil world is doomed to fiery destruction at Armageddon. Then our waiting will be at an end: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” It is concerning this new world that the Bible says: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” Just as Noah survived the death of the preflood world, men today who exercise faith will survive the death of this pre-Armageddon world. Why is the end of the old and the complete establishment of the new so long in coming? Not because God does not care, but because he does care: “Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” He allows time for a warning to be given as he did in times past, so that the good to be saved can separate from the wicked to be destroyed.
But this mercy and long-suffering is misinterpreted by ridiculers whose presence in these last days was foretold: “In the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: ‘Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.’” They deliberately ignore the facts, “according to their wish.” Elsewhere it is foretold that “in the last days” “wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.” But their increase is no cause for concern to Jehovah’s witnesses: “Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be thou envious against them that work unrighteousness. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in Jehovah, and do good.” Their springing up in increasing numbers was foretold for the last days of this old world and only precedes their destruction: “When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever.”—Isa. 46:11; 2 Pet. 3:3-13; John 3:16; 2 Tim. 3:1, 13, NW; Ps. 37:1-3; 92:7, AS.
MEN, NOT GOD, DO NOT CARE
At Armageddon Jehovah will show that he cares, that he notes the good and observes the bad, and will remember each group either to preserve or destroy in keeping with its works. Throughout man’s existence on earth Jehovah has shown that he cares. Even after Adam and Eve sinned he provided them with clothing. He allowed them to remain on the earth and produce offspring. The bounties of the earth were for their use, without any discrimination: “He makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” In love and mercy he held off destruction when justice cried out for it. His patience and long-suffering to allow time for men to come to their senses and repent and reform have been misinterpreted by the wicked as weakness or indifference on God’s part. His leniency they have misused to drift farther and farther from Jehovah, to pile ever higher their abuse of earth and animals and fellow men. At Armageddon their drifting will be brought to a dead halt, when Jehovah finally rises up “to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Matt. 5:45; Rev. 11:18, NW.
Men today may say that Jehovah does not care, that he does not notice, that he has forsaken the earth. Actually, they are only seeking to justify their forsaking of Jehovah and his Word. They would have it appear that God abandoned them first, and hence they are justified in departing from him. Jehovah never abandoned Israel until that nation forsook him for other gods: “As for you, you abandoned me and took up serving other gods. That is why I shall not save you again. Go and call for aid to the gods whom you have chosen. Let them be the ones to save you in the time of your distress.” Jehovah abandons no one today who holds to him and his service, who is guided by his Word and trusts in his power. The majority of men today have put their trust in other men, in human schemes and organizations, in armies and weapons, in science and false gods. It is the choice they have made. They do not care for Jehovah, or for his Word the Bible, or for his faithful witnesses. On the contrary, they show hatred for God and his Word and his people. They have chosen new gods. When Armageddon comes let them cry to their chosen gods for deliverance from Jehovah’s wrath.—Judg. 10:13, 14, NW.
Jehovah said to Israel: “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, seed of evil-doers, children that deal corruptly! they have forsaken Jehovah.” That nation not only abandoned Jehovah as the source of life-giving truth, but also sought out death-dealing falsehoods to take its place: “For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” As a result the nation was destroyed. The same result will come to the nations today that have forsaken Jehovah in deed, regardless of how much hypocritical lip service they accord him. As it is with a man, so it is with the nations: “Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap; because he who is sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but he who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.” The nations sow to the flesh.—Isa. 1:3, 4; Jer. 2:13, AS; Gal. 6:7, 8, NW.
THE NEW WORLD SOCIETY CARES
During this generation Jehovah is gathering out from the old world men who care for him and his principles, who will prove their love by deed as well as by word. They are rapidly growing into a great crowd of praisers, gathered from every nation and race and tongue. Abandoning the ways of the old world, they are truly a new-world society destined to live eternally in the promised new world of righteousness. Do you want to be a part of that? Then “quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and complete will of God.” “Do your utmost to present yourself approved to God, a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright.” “Sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of you a reason for the hope in you, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect. Hold a good conscience.” Prove you love Christ: “If anyone loves me, he will observe my word.” Prove you love God: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments.”—Rom. 12:2; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 3:15, 16; John 14:23; 1 John 5:3, NW.
Thus you will prove you care for Jehovah, and he will really care for you. Prove you are in harmony with his purpose concerning the earth by living now as he expects new-world inhabitants to live. Show that you love the earth’s beauty by preserving it, that you love its animal life by kindly using it, that you love peace and morality and righteousness and godliness by seeking those things now. Prove your love for your neighbor is as great as your love for yourself by preaching the good news of this new world to him now. Demonstrate that you care for Jehovah’s Word and his vindication by faithfully maintaining integrity despite the ridiculings and persecutions of this maddened old world under its crazy god Satan. Display all this and Jehovah will really care for you, now and forever in the promised new world of righteousness.