Answering the Challenge to True Worship
What nationalistic elements in particular challenge the true worship of Jehovah’s servants, and what answer do these servants of God give?
The true worship of Jehovah’s people is challenged in particular by totalitarian nationalistic forces, such as those behind the Iron Curtain and the Bamboo Curtain. The answer that Jehovah’s people give to this challenge is the same as that given by the apostles to human rulers in the first century: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” They will not compromise but will give to Jehovah that which is due him, namely, their exclusive devotion and supreme obedience.—Acts 5:29.*
What actions did king Hezekiah and his people take in the face of the Assyrian threats, having what meaning in modern times?
As a delaying tactic King Hezekiah at first paid some tribute. (2 Ki. 18:13-16) In like manner Jehovah’s people today, when threatened by nationalistic forces, move cautiously in preserving their God-given right to true worship. Under such conditions they do their public witnessing in inconspicuous ways and make return visits on interested persons and conduct Bible studies with them.—Matt. 10:16.
To thwart the enemy invader, King Hezekiah and his people stopped up the springs outside Jerusalem and built a tunnel that brought water underground into Jerusalem. (2 Chron. 32:1-4; 2 Ki. 20:20) Likewise the “faithful and discreet slave” has protected the flow of spiritual waters of truth. By means of worldwide publishing activity, whether aboveground or underground, it has made this spiritual provision available to God’s people despite bitter opposition.
Further, King Hezekiah went into the temple to pray and consulted the prophet Isaiah. (2 Ki. 19:1, 2) Similarly today, God’s people find strength and comfort in times of stress in association with fellow worshipers at Jehovah’s spiritual temple. (Heb. 10:23-25) They also inquire of the “faithful and discreet slave” organization as to the right course to take.—Matt. 24:45-47.
What threefold defeat did king Sennacherib experience, picturing what?
True to God’s promise, the Assyrian army did not invade Jerusalem, nor shoot an arrow into it, nor confront it with a shield nor cast up a siege rampart against it. (2 Ki. 19:32-34) Their failure to do any of these things well pictures that totalitarian forces have been unable to break into and contaminate the true worship of Jehovah God. Jehovah’s people have manifested invincible faith, standing individually and collectively impregnable against the enemy.—Isa. 54:17.
And not only did Sennacherib and his army apparently never get closer to Jerusalem than Libnah, but Jehovah by his angel in one night slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers, breaking the back of Sennacherib’s armed might. (2 Ki. 19:35) This foreshadows that Jesus Christ and his heavenly hosts will deliver all those engaging in true worship by destroying their nationalistic opposers at the battle of Armageddon.—Rev. 16:14, 16.
King Sennacherib might be said to have experienced a third defeat in that he was slain by two of his sons as he was worshiping his god Nisroch. (2 Ki. 19:37) Satan, “the father of the lie,” will likewise find that his self-made religion is no protection. For Christ will bind him and hurl him down into the abyss, shutting and sealing it over him.—John 8:44; Rev. 20:2, 3.
What grand privilege is now to be enjoyed by Jehovah’s worshipers, and on what should they set their hearts?
That of telling others about the triumphs of Jehovah in times past and those yet to take place on behalf of the “great crowd.” Such may hope to survive Armageddon to enjoy endless life in an earth-wide sanctuary of praise. All who would gain everlasting life as part of either the “new heavens” or the “new earth” should set their hearts on the true worship of Jehovah, the one true God. They must sanctify his name in their hearts and lives and share in its vindication. This they do by making known Jehovah’s name and kingdom in every possible way and at every opportunity.—2 Pet. 3:13; Ps. 48:12-14.
For details see The Watchtower, March 15, 1968.