Who Alone Is Loyal?
The information in this and the two succeeding articles for study was presented on the opening day of the “Kingdom Loyalty” District Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. These Christian assemblies, held throughout the northern and southern hemispheres during the past nine months, have been attended to date by 3,028,796 persons, with 33,627 being baptized. It is timely to review here this fine spiritual food, as preparations are being made for a further rich “feast” at the coming summer’s “Kingdom Truth” District Conventions.
THE One who is most outstanding in all the universe for the quality of loyalty is the Creator himself! From him stems this quality in all his intelligent creatures. By persons who highly value loyalty he can be called upon to exercise loyalty in times of need. Thus, without being presumptuous, the servant of the patriarch Abraham, the forefather of kings, appealed to Jehovah as the God of his master to display his loyal love. (Genesis 24:14) A descendant of Abraham, David, while yet in line for the kingship over Israel, spoke out of his own experience and said in a psalm addressed to Jehovah: “With someone loyal you will act in loyalty.” (2 Samuel 22:26; Psalm 18:25) Also, the prophet Moses, who represented the heavenly King, Jehovah, in the nation of Israel, magnified the quality of loyalty to Jehovah God when he blessed the priestly tribe of Levi and said:
“Your Thummim and your Urim belong to the man [Levi] loyal to you, whom you put to the test at Massah. You began to contend with him by the waters of Meribah, the man who said to his father and his mother, ‘I have not seen him.’ Even his brothers he did not acknowledge, and his sons he did not know. For they [the Levites] kept your saying, and your covenant they continued to observe.”—Deuteronomy 33:4, 5, 8, 9.
Without hesitation the prophet Moses could have joined in singing a song composed more than 1,600 years later entitled “the song of Moses the slave of God and the song of the Lamb [Jesus Christ],” the words of which say: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity. Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name, because you alone are loyal? For all the nations will come and worship before you, because your righteous decrees have been made manifest.”—Revelation 15:1-4.
The psalmist David made the same estimate of those divine qualities, for he wrote: “Jehovah is righteous in all his ways and loyal in all his works.” (Psalm 145:17) Jehovah as the Supreme Judge will take up the case of those who worship and serve him, just as an angel is reported as saying to him: “You, the One who is and who was, the loyal One, are righteous, because you have rendered these decisions.”—Revelation 16:4, 5.
In the language of the prophet Moses and the psalmist David, the Hebrew word for “loyalty” that we are discussing contains the thought of kindness, of being lovingly kind. Some Bible translators prefer to render the Hebrew word (hhesʹed) as “loving-kindness.” It is a kindly way of looking at matters when we view loyalty as being a kindness, as being something that takes into account certain things that must not be overlooked, so that loyalty is not something cold, something merely based on law or justice. It is a personal quality motivated by love and appreciation.
We call to mind how a certain ruler in the land of Canaan saw that the true God was with Abraham who was sojourning there, and, hence, he came to Abraham and said: “Swear to me here by God that you will not prove false to me and to my offspring and to my posterity; that, according to the loyal love with which I have dealt with you, you will deal with me and with the land in which you have been residing as an alien.” (Genesis 21:22, 23) We recall also how, when Abraham later sent his servant Eliezer to get a wife for his beloved son Isaac, this servant prayed to Jehovah God and said: “This [the woman I described] is the one you must assign to your servant, to Isaac; and by this let me know that you have performed loyal love with my master.”—Genesis 24:14.
Loyalty to What?
The patriarch Abraham carried out what he swore to do to that ruler in the land of Canaan, and Jehovah God performed what Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, asked of him in prayer, and he provided the right wife for Isaac. However, above all other things, to what is the Most High God Jehovah loyal? It is to his kingdom, to his own kingship, for he is rightfully the Sovereign over all the universe that he created. He cannot deny himself as to what he actually is. In fulfillment of his unalterable covenant with Abraham, he became King over Abraham’s special line of descendants, the nation of Israel, especially so when God freed them from slavery in the land of Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land in 1467 B.C.E. Then, for 350 years, Jehovah gave them his visible representatives in the form of judges down to the days of Judge Samuel. At the time that his mother, Hannah, presented him to God’s sacred service at his holy tabernacle at Shiloh, she uttered a prophecy pointing forward to a future visible king over the nation of Israel, saying: “Jehovah himself will judge the ends of the earth, that he may give strength to his king, that he may exalt the horn of his anointed one.”—1 Samuel 2:10.
During those days of Judge Samuel, the Israelites asked for a change of government over them. They demanded of Judge Samuel: “Do give us a king to judge us.” This displeased not only Samuel but also Jehovah God. He said to Samuel: “It is not you whom they have rejected [as judge], but it is I whom they have rejected from being king over them.” (1 Samuel 8:1-7) God allowed them to have a visible human king, Saul the son of Kish. Nevertheless, God did not renounce his sovereignty over them. According to his covenant purpose, God proved loyal to his invisible, heavenly kingship over his chosen people. Their second human king was the onetime shepherd, David, the son of Jesse of the Judean town of Bethlehem.
How did loyalty come to the fore during David’s kingship? Of what was this pictorial? And how does the issue of loyalty affect us today? The next article will answer these questions.