Are You Walking in God’s Name?
“All the peoples, for their part, will walk each one in the name of its god; but we, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.”—Mic. 4:5.
1. Every intelligent person walks in the name of whom? Explain.
EVERY intelligent person walks in the name of some god. Yes, whether nations or individuals realize it or not, they serve some god. ‘How can that be?’ you may ask. Well, not everyone today serves a specific god by name, as did the ancients. But some persons idolize actors, politicians, sportsmen, even themselves. Why, their god may be their own belly! (Phil. 3:18, 19) Some directly worship Satan the Devil, whereas others serve him unwittingly, for “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) How true are the words recorded under divine inspiration by the Hebrew prophet Micah during the eighth century before the Common Era! He declared: “All the peoples, for their part, will walk each one in the name of its god.”—Mic. 4:5.
2, 3. (a) In whose name do true Christians walk, and when particularly? (b) What attitude do they have? (Col. 3:23, 24)
2 Just prior to those words, reference had been made to what would occur “in the final part of the days.” Then the mountain of Jehovah God’s house would be firmly established above all other mountains (denoting the exalted position of true worship). People would stream to it. They would ‘beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning shears, and would not learn war anymore.’—Mic. 4:1-4.
3 Those who stream to Jehovah’s house realize that “there is no God but one.” (1 Cor. 8:4) Hence, while ‘each people walks in the name of its god,’ the attitude of these true Christians is well expressed in Micah’s continuing words: “But we, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.” (Mic. 4:5) What does that expression mean to you? Are you walking in God’s name?
WHAT IT MEANS TO WALK IN A NAME
4. What is a name? Illustrate.
4 A name is a designation by which a person or thing is identified. The word “god” is a common name. On the other hand, a proper name distinguishes a person from all other individuals. “Jehovah” is a proper name. But the term “name” also means reputation or fame. So the ‘name of our God’ is the proper or personal name by which he is known, and there is a certain reputation associated with it.
5, 6. (a) In ancient times, what became associated with the name of a god? (b) What is meant by ‘walking in the name of a god’?
5 In ancient times, people customarily gave distinguishing names to their deities. For example, there were Tammuz, Artemis, Zeus, Baal and Marduk. Eventually, by their supposed acts, the various gods and goddesses developed a reputation; they gained fame. Such reputation and fame became associated with each deity’s name. For instance, Marduk was the reputed founder of Babylon.
6 To ‘walk in the name’ of a certain god means doing things approved or done by that god. It means acting in harmony with the reputation of that god and also recognizing the authority of that divinity. Actually, ‘walking in the name of a god’ means being dedicated to that god, having his name called on one and representing that god on earth. It means living in harmony with the traits of that god.
WALKING IN JEHOVAH’S NAME
7, 8. Walking in Jehovah’s name means more than doing what?
7 The true God has given himself a name. Christians are well aware that Jehovah is “the Most High over all the earth.” (Ps. 83:18) They are grateful that God has revealed to them his own personal name. But walking in the name of Jehovah involves much more than being able to speak his name. It means more than recognizing the divine name in Bible manuscripts.
8 Walking in the name of Jehovah does not mean merely saying that he is our God. Also, it involves more than attending Christian meetings at the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. And, naturally, preaching activity is not all that is connected with walking in Jehovah’s name.
9. Does walking in Jehovah’s name involve merely what we say about ourselves?
9 While these things are important, they alone do not prove that we truly are walking in the “name” of Jehovah. The determining factor is not merely what we say and claim about ourselves, but what we actually do with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength. (Luke 10:27; Jas. 1:22-27) The Christian apostle Paul asked this thought-provoking question: “Do you not know that if you keep presenting yourselves to anyone as slaves to obey him, you are slaves of him because you obey him, either of sin with death in view or of obedience with righteousness in view?” (Rom. 6:16) Those walking in God’s name are dedicated to him, and they really “slave for Jehovah,” serving him in faithfulness and obedience. (Rom. 12:11) Have you taken a firm stand among worshipers of Jehovah? Are you walking in God’s name?
DIVINE PERSONALITY AND DEEDS
10. How has our appreciation for Jehovah grown?
10 We may have been thrilled when we first learned that Almighty God has a name. Probably we were delighted when we originally saw the divine name Jehovah in the Bible. And how glad we were to know that God’s name appears thousands of times in the Holy Scriptures! But walking in the name of Jehovah was another matter. That did not begin suddenly. Our appreciation grew as we came to know more about the One who bears the name Jehovah.
11. What was Moses told about Jehovah’s qualities?
11 As time passed, we came to appreciate Jehovah’s qualities, his personality. For instance, we gained such insight when meditating on this description of God at Exodus 34:6, 7:
“Jehovah went passing by before [Moses’] face and declaring: ‘Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, preserving loving-kindness for thousands, pardoning error and transgression and sin, but by no means will he give exemption from punishment.’”
12. How did Moses describe Jehovah in song?
12 Years later, Moses was divinely inspired to compose a song. In it he said:
“I shall declare the name of Jehovah. Do you attribute greatness to our God! The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he.”—Deut. 32:3, 4.
13. What qualities have we come to associate with God that move us to love and trust him?
13 Those walking in Jehovah’s name have learned also that love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness and self-control are fruits of God’s holy spirit. (Gal. 5:22, 23) These are therefore qualities that originate with Jehovah. Now we associate them with his holy name, and they move us to love and trust the God in whose name we are walking.
14. (a) How can those walking in Jehovah’s name be sure that God can accomplish his purpose and vindicate his name? (b) Describe how Jehovah’s superiority over the gods of Egypt became well known among the nations, as related in Joshua 2:10, 11 and 1 Samuel 4:8.
14 Moreover, true Christians have come to know of Jehovah’s purpose to uphold his universal sovereignty and vindicate his name by means of the heavenly kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ. (Luke 11:2; Rev. 11:16-18) Moreover, godly persons realize that Jehovah is able to accomplish his purpose and to vindicate his holy name. Why? Because Jehovah has a record of mighty deeds. He is not like the worthless gods of the nations that can do nothing good for those walking in their name. (Ps. 115:1-8) Note how Jehovah was described in song after his miraculously delivering the people of Israel at the Red Sea:
“Who among the gods is like you, O Jehovah? Who is like you, proving yourself mighty in holiness? The One to be feared with songs of praise, the One doing marvels. You stretched out your right hand, the earth proceeded to swallow them up. When Pharaoh’s horses with his war chariots and his cavalrymen went into the sea, then Jehovah brought back the waters of the sea upon them, while the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea.”—Ex. 15:11, 12, 19.
15. How is it that those walking in Jehovah’s name know him as the God of reliable prophecies?
15 Those who walk in Jehovah’s name also recognize him as the God of reliable prophecies. Jehovah’s forecasts of future events are recorded over his own name. It is as though he has put his signature to them as a guarantee of their authenticity. We can depend on such prophecies. For instance, Jehovah prophetically promised to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and to give them a particular land. This was accomplished. (Ex. 3:6-17; 14:19-31) Many years later, King Solomon of Israel could say: “Blessed be Jehovah, who has given a resting-place to his people Israel according to all that he has promised. There has not failed one word of all his good promise that he has promised by means of Moses his servant.”—1 Ki. 8:56; see also Joshua 21:45.
16. What have those walking in Jehovah’s name learned about God’s love for mankind?
16 Furthermore, those walking in Jehovah’s name have learned about God’s purpose to cleanse the whole human family of sin by means of the expiatory power of the sacrifice of his dear Son, Jesus Christ, so that justice might be satisfied. They are happy to see that justice is associated with the divine name, as is love for mankind. “God loved the world so much,” said Jesus, “that he gave his only begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:22; 1 John 4:10.
RESPECT FOR THE DIVINE NAME
17. How has Jehovah shown that he is self-respecting?
17 The name of such a loving God merits our interest and respect. Jehovah himself is keenly interested in his name, but not selfishly so. He is self-respecting and never has done a single thing that has downgraded or disgraced his holy name. His acts have always associated his name with truth, justice and righteousness. God’s deeds have clothed the divine name with honor, glory, splendor and dignity. With good reason, then, aged David could bless Jehovah and say: “Yours, O Jehovah, are the greatness and the mightiness and the beauty and the excellency and the dignity.” (1 Chron. 29:11) How vital that those dedicated to Jehovah today show proper respect for the divine name!
18. As regards Jehovah’s laws, moral standards and provisions for salvation, how can we show that we are walking in his name?
18 Persons walking in Jehovah’s name recognize him as their Statute-Giver, Judge and King. (Isa. 33:22) Since he is the Universal Sovereign, Jehovah God certainly has the right to make and enforce laws, establish moral standards and make provisions for the everlasting benefit of all his intelligent creatures. And consider this: Our showing respect for Jehovah’s laws, our having regard for the moral standards of God, our expressing appreciation for his provisions for our well-being and everlasting salvation—all these give evidence that we are walking in Jehovah’s name.
19. (a) What action has Jehovah promised, and why? (b) We look ahead, then, to the fulfillment of what prayer?
19 Certainly, those truly walking in Jehovah’s name eagerly await the time when God will act in the best interests of all lovers of righteousness and will take action against those who profane his name. (Ezek. 20:9; 39:7) Indeed, lovers of Jehovah are looking ahead to the fulfillment of the Model Prayer taught by Jesus Christ: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:9, 10) Further, persons walking in Jehovah’s name also look forward to the day when everyone alive will respect God’s most holy name.
A UNIQUE PRIVILEGE
20. In contrast with the religionists of Christendom, how do Jehovah’s people ‘walk in his name’?
20 A great responsibility rests on those walking in Jehovah’s name. To walk in his name necessitates our being unreservedly dedicated to him. It requires living in harmony with God’s name, being representatives of everything for which Jehovah’s name stands. Yes, it means representing the divine name before all the world in a correct manner. Obviously, walking in Jehovah’s name does not allow for despising that name, fighting against it, keeping it out of Bible translations and trying to hide that name, as the religionists of Christendom have done or attempted to do. Rather, walking in the name of our God means honoring the name Jehovah, fighting for it spiritually, giving that divine name its proper place in the Holy Scriptures and declaring that holy name boldly.—Ps. 9:1, 2.
21, 22. Who alone represent the divine name today, and what is their unique privilege before mankind?
21 Jehovah God had a people for his name in the first century of the Common Era. Those anointed disciples of Jesus Christ upheld the name and sovereignty of Jehovah. Appropriately, at the council of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem in about 49 C.E., the disciple James declared: “Men, brothers, hear me. Symeon [the apostle Peter] has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name.” (Acts 15:13, 14) Comparably, Jehovah has his name-people today. They do not belong to Christendom’s religions, but constitute a remnant of Jesus’ anointed followers. Associated with this remnant is a “great crowd” who have the hope of life eternal on earth. (John 10:14-16; Rev. 7:4-9) Among all the religious groups now found on earth, these witnesses of Jehovah alone represent the divine name.
22 Theirs is a unique privilege and position before all the world of mankind. In the eighth century B.C.E., through the prophet Isaiah, Jehovah God challenged all the gods of the nations to produce their witnesses, so that these might testify regarding the deity of those gods. All those false gods failed to produce witnesses. But note what the true God said to his name-people: “‘You are my witnesses,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘even my servant whom I have chosen.’” (Isa. 43:8-10) Today Jehovah’s Witnesses gladly bear the divine name. They consider it a grand privilege to represent the Universal Sovereign and to acquaint mankind with him, witnessing about this true God and his purposes. Compared with this marvelous privilege, everything else becomes of relatively little importance.
23. In walking with God, what did Enoch do, and what blessing did he experience?
23 Often great courage is required for one to walk in Jehovah’s name as his witness. But doing so results in rich blessings. For example, “Enoch kept walking with the true God,” boldly declaring a strong message. (Gen. 5:24) “Look!” said Enoch, “Jehovah came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.” (Jude 14, 15) Jehovah “took” that bold witness, cutting short his life and thus not permitting his opposers to kill him. He was “transferred” so that he apparently did not experience the pangs of death.—Heb. 11:5; compare John 3:13.
24. How and why was Noah’s faithfulness rewarded?
24 Noah also “walked with the true God.” This faithful man witnessed about God’s purpose to destroy the wicked in an earthwide deluge. Noah’s faithfulness was rewarded, indeed, for it resulted in preservation for himself and seven others through the global flood.—Gen. 6:9; 7:6, 7; 8:16; 2 Pet. 2:5.
25. Jehovah’s Witnesses declare what kind of message today?
25 Those men were among the early witnesses of Jehovah. (Heb. 11:4-7; 12:1) They were not afraid to honor the divine name and make it known far and wide. Jehovah’s Christian witnesses of today have the same attitude. Fearlessly, they declare God’s message of judgment. But they also preach the “good news” of a righteous new order near at hand. They yearn for the complete fulfillment of Jehovah’s promise to bring about “new heavens and a new earth” wherein righteousness will dwell. (2 Pet. 3:8-13) What joy then will prevail! No longer will anyone be walking in the name of some other god. Rather, all intelligent creation will walk in the name of Jehovah God forever.