Finding Delight in Jehovah’s Ways
1. What benefit does Jehovah’s spiritual light provide with respect to the bad practices of this world?
LIGHT makes a person cheerful. We are delighted, after a dark night, to see the dawn. In a spiritual sense, those who follow Jehovah’s ways are enjoying light and reflect it to others. (Eph. 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:5) This kind of light, which reveals the unfruitful works of darkness, makes these bad things, hidden as stumbling blocks in the darkness of this world, appear as clearly as if they themselves lighted up, so that the person seeking to do what is right can avoid them.—Eph. 5:13.
2. (a) What effect does light have upon wicked ones? (b) Explain the meaning of Job 38:14.
2 The light exposes the wicked persons of the earth, so that they are shaken from the earth’s surface. (Job 38:12, 13) On the other hand, it reveals delightful things to those who do not count on darkness for the doing of secret works! Jehovah says of the earth as the dawn progressively moves across its face from east to west: “It transforms itself like clay under a seal, and things take their station as in clothing.” (Job 38:14) Just as a seal was anciently rolled across the clay, leaving its clear imprint, so the light of morning reveals the things on earth, these suddenly taking form in all their variegated colors and hues, just as a beautiful garment. In the same manner Jehovah’s spiritual light reveals the outcome of his purposes in all their beauty. At first the things he promises are seen only in dim outline. Then, as time progresses, we can see things taking shape.
3. What was the situation in the congregations some years ago in relation to the fulfillment of prophecies promising outstanding increase in the number of true worshipers?
3 Those who have served as Kingdom proclaimers for many years remember that a relatively few years ago fulfillment of the Bible’s promises of increase in the number of true worshipers was experienced only in a limited way. It was a source of wonderment just how prophecies such as Isaiah 2:2-4; 56:6, 7; Haggai 2:7 and Zechariah 8:23 would be completely fulfilled. In most congregations it took many hours of work to find an interested person, and many more hours of study, sometimes over a period of years, before that person began, slowly, to take a stand for the truth.
4, 5. Beginning with 1935, what developments in fulfillment of these prophecies have taken place?
4 Then, by the year 1935, the way was thrown open for a “great multitude” of Paradise-minded persons to join the anointed spiritual “brothers” of Christ in proclaiming the good news as dedicated, baptized disciples of Christ. A search of the Scriptures revealed them to be the “great crowd” spoken of in Revelation, who have the hope of surviving the destruction of this system of things and of living everlastingly on earth. (Rev. 7:9-17) But three years later, in 1938, there were, reportedly, on an average, only 47,143 persons preaching the good news world wide. Nevertheless, in the 1944 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, strong faith was expressed, in the following statement:
“The Scriptures indicate that a great host is yet to come out from the peoples of all nations, kindreds and tongues, even as the prophet Isaiah 60:8, in the 60th chapter and 8th verse, stated: ‘Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?’ This prophecy denotes that there will be a great ingathering of active witnesses for the Kingdom who will, for a short time before Armageddon, but sufficiently long to prove their integrity, come into the Lord’s organization and work there in the interests of the Kingdom; and a witness will be given far and wide, by the Lord’s grace, such as never has been given heretofore.”
5 Today we can see this fulfilled in much more detail. In the 208 lands where the good news is being preached, the numbers getting baptized as real disciples of God’s Son are amazing. Over two million persons have been baptized since 1948. Each year brings the fulfillment of God’s promises into fuller reality and color, just as the morning light progressively shows the details and colors of the things that it illuminates.
THE POWER OF THE TRUTH
6. Who has brought these promises to fulfillment, and how do we feel about him?
6 How marvelously Jehovah has brought his promises to fulfillment, and we are not yet to the end. Who can fail to take delight in Jehovah, in that his patience has resulted in salvation to so many people?—2 Pet. 3:15.
7. Even though our personal efforts in publicizing the good news may seem to have had meager results, what encouragement does Ecclesiastes 11:6 give us?
7 Have you been able to spend only a little time in the work of sharing the good news from God’s Word with others? Or has the work you have done met with indifference, seeming to have meager results? Even so, you have reason to rejoice. Why? Jehovah’s prophet said: “In the morning sow your seed and until the evening do not let your hand rest; for you are not knowing where this will have success, either here or there, or whether both of them will alike be good.” (Eccl. 11:6) Your own work may have had greater success than you thought.
8. (a) How has Ecclesiastes 11:6 worked out in the spiritual sowing work of Jehovah’s witnesses? (b) What evidence does this give about the truth that God has placed in our hands?
8 The foundation has often been laid in the house-to-house ‘sowing’ of the word of the Kingdom, both among those who responded and among those who did not. By this activity and also by informal witnessing, by Jehovah’s witnesses talking wherever they were, whether they met interest, indifference or even opposition—others have been prompted to talk. (Phil. 1:15-18) God causes the “seed” to germinate. Many who have heard, even many who have read some of the Watch Tower publications, at first paid little attention or, having listened for a while, drifted away. But circumstances later caused them to view world conditions more seriously. As they listened to religious and political propaganda they had enough of the seed of truth in their minds and hearts to discern the fallacy of such propaganda. When they were again approached by Jehovah’s witnesses their attitude was changed. Some, on their own initiative, got in touch with the Witnesses, seeking spiritual help. The seed sprouted! All of this is evidence of the power of the truth. It never really left their hearts, and at the right time and under the right circumstances it grew and produced fruitage. If you are one of Jehovah’s witnesses you sowed some of that seed.
9. How have many people become acquainted with the good news and its power in one’s life?
9 Furthermore, the truth has a “chain-reaction” effect. Most persons now have relatives, friends, workmates or schoolmates who are Jehovah’s witnesses. Now, when the Witnesses approach these persons they already know something, at least, about God’s people and their message, and can decide more intelligently. And it is not only the truth that the Witnesses speak, but also its cleansing power in their lives, that has exerted force to attract people to Jehovah’s service.
JEHOVAH’S QUALITIES A SOURCE OF DELIGHT
10. What is the attitude of Jehovah and his Son toward God’s people?
10 How does Jehovah feel about what his people do? Does Jehovah take delight in them? He says of his servant: “By Jehovah the very steps of an able-bodied man have been made ready, and in his way He takes delight.” (Ps. 37:23) And his Son Jesus Christ expressed the special delight that he and his Father have in those loving him when he said: “If anyone loves me, he will observe my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our abode with him.”—John 14:23.
11. How are Jehovah’s qualities in sharp contrast with the qualities of the gods of the nations, including Christendom’s gods?
11 How delighted we can be in Jehovah, that he is a God who loves his people as a father, a God who is happy, loving cleanness, beauty and peacefulness. This is in sharp contrast to the gods of the nations, including those of Christendom, which are depicted as grotesque, terrifying, angry, hard to appease. Conversely, Jehovah’s appearance is shown in the apostle John’s vision to have the effect of cheerfulness, calmness, serenity, majesty, tranquillity and peace.—Rev. 4:3.
12. How does God act as a true Father to us?
12 Moreover, Jehovah is a God close at hand, not far off. (Acts 17:27; Ps. 119:151) As a Father, he provides protection for us, through his angels. (Ps. 34:7) He expresses feelings toward us as does a father for his children. He is glad when we are loyal to him. (Prov. 27:11) He is hurt at heart, his spirit is grieved or hurt when we are disobedient.—Gen. 6:6; Isa. 63:10; Eph. 4:30.
13. Does Jehovah appreciate the faith and service of his people? Give examples.
13 But what appreciation Jehovah has for faith and for service rendered to him with a sincere heart! He gives rewards beyond expectation to those loving him. Because of Abraham’s faith God selected him, out of all the world of that time, as the man through whom blessings would come to all families of the earth. (Gen. 12:1-3; Rom. 4:3) Rahab of Jericho, though a prostitute, developed and demonstrated faith in the true God after hearing the accounts of his mighty acts. She endangered her own life by safeguarding spies from God’s people Israel. For this she was spared from death. She later married a chieftain of the tribe of Judah and became an ancestress of Jesus Christ. (Josh. chap. 2; Jos 6:25; Matt. 1:5) Jehovah made a covenant for a priesthood with Phinehas for his loyal act in keeping the camp of Israel clean from immorality and idolatry.—Num. 25:10-13.
14. Show that God does not necessarily require his people to do great things in order to please him.
14 God’s loving consideration and appreciation for the faith and acts of devotion of his servants are so deep that they do not necessarily have to do great things to please him. Of the widow who dropped only two coins, worth about one fourth of a cent, into the temple contribution box, Jesus remarked: “This widow, although poor, dropped in more than they all [the rich ones] did.” (Luke 21:3) And when Mary the sister of Lazarus and Martha anointed Jesus with perfumed oil, Jesus said: “Wherever this good news is preached in all the world, what this woman did shall also be told as a remembrance of her.” (Matt. 26:6-13) God saw to it that Jesus’ words came true, for this act of devotion is reported in three of the Gospel accounts.—Mark 14:3-9.
15. How, then, should you feel if you have been earnest in your service to God, but unable to do much, or have not seen great results from your work?
15 Consequently, what if your circumstances have made it possible for you to spend only a small amount of time in proclaiming the good news? Or what if you have been unsuccessful in helping others to learn the truth directly by means of Bible studies? If your effort has been made in sincere faith, has it gone unnoticed or unappreciated by Jehovah God? By no means. Not only does his love go out to you for it, but also he can make the seed you have planted grow and cause your works to bear fruit. The apostle Paul said: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God kept making it grow.”—1 Cor. 3:6.
DELIGHT IN YOUR SERVICE TO JEHOVAH
16. Why can none of Jehovah’s witnesses, when they see many new persons coming in, say that they have had no share in this increase?
16 So, when you see new persons come to the Kingdom Hall, and when you see new ones baptized, can you say that you had no share? Not if you have a part in doing God’s will. The congregation is a body, and it represents God and exerts its influence collectively, so that everyone shares. Additionally, by your upright conduct, by your friendliness, particularly toward those attending meetings—in fact, by your very presence at the meetings, you have strong influence toward helping them on the way to life. As to God’s view of the importance of each one of his people, great and small, the apostle Paul wrote:
“For the body, indeed, is not one member, but many. If the foot should say: ‘Because I am not a hand, I am no part of the body,’ it is not for this reason no part of the body. And if the ear should say: ‘Because I am not an eye, I am no part of the body,’ it is not for this reason no part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If it were all hearing, where would the smelling be? But now God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased.” “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. 12:14-18, 26.
17. How does Jehovah want us to feel about the service that we render him?
17 To all who have ‘tasted and seen that Jehovah is good,’ the service of Jehovah is delightful in all its aspects. (Ps. 34:8) It is a volunteer service. (Ps. 110:3) It would hurt Jehovah if any of his servants felt forced, or were not happy, rejoicing in doing his will. Jesus found great joy in all his service to Jehovah. (Ps. 40:8; Heb. 12:2) Since Jehovah wants us to be happy, serving such a delightful God is not a matter of being an ascetic, overserious, always denying ourselves anything that is not work. The Bible counsels: “Do not become righteous overmuch, nor show yourself excessively wise. Why should you cause desolation to yourself?”—Eccl. 7:16.
18. How should we feel about others who are serving Jehovah and any comparing of our activity with theirs?
18 Neither should we compare our record with that of another person or impose our conscience on him. The apostle Paul told the Christians at Galatia, who were making comparisons and restricting themselves by unnecessary rules: “Where, then, is that happiness you had?” Further, he said: “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deceiving his own mind. But let him prove what his own work is, and then he will have cause for exultation in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person.”—Gal. 4:9-15; 6:3, 4; 2 Cor. 10:12.
19. (a) What protective things that Jehovah provides should the Christian appreciate and respect? (b) What effect does a reasonable view of service to God have?
19 Of course, each one of Jehovah’s witnesses must accept Jehovah’s fatherly discipline. (Heb. 12:7-11) He should be open to Scriptural counsel from fellow Christians, and should work in harmony with the congregation. (Gal. 6:1; Heb. 13:17; Phil. 1:27) He must also exercise self-control, so as not to let imperfect human inclinations take over. (1 Cor. 9:26, 27; Prov. 6:9-11) Yet God’s servants are not required to drive themselves unreasonably. For example, perhaps you plan to spend a certain amount of time in field service. However, if you become weary, is it not better to stop and rest for a few minutes and then start in again than to feel driven to go without a pause? In fact, might this enable you actually to serve Jehovah better because you are relaxed, happy and able to think more clearly? Or, if you are cold and weary, is it not better to stop for a hot drink to warm and refresh yourself and then to continue instead of forcing yourself relentlessly, with risk to your enjoyment and effectiveness? Jesus worked whole-souled, yet he recognized the need to rest occasionally, and did not feel guilty while doing it. (Mark 6:31, 32) Moreover, “a joyful heart has a good effect on the countenance,” and the people to whom you witness cannot help but be favorably affected if you are happy.—Prov. 15:13.
20. What will be the results if you truly enjoy your service to Jehovah?
20 So, enjoy your service to Jehovah. Rejoice and delight in it. (Phil. 4:4) He does not want your worship toward him to be a burden. If you enjoy your service your heart will prompt you to do even more. Happiness is contagious, and such a spirit will manifest itself throughout the entire congregation. New ones will observe it and will likewise see that the ways of Jehovah are truly a delight and will join you in happy service to him.—Zech. 8:23.