God Cherishes the Lowly Ones
“Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.”—Jas. 5:11.
1. How widespread is the worship of Jehovah God, and how does this relate to James 5:11?
THIS appealing declaration, “Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful,” recommends Jehovah to us, whoever we may be. Surely we wish to be dealt with in a tenderly affectionate and merciful manner and especially by One whom we recognize and whom we worship as the Supreme God. Many persons throughout the earth definitely do worship Jehovah God and they receive much comfort and reassurance in their realization of Jehovah’s mercy and tender affection. These persons who are thus blessed are of a great variety; in fact, they are as varied as are the readers of this magazine. As you now consider this matter presented to you in your own language and made available to you in your own location, you may know for a certainty that other persons, different from yourself, living elsewhere with different customs and background, are also contemplating these words of the Bible writer James. James was a disciple of Christ Jesus and he was, therefore, a Christian and a worshiper and witness of Jehovah, the God and Father of Jesus Christ.
2. At what periods of history have Jehovah’s loving qualities been shown? To whom?
2 Throughout history, the loving qualities of Jehovah have been manifest to those who worship him, in the past as well as at the present time. In fact, in making his comment regarding Jehovah’s tenderness in affection and mercifulness, James referred to God’s prophets of ancient times. He mentioned the fact that they exercised patience and endured the suffering of evil while they were speaking in the name of Jehovah as his prophets and witnesses. James says in Jas chapter 5, verse 11: “Look! We pronounce happy those who have endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome Jehovah gave, that Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.” That is true; the outcome for Job was indeed an evidence of Jehovah’s mercy and loyal love toward his faithful servant Job, who maintained integrity to Jehovah. It is appropriate that, not only the Bible writer James, but we at this time recognize the facts of religious history and realize how Jehovah deals with men of integrity and exercises his mercy and tender affection in their behalf. These good results are seen now in those of mankind who appreciate Jehovah’s merciful dealings and who respond accordingly.
3. In what ways do people vary?
3 These difficult days in which we are living contain much that is harsh and unmerciful. Circumstances surrounding men produce all manner of personal frustrations. This is because people are of all kinds of backgrounds, of “all sorts.” This variety in the background and circumstances of people is truly extensive. Some persons have much education, others less, and some have relatively little. Some have one racial origin, others another and, of course, there are many nationalities and an even greater number of languages that people use. The social status varies from person to person as do physical and mental abilities. While all have an inheritance of imperfection and therefore are without real hope of life outside the provisions Jehovah God has made, the extent of individual transgression of God’s righteous requirements varies from person to person. There seems to be no end to the variety of backgrounds and circumstances of mankind.
4. The variety in people results in what as regards the Word of God?
4 The result is that when persons are confronted with the Word of God they respond in a variety of ways. With some persons there is no response in loving appreciation of the Creator’s provisions, because they are too proud, too self-satisfied or too arrogant. And then, on the other hand, there are persons who feel so lowly that they consider themselves unsuitable to receive of Jehovah’s tender affections and mercy. You are evidently of still a different sort—neither too self-satisfied nor too downcast to reach out and accept what Jehovah offers you as an individual. Yes, you can see that you really do have an interest in the merciful and loving qualities of Jehovah God.
WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT NOW?
5. What is here shown to be more important than a person’s background?
5 The more you learn of the Word that the merciful God has provided, the Holy Bible, the more you understand and appreciate the fact that, throughout, it teaches that you are, or you may be, included in God’s blessings. It is important to know that it is not your background, but, rather, your attitude now and your response now to what has been provided by Jehovah and by him made available to literally all sorts of persons, including the lowly ones, that counts.
6. Of what great opportunity should all persons take advantage?
6 That Jehovah does lovingly enable persons of all backgrounds to come into harmony with him through Christ Jesus is repeatedly shown. For example, 1 Timothy 2:3-6 states: “This is fine and acceptable in the sight of our Savior, God, whose will is that all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all—this is what is to be witnessed to at its own particular times.” From this, what “sorts” of men are denied an opportunity to be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth? None! So all persons should take advantage of the divine offer. No person should think so highly of himself that he does not take advantage of God’s provision, and, at the same time, no person should think so lowly of himself that he feels inadequate to receive and learn the truth and have the “corresponding ransom for all” eventually applied in his behalf so that he is saved from his inheritance of imperfection, sin and death. This too is important.
ARE YOU AWARE OF SPIRITUAL NEED?
7. What is the proper view of our spiritual needs?
7 When this one, Christ Jesus, “who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all,” ministered upon the earth prior to his death in sacrifice he declared: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.” (Matt. 5:3) Those who are conscious of their spiritual need, or who are the “poor ones as to the spirit” (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation), are here not shown to be rejected because of being poor in spirit but, rather, they are pronounced as being happy, being loved by God, cherished by him. Why? Because they are conscious of the need that they have and they accept Jehovah’s provisions to meet their spiritual need. They are not high-spirited to the point of haughtiness. Were this the case, they would be deceiving themselves into thinking that they are above Jehovah’s provisions. No, but being lowly as to the spirit and realizing that they, like others of mankind, have a need that can be filled only by Jehovah’s provisions, they take a proper view of themselves in this matter. They are not turned aside by some wrong idea they have due to their particular background. This is a very wholesome thing for us to think about, whoever we are and wherever on earth we may be living.
HOW BROAD ARE JEHOVAH’S PROVISIONS!
8. How broad are Jehovah’s provisions?
8 The Word of God and the purposes of Jehovah as set out therein are not those for only a certain race or nationality or people. The fact of the matter is that persons of all racial origins are acceptable to God and are loved by him, and he generously provides for them all. A prophetic statement to this effect is found in Revelation chapter 7: “After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. And they keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: ‘Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.”’ “They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down upon them nor any scorching heat, because the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”—Re 7 Vss. 9, 10, 16, 17.
9. To receive the assurance of Jehovah’s care as stated in Revelation 7:16, 17, what requirement must we meet?
9 Here you can again see the broad scope of Jehovah’s provisions, reaching to you no matter from what ‘nation or tribe or people or tongue’ you have come. Whatever the literal or figurative hunger or thirst you may feel from the cruel and pitiless circumstances of the world, you find in this prophetic promise an assurance of no spiritual hunger and thirst and no heat of his anger if you humbly attribute salvation to Jehovah. Do you do this, attribute salvation to God? If not, why not? Is it really sound reasoning not to? If your hungering and thirsting is for righteousness, you definitely can be provided for, as further stated by Jesus at Matthew 5:6: “Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, since they will be filled.”
A FAMILY-LIKE ARRANGEMENT
10. What appealing features are found in families?
10 The family arrangement is one of the things that varies from place to place according to the customs and procedures of different peoples. Generally speaking, in a good family there is a helpful and pleasant relationship among the various members. This is especially true in respect to a family wherein all are worshipers of Jehovah God, and all apply his requirements and guidance in their family life. Another fact regarding families in general is that they are composed of a variety of persons; there may be babies, children, grown-ups, middle-aged and very elderly persons in one family. Although each is in a variety of ways different from the others, all have their place in the family arrangement and there is no reason for any to have a feeling of inferiority in the sight of God or man.
11. (a) What arrangement is family-like, and in what ways? (b) Within the Christian “family,” what improvement is possible?
11 Those of the “great crowd” of the seventh chapter of Revelation are brought into an arrangement that is similar to that of a family. Is there any reason for those in this Christian family-like arrangement to have a feeling of inferiority because of old age, handicaps, lack of education, timidity or lack of ability in comparison to others in the family? No, there is no reason to feel inferior, although a person may endeavor to overcome his or her limitations. So it is, that if your background has resulted in your now having handicaps, whatever they may be, you should remember that if you are now faithful to Jehovah God you will be able to make changes and be of a ‘sort’ that is suitable to your Christian profession. One way in which the Scriptures express this change is found in Ephesians 4:23, 24: “You should be made new in the force actuating your mind, and should put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.” (See also Romans 12:2.) Is that not encouraging and also appealing to a person who wants to improve his ‘sort’?
GENUINENESS OF EFFORT
12. What effort on our part is necessary?
12 The sincerity of a person in having a good desire is shown, in part, by the effort that he makes, applying his mind and heart and making endeavors to accomplish this goal. Although it is an effort on his own part, it is not made in his own strength, not in disregard of the provision that Jehovah through Christ Jesus makes to supply the spiritual need of which he is conscious. Notice how this is stated in 1 Timothy 4:10: “For to this end we are working hard and exerting ourselves, because we have rested our hope on a living God, who is a Savior of all sorts of men, especially of faithful ones.” So “all sorts of men” need to work hard and exert themselves. And with Jehovah’s blessing you can do so successfully. Now, is not that encouraging?
13. (a) Concerning yourself, what may you advantageously consider? (b) As to God’s spirit, what facts are helpful here?
13 Have you ever considered the fact that as a distinct individual you have qualities that no one else has? You really have. There are things you can do in such a way and to such an extent that no one else can exactly duplicate them. So you do not need to be overwhelmed by what someone else does or can do. Instead, each one will do well to consider his own qualities, and to use these to Jehovah’s praise in his worship. Each has natural gifts and these can be developed for better use. Also, there are gifts that Christians receive through the operation of the spirit of Jehovah God, but even in this respect not everyone has the same gift. Rather, as 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 states: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but there is the same spirit; and there are varieties of ministries, and yet there is the same Lord; and there are varieties of operations, and yet it is the same God who performs all the operations in all persons.” A lowly person can develop his natural gifts and even acquire some new ones and can also receive the assistance and blessings of Jehovah’s holy spirit upon his heart and mind and endeavors, all in his personal, joyful worship and service of the “same God who performs all the operations in all persons.”
14. In viewing the qualities of other persons, what balanced view should one have?
14 One’s observation of others can sometimes be a real help and assistance. One may look around and see other persons with ability. Of course, in doing so one might feel inferior but one should not. On the contrary, one can learn by observing the good qualities of another, and to the extent that one can one might imitate these qualities and might even request and accept help from the person who is qualified in some manner. However, one certainly should not try to be that other person, but one should just be oneself, and be whatever part of the Christian organizational body one is assigned by God.
15. Explain the appropriate illustration of the human body, as found at 1 Corinthians, chapter 12.
15 In fact, using the human body as an example of the organization of the congregation of Christians, the Bible shows that the parts of the body that seem to be lowly are still very much needed, thereby providing an illustration of those who may seem lowly in the Christian congregation. “If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now they are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand: ‘I have no need of you’; or, again, the head cannot say to the feet: ‘I have no need of you.’ But much rather is it the case that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary, and the parts of the body which we think to be less honorable, these we surround with more abundant honor, and so our unseemly parts have the more abundant comeliness, whereas our comely parts do not need anything. Nevertheless, God compounded the body, giving honor more abundant to the part which had a lack, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the other members suffer with it; or if a member is glorified, all the other members rejoice with it.”—1 Cor. 12:19-26.
RESPOND IN FAITH
16. What consideration of faith is necessary?
16 Having established in his mind the fact that God cherishes the lowly ones, and being convinced in his heart that he can be included in Jehovah’s loving provisions, the humble or modest person can, with profit, recognize that he, as well as others, must have faith. So let the one who feels he is conscious of his spiritual need ask himself: Do I really have faith in Jehovah God and in his Son? Do I believe God’s promise to help me? Jesus’ comments on this indicate that such belief would be evidenced by constancy in asking for Jehovah’s spirit, as he stated: “Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you. For everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking it will be opened. Therefore, if you, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so will your Father who is in the heavens give good things to those asking him?”—Matt. 7:7, 8, 11.
17. As to God’s spirit, what variety of operation is to be appreciated?
17 Another question: Do you appreciate that God’s spirit performs different operations, producing various abilities that members of the congregation have, and in this way supplying all the congregation’s needs? Such is the case, because 1 Corinthians 12:11 informs us that “all these operations the one and the same spirit performs, making a distribution to each one respectively just as it wills.” Could this possibly mean that the lowly one relies on his own ability? Not at all. “If anyone speaks, let him speak as it were the sacred pronouncements of God; if anyone ministers, let him minister as dependent on the strength that God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. The glory and the might are his forever and ever. Amen.”—1 Pet. 4:11.
18. How can one benefit from the strength God gives? Give examples.
18 For the good result of the strength that God supplies to be realized, it is necessary that one be ready to take instructions and training and in this way one can be even more usable to God than the one who feels he needs no instruction, training or counsel. A practical example of this in our day is found in those ministers who voluntarily serve at the headquarters and branch establishments of the Watch Tower Society, organized for assisting the evangelistic work of Jehovah’s witnesses in various parts of the world. The headquarters and branches are staffed by ministers who, in each case, comprise a Bethel family. Such ministers at first may be absolutely inexperienced in the very important work they are asked to do. This work includes handling a multitude of details necessary in producing the Bible and the printed sermons and Bible study helps distributed by Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the field. Many such volunteers for Bethel service at first feel that they may never be able to perform their assigned tasks. However, they are humble and teachable, they get good training from the start, they learn basic things, and they learn to do things in the proper way. As a result, they enjoy real success and have a constant realization of accomplishment in a vital part of the work of Jehovah’s theocratic organization.
19. How can a lowly one make progress in the congregation?
19 Similarly in the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses: new or timid ones should accept the help that is available, and try sincerely to cooperate with the congregation organization. In doing so they will learn the best and basic ways to do the witness work, and will actually participate therein themselves. What fine progress the lowly ones thus make!
[Picture on page 108]
Lowly ones out of all nations are brought into God’s family-like arrangement, where they experience God’s favor; world wide they find refreshment as they share with others the good news of God’s kingdom