The Confidence of the Upright
“He that is walking with wise persons will become wise, but he that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly.”—Prov. 13:20.
1. How did David view his integrity, and as a type of whom?
DAVID, the upright king of ancient Israel, was a man with real confidence in his Creator, the God whom David called Jehovah. He appreciated that over the years of his life he had made many mistakes as a sinful, imperfect human, but he also knew that uppermost in his mind and heart was the doing of the will of his heavenly Life-giver. As the leading member of a nation dedicated to Jehovah God, David was concerned with the matter of integrity. “As for me,” said he, “in my integrity I shall walk.” (Ps. 26:11) This he faithfully endeavored to do, as an example to all the subjects over whom he reigned and also as a prophetic type for the true followers of the Greater David, Jesus Christ, the glorified king of God’s new world.
2. Why was David confident he had walked in his integrity, and how does he plead to be judged?
2 The 26th Psalm shows David presenting his integrity and offering himself to Jehovah’s searching. He had confidence that he had walked in the right way, living according to the commandments of God. Always anxious to do the right thing, David said to Jehovah: “Make me walk in your truth and teach me.” (Ps. 25:5) Feeling certain that he had walked in truth, he confidently stated: “Judge me, O Jehovah, for I myself have walked in my own integrity.” (Ps. 26:1) Reading the whole psalm, one sees David in his joyful worship of Jehovah contrasting himself with the wicked life of sinful men with whom he did not want to be classed. David did not want to be judged by men’s standards of living. He knew what sort of man he was, a lover of truth and of right things. He was honest and blameless. His one desire was to give Jehovah exclusive devotion. He knew what God’s standards were and he wanted to be judged by them. So he pleads: “Judge me according to your righteousness, O Jehovah my God, and may [opponents] not rejoice over me.” (Ps. 35:24) Such righteous judgment brought him happiness. He was content, satisfied. He had assurance that he was walking in integrity. Today is our confidence in our integrity as sure as David’s was?
3. In what ways did David show his desire was to please Jehovah?
3 When David was a young man he was chosen by Jehovah to be king. From the time of his anointing by the prophet Samuel he had special responsibilities. He took care of them, always seeking Jehovah. After many trials and hardships he was placed on the throne of Jehovah over the nation of Israel. One of his great joys was the bringing of the sacred ark of the covenant to the holy city of Jerusalem and establishing the place of worship of Jehovah there. On Mount Zion Jehovah’s altar was built and all Israel praised Jehovah there. Of this place he said: “O Jehovah, who will be a guest in your tent? Who will reside in your holy mountain? He who is walking faultlessly and practicing righteousness and speaking the truth in his heart.” (Ps. 15:1, 2) David wanted to measure up to those requirements and to be strong, not weak or unsteady. So he had to trust in God. “In Jehovah I have trusted, that I may not wobble.” (Ps. 26:1) David’s reliance and faith in Jehovah were unshakable, undisturbed, calm, and there was no wavering on his part, for he was walking as one should who ‘loved the dwelling of Jehovah’s house.’
4. What helps true Christians today to be confident in their integrity, as David was?
4 Today true Christians, followers of Christ Jesus, believe in the same God of David and they too want to worship at “the place of the residence of [Jehovah’s] glory.” (Ps. 26:8) Christians have the same Word of God that David had, only more of it. Many prophets were sent to God’s chosen people after David’s death and their statements were written down in God’s Word for our admonition and learning. In addition to that we have the life of Christ and the Acts of the Apostles and the writings of the disciples, and now these many scriptures make up the complete Bible, the whole Word of God, for all mankind to follow. Thus equipped, Christians today should and could “practice righteousness and speak truth” and have confidence in their integrity toward Jehovah as David had! Studying and understanding God’s Word and living by it should assure one that he will not wobble.
CHRISTENDOM WITHOUT CONFIDENCE
5, 6. As regards Christendom’s confidence in her integrity, what pointed questions call for an answer?
5 But someone says: “Look about Christendom and you will see hundreds of millions of wobbling, unbelieving churchgoers attending Christendom’s churches. Can these who are on the roll books of the various churches say confidently: ‘Examine me, O Jehovah, and put me to the test; refine my kidneys and my heart’? What is wrong? Where today are the men of integrity that David foreshadowed?”
6 More such questions can be asked: Can Christendom stand to be examined? Can Jehovah find faith in her? Do the leaders of Christendom have as clear a conscience as David? Are they able to come to Jehovah in prayer and ask him to examine, test and refine them? Are they confident that they are living up to the standards that Jehovah has set out in his Word, the Holy Bible? Do they believe all its teachings? Can all the hundreds of millions of Christendom today who are taught by the clergy be just as confident in their integrity toward Jehovah God as David was? The answer to every query is No! But they should have the faith of David if they have made a dedication to do the will and the service of God. Christendom and its supporters claim faithfulness. They say they believe the Bible and they call themselves Christians—Christlike. Whether they ask for it or not, they are being examined before Jehovah God.
7. How has Christendom repudiated God’s Word? In support of whom? How unlike Christ Jesus?
7 There is no backing up and running away from the judgment of Jehovah the Almighty God. Christendom has repudiated God’s Word by her own teachings. She has gone with this wicked world in its politics, because she supports them. She certainly is not for God’s kingdom, because Christendom gives full support to the United Nations organization. Christendom is not like Jesus, who told Pilate: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” (John 18:36) No, Christendom, upon examination, cannot be refined. She has no real, good, worthwhile material in her. She has compromised with this wicked old world, from which God’s kingdom could not come. Listen to what David wrote: “O Jehovah, you have searched through me and you know [me]. You have examined my heart, you have made inspection by night, you have refined me; you will discover [that] I have not schemed. My mouth will not transgress.” (Ps. 139:1; 17:3) Can Christendom say that? No!
8. What attitude should all Christians have toward those not loving and serving Jehovah?
8 Every professed Christian throughout the world should be able to say with David and Christ Jesus: “Do I not hate those who are intensely hating you, O Jehovah, and do I not feel a loathing for those revolting against you? With a complete hatred I do hate them. They have become to me real enemies. Search through me, O God, and know my heart. Examine me and know my disquieting thoughts, and see whether there is in me any way causing pain, and lead me in the way of time indefinite.” (Ps. 139:21-24) Lovers of righteousness, real Christians, want to live in a clean world with clean people. How can that be done today? By associating ourselves with men and women of integrity, the ones who are practicing righteousness and speaking the truth in their hearts.—Ps. 15:2.
9, 10. (a) What ancient examples of meeting the test and maintaining integrity do we have? (b) In modern times, do we see such integrity-keepers?
9 Tests of integrity must come. Look at how Abraham, David’s forefather, was tested. “Now after these things it came about that God put Abraham to the test.” (Gen. 22:1) He was told to offer his own son Isaac in sacrifice. Because Abraham showed integrity and obeyed, Jehovah provided a lamb in place of Isaac. On a later occasion Jehovah tested his people, Israel, when he brought them through the wilderness: “And you must remember all the way that Jehovah your God made you travel these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, to put you to the test so as to know what was in your heart, as to whether you would keep his commandments or not. . . . who fed you with manna in the wilderness, which your fathers had not known, in order to humble you and in order to put you to the test so as to do you good in your afterdays.” (Deut. 8:2, 16) Testing is necessary, but integrity and endurance are happy rewards. How many of God’s dedicated people today will endure these wicked days and maintain integrity to the end? Those who stand faithful and maintain their integrity will be saved. Forty years, as in Israel’s case, is a long time to prove one’s love for Jehovah more than anything else. Could any of us as individuals stand a test that long? Many have done so, even in this day of Jehovah’s judgment. Meeting the test of integrity means life. Hence Abraham kept his living son. The Israelites went into the land flowing with milk and honey. You may live in God’s new world.
10 Are you willing to be refined as gold in a smelter and have the dross taken off so that there remains only pure gold? Some have gone through the processing and received a final “well done, good and faithful slave.” Others are still being refined, as Malachi said they would be: “And he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and silver; and they shall offer unto Jehovah offerings in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto Jehovah, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years.” (Mal. 3:3, 4, AS) Thousands upon thousands of Jehovah’s witnesses have gone through a refining such as David mentioned and Malachi described, a real refining by scorching heat. Can you take the heat like those suffering persecution under the communistic totalitarian rule in Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and elsewhere behind the Iron Curtain? Look at Jehovah’s witnesses in the Catholic-ruled Dominican Republic who have been beaten and tortured and thrown into prison because of preaching God’s kingdom and taking their stand as Jehovah’s witnesses. Others have maintained and are still maintaining their integrity in Germany, Italy, Norway and other countries that were overrun by the crushing hordes of Nazi and Fascist lords. It is not easy to be a real Christian, no matter where one lives in this world. Enemy efforts to break our integrity can be brought to bear in many ways.
11. What serves to make our confidence in our integrity firm today?
11 Long ago David invited his Father to examine him, to test him, to refine him. Today is our confidence in our own uprightness, our own integrity, that firm? It should be if we see matters like David and we are walking in the footsteps of Christ Jesus. Then we would say: “For your loving-kindness is in front of my eyes, and I have walked in your truth.” (Ps. 26:3) When one gets to appreciate the works of Jehovah God, the purposes he has in mind, what he has done, is doing and will do for the blessing of all those who love him, then one can truly appreciate His loving-kindness. Look how loving he has been in sending his only-begotten Son, Christ Jesus, from heaven to earth to redeem mankind. But Jesus Christ did more. He vindicated Jehovah’s name by maintaining his integrity and he was made King of the new world of righteousness. You can live in that new world if you want to. How? By getting acquainted with the Bible, reading its truths carefully and living by them. That is necessary in order to get life in the kingdom of God that millions of Christendom have prayed for: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:10) Keep Jehovah’s kingdom in front of your eyes and walk in the truth and you will enjoy life in God’s new world.
12, 13. In order to remain innocent before Jehovah, with whom will we associate and whom will we shun?
12 Preach and teach the good news of the Kingdom whenever and wherever you can. Associate with those persons who are doing that. Then you will stay away from the wicked people because you are busy maintaining your integrity. All who learn the truth and take a right path, dedicating their lives to Jehovah’s service thereafter, do as David said he did: “For I have not sat with men of untruth, and with those who conceal what they are I do not come in. I have hated the congregation of evildoers, and with the wicked ones I do not sit. I shall wash my hands in innocency itself, and I will march around your altar, O Jehovah.”—Ps. 26:4-6.
13 Christians of integrity have set their course. They will not sit with men of untruth. They will not have prolonged discussions with men of this world except to preach the Kingdom. The interests of this world have not become the interests of Jehovah’s witnesses. They have a bigger and more important work to do. Those who sit in the counsel of wicked men and support their schemes always end up in ruin and misery. “Happy is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the wicked ones, and in the way of sinners has not stood and in the seat of ridiculers has not sat. But his delight is in the law of Jehovah, and in his law he reads in an undertone day and night.” (Ps. 1:1, 2) Have you likewise set your course? Which way will you walk? Let it be one of integrity.
THE HATED “CONGREGATION OF EVILDOERS”
14, 15. In what ways have many of the clergy shown they lack integrity, and what reward will be theirs at the hands of Jehovah?
14 Do you know that the leading scholars of Christendom today have removed the name of God from Bible translations? Hiding the true name of Jehovah from the people is trying to remove true worship. Many clergymen today stand in their church pulpits and deny the Genesis account of creation. They would rather teach the people evolution. Some even deny the value of Christ Jesus’ sacrifice and say it has no redeeming value. They love to have an appearance of holiness and to get the praises of men, but they do not want to march around the altar of Jehovah. Jesus described them in these words: “You are from your father the Devil and you wish to do the desires of your father. . . . he is a liar and the father of the lie.” (John 8:44) David knew men of this type and he well said: “Untruth they keep speaking one to the other; with a smooth lip they keep speaking even with a double heart. Jehovah will cut off all smooth lips, the tongue speaking great things, those who have said: ‘With our tongue we shall prevail. Our lips are with us. Who will be a master to us?’” (Ps. 12:2-4) They are proud of what they are doing, hiding the name of Jehovah. But what a recompense they will receive!
15 The majority of the clergy and their followers have taken the name of Jehovah in a worthless way or discarded it altogether. It makes one wonder what suchlike translators of the Bible thought when they came to the text at Exodus 20:7: “You must not take up the name of Jehovah your God in a worthless way, for Jehovah will not leave the one unpunished who takes up his name in a worthless way.” The clergy will not be left unpunished. With them in view the psalmist prayed: “Fill their faces with dishonor, that people may search for your name, O Jehovah.”—Ps. 83:16.
16. (a) What does friendship with the world mean? So what must Christians do? (b) To whom is Christendom likened in trying to hide her true identity?
16 For true Christians to have integrity like David they certainly cannot associate with Christendom or with this system of things and be friends of this world. James, the disciple of Jesus, said: “Adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.” (Jas. 4:4) That is one reason why it is so clearly stated: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.” (Rev. 18:4) Christendom is hypocritical and is trying to cover over what she really is, the same as did the religious leaders of Jesus’ day: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of plunder and immoderateness. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the dish, that the outside of it also may become clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you resemble whitewashed graves, which outwardly indeed appear beautiful but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of every kind of uncleanness. In that way you also, outwardly indeed, appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matt. 23:25-28) They tried to hide their true identity. The leaders of Christendom do the same today. Avoid them.
17. In being like the psalmist, what is the attitude of the true Christian?
17 Be like the psalmist in saying: “Do not draw me along with wicked people and with practicers of what is hurtful, those who are speaking peace with their companions but in whose hearts is what is bad.” (Ps. 28:3) The attitude of a true Christian must be: “I have hated the congregation of evildoers.”—Ps. 26:5.
18. Of what significance was David’s expression, “I shall wash my hands in innocency itself, and I will march around your altar, O Jehovah”?
18 King David wanted clean hands and innocency before Jehovah so that he could worship before Jehovah’s altar. In his expression: “I shall wash my hands in innocency itself, and I will march around your altar, O Jehovah,” he must have had in mind the copper basin that was set near the altar and that was used by the priests for washing their hands and feet. Concerning them God’s law said: “When they go into the tent of meeting they will wash with water that they may not die, or when they go near the altar to minister in order to make an offering made by fire smoke to Jehovah. And they must wash their hands and their feet that they may not die, and it must serve as a regulation to time indefinite for them, for him and his offspring throughout their generations.” (Ex. 30:19-21) David, however, wanted to have hands morally clean, cleansed by God’s truth.
19. How, today, do true Christians wash their hands in innocency?
19 Today anyone that comes to the place of worship, pictured by Jehovah’s altar, must be clean. He cannot be contaminated with old-world living and its sordid activity. What Jehovah’s priests did back there true Christians must do in reality now. Speaking to the Hebrew Christians about cleanness, Paul said: “Let us approach with sincere hearts in the full assurance of faith, having had our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience and our bodies washed with clean water. Let us hold fast the public declaration of our hope without wavering, for he is faithful that promised. And let us consider one another to incite to love and right works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:22-25) Christians must assemble in these last days, but must always be clean in their worship, which includes their lifelong and daily activities.
20. In what ways do Jehovah’s witnesses continue in an upright and clean course?
20 Worship by Jehovah’s witnesses is not confined to meeting together and inciting one another to love and right works just once a week. All day long and every day they must be worshipers of God, whether they be in meetings or away from their Kingdom Hall. After becoming a Christian one must keep clean, as he has already been washed clean by the blood of Christ Jesus. Christ is not going to die a second time to give one a second washing. Many who become Christians have walked with the wicked in fornication, idolatry, greed and drunkenness, but as Paul said to the Corinthian congregation: “But you have been washed clean, but you have been sanctified, but you have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:11) Like David we must wash our hands in innocency, show everyone that we are clean and separate from the Devil’s organization and devoted to true worship. We are in the world but are no part of it, and we cannot have upon us the stain of its guilt. Even Pilate did not want the responsibility of the death of Christ Jesus upon him. Before the great crowd of angry Jews Pilate laid all the guilt on the clergy of his day by taking water and washing his hands before the lovers of unrighteousness, saying: “I am innocent of the blood of this man. You must see to it.” (Matt. 27:24) But he really could not wash his hands in innocency like David.
21. Who is it that stands alone today in emulating the works of Christ Jesus, and what is their message?
21 Christendom too must take the whole load of responsibility for defiling Jehovah’s worship through their wicked and unclean lives. But as for Jehovah’s witnesses, they will wash their hands and stand alone as true Christians separate from every branch of Christendom. They must take this stand to be acceptable for true worship of Jehovah. Our separation from the false worshipers makes it possible “to cause thanksgiving to be heard aloud, and to declare all your wonderful works. Jehovah, I have loved the dwelling of your house and the place of the residence of your glory.” (Ps. 26:7, 8) With thanksgiving in their hearts Jehovah’s witnesses thrill to make known the wonderful works of Jehovah from the creation of man in the garden of Eden to the restoration of all humankind in the paradise earth. As Christ Jesus stood alone, separate from all religions, in declaring that the kingdom of the heavens is at hand, so Jehovah’s witnesses today are all alone in their announcement of God’s kingdom. They are telling the world that we are living in the last days of this wicked organization and there is about to begin a new government that will rule in righteousness. To let all persons of good will know the good news it takes a great deal of preaching in the homes of the people, and teaching too, using the householder’s own Bible. Why not study with them and ‘cause their thanksgiving to be heard aloud’?
TO ESCAPE BEING TAKEN AWAY WITH SINNERS
22. What is the fate of sinners, and how does Bible history bear this out?
22 David said: “Do not take away my soul along with sinners, nor my life along with bloodguilty men, in whose hands there is loose conduct and whose right hand is full of bribery.” (Ps. 26:9, 10) A student of the Scriptures can clearly see that Jehovah is going to destroy the wicked. He did it before in the catastrophe of Noah’s day when he destroyed all the depraved ones by the flood because of their sinfulness. He wiped out those in Sodom and Gomorrah. God condemned in judgment the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day because they were bloodguilty men. Judas was condemned to Gehenna because his right hand was full of bribery. Later Ananias was struck dead because of lying, and Jude wrote of “ungodly men, turning the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for loose conduct.” (Jude 4) Today the sacredness of life is no longer held in high esteem by most of the peoples or their rulers. While the clergy and the politicians backed up by big business cry, Peace, peace! they prepare for war on an even greater scale. Destruction of mankind is their theme of the day. To have anything to do with such a system of things is not wise, for “he that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly.” (Prov. 13:20) The end of such bloodguilty, loose-living, bribe-loving men will be destruction at the battle of Armageddon!
23. On the other hand, what is the promise to those confident in uprightness?
23 On the other hand, those confident in their uprightness are like David and true dedicated followers of Christ Jesus. They can say: “As for me, in my integrity I shall walk. O redeem me and show me favor.” (Ps. 26:11) This is like saying, Deliver me from the wicked and show me favor. Through Moses God delivered the children of Israel, or redeemed them from Egypt, leading them to the Promised Land. Jehovah gave mankind the Greater Moses, Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of all mankind, if they accept him as Jehovah’s gift for their redemption. When we see the miracles that Christ performed while on earth it makes us think of the fuller complete life men will enjoy under the Kingdom arrangements. If on earth he healed the sick, opened blind eyes, even raised the dead, surely with all power in heaven and earth he can build a perfect new world of righteousness according to his Father’s will.
24, 25. When will the miracle of deliverance take place, and to what do true servants of God look forward?
24 The great miracle of deliverance will be performed at the battle of Armageddon, when Jehovah will destroy completely the wicked system of things and at the same time keep alive men of integrity, whom he will remember for their acts of loving-kindness. God’s servants of integrity today feel just like Nehemiah, because we are living in the time of the purifying of God’s people. Nehemiah said: “Do remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not blot out my acts of loving-kindness that I have performed in connection with the house of my God and the guardianship of it.”—Neh. 13:14.
25 All the true servants of God want to continue in right worship and maintain integrity and be redeemed or delivered through the battle of Armageddon. They want to see the time come when there will be no more discord, wars, selfishness, corruption and when everyone will be praising Jehovah God and blessing him. That will be seen in completion after the battle of the great day of God the Almighty—Armageddon. By faith all true Christians look to and work for that happy day, but they start living by the standards of that day now.
26. What is the attitude of nation toward nation, and why is such an attitude one of folly?
26 All men are traveling in a rough world among nations who hate one another, all of them truly nationalistic, thinking that their individual nation is better than any other. Some even think theirs is the only one having the right to existence and are therefore anxious to destroy others. Why cannot man see that color of skin, language of tongue or stature of body does not make him any different from his neighbor? We all have one Maker, we are all brothers, descendants of Adam and Eve, and destined to worship only one God. We must find him! We can if we read about him in his Word, the Bible. Jehovah’s witnesses are sincerely trying to acquaint people with Jehovah, and if they can do so it will mean for those getting to know God a happy and new life in a new world not far distant.
27. What period of time for Jehovah’s witnesses has been reached?
27 The time is now here when integrity-keeping men and women stand upon a “level place,” an open plain, where there is no more fear of stumbling and where true worship can be carried on. So in real happiness with all of God’s people they can say as did David: “My own foot will certainly stand on a level place; among the congregated throngs I shall bless Jehovah.”—Ps. 26:12.
28. With this frame of mind, what view do Jehovah’s witnesses take of the world scene, and how will they show their confidence?
28 In this frame of mind Jehovah’s witnesses today, being scattered throughout 164 different nations, lands and islands of the sea, with more than 700,000 proclaimers of good news, stand on level ground looking forward to the final destruction of this wicked system of things and the complete establishment of God’s new world of righteousness. Until that day arrives they will stand on a level place among the congregated throngs and bless Jehovah. Whatever troubles and persecutions may come from the evildoers they will continue to say: “As for me, in my integrity I shall walk.” (Ps. 26:11) Not only will they preach as they walk from house to house, even to the ends of the earth, but, when invited into the homes of the people, there they will teach them the truth, for their desire is to gather out from all nations all the sheep who love righteousness so that they too may join in praising Jehovah God in the congregated throngs. These too must gain confidence in their uprightness. Will you be one of these praisers of Jehovah walking in your integrity during 1958?