Loyalty with a Unified Heart
“O do guard my soul, for I am loyal . . . Instruct me, O Jehovah, about your way. I shall walk in your truth. Unify my heart to fear your name.”—Ps. 86:2, 11.
1, 2. (a) What is looked for in a leader, and what nations are looked to for political leadership today? (b) What other leadership is called for, and so what question arises?
IN THIS world of uncertainty, change and perplexity peoples, yes, nations, are looking for leadership. They want to line up behind a reliable, unwavering leader with a well-defined policy that promises good results. The leader must show prestige through success, through achievement, through rank, through courage of conviction, through maturity of judgment. He must be someone inspiring loyalty in his followers, because he, in turn, is loyal to his followers and to fixed purposes and rules of action.
2 So, in this world divided by “cold war,” some spokesmen of the nations call upon the United States of America to take the leadership in world affairs, especially in behalf of the democratic nations of the West. Because of America’s bigness, wealth and power they feel that she should assume the leadership for which destiny seems to have fashioned her. Other nations, those of the Communist bloc, look to Moscow of Red Russia for leadership and publicly avow their loyalty to her. Loyalty is being demanded even though there is no persuasion of the heart. Added to the cry and insistence on political leadership, there is the call for religious leadership. All this complicates the question of loyalties in these days. To whom should we give our loyalty with a unified heart?
3. (a) What struggle is now on between political and religious powers, and in what is loss of confidence growing? (b) What message, however, rings true, and why?
3 As never before true, this is the day of propaganda. By all the means of reaching the people through the eyes and ears, the struggle is on between the political powers and the religious powers to capture the minds and the loyalties of the people. Confusion and division have resulted. Loss of confidence in what is seen and heard keeps growing because so much of it proves to be “lying propaganda.” A large measure of it is part of the “cold war” now raging. But through all the clash and din of the propaganda battle there is heard one message that has the ring of truth. It has the backing of unimpeachable authority and does not leave one disillusioned. It is the message of the good news of God’s kingdom. It is a message that does not deceive or lead us into slavery to men and men’s systems, for it comes from “God, who cannot lie.” (Titus 1:2) “It is impossible for God to lie.”—Heb. 6:18.
4, 5. (a) How do we know that it is through no mere accident or human invention or scheme that this Kingdom message now sounds forth? (b) In answer to what question, and as proof of what fact, was this foretold?
4 Through no mere accident, through no mere human invention and scheme, this message of God’s kingdom has sounded forth to all the world since A.D. 1914. It was long ago foretold, and today it sounds forth in fulfillment of prophecy. Nineteen centuries ago the greatest preacher of God’s kingdom ever on earth foretold it as a mark of our times. Telling in advance the history of our generation, this Kingdom preacher, Jesus Christ, described the first world war, which marked the year 1914 as the turning point in human history, together with the food shortages, pestilences, earthquakes, disloyalty, lawlessness, religious persecution, and international perplexity and fear of the future that have characterized our epoch since 1914.
5 But Jesus Christ did not leave the forecast of the future all dark. He also said: “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:3-14) All such things he foretold in answering the question as to how we were to know when he would be present in the throne of God’s heavenly kingdom and when the final chapter, the conclusion, of this old earthly system of things would be written. In the final chapter of old-world history since 1914 there has been written the fulfillment of this heart-cheering feature of Jesus’ prophecy, namely, the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom world-wide. But by whom?
6, 7. (a) By what class of people would it reasonably be expected that the Kingdom’s good news would be preached? (b) Whom does modern history show to be the ones doing the predicted preaching?
6 Of course, not by enemies of God’s kingdom, although the enemies do by their published attacks upon it and its preachers simply advertise the Kingdom all the more. The preaching has been done by the same class of people that preached God’s kingdom in the days of Jesus and his twelve apostles, by dedicated, baptized footstep followers of his. In any political campaign, say, in America, who is it that preaches the Democratic party and its platform and campaign promises? Why, the Democrats, of course! Who is it that preaches the Republican party and its policies and promises? Why, the Republicans, of course! Who is it that preaches the Socialist party and its political purposes and candidates? Why, the Socialists, of course! Who, then, would be the ones that, in harmony with Jesus’ prophecy, would preach “this good news of the kingdom in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations”? Why, the followers of Jesus Christ, of course! These are entirely in favor of God’s kingdom and are loyal supporters of it. These are doing as Jesus said to his disciples in his sermon on the mount: “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness.”—Matt. 5:1, 2; 6:32, 33.
7 Does this mean that all those 869 millions today who claim to be Catholic and Protestant Christians are the ones fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy of preaching the good news of God’s kingdom during the conclusion of this system of things? Not at all. The history of our day proves that since 1914 it has been done and is still being done by those dedicated, baptized Christians known as Jehovah’s witnesses.—See The Americana Annual 1961, page 396, column 2.
8, 9. (a) What questions about witnessing for the Kingdom must we now answer? (b) What people will not enter into the Kingdom’s blessings, and why, then, are Jehovah’s witnesses the ones used to preach the good news?
8 This Kingdom preaching had to be done in our day, because God foretold it by Jesus Christ, and God cannot lie and has not proved to be a liar. Since the Kingdom preaching for a witness is going on now in fulfillment of inspired prophecy, we must each one face and answer a big question. It is: Will we be merely those preached to for a witness and doing nothing favorable about it, or will we be among those doing the preaching and witnessing and thus showing that we loyally advocate that kingdom as the only hope and remedy of all mankind? If we profess to be Christians, then what about our hearts? Are our hearts divided because we are actively engaged in the politics of this world, thinking that the “kingdom of God” is merely a heart condition now and that a Christian will only get active about God’s kingdom when he dies and goes to heaven?
9 People whose loyalties are divided will never enter into the blessings of God’s kingdom. In the last book of the Bible, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, says: “Because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:16) Not people merely witnessed to, but people who do the preaching and witnessing—these are the ones who will be kept alive through the end of this system of things and enter into the Kingdom blessings after the “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” (Matt. 24:21, 22) This is why the Christian witnesses of Jehovah are the ones whom God is using to fulfill the prophecy by preaching the good news of the Kingdom.
THE UNIFYING OF THE HEART
10. (a) Is it reasonable that Kingdom preachers should be persecuted? (b) Why do the nominal Christians merely let themselves be witnessed to?
10 Even in political battles, men who advocate one form of government as against another have their opponents and are spoken against. Is it reasonable, then, that those who preach and advocate God’s kingdom as the rightful rulership and as the only hope of mankind should be opposed, maligned, even persecuted? Yes, according to Jesus’ own prophecy on the “conclusion of the system of things.” To his listening disciples Jesus said immediately after foretelling the world war: “Then people will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name.” (Matt. 24:9) By how many nations? “By all the nations,” said Jesus, thereby making it certain that all the political nations would be against God’s kingdom and would hate its preachers. This is the reason why most of the people, even Catholic and Protestant Christians, let themselves be merely witnessed to rather than do the witnessing themselves.
11. What quality does Kingdom preaching call for, and so for what does a true Christian pray?
11 The preaching of the good news of the Kingdom calls for heart loyalty to God’s kingdom. But what true Christian wants to be disloyal to God’s kingdom for which Jesus Christ died? A true Christian yearns to be loyal to that glorious kingdom for which he has prayed in the Lord’s Prayer, even though it means being persecuted and hated by all nations. He prays to be loyal to God’s kingdom, just as David did, who was anointed to sit “upon Jehovah’s throne” over the nation of Israel.—1 Chron. 29:23.
12. (a) What quality did David show toward God, and what did he expect God to show, in return? (b) When and why, can we expect God to be loyal to us?
12 In the eighty-sixth Psalm, in which he tells of being persecuted, David says: “Incline, O Jehovah, your ear. Answer me, for I am afflicted and poor. O do guard my soul, for I am loyal. Save your servant—you are my God—that is trusting in you.” (Ps. 86:1, 2, 14, 17) David had loyal love to Jehovah God, in whose kingdom he had been anointed to serve as the chief executive. In harmony with his own loyalty, he trusted in Jehovah God. He expected God to be loyal to him and to those who suffered with him for the kingdom. In Psalm 18:25 David said to God: “With someone loyal you will act in loyalty.” (2 Sam. 22:1, 2, 26) So, if we are dedicated to the interests of God’s kingdom and are seeking it first, then we too, like David, will strive to be loyal to God, whose kingdom it is. In that case we can be sure of God’s loyalty to us. How wonderful it is to think that God is loyal to us! Yet, despite its wonderfulness, we read: “‘I am loyal,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.” (Jer. 3:12) It is right for us to be loyal to God, who is loyal to us.
13. From what organ does loyalty proceed, and so what must we do as regards loyalty?
13 Loyalty is from the heart. We cannot be loyal if our hearts are divided in their affections, their love, their attachment. We cannot be loyal if we fear anyone who opposes the object of our love and devotion and who persecutes us for this reason. Our persecutors and opposers act as servants of Satan the Devil, and their purpose is to break our loyalty to God and his kingdom. If we want to seek first his kingdom and to preach it as Jesus Christ did, it becomes necessary for us to cultivate loyalty and always to nurture it, feed it, and to put away the fear of the enemy. David indicated for us how to do this when he said, in Psalm 86:10, 11: “You are God, you alone. Instruct me, O Jehovah, about your way. I shall walk in your truth. Unify my heart to fear your name.”
14. (a) What does the expression “Unify my heart” suggest as to the heart condition? (b) Why did King Saul prove disloyal?
14 What a singular expression, “Unify my heart”! That suggests that the heart is not in a condition of oneness, that it is divided in itself with regard to its affections and its fears. It seems to confess that there is some fear of man in the heart, which takes away something from the complete fear of God. “Trembling at men is what lays a snare,” says Proverbs 29:25; and such a snare means being captured for our death at the hands of those who want to devour or destroy us. David’s persecutor, King Saul, was one who feared men; and because of such fear he forgot his fear of God and overstepped God’s orders and commands. King Saul said to God’s prophet Samuel: “I have sinned; for I have overstepped the order of Jehovah and your words, because I feared the people and so obeyed their voice.” (1 Sam. 15:24) Such fear led to disloyalty to Jehovah God.
15. When sending out his apostles to preach, what instruction in this regard did Jesus give them, and why?
15 David did not want to yield to such fear. When Jesus Christ, the Son of David, sent out his twelve apostles as missionaries to preach, saying: “The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near,” he warned them against such fear of men. It would keep them from boldly preaching the Kingdom. Jesus said: “Do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” (Matt. 10:5-7, 27, 28) To this One it was therefore correct for David to pray: “O do guard my soul, for I am loyal.”
16, 17. (a) What did Jehovah have to do to unify David’s heart to fear His name? (b) On having His name brought to the attention of Jehovah’s witnesses, why does fear envelop their whole heart, and to what does this lead?
16 David’s inspired psalm was preserved for our benefit today. What, then, are we to understand by David’s prayer to Jehovah: “Unify my heart to fear your name”? What did Jehovah God have to do to answer that prayer? It meant for God to remove all other fear that would divide David’s heart and obstruct his fear of Almighty God, who can destroy both soul and body in the Gehenna of annihilation. It meant to make David’s heart all one in fearing the name of Jehovah. Men of this world may have impressive names or reputations, and the bare mention of their names might strike terror to the heart of anyone who did not know a higher fear. Today men do not tremble at the mention of God. But threateningly mention to them the name of some gangster boss, or some dictator, some witch doctor, and they grow sober; they tremble; they fear for life and body.
17 But not so for David three thousand years ago! Not so for Jehovah’s witnesses today. Let the name of Jehovah God be brought to their mind, let his name be mentioned to them, and they think of all his glory with which he has crowned that name. They call to mind all his marvelous deeds and exploits in the past and all the prophecies that he is causing to come true in these twentieth-century days. The bare mention of his name calls to their minds all the punishments and destructions that he executed in judgment upon his enemies and upon those unfaithful to him. Yes, how he destroyed a whole world of people in Noah’s time. (2 Pet. 2:5; 3:6) Then their fear of Jehovah dominates over all other possible fears. The fear of his name envelops their whole heart as one and directs the unified heart in the way of loyalty to the fear-inspiring God.
18. Why is this no cowardly fear?
18 This is no craven fear, no cowardly fear. Says Psalm 19:9: “The fear of Jehovah is pure, standing forever.” It keeps one from being a coward before men and leads to purity of life. It takes away all indecision as to whether to obey God as ruler rather than men. With a heart unified in its fear of God one is no longer an “indecisive man [literally, a two-souled man], unsteady in all his ways.” (Jas. 1:8, margin, NW, 1950 edition) So it is the course of wisdom for us to be wholehearted in our fear of the Most High God.
19. What does David show to be necessary for God to do to unify the heart?
19 A person dedicated to Jehovah God prays for this unification of the heart; but how does God answer the prayer? What does the Christian thus praying do in harmony with that prayer, to work together with God’s operation? Right before this prayer, David tells us of God’s part in the matter and then of his own part, saying: “For you are great and are doing wondrous things; you are God, you alone. Instruct me, O Jehovah, about your way. I shall walk in your truth.” (Ps. 86:10, 11) It was necessary for Jehovah to give instruction about his way; it was also necessary for David to walk in Jehovah’s way and truth. The same thing is necessary today.
20. Praying to God to instruct us means also what on our part?
20 If we pray, as David did, for Jehovah to instruct us, then it means that we are willing to be instructed, ready to be instructed, seeking to be instructed, all about his way. This has been the prayer of Jehovah’s witnesses like David over the many centuries.
21. In answer to our prayer, what has Jehovah provided in vaster quantity than what David had?
21 In answer to that prayer Jehovah has provided a vast amount of instruction, vaster than what David had in his day. David had only the first eight books of the Bible, with possibly the book of Job, if written by Moses. Today we have the complete Bible, of sixty-six inspired books. What a wealth of instruction it contains, instruction that never goes out of date so that a new religious textbook has to be written for the Christian congregation in this space age!
22. (a) What concerning God’s prophecies reveals his way to us? (b) So, for instruction about his way, what must we first do?
22 Besides the many prophecies that the Bible itself records as being fulfilled, what an array of its prophecies have been fulfilled since the Bible was completed nineteen hundred years ago! These fulfillments also are for our instruction today, and reveal to us God’s way about which we pray to be instructed. Our way to co-operate with God for the answer to our prayer is therefore clear. If we pray to him to instruct us about his way, we must first of all go to his Book, his written Word, which tells us more about his ways than any other book in existence, even the so-called Book of Nature. God does not set his own Book aside and instruct us directly. We must do even as his own Son on earth did, study God’s written Word. Jesus said: “Here I have come, in the roll of the book it being written about me. To do your will, O my God, I have delighted, and your law is within my inward parts.”—Ps. 40:7, 8; Heb. 10:5-9.
23. What does a search through the Bible do for us respecting God?
23 For us to receive instruction about his ways there is no other course for us than to undertake a study of his precious written Word. We must search through its pages for information. That is no dull, boring religious drudgery, but is as exciting and rewarding as a hunt for hid treasure. “The wise are the ones that treasure up knowledge.” (Prov. 10:14) It acquaints us with God and his ways. It builds up our confidence in him and our respect for him. It induces in us a pure, wholesome fear of him. That this is the effect of the true knowledge of him is nicely stated in Proverbs 22:17, 19: “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise ones, that you may apply your very heart to my knowledge. For your confidence to come to be in Jehovah himself I have given you knowledge today, even you.”
24. What fact did Jesus make certain for us in John 17:3?
24 Our eternal life depends upon our intimate knowledge of God, a fact that Jesus Christ made certain by saying: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) The solemn fact that the final decision concerning our everlasting life or our everlasting destruction rests with Jehovah God should be enough to unify our hearts to fear his name.
25, 26. (a) What must be done in addition to making a personal Bible study, and why? (b) What is the kind of people that Jehovah wants in his new world, and so through whom will we seek instruction?
25 However, our being instructed about Jehovah’s way is not all done by making a personal private study of his written Word. The “wondrous things” that he has done in Bible history and the way that he has followed in fulfilling Bible prophecy since the Bible was finished have always been in connection with his people, with his witnesses. To get the full instruction, to get the firsthand instruction, we simply have to get into association with his people, his witnesses. Those who want their hearts given over in completeness to the fear of Jehovah do not study and stand off independently of one another. They get together. “At that time,” says Malachi 3:16, “those in fear of Jehovah spoke with one another, each one with his companion, and Jehovah kept paying attention and listening. And a book of remembrance began to be written up before him for those in fear of Jehovah and for those thinking upon his name.”
26 If they are thinking about his name, they will be speaking about it to one another and will thus be enlarging each one’s appreciation of that name. This is the kind of people Jehovah wants in his new world. Hence this is the kind of people that he promises to preserve alive through the “great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah,” which is getting closer all the time. So in harmony with his way marked out in the Bible, his organized people, the fearers of his name, are the ones through whom he gives further instruction that throws light upon his written Word and that helps to make the Bible more understandable in many respects. Hence if our prayer for Jehovah to instruct us about his way is sincere, we will be willing to get instruction through his organized people. We will be eager for it.
27. How does one put to use the instruction received and walk in God’s truth?
27 David does not end the matter with praying for instruction. He immediately adds: “I shall walk in your truth.” In this manner one puts to use the instruction received; one follows it. In this way one walks in God’s truth. One lives the truth. One brings one’s life into harmony with that truth about God and his kingdom. One abandons the lies, traditions, ceremonies, practices and holy days that were received from the false religions of this world. One preaches the truth and bears witness to it by word and action, as Jesus did, this being the purpose for which Jesus was born as a human creature.
28. How does the truth free us, and how does walking in the truth affect our hearts?
28 Through the truth one loses his enslaving superstitions and his fears of the false gods and demons. The fear of the one “living and true God” comes to control and shape one’s life. It is thus through accepting instruction from Jehovah about his way and then walking in his truth that Jehovah answers our prayer to unify our hearts to fear his name. What a relief, what a freedom, such a unified heart brings into our lives!
29. What condition of men marks this as the “time of the end,” and how do ambitious men take selfish advantage of this and bring a test of loyalty?
29 This is a day of international fears to an extent unknown before. It is a fear that marks this as the world’s “time of the end,” or “the conclusion of the system of things.” The state of affairs is as Jesus foretold: “Men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” (Luke 21:25, 26) Such fear and frightful expectation makes the uninstructed people take cover or refuge in human organizations that offer promise of protection, security and preservation. They look about for a competent leadership. So it is not strange that there are men and organizations who take advantage of the desires and fears of the people and who assume the leadership and then demand the loyalty of the people. All this sharpens the question as to whom or to what to give our loyalty without making the mistake of giving our loyalty to the wrong one and suffering for it without remedy.
30, 31. (a) Who do not share the world’s fears, and what do they do? (b) Of what outcome does our being loyal assure us, and so what present reward does God give the loyal ones?
30 We, that is, those who have their hearts unified to fear the name of Jehovah, do not share the fears and terrible expectations of the peoples and nations of this old world. Rather than share their fears, we do as Jesus told us to do at this particular time: “As these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.” (Luke 21:28) Not to some human organization or political dictator, but to Almighty God we say, in the psalmist David’s words: “O do guard my soul, for I am loyal.” (Ps. 86:2) By being loyal to Jehovah God and his kingdom we cannot go wrong and suffer for it beyond repair. We trust in his making good his promise to direct our steps in the right way. Of him it is written: “The feet of his loyal ones he guards; as for the wicked ones, they are silenced in darkness, for not by power does a man prove superior.”—1 Sam. 2:9.
31 What a steadying force to our hearts and nerves that promise is! This promise also: “For those walking in integrity he is a shield, by observing the paths of judgment, and he will guard the very way of his loyal ones.” (Prov. 2:7, 8) What a present reward this is for our being loyal to Jehovah God with a heart unified in the fear of his name! He rewards us even now because he desires us to enjoy a lasting reward in his new world, which will be inherited and inhabited by all those who are forever loyal to him.