Dedication to Jehovah
“I am come . . . to do your will, o God.”—Heb. 10:7, NW.
1. In regard to what The Watchtower upholds, what personal questions here confront approximately two million individuals?
YOU are one of approximately two million readers of The Watchtower and are doubtless aware of the fact that in every issue this publication upholds the worship of Jehovah God. What does his worship mean to you as an individual? To you, is religion a casual matter, or does it occupy an important and perhaps essential place in your life? If you are familiar with Bible truth you have been greatly blessed spiritually, and along with hundreds of thousands of other persons like yourself in all parts of the earth you have the blessed opportunity to progress in knowledge and understanding concerning the great God of the universe. Is this important to you? Has the truth engendered a worshipful attitude in your mind and heart? Perhaps it has. Perhaps it has not. The fact that you are taking the time to read these words, and, we hope, to look up the scriptures and carefully study this and following articles, is commendable, because it indicates that you have the courage to look into the Bible and have the desire to know the truth and that you are not taking the course of laziness, indifference or cowardice respecting God’s Word.
2. Does deliberate lack of interest evade the issue of principle versus expediency?
2 It may surprise you to know the reason many people give for not heeding the Kingdom message. Upon having their attention directed to the plain and beautiful doctrines of the Bible, the evidences of prophecies now being fulfilled, the great sign proving the Kingdom presence of Christ Jesus and the thrilling work of the New World society now in action, many say, ‘That’s your interpretation of the Bible, another man has his interpretation, I could have my interpretation; so, I’m not interested.’ Such people are not interested because they do not want to be. But of this we may be certain: from now on, for the rest of their lives, although they do continue in the attitude of deliberate lack of interest toward Jehovah God and his Word, they will be constantly confronted with the issue of determining their course of action based upon principle or based upon expediency in their affairs of life. This is true for the reason that our day is one of judgment.—See The Watchtower of June 1, 1952.
3. As to deliberate unresponsiveness to Bible information, what may be reasons, and how does cowardice figure in?
3 Such a response to Bible information as here set out may be a lazy one, made because the individual lacks enterprise and initiative to use his mind to acquire the thoughts of God, or it may be a reply of merely indifference. In either case such is holding the Word of God in low esteem, saying in effect that because different men have different ideas, the ideas of the Almighty God are considered to be of no consequence. However, this reply may oftentimes be a cowardly one. It is cowardly if made because the individual is afraid of the truth, afraid of the responsibility that knowing the truth brings, afraid of having his own ungodly works revealed to him for what they are, unrighteous, out of harmony with the principles of uprightness and decency contained in the Word of the only true God, who is himself altogether upright and holy. What are your reactions toward Jehovah’s Word?
4. Our gladness and reverence are increased through what point of view?
4 We must realize that an understanding and acceptance of Bible truth is not a matter of one man’s interpretation against another man’s interpretation. It is a matter of accepting or rejecting what Jehovah God himself has placed in his Word for the instruction of men in righteousness and in his worship. Many hundreds of thousands of persons have had their lives made joyful, their hearts gladdened and their reverence for God increased by the wonderful truths contained in the Bible, which are constantly upheld and respected by the Watchtower magazine. In your own individual case, what is your response to your study of the Bible?
5. In praising the Creator, how far can inanimate, plant and animal creation go?
5 About us we see things that praise and honor Jehovah, the Creator, in their own way, but which things do not have the abilities of worshiping Jehovah that we have. The inanimate creation referred to pictorially in the 19th Psalm “sings” Jehovah’s praise. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” (Ps. 19:1, AS) The inhabitants of the heavens of God’s dwelling place and the new heavens of his new world sing Jehovah’s praises and worship him, but do the literal stars and sun and rocks worship God? No, of course not. A beautiful gem reflects the glory of the one whose handiwork it is but it cannot carry on pure religion, because it is inanimate. We know the beauties of nature that decorate our earth. The untoiling lilies of the field in beauty honor their Maker, but do they join in worship of him? No, of course not. The interesting and lovely animal creatures live their life spans and serve their purpose, evidence of the admirable attributes of Jehovah. However, can the lioness or the young lions, the young ravens, the wild goats, the ass, wild ox, ostrich, horse, locust, hawk, eagle or any of the other living animal things of the air, land or sea worship God? (Job 38:39 to 39:30) We know that not one of them can worship Jehovah God. Why not? Because they are not intelligent. One purpose of this and related articles is to show from the standpoint of clean worship the difference between man on one hand and animals, plants and inorganic material on the other, and the possibilities that this difference brings to you.
6. To man and those above man, what exclusive qualities are possible?
6 The creation of Jehovah God with which we are acquainted and which is lower than man never fails in its purpose, testifying to the power of God. But integrity, love, uprightness, these and other related qualities, do not apply below man. They apply to man and on up in the scale of God’s creation. They are qualities of worship. Worship, pure religion, is exclusively possible for that part of God’s creation that is intelligent.
7. As to a man’s success or failure, what is the proof?
7 The worship of Jehovah is the proof of real intelligence. (Prov. 1:7; 9:10, AS) A refusal by a so-called “intelligent” creature to worship Jehovah God is a failure on the creature’s part. Back to the earth such useless human creature will go. That is good, because it is better that there be a beast or flower or rock than a human deficient in intelligence. (Ps. 14:1) “There is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” (Job 32:8, AS) The “understanding” here shown to have been given to man means intelligence, discernment, perception, prudence, wisdom to take the proper course of action.
8. State the good question each person should ask, and give the primary answer to it.
8 How does one of Jehovah’s intelligent creatures worship him? One may ask, How can I worship God? One should ask this question. It would be stupid to avoid the question and be unconcerned over it. It is our wish to point to God’s answer found in his own Word, the Bible, and we hope and trust and pray that the vital Scriptural truths respecting this matter will be appreciated and acted upon by many of our readers, because such is essential for their eternal welfare. It is necessary that each one who would worship God first of all make a personal dedication to Jehovah.
DEDICATION TO JEHOVAH
9. What constitutes man’s highest career, and what ignoble things prevent it?
9 It is in dedication to Jehovah God that a human creature comes into his own proper estate as distinguished from that of all God’s creation below man. Such is the highest and noblest of human ambitions and aspirations, and such is the course that must be followed by all who will gain life from among mankind. (John 17:2, 3; Ps. 119:1, 2) When a person comes to an understanding of Jehovah as revealed in the Bible, only selfishness will prevent him from making a dedication of himself to Jehovah God. How can this be? Are there not people of many religions who are not dedicated to Jehovah God? Yes, there are many such. In fact, the number of dedicated servants of Jehovah upon earth are in the minority, but among them are persons from all walks and classifications of men. It may be properly said that everyone is dedicated to one thing or another. Wherein do the dedications of people in general fall short? In that they are dedications, not to the Almighty God of the universe whose name alone is Jehovah, but to self-interest or some other cause or some other god, and therefore they do not lead the dedicated ones to lasting life to Jehovah’s praise.
10. Define Christian dedication.
10 “Dedication” is from an origin meaning to declare, to affirm, to state solemnly, to devote. It refers to the act of setting apart or devoting something to a certain use, or an act by which a person or thing is initiated into some way or course or use. To a Christian, dedication is the exclusive devotion to the service or worship of Jehovah God. It is the act of a person in setting himself apart by an agreement, unreservedly and unconditionally to do the will of Jehovah God through Christ Jesus. How is that will expressed? Through sects and denominations? Through schemes of men or organizations of men? No. The will of God is expressed in the Bible, being made plain by God’s holy spirit, and so dedication means that henceforth one must live a holy life, separate from the corrupt world, and must serve Jehovah God.
11. To the issue of dedication how do most persons react, can the issue be side-stepped, and how may you be a blessed person?
11 “I cannot do that,” many a person will say. “I cannot put God first in my life. I will put my own interests, the interests of those things and persons that are mine first and God second. Oh, I will serve God, giving him some recognition from time to time when convenient, but dedicate myself to Jehovah? How can I do that?” Yes, such is a common reaction. Many of the readers of this publication have not made a dedication of themselves to serve Jehovah. As before stated, that which prevents a person from dedication to Jehovah is self-interest, selfishness. You will never be freed from this issue. It cannot be side-stepped. It must be met. Dedication requires a decision. You must decide whether you are going to worship and serve the God who gave you life or whether you are going to disregard his Word and his will in your personal life. If you will dedicate yourself to serve him in honesty and sincerity and out of love for him in appreciation of his goodness to you, you are a wise and a blessed person indeed.
12. Give reasons for dedication to Jehovah God.
12 Why should one make a dedication to do Jehovah’s will, a solemn agreement to be guided by God’s Word, to act in accordance with his purposes and endeavor to conform to the high standard that he sets down in the Bible? Why should one do this? Rather it should be asked, Why should not one do so? Devotion and dedication to Jehovah God should be made because he is worthy. His own merit justifies the devotion of those who love him. (1 Pet. 1:15, 16) He is deserving of our praise, service or worship. He is the center of true religion. His worthiness defies expression in our inadequate tongue, and surely, if there is sincere appreciation in the hearts of men, dedication to the Supplier of all that is good will be the result. To appreciate Jehovah means to set a just value upon his worth, to esteem it to the full, to feel a warmth of satisfaction and approval in regard to our God, to be grateful for what he does. Have you appreciation of life, of its blessings, of the truth, of the revealed Word of God, of what he has done in behalf of mankind through his Son, Christ Jesus, of his kingdom now established in the heavens, of his work that is going forward in the earth, and of the New World society now active? Have you a high regard for these things? You will either spurn them or you will accept them with appreciation. If you appreciate them, if you appreciate the God who provided them, you will dedicate yourself to serve that God. Full appreciation leads to dedication. Dedication to Jehovah is dedication to the great Source of life. It is the course of action that must be followed by all who will receive life and so it is a very wise course indeed.—Prov. 14:27.
13. By dedication what is demonstrated, and to what does dedication lead?
13 Many people say in effect, “I believe that, if one just does the best he can and tries to get along, everything will come out all right.” But that is not what the Bible teaches; it is a self-deception. (Prov. 14:12) Those for whom “everything will come out all right” are those who receive lasting life, and it is impossible to receive lasting life if one is cut off from the Fountain of life, the great Creator himself, the living God. His living Word leaves no doubt about this. Dedication demonstrates complete trust and confidence in Jehovah. It shows that the individual has assurance that Jehovah is God, that God is right, that his cause will be victorious, that there is no doubt in the heart and mind of the dedicated one and that he is happy and joyful to take his stand on the side of Jehovah God.
14. (a) Read Jesus’ words at John 3:19-21, and then restate in your own words the issue there presented. (b) To where do we now look for encouragement and assurance regarding Christian dedication in this day?
14 The words of Christ Jesus as recorded in John 3:19-21 (NW) are powerful and revealing. Jesus stated: “Now this is the basis for judgment, that the light has come into the world but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. For he that practices vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, in order that his works may not be reproved. But he that does what is true comes to the light, in order that his works may be made manifest as having been worked in harmony with God.” The basis for judgment there referred to is not changed and these words place the issue squarely before us as intelligent persons who have light from God’s word of truth, the Bible. Christ Jesus was dedicated to Jehovah, setting the proper pattern for Christians to follow. Prior to his time the matter of dedication came up in connection with the worship of the true God. So in the next portion we make reference to some history that may be an encouragement and assurance to us in this wonderful day of the establishment of the theocratic kingdom.