‘Riding in the Cause of Truth’
“And in your splendor go on to success; ride in the cause of truth and humility and righteousness, and your right hand will instruct you in fear-inspiring things.”—PSALM 45:4.
1, 2. (a) What message excited the psalmist? (b) Why should that same message stir us?
THE poet-singer was eager to begin his song. Anticipation of the coming of a good government in the hands of an incorruptible, righteous ruler was too strong. He could not keep silent. No longer able to contain himself, the psalmist burst forth with these words: “My heart has become astir with a goodly matter. I am saying: ‘My works are concerning a king.’ May my tongue be the stylus of a skilled copyist.” (Psalm 45:1) The original poet-singer is long dead. But his prophetic song still lives, and the force of it was never more powerful than now.—Compare Colossians 3:16.
2 What has the “goodly matter” that stirred the psalmist’s heart proved to be? It is related to the good news of God’s Kingdom! So “goodly” is the Kingdom message that it deserves to “be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations” before “the end” of these nations comes. (Matthew 24:14) Today, has the “goodly” theme of God’s Messianic Kingdom stirred your heart? It should. Why? Because the Hebrew verb translated “has become astir” (ra·chashʹ) signifies excited motion, like a bubbling, boiling liquid. The verb also connotes fullness. And remember, our Leader, Jesus Christ, said: “Out of the heart’s abundance [the] mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) Thus, do you, like the psalmist, have a heart overflowing with the “goodly matter”? If so, then nothing can stop you from singing out this superlative truth: Jesus Christ is ruling in God’s Kingdom!
Spreading the Song of Truth
3. What two main methods are used in spreading the Kingdom good news today?
3 How can this regal song be spread? By means of holy spirit, the psalmist’s tongue became a “stylus” in the hands of Jehovah. (Compare 2 Samuel 23:2.) His penned lyrics were sung for all of Jehovah’s ancient worshipers to hear. We today can champion the truth of God’s Kingdom in two similar ways. First, by our words heard in public preaching and, second, by our words read in our literature. Hence, when we distribute Bible-based literature, we are telling what the tongue of inspired holy men has already said. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21) And today the printed Kingdom message is circulated in numbers and languages and at a speed beyond the imagination of the psalmist. Are you having a regular part in its dissemination, especially by the distribution of the Watchtower and Awake! journals?
4. (a) How has Christ Jesus become “more handsome than the sons of men”? (b) How does the anointed watchman class imitate the ‘charm of Christ’s lips’?
4 The appearance of Jehovah’s King stimulates the psalmist to write: “You are indeed more handsome than the sons of men. Charm has been poured out upon your lips. That is why God has blessed you to time indefinite.” (Psalm 45:2) From the day of his anointing with the spirit of God, Jesus’ lips persistently preached the Kingdom, until the human agents of Satan temporarily silenced them. Because of Jesus’ loyalty, Jehovah then blessed him forever by resurrecting him from the dead and exalting him above all other creatures. (Philippians 2:8-11) Since Jesus’ heavenly glorification, when he became ‘the exact representation of God’s very being,’ he is more beauteous than the most exalted ruler, human or angelic. (Hebrews 1:3, 4) Now, as the enthroned King, Jesus empowers the lips of the anointed watchman class and their associates to sing out boldly the good news of the Kingdom. However, this is also a song of war.
5, 6. (a) What does Christ’s ‘riding in the cause of truth’ imply? (b) How does the watchman class use The Watchtower and Awake!?
5 The psalmist next calls out to the reigning King: “Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one, with your dignity and your splendor. And in your splendor go on to success; ride in the cause of truth and humility and righteousness, and your right hand will instruct you in fear-inspiring things.” (Psalm 45:3, 4) Since 1914 Christ has been riding a war steed, ready for action. (Revelation 6:1, 2) He is girded with a sword—the symbol of war and also of authority and power from God to execute opposing nations. Christ has already battled with Satan and his demons, pitching them down from the heavens and confining them to the vicinity of the earth.—Revelation 12:1-13.
6 However, before peace is restored, things more terrible than this will be wrought by the King’s right hand when he ‘rides in the cause of truth’ at Armageddon to destroy all of God’s enemies on earth. (Psalm 45:4; Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:17, 18) Christ has emboldened the anointed watchman class to sing out this warning too. What does the “watchman” use to amplify his voice? Principally the pages of the Watchtower magazine—the journal that is preeminent in announcing Jehovah’s established Kingdom. The watchman class, like an army of stinging scorpion-locusts, is imbued with the same spirit that drives Christ to “ride in the cause of truth.” (Revelation 9:7-11) Effectively, they use the magazines prepared under the direction of the “watchman”—The Watchtower and Awake!—“in the cause of truth.”—Matthew 24:45; compare Revelation 9:16-19.
‘Riding for Truth’
7. In what aggressive way do the Watchtower and Awake! magazines promote Bible truth?
7 For more than one hundred years, The Watchtower has been championing ‘the cause of Kingdom truth.’ It skillfully uses God’s Word as a sword in peeling away the layers of error wrapped around false religious teachings. (Compare Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12.) Awake! magazine also advocates the cause of truth. When it comes to current events, Awake! slices through the veil that enshrouds Bible-discrediting scientific theories and dangerous social and moral trends. What can we do to place these magazines in the hands of more people so that they can hear the life-saving Kingdom message?
8, 9. How can applying the principle at Ephesians 5:16 to the reading of The Watchtower and Awake! help you “become astir” to share in magazine witnessing? Give examples.
8 All who love truth should “become astir” with the message that the Watchtower and Awake! journals contain. (Psalm 45:1) How? Why not read them as soon as you receive them? ‘I am not going to read a secular magazine or book until I have first read through our magazines,’ Lillian said to herself ten years ago. She is still faithful to that resolve. (Matthew 6:33) What can you do after you read them? Talk about their contents with others—family and fellow congregation members. This should also fire you with zeal for witnessing with the magazines so that you may tell your neighbors about the good things you have read. No doubt you will want to share in magazine witnessing each week, taking them to neighbors’ homes. This may be compared with the way that the apostle Paul “thoroughly bore witness.”—Acts 20:20, 21.
9 Peter and his wife Petra have been serving as missionaries in an African country for the past four years. The Watchtower and Awake! magazines are one of their chief sources of spiritual stamina. “The Watchtower helps us to keep spiritually alert in our territory,” says Petra. “We derive encouragement and strength from each issue of The Watchtower and Awake!,” Peter adds, “and every time the magazines arrive, it seems to us that we are receiving a letter from home.” (Compare Psalm 46:1.) Do you have the same deep appreciation for our journals and are you as eager to read them as are Peter and Petra? That kind of spirit will prompt you to offer the magazines regularly to others too.
10. What type of attitude is needed for effective magazine witnessing, and what benefits can it produce?
10 Kingdom publishers should have a positive attitude toward magazine witnessing. People who are sincerely religious still welcome the Bible-based information contained in our journals. (Compare Acts 10:15, 30-33.) Why? Because they can get it from no other source. More than 45 years ago in Sweden, Lars got a stack of Watchtower magazines from an employee. “This makes sense,” he told his wife after reading them. “What the Bible says, The Watchtower says.” What Lars read moved him to baptism—March 1940. Consider another example. Two pioneer ministers from the southern United States said:
“A woman was contacted in the magazine work. She’s the treasurer of a large Baptist church and a very serious Bible student too. When she read the series on the theme of Armageddon in the Watchtower issues of January 1 to February 15, 1985, she was delighted. Previously, she had spent hours researching that subject and came up with nothing except the scripture found at Revelation 16:16. She had asked her minister: ‘What is Armageddon? Can you explain it?’ He looked at her and said, ‘That’s a deep subject,’ and then walked away. She remarked that The Watchtower, on the other hand, answered her every question and that this was the only source she had found with the needed scriptures on the subject of Armageddon.”
11. (a) Why schedule magazine witnessing, and how often? (b) Can magazine service be a help in the Bible study work? Explain. (c) How may you be able to place The Watchtower and Awake!? See box.
11 Can you schedule at least one day for magazine witnessing each week, making this part of your spiritual routine? (Compare Philippians 3:16.) “Publishers, and pioneers too, do not spend sufficient time in magazine work,” observes the Watch Tower Society’s Nigerian branch. But should magazine witnessing now overshadow the disciple-making work? On the contrary, reports from the Society’s branches in Australia and Brazil show that placing magazines can be the initial step in starting many Bible studies. “From my initial magazine placements, three studies were started,” says an Australian sister. How may you be able to place magazines that might lead to a Bible study? Look at the box entitled “Placing Magazines” for suggestions.
Have You Tried These Suggestions?
12. What suggestions proved helpful to one publisher?
12 Our Kingdom Ministry of March 1984 had a four-page insert on magazine witnessing. Have you tried the suggestions it offered? Kingdom publishers would do well to read that insert again and apply its advice in the field service. One sister from the United States did this; the results pleasantly surprised her. She writes:
“I’ve been putting into practice the points outlined in the March 1984 Kingdom Ministry insert about magazine placements, and it’s working! At the end of 1983 I had only placed 36 magazines the whole year! I was unhappy, not so much because of the numbers on the report, but because I had failed to get this life-giving information into the hands of people who need it. I prayed to Jehovah about the matter and determined to make more of an effort to place The Watchtower and Awake! I put to use the suggestions about setting a personal goal for placements, using a brief presentation that highlights only one magazine, regularly going out in field service on magazine day, and having a positive attitude. Now when the householder rejects the regular offer, I say: ‘Well, in that case I’ll just leave you the latest issues of The Watchtower and Awake! for 40 cents.’ These points really work. In the last four months, I’ve been able to average 14 magazines per month!”
13. What advice published in 1888 is still practical today?
13 In the December 1888 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower, under the heading “A Suggestion to the Reapers,” this advice was given: “The greatest difficulty on the part of many seems to be, that their hearts are so full of the good tidings, that they are tempted to tell a little too much concerning the Plan of God.” Is that advice still applicable? When asked what publishers can do to increase magazine placements, one circuit overseer from France answered: “Be brief. Get to the point.”
14, 15. How can the pictures in The Watchtower and Awake! be used in witnessing? Give examples.
14 In many of the languages in which the magazines appear, attractive illustrations in four colors have added to the appeal of the Kingdom message as it reaches different types of people. With the January 8, 1987, issue, Awake! joined The Watchtower in being printed in four colors in most major languages. Have you used the illustrations and pictures in the magazines as talking points? Many have, with good results. Theresa, a missionary in the Far East since 1976, has. She distributes 260 magazines a month. “I use the pictures to highlight the main point of my presentation,” she says. “Many times I just show the cover to the householder and mention the topic, and the magazine almost places itself.”
15 Kay, a missionary in the country of Suriname, has had a similar experience. She and her husband have been there for ten years, and they find the pictures to be effective when witnessing, especially to those of the Hindu faith. Why? Kay explains:
“The Hindu religion is a picture religion. At one door, I asked a woman: ‘Please tell me the name of your gods on your pictures.’
“‘This one is Shiva,’ she answered.
“‘Now, which one is the top god?’ I next asked. No answer. ‘Shall we read Jeremiah 10:10-12? Which God can make the claim of being the Creator? Only Jehovah. We know you love pictures. Aren’t these pictures in The Watchtower and Awake! beautiful and interesting? Wouldn’t you like the joy of learning what they mean?’”
Why not try weaving the pictures into your conversation next time you are in magazine work?
16. What suggestions from a publisher in Hong Kong may you find helpful?
16 While serving in Hong Kong, Gene averaged over 300 magazine placements per month. How did he do it? He explains:
“First, pray for Jehovah’s blessing upon your magazine witnessing. Second, be positive, smiling, and friendly. Third, be adaptable and agreeable, and look for a common ground with the householder. Fourth, order enough magazines for the entire month. I have a large order, since this gives me extra motivation. Fifth, set aside one evening a week for magazine service, since more people are at home then and in a relaxed mood. Sixth, start a magazine route, even if it is a small one.”
Starting a Magazine Route
17. (a) To what feature of our magazine witnessing can the principle at Acts 15:36 be applied? (b) In countries that have poor mail service, what is one way the publishers can place magazines?
17 “Keeping accurate records of where magazines have been placed and then calling back regularly is one way to increase magazine distribution,” says Ollie, who has served in the African country of Burkina Faso. “I have had 15 people on my magazine route. Since Burkina Faso is not a printing branch and mail delivery is uncertain, the Witnesses often receive their magazines for distribution in bunches, maybe four or five issues at a time.” Is that true of your country too? If so, what can be done to overcome this challenge to magazine placements? “You can hold copies of each issue in your hands, fan the magazines out, and invite the interested person to select which one he would like to read,” suggests Ollie. “Usually, he will take all of them.”
‘Keep Astir With a Goodly Matter’
18. What aspects of recent field-service reports are especially commendable, and to what could we give greater attention?
18 You publishers of the Kingdom have helped the number of subscriptions obtained for both magazines to rise dramatically. You are to be commended for your zeal in spreading the good news in this way. Also commendable is the rise in the total number of magazines placed. Perhaps, though, we can give more attention to our individual placements of the magazines. With more intensive territory coverage, magazine placements per publisher have declined. Since we are living deep in the time of the end, can we become even more ‘astir with the goodly matter’ of the Kingdom by means of magazine witnessing?—Psalm 45:1; 1 Peter 4:7.
19. In what two ways can we champion Kingdom truth?
19 Christ in Kingdom splendor is riding on to success in sanctifying his Father’s holy name and vindicating His universal sovereignty. (Revelation 6:2) Let us use our tongues and the printed page to announce his arrival. May we loyally raise our voices with the anointed watchman class as it joins with Christ in championing the truth of God’s established Messianic Kingdom. Yes, let us widely distribute The Watchtower and Awake!—magazines that fill a vital role as our King ‘rides in the cause of truth.’—Psalm 45:4.
Do You Remember?
□ What is the “goodly matter” that should stir your heart?
□ Christ’s ‘riding in the cause of truth’ brings what results?
□ In what sense do The Watchtower and Awake! serve “in the cause of truth”?
□ How can we give more attention to magazine witnessing?
[Box/Picture on page 18]
Have You Tried?—
◆ House-to-house witnessing
◆ Street witnessing
◆ Business witnessing
◆ Magazine-route witnessing
◆ Evening witnessing
◆ When book offer is refused
◆ When making return visits
◆ Calling on former Bible students
◆ When traveling or shopping
◆ When talking to relatives, coworkers, neighbors, schoolmates, or teachers