Trust Jehovah, Not Man
“It is better to take refuge in Jehovah than to trust in earthling man.”—Ps. 118:8.
1, 2. (a) How many people have a deep, abiding trust in Jehovah today, and why is this so? (b) Who trust Jehovah to bring better conditions?
FEW people today have a deep, abiding trust in Jehovah God. Some do not even believe that he exists. Others may acknowledge God’s existence, but they pay little attention to his will. Even those who are devout in this world’s religions trust mostly in their religious traditions or in their clergymen, not in Jehovah. They are much like those of whom the apostle Paul said: “I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge; for, because of not knowing the righteousness of God but seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”—Rom. 10:2, 3.
2 Regarding the future of the human family, in whom do people trust to bring about better conditions? Most of them put their trust in human efforts, not in Jehovah’s purpose for mankind. Only a tiny minority of earth’s four billion inhabitants have carefully examined the evidence of Jehovah’s existence, have accepted their responsibilities toward him, and live their lives in obedience to his laws. These persons trust him completely, knowing that he will fulfill his promise of establishing a righteous new order for mankind. They declare, as did the ancient psalmist: “In you I have put my trust, O Jehovah. I have said: ‘You are my God.’” (Ps. 31:14) And they heed God’s warning: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.”—Ps. 146:3.
3. Why should it not be a source of discouragement that relatively few trust Jehovah?
3 Should it discourage those who trust Jehovah that they are relatively few compared with earth’s four billion people? No, because numbers have never been a measure of the rightfulness of an issue. The masses of humankind often have been wrong. Jesus Christ said: “Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.” (Matt. 7:13, 14) No, trusting the judgment of the masses is not the way through the “narrow gate” to life in its fullness. History is filled with the wreckage of men’s promises, and of the harm that came to the masses who followed blindly.
4. What are we now better able to determine, and why?
4 Especially has the folly of trusting in human wisdom become evident in the past century. Now, with the added experience of having seen this highly scientific modern age, we are better able to examine the results of human accomplishments. We can set them alongside the works of Jehovah and more clearly see where our trust should be placed.
VAIN HOPES FOR SCIENCE
5. What part did scientific advancements play in the hopes of many for a better world?
5 The hopes of mankind for a better world were raised greatly by the scientific advancements of the past century or so. Many thought that mankind was entering a glorious new era. Finally, it was thought, problems such as poverty, hunger, unemployment, disease, old age and war were now within the power of humans to solve. Regarding such high hopes, author Lewis Mumford relates:
“The notion was that the machine by reason of its rationality of design and its austere perfection of performance was now a moral force, indeed the moral force, one that set new standards of achievement for man . . .
“For every human weakness or disorder, there was supposedly a swift mechanical, chemical, or pharmaceutical remedy. Even the electric arc-light, when first introduced, was hailed confidently as a preventative of nocturnal crime.”
6. To what extent did science produce some things helpful to the human family?
6 Without a doubt science has originated many helpful devices. In many lands, housewives no longer have to spend much time washing and sewing by hand, cooking on a wood fire, preserving food for winter months, drawing water from a well or a stream. Science has harnessed electricity from petroleum, coal and gas to run the new washing and sewing machines, the stoves, refrigerators, heating equipment, lighting and other useful products. Indoor plumbing has done away with unsanitary outhouses. Tractors have provided the power of 50 horses. Milking machines have eased the chores of dairy farmers. Medical advances have helped to control various diseases. Advanced technology, with its computers and missiles, has even put men on the moon.
7. How has science created many problems?
7 But while science has helped with some problems, it has created many others. For instance, the automobile, though providing fast transportation and convenience, has produced problems that are not being solved. Enormous congestion and frustration occur in large metropolitan areas. Gas fumes add to the industrial pollution that hangs over many cities. And the automobile has become one of the most deadly instruments ever invented. According to the United Nations’ World Health magazine, about 250,000 people die each year in road accidents. Millions more are injured.
8. How has scientific militarism affected our century?
8 Another grim fruitage of science is noted by the book Great Events of the 20th Century, which says: “Without question, the great shaping force of the 20th century has been the phenomenal growth of scientific knowledge—and never has that knowledge been more vigorously pursued than in times of war.” Tanks, airplanes, flamethrowers, machine guns, submarines, missiles, atomic bombs and other weapons have been produced by science. They have taken the lives of over 100 million people in this century, more than in any other age. “Woe to those,” God’s Word accurately stated, “who put their trust in war chariots, because they are numerous, and in steeds, because they are very mighty, but who have not looked to the Holy One of Israel and have not searched for Jehovah himself.” (Isa. 31:1) Although scientific militarism has proved to be catastrophic, the nations now spend a record 300 billion dollars a year on war preparation. About 25 percent of all scientists in the United States and the Soviet Union do war work; less than one-hundredth of one percent work at arms control or disarmament.
9. Has science helped to solve the human family’s distressing problems?
9 Has science helped to stem the worldwide rampage of crime? No, for crime has increased just as God’s prophetic Word said it would in these “last days.” (Matt. 24:12; 2 Tim. 3:1-5, 13) Why, in the United States alone, a Census Bureau survey indicates that 37 million major crimes are committed each year, triple the number actually reported to police. Too, while medical science has helped to fight some illnesses, others have raged out of control. Heart disease has reached epidemic levels, as has venereal disease; and cancer has become a major killer. Health problems have been made worse due to man’s pollution of the air, land and water, and his chemical treatment of foods. And science is completely helpless before the ravages of old age and death. Mankind’s condition remains just as God’s Word says: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men.” (Rom. 5:12) Furthermore, in spite of all the advances of modern science, Parade magazine states: “There are more starving, impoverished, illiterate and unemployed people in the world than ever before.”
10, 11. (a) How have some worldly authorities recognized the failure of science? (b) What did the Bible accurately say about human efforts?
10 Thus, the results of this scientific age are clearly to be seen. We know from actual experience what it has brought forth. We can conclude as did the book Environmental Ethics: “The present technology is already a failure.” Author Lewis Mumford also stated: “The notion that mechanical and scientific progress guaranteed parallel human benefits . . . now has become completely untenable.” And historian Arnold Toynbee declared: “We have tried allowing the machine to run us, with shocking results. . . . Unregenerate man is hardly to be trusted with the dangerous toys his laboratories have hatched.”
11 Now we can see clearly what has happened to the human family because of putting trust in man. It is just as foretold by God’s prophet Jeremiah who said: “Cursed is the able-bodied man who puts his trust in earthling man and actually makes flesh his arm, and whose heart turns away from Jehovah himself.” (Jer. 17:5) Also proved trustworthy are these words of the inspired psalmist: “Unless Jehovah himself builds the house, it is to no avail that its builders have worked hard on it.”—Ps. 127:1.
JEHOVAH WORTHY OF OUR TRUST
12. Who only deserves our trust as regards life’s essential matters?
12 As human experience has shown, it is folly to trust human wisdom respecting essential matters of life. We cannot trust man to solve the huge problems of the human family. It is Jehovah alone, the Almighty Creator, who has the remedy. So when it comes to such a vital matter as looking to someone for guidance during these critical times, it is to Jehovah that we need to turn. Would you trust the scribblings of an infant as a map for a dangerous journey? Or would you depend upon the directions of an expert thoroughly familiar with the route? For our journey through these dangerous “last days” and in our quest for eternal life in God’s new order, human wisdom is totally unreliable as a guide. That is why the Bible says: “Blessed is the able-bodied man who puts his trust in Jehovah, and whose confidence Jehovah has become.”—Jer. 17:7.
13-15. (a) How does the universe manifest Jehovah’s wisdom and power? (b) Why should this enhance our confidence in Jehovah? (Isa. 40:28, 29)
13 Jehovah’s works, backed by his wisdom and power, inspire in us confidence. When we see what he already has done and is capable of doing, our appreciation of his ability to direct our lives and to fashion a righteous new order is enhanced. An example of Jehovah’s ability is to be found in the material universe itself. Before telescopes were invented, the few thousand stars that could be seen by the naked eye were considered to be all that existed. But the first crude telescopes revealed many more. Modern instruments now probing the universe reveal so many billions of stars that, as Jeremiah stated, “the host of heaven cannot be numbered” by man.—Jer. 33:22, American Standard Version.
14 It was then discovered that the heavenly bodies are not just scattered about haphazardly. They are grouped together into what are called “galaxies,” each one containing billions of stars and other matter. The galaxy we live in is called the Milky Way, having an estimated 100 billion stars like our sun. The diameter of our galaxy is calculated to be about 100,000 light-years; and light travels about six trillion miles (9,600,000,000,000 kilometers) in just one year! And that is not all. Recent observations by man, says National Geographic, have “left him stunned.” So many galaxies have been observed that one estimate of their number is ten billion; another observer estimates 100 billion! Further, it has been observed that these galaxies are organized too. They are arranged in “clusters,” a number of galaxies being grouped together in each cluster.
15 The immensity of the universe, its order, and the precise laws governing the movements of heavenly bodies, have astonished some scientists. As Science News observes: “Contemplation of these things disturbs cosmologists because it seems as if such particular and precise conditions could hardly have arisen at random.” Of course, the universe did not just arise “at random.” The wisdom, power, order and law manifest in the universe all stem from the grand Creator, Jehovah God: “The heavens are declaring the glory of God; and of the work of his hands the expanse is telling.” (Ps. 19:1) So far-reaching is Jehovah’s ability that he does with ease what men find impossible, even to “counting the number of the stars; all of them he calls by their names.”—Ps. 147:4.
16. New discoveries about living things should lead to what conclusion?
16 Many scientists are becoming more awed, also, by the wisdom and complexity manifest in living things on earth. Science Digest contained this item: “With new discoveries being made almost daily in molecular biology, the likelihood that life began as an accident is becoming more remote, if not impossible.” A scientist estimates that the coded instructions found in one human cell would fill a 1,000-volume encyclopedia. From where did all of this come? A volume of encyclopedias on a shelf surely tells one of the existence of intelligent authorship. So does the amazing amount of information, as well as the wisdom and complexity, found in living things. Thus, simply and truthfully, the Bible states of Jehovah God: “With you is the source of life.”—Ps. 36:9.
17. What should humble persons acknowledge?
17 Humble persons will acknowledge what many scientists and others do not, that Jehovah is indeed “the Creator of the heavens and the Grand One stretching them out; the One laying out the earth and its produce, the One giving breath to the people on it, and spirit to those walking in it.” (Isa. 42:5) This glorious Creator, who demonstrates such ability and wisdom, surely is worthy of our trust. As the twenty-four elders acknowledged in vision: “You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.”—Rev. 4:11.
18, 19. (a) How do God’s works compare with man’s? (b) What should be our attitude in regard to trusting God or man?
18 So, in comparing the works of God with the works of man, we can ask: Who deserves our complete trust? Surely it is not man, even with all his scientific advancements. The tremendous damage and confusion he already has caused on earth show that he does not have the answers to the problems of life and cannot be trusted to get them. As the World Book Encyclopedia observes:
“Despite the great advances made in science, scientists still have many unsolved problems. . . .
“Botanists still do not know exactly how the process of photosynthesis works. Biologists and biochemists have not yet found the answer to the question of how life originated. Astronomers have not yet developed a satisfactory explanation of the origin of the universe. Medical scientists and physiologists do not know the cause or cure of cancer or how to cure the various virus diseases. . . . Psychologists do not know all the causes of mental illness.”
19 Jehovah does know the answers to all these things. And he certainly has the wisdom and ability to provide the solutions to mankind’s plaguing problems. Hence, appropriate is the Bible’s warning: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.” (Ps. 146:3) Instead, those who love what is right, who love life, and who want to see better conditions in the future will be among those described by the psalmist: “Those knowing your name will trust in you, for you will certainly not leave those looking for you, O Jehovah.”—Ps. 9:10.
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What men view as scientific “progress” often results in congestion, pollution, frustration and many untimely deaths