There Is Still Time to ‘Turn to Jehovah’
“RETURN to me” is the appeal that Jehovah God time and again directed to his wayward people. That appeal added the encouraging promise, “and I will return to you.” (Mal. 3:7) Such returning to his repentant people meant that Jehovah God would be giving them favorable attention, that he would be blessing, guiding and protecting them.
God’s plea, however, is not extended indefinitely. When the time comes for him to execute judgment, it is too late to seek his favor. That is why unfaithful Israelites were told: “Search for Jehovah, you people, while he may be found. Call to him while he proves to be near. Let the wicked man leave his way, and the harmful man his thoughts; and let him return to Jehovah, who will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will forgive in a large way.” (Isa. 55:6, 7) So the time to work at gaining a fine relationship with the Creator is while he is still warmly appealing to humankind to search for him. Might the appeal to “search for Jehovah” be rightly directed to you? This may be the case.
Possibly your parents are devoted servants of Jehovah God and did what they could to instill in you appreciation for the Bible. It may be that you studied the Holy Scriptures with Jehovah’s Christian witnesses for an extended period. Perhaps you have one or more relatives who have told you about what they learned from the Bible through their association with the Witnesses. Or possibly you have accepted literature from Jehovah’s Witnesses and enjoyed reading it. Though feeling that what you have heard and read is right, you may have found it hard to do anything beyond that. At heart you may recognize that you have no real relationship with the Creator. If this should be your situation, you have reason to feel that the appeal to ‘turn to Jehovah’ includes you.
For a person to act in harmony with God’s appeal to search for Him, he must clear away obstacles standing in the way of his doing so. The first step in this respect is to identify the obstacles. An illustration given by Jesus Christ may be helpful to you in determining what may be standing in your way.
This illustration pertains to the effect the “word” or message about God’s kingdom has on people. In explaining the illustration to his disciples, Jesus Christ said: “Where anyone hears the word of the kingdom but does not get the sense of it, the wicked one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart; this is the one sown alongside the road. As for the one sown upon the rocky places, this is the one hearing the word and at once accepting it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself but continues for a time, and after tribulation or persecution has arisen on account of the word he is at once stumbled. As for the one sown among the thorns, this is the one hearing the word, but the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”—Matt. 13:19-22.
In order to develop heart appreciation for the Kingdom message, a person needs time for thoughtful reflection and consideration. But it may be that one’s daily routine of life has become like a much-traveled road, with many people passing through and making demands on one’s time and energies. When that is the case, there is little opportunity to give heartfelt consideration to the “word of the kingdom.” The heart, being subjected to constant traffic, becomes like hard-packed soil “alongside the road.”
If you recognize that what you really want is a fine relationship with God, why allow your time to be so taken up by others as to prevent the development of such a relationship? There is no need for your heart to be like unproductive soil alongside a road. Hard-packed soil can become productive after it is plowed up and the flow of traffic over it is diverted. Similarly, your making time for considering God’s Word can result in your heart’s becoming like fine, productive soil.
Then, again, in your case the “word of the kingdom” may have fallen on shallow soil. You may have become discouraged by opposition from friends or relatives because your heart appreciation for God’s truth was not strong enough. But why continue letting others rob you of the joy that you experienced when you first accepted the message about the Kingdom? You doubtless recall the happiness you experienced in learning about the marvelous hope that God holds out for those who love him. How thrilled you must have been to learn that God has purposed to bring about an earth free from sickness and death! Were you not also delighted to find out about how you could share in the blessings God has in store for those serving him?
If you have allowed “tribulation or persecution” to destroy, till now, your appreciation for the Kingdom message, think seriously about what you have given up. Do not lose sight of the fact that you have thus far exchanged what could have been a permanent relationship with God for something that is very temporary. For example, your friends and relatives cannot give you life nor sustain their own life indefinitely. Even if they are pleased because you have stopped your study of the Bible, are they any better off than they were when you were striving to gain a good relationship with Jehovah God? In actuality, are they not going to be less inclined to take seriously the message about the Kingdom because you yielded to their opposition?
Or, could it be that your striving to get ahead in the world has had the effect of “thorns” that choke appreciation for the Kingdom message? As a result, when you consider your present situation, do you now feel that your pursuit of material things has left you feeling empty? Have you perhaps experienced the pain of seeing your children take a wayward course? Has this caused you to think that it would have been far better to spend more time with them, acquainting them with the fine guidance contained in the Bible? While you cannot make up for lost time, you do not have to continue letting “the deceptive power of riches” bring further trouble upon you. Why not unburden yourself and turn to Jehovah?
As Jesus pointed out, daily anxieties about making a living can be just as destructive as the pursuit of riches. Possibly the worries and cares of life have, like thorns, crowded out the love you once had for the Kingdom message. But has this been to your benefit? Do you not still face the same problems? Are not things perhaps even harder now? Whereas before you may have had the encouragement of devoted servants of Jehovah and experienced God’s loving care, now you are having to do everything in your own strength. So, then, would it not be far better to turn to Jehovah, seeking his help and that of the congregation of his dedicated people?
There is a possibility that you may feel that the way of life you are pursuing is such that Jehovah God could never forgive you. If so, take comfort in this Biblical assurance given to the Israelites: “Learn to do good; search for justice . . . Though the sins of you people should prove to be as scarlet, they will be made white just like snow; though they should be red like crimson cloth, they will become even like wool.” (Isa. 1:17, 18) Yes, all who turn to Jehovah in true repentance will be accepted by him.
Surely a person has much to gain by turning to Jehovah. Instead of continuing to struggle to do things in his own strength, he will experience God’s help and guidance in answer to prayer. He will enjoy the contentment that only a clean conscience can bring. Real happiness and satisfaction will result from having his spiritual needs filled.
BRINGING JOY TO OTHERS
One’s turning to Jehovah also brings joy to others. This being in harmony with what both Jehovah God and Jesus Christ desire, the angels rejoice whenever people repentantly turn to Jehovah. Jesus said: “Joy arises among the angels of God over one sinner that repents.”—Luke 15:10.
Hence, you need not fear that turning to Jehovah will result in humiliation for you from lovers of God. Devoted servants of Jehovah would never chide you about this. Rather, they very much want to be in harmony with the perfect sentiments of the angels. Like the angels, they will rejoice greatly on seeing you turn to Jehovah.
If you are among those who recognize the Kingdom message as something good, do not delay in turning to Jehovah. There is still time to act as long as the execution of divine judgment is yet future. But it would indeed be unwise to live in a way that ignores the coming of that great judgment. That could mean risking one’s prospects of gaining eternal life. In view of the present and future benefits resulting from having an approved relationship before Jehovah God, is it not wisdom on one’s part to turn to him now without delay?