Do All Things Jehovah’s Way
“And your own ears will hear a word behind you saying: ‘This is the way. Walk in it, you people,’ in case you people should go to the right or in case you should go to the left.”—Isa. 30:21.
1. How can we come to know God? And what questions need an answer?
ONLY by coming to know Jehovah, the Great Life-giver, do we have hope of lasting life. We must know his directions for us, what he requires of us, the way he wants us to go. That is why the psalmist David said: “Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path.” (Ps. 27:11, AV) Although for many the ways of God are obscure and perplexing, to a person who sincerely and humbly inquires for knowledge God’s way becomes a plain, clearly marked way to follow. We can inquire of Jehovah by an examination of the universe and the world we live in, and we see Jehovah to be a creative God, a God of illimitable power, a God of wisdom and knowledge. But what is his name? What is the destiny of man? Why do troubles and unhappiness continue on earth? Are these things from God? Answers to such questions concerning the way before us we can find only by turning to his revealed Word, the Bible.
2. (a) What kind of God is Jehovah? (b) What attitude should we have?
2 Through his Word Jehovah reveals himself to us as the Almighty One, the Ruler of the universe, all powerful, yet merciful, loving and kindly. Besides being a creative God, a God of action and work, he is found to be an accurate timekeeper, as revealed in divine prophecy. (Eccl. 3:17) He is not a God who hides his ways from us, one who wishes to remain hidden from men, but, rather, he desires us to know him and what he requires for us to gain everlasting life. As Peter said: “He is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9) So as we try to learn of Jehovah he will assist us and guide us to the right path when we stray to the right or to the left. Our attitude should be that of a child toward his parents, asking for understanding, and following the right guidance we receive. Just as a child tries to imitate his father and mother, so we should closely imitate the right principles of Jehovah and his wifely organization. As we do so we will find that Jehovah’s way is not only a plain way, a way made clear for us to follow, but also a way of righteousness. Thus the New World Translation shows David’s prayer at Psalm 27:11 to read: “Instruct me, O Jehovah, in your way, and lead me in the path of uprightness on account of my foes.”
3. Why are we wise to trust in Jehovah?
3 As our Creator, Jehovah knows what is in our best interests. His viewpoint is a far higher and loftier one than ours. He is in position to see the pitfalls and dangers long before we can. His wisdom is not based on the limited wisdom and experience that men can accumulate in a mere fifty years or so, but on the divine wisdom of the ages. Therefore Jehovah God rightly takes the position as our Judge, our Lawgiver and our King. As his inferiors and as being dependent on Jehovah for life, we should certainly take a keen interest in pleasing him by doing all things his way. We can do this with the confidence that Jehovah will direct us in a way that will not only bring blessings to us but also honor to his name. This should be our goal in life, that in some way we can actively serve our God and honor him. As Psalm 23 tells us, “Jehovah is my Shepherd. . . . He leads me in the tracks of righteousness for his name’s sake.” We do well to follow that lead willingly under the direction of the Great Shepherd, just as sheep follow the wise and sure guide of a shepherd. As Proverbs 3:5-7 says: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight. Do not become wise in your own eyes. Fear Jehovah and turn away from bad.”
4. How can we know what the future holds?
4 Many people feel that as long as they lead a good life, turning away from what is bad, they will be found in Jehovah’s way and that is all that is necessary. However, they may have very little Scriptural knowledge. When asked about the future and what God’s purpose is toward the earth for men of faith, they will reply, ‘Only God knows.’ It is true that God knows, but he also gives such knowledge to those who desire it. Amos 3:7 (AS) assures us: “Surely the Lord Jehovah will do nothing, except he reveal his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Jehovah has revealed his purposes to his people through the pages of his Word. One of the many passages telling of the future for the earth is found at Psalm 37:11, which says: “But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” This information is recorded for us to read and study, so we may know the purpose of Jehovah.
5. Is leading a good life enough to please God?
5 Jesus recognized that simply leading a good life was not all God required of him; otherwise he could have continued in the quiet life he led as a carpenter until he was thirty years of age. He knew that personal service to the Creator was also a part of doing things Jehovah’s way, and in this he set the pattern for us. By following this lead we gain understanding of God’s Word and the great happiness that comes from serving him. Proverbs 3:13-18 comments on this by saying: “Happy is the man that has found wisdom, and the man that gets discernment . . . Length of days is in its right hand . . . Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its roadways are peace. It is a tree of life to those taking hold of it, and those keeping fast hold of it are to be called happy.” God does not purpose that this happiness of knowing him be limited to a clergy class, but it is available for each person who seeks true wisdom and understanding by a study of the Bible. It takes an effort on our part to grasp it and make it our own, but if we do so and continue keeping fast hold of it we will be happy.
6. Did Jesus believe in many ways to serve God?
6 Jehovah has not provided many ways to serve him according to the personal caprice or whim of the individual, something that fits the individual’s own inclinations. Is God obliged to cater to men? Or are we not rightfully the servants of our Creator? We cannot blindly follow our own inclinations and hope to find the path pleasing to God. Every way we look we see another religion, a different philosophy, another theory on life. Many people complacently believe that any way of worship is all right and that all will receive the same reward. But that is not what Jesus taught. At Matthew 7:13, 14 he tells us: “Broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.” That this does not refer just to unbelievers or to heathendom is seen from his further comment: “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Master, Master,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will.” (Matt. 7:21) Jesus further commented with reference to the religious leaders of his day: “Every plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will be uprooted. Let them be. Blind guides is what they are. If, then, a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” If we wish to avoid the ditch of destruction, then we must keep our eyes open to the way Jehovah directs us to follow. This is not a way of divided religious belief or of human philosophy, but Jehovah’s way of truth and a path of uprightness.—Matt. 15:13, 14.
7. Contrast the course of Cain and Abel.
7 Down through the centuries a choice has always been set before men. To get on the pathway Jehovah marks out, Jeremiah urged us to ask for the old paths of true worship. These paths may have been followed by men centuries ago, but the things Jehovah requires of us in righteous principles and exclusive devotion have not changed. Abel proved himself to be a man of faith who did things Jehovah’s way and thus gained His approval. From the account of his worship it can be seen that just because a person is religious, it does not mean he has found the right way. Both Cain and Abel offered sacrifices, both apparently devoted to the same God, but Abel offered his sacrifice Jehovah’s way. Even when Cain saw his was not acceptable, he refused to change but went entirely contrary to Jehovah’s way by killing his brother. Instead of walking humbly with his God, Cain rebelled and became a wandering fugitive, cast off from his own family.—Heb. 11:4; Gen. 4:1-16.
8. Is education or position necessary to acceptable worship?
8 Centuries later two men were faced with the question of right worship. Both were highly educated in the wisdom of the world, but only one recognized the superior wisdom of doing things Jehovah’s way. When the question of freedom of worship was raised to Pharaoh, he rejected it, crying out, ‘Who is Jehovah, that I should let his people go?’ His heart hardened, his mind closed against Moses’ petition for time for religious devotion. Pharaoh ruled like a god over the Egyptians and his word until then was law to the Israelite slaves. Men crawled prostrate on their bellies to approach him, but not so with Moses, who came in the name of Jehovah. Here was a man who was to be the leader of millions, raised as a son of Pharaoh, with the knowledge and backing of the Egyptian world power—but with a difference. Moses recognized Jehovah. When Jehovah’s purpose and way were shown to him, he was ready to follow them. He had to give up many things: his Egyptian friends, the country of his birth, his security and “the temporary enjoyment of sin”; but Moses made the wise choice. Ten times Pharaoh had the opportunity to learn of Jehovah and ten times he hardened his heart. Finally Pharaoh rode at the head of his Egyptian warriors against the departing Israelites, only to die in the Red Sea. No monument marked the grave of this foolish Pharaoh, but only the memory that this was one who defied the Creator.
9. How did Jesus show he did things Jehovah’s way?
9 We may not be a national ruler as was Pharaoh, or have the education and background of Moses, but we too have a choice to make. The wise course is to find and follow Jehovah’s way. Even Jesus as a perfect man did not try to do things his way, but rather Jehovah’s way. He said, ‘Not my will, but yours be done.’ When Satan tried to mislead him at the time of his temptation by misapplying Scripture, Jesus showed his recognition of the written Word of God, properly applied, as his guide, saying: “Again it is written.” In this he set the example for us. He looked to his heavenly Father to instruct him and guide him in doing his perfect will. So he said: “I do nothing of my own initiative, but just as the Father taught me I speak these things.” (John 8:28) He was not influenced into following the false lead of the clergy of his day, but vigorously exposed them as blind guides. We do well to be similarly guided by the sure Word of God and thus follow Jehovah’s way to life; for Proverbs 14:12 warns: “There exists a way that is upright before a man, but the ways of death are the end of it afterward.”
10. Why is it vital to know the truth today?
10 In order to be sure of doing things Jehovah’s way today, we must carefully consider the instruction he gives. Just as ignorance of the law is no excuse for lawbreaking, so ignorance of Jehovah’s way will not give us life. Jehovah’s way has been set before the people of all nations and is reaching now to the farthest corners of the earth as Jesus foretold it would, when he said: “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness.” (Matt. 24:14) Even in so-called “darkest Africa” the truth reaches the people. A recent report from a Central African Branch of the Watch Tower Society said: “Over the past two years we have distributed sufficient copies of ‘This Good News of the Kingdom’ to supply one copy to every literate household in the country and the book ‘This Means Everlasting Life’ has gone into at least every fourth home of those speaking Cibemba, the most-spoken African language in this sector.” So even in the “bush” country of Africa the people can receive this knowledge that means everlasting life.—John 17:3.
11. (a) How is the sign of Jesus’ presence having fulfillment? (b) How does Jehovah manifest himself?
11 When telling of the great sign of our time, the distress of nations, wars, pestilence and earthquakes, Jesus told of the dividing of the people into two great classes. On the one side would be the goatlike opposers of the Creator, while on the other the meek and obedient sheeplike ones. This dividing work is now being done. All men must show themselves of one class or the other. The time for ignorance regarding God is past. It is now time to turn from the useless quarreling among races to unite in pure worship to the Creator. “And he made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth, and he decreed the appointed seasons and the set limits of the dwelling of men, for them to seek God, if they might grope for him and really find him.” Paul next points out the course to follow, assuring us that God “is not far off from each one” who sincerely seeks for him and examines his Word. But we never find his way if we keep blindly looking to an idol or statue for guidance, never looking beyond it to see the Creator as he is manifest in his glorious creation and revealed through his Word. So Paul tells us: “We ought not to imagine that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone, like something sculptured by the art and contrivance of man.” He showed the urgency of gaining knowledge of God’s way, saying: “God has overlooked the times of such ignorance, yet now he is telling mankind that they should all everywhere repent. Because he has set a day in which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness.” It can truly be said that those who remain in ignorance of Jehovah’s purposes now do so by choice, because he has made his Word available worldwide.—Acts 17:26-31.
12. What organizational arrangement has Jehovah provided? Why?
12 As Jehovah foreknew, people of all nations are earnestly searching for the truth. Not content with the broad way of destruction, the low road of debauchery, they look for the way Jehovah wants them to follow. As Daniel said, “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” While we do increase our knowledge by personally searching to and fro through the pages of the Bible, Jehovah provides help for us. In the days of the apostles an organization was built up for the instruction and oversight of the early Christian congregations. Jesus laid the foundation for this through his selection of a governing body of twelve apostles and other mature men. These men continued to oversee and direct the preaching work of that time as it expanded rapidly throughout the known world until their death. Jesus pointed out that a similar arrangement would be established in our time with the raising up of a “faithful and discreet slave” class of anointed servants to provide the spiritual food in time of need. As a result of this theocratic oversight there is one flock with unity of understanding and oneness of action regardless of previous background or training.—Dan. 12:4, AV; Matt. 24:45-47.
13. What contrast is seen between Christendom and the New World society?
13 It is this organizational arrangement backed up by the spirit of Jehovah that unites the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses and makes possible the accomplishment of the tremendous work of announcing “this good news of the kingdom” to men of all nations. Jehovah is a God of creation and production, and his people reflect these qualities as a zealous, hardworking people, to the amazement of the apathetic flocks of divided Christendom. Those of the New World society are as one people in their understanding of God’s Word; all have dedicated themselves to Jehovah and they are pleased to work shoulder to shoulder to accomplish the work that Jesus showed must be done in this time. What a contrast to Christendom, where many members in the same church may entertain different ideas on church teachings, accepting or rejecting the creed as it suits their fancy!
14. How do the sheep recognize the voice of the Right Shepherd?
14 The unity of those following Jehovah’s way of truth is sure evidence that they have found the right way. In the early congregation when personalities seemed to endanger the oneness of the brothers Paul hastened to correct them: “Now I exhort you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you should all speak in agreement, and that there should not be divisions among you, but that you may be fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.” (1 Cor. 1:10) If the early Christians all spoke in agreement and with unity of mind, we should expect to see the same condition in the flock of God today. And though the flock has been widely scattered through different religious traditions, human philosophies, and false and foolish creeds, still Jesus knew that the sheep would hear and recognize his voice as the Right Shepherd and come into the one true flock. (John 10:16, 27) Men of good will have despaired of hearing any voice of authority among the divided voices of Christendom, but when they hear the sound of the truth they recognize it and rejoice.
15. How can Christians show themselves one with Christ?
15 Since Christ does not exist divided, as Paul points out, then neither can his people exist divided and still say they are Christians. (1 Cor. 1:13) Instead, Christ showed that we should be in union with him as he is in union with the Father. He clearly marked out the way for us to follow to attain this unity of mind and heart with Jehovah. As he told Thomas: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus set the example for us to follow in serving God. It was a fruitful example, without division or disunity, rooted in love. He likened his servants to branches on a vine, as he explained: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the cultivator. Every branch in me not bearing fruit he takes away, and every one bearing fruit he cleans, that it may bear more fruit. . . . If anyone does not remain in union with me, he is cast out as a branch and is dried up.”—John 14:6; 15:1-16.
16. What kind of fruitage comes from staying with Jehovah’s organization, and how is it manifest?
16 Disunity rather than unity is found at the root of the dried branches of Christendom when we note in The World Almanac for 1959 that one prominent denomination has 27 divisions, another 21, and so on. But true Christian oneness and real fruitage can be seen among the men, women and children who make up the New World society. They have oneness of thought, understanding and appreciation of the Scriptures, being part of Jehovah’s organization. They have oneness of action, working together unitedly throughout the world in their Kingdom ministry. As a result of their sticking to the organization and producing good fruits, Jehovah’s spirit has been with them to cleanse them of blighting traditions and to strengthen them to produce more fruit. He has taught them his way and leads them in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.