Honor Jehovah—Why and How?
“Those honoring me I shall honor, and those despising me will be of little account.”—1 SAMUEL 2:30.
1. Who are awarded the world-famous Nobel prizes, and how do many view these awards?
EACH year four Scandinavian institutions award Nobel prizes to those who have ‘conferred the greatest benefit on mankind during the preceding year.’ The prizes are given for achievements in six different fields of endeavor. A Nobel prize is considered by many to be the greatest honor that can be bestowed upon any human.
2. Whom do the bestowers of Nobel prizes overlook, and why is He especially deserving of honor?
2 While there is nothing wrong with according honor to deserving humans, do those bestowing these honors ever give thought to honoring mankind’s greatest Benefactor? That Benefactor is the one who has bestowed countless benefits upon mankind ever since his creation of the first man and woman some 6,000 years ago. The frequent failure to honor him may remind us of the words of Elihu, the friend of ancient Job, who observed: “Yet no one has said, ‘Where is God my Grand Maker, the One giving melodies in the night?’” (Job 35:10) Our great Benefactor continues to do ‘good, giving rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling hearts to the full with food and good cheer.’ (Acts 14:16, 17; Matthew 5:45) Jehovah is truly the Giver of “every good gift and every perfect present.”—James 1:17.
What It Means to Give Honor
3. What are the principal Hebrew and Greek words that are rendered “honor,” and what are their meanings?
3 The principal Hebrew word for honor, ka·vohdhʹ, literally means “heaviness.” So a person who is honored is regarded as being weighty, impressive, or amounting to something. Significantly, this Hebrew word, ka·vohdhʹ, is also often translated in the Scriptures as “glory,” further indicating how impressive or how important the one being honored is considered. Another Hebrew word, yeqarʹ, rendered “honor” in the Scriptures, is also rendered “precious” and “precious things.” So in the Hebrew Scriptures, the word honor is related to glory and preciousness. The Greek word translated “honor” in the Bible is ti·meʹ, and it too conveys the sense of esteem, value, preciousness.
4, 5. (a) What does it mean to bestow honor upon an individual? (b) What situation related in Esther 6:1-9 illustrates what is involved in bestowing honor?
4 Thus one honors another by showing that person deep respect and esteem. As an illustration, consider the situation related in the Bible concerning the faithful Jew Mordecai. On one occasion Mordecai had exposed a plot against the life of King Ahasuerus of ancient Persia. Later, during a night when the king could not sleep, Mordecai’s action was called to the king’s attention. So he asked his attendants: “What honor and great thing has been done to Mordecai for this?” They answered: “Nothing has been done with him.” How sobering! Mordecai had saved the king’s life, and yet the king had failed to show appreciation.—Esther 6:1-3.
5 Therefore, at an opportune time, Ahasuerus asked his prime minister, Haman, how best to honor the one in whom the king had found delight. Immediately Haman reasoned in his heart: “To whom would the king take delight in rendering an honor more than me?” So Haman said that the person should be clothed in “royal apparel” and ride “a horse upon which the king does ride.” He concluded: “They must make him ride on the horse in the public square of the city, and they must call out before him, ‘This is how it is done to the man in whose honor the king himself has taken a delight.’” (Esther 6:4-9) One so honored would be highly esteemed by all the people.
Why Jehovah Deserves Honor
6. (a) Who above all others is deserving of our honor? (b) Why does the word “grand” fittingly describe Jehovah?
6 Throughout history humans have been accorded honor, often undeservedly so. (Acts 12:21-23) Yet who above all others is deserving of honor? Why, Jehovah God, of course! He is deserving of our honor because he positively is grand. Often the term “grand” is applied to him. He is the Grand One, the Grand Maker, the Grand Creator, the Grand King, the Grand Instructor, the Grand Master. (Psalm 48:2; Ecclesiastes 12:1; Isaiah 30:20; 42:5; 54:5; Hosea 12:14) He who is grand is majestic, dignified, elevated, noble, illustrious, and awe inspiring. Jehovah is beyond comparison, he has no equal, he is transcendent. He himself testifies to that fact, saying: “To whom will you people liken me or make me equal or compare me that we may resemble each other?”—Isaiah 46:5.
7. In at least how many different ways can it be said that Jehovah God is unique, and why can it be said that he is incomparable as to authority?
7 Jehovah God is incomparable in at least seven distinct ways, which furnish specific reasons to honor him. First of all, Jehovah God deserves the greatest honor because he is matchless in authority. The Lord Jehovah is the Universal Sovereign—he is supreme. He is our Judge, Lawgiver, and King. All persons in heaven and on earth are accountable to Him; yet he is accountable to no one. Well is he described as “great, mighty and fear-inspiring.”—Deuteronomy 10:17; Isaiah 33:22; Daniel 4:35.
8. Why can it be said that Jehovah is matchless (a) as to his position? (b) as to his eternal existence?
8 Second, Jehovah God is deserving of the greatest honor because he is matchless as to his position. He is “the High and Lofty One,” the Most High. He towers inconceivably far above all his earthly creatures! (Isaiah 40:15; 57:15; Psalm 83:18) Third, Jehovah God is to be honored above all others because he is peerless as to his eternal existence. He alone never had a beginning, being from everlasting to everlasting.—Psalm 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17.
9. In what way is Jehovah incomparable (a) as to his glory? (b) as to his basic attributes?
9 Fourth, Jehovah God is deserving of the greatest honor because of the grandeur of his personal glory. He is “the Father of the celestial lights.” His person has such brilliance that no man can see him and yet live. He truly is awe inspiring. (James 1:17; Exodus 33:22; Psalm 24:10) Fifth, we owe Jehovah God the greatest honor because of his marvelous attributes. He is omnipotent, infinite in power; he is omniscient, infinite in wisdom; he is absolutely perfect in justice; and he is the very embodiment of love.—Job 37:23; Proverbs 3:19; Daniel 4:37; 1 John 4:8.
10. In what way is Jehovah peerless (a) as to works of creation and possessions? (b) as to his name and fame?
10 Sixth, Jehovah God is deserving of the greatest possible honor for his great works of creation. As the Creator of all things in the heavens and on the earth, he is at the same time the Great Owner of all things. We read at Psalm 89:11: “Heaven is yours, the earth also is yours.” Seventh, Jehovah our God is deserving of honor above all others because he is matchless, peerless as to his name and fame. He alone bears the name Jehovah, meaning “He Causes to Become.”—See Genesis 2:4, footnote.
How to Honor Jehovah
11. (a) What are some ways that we can honor Jehovah? (b) How can we show we really are honoring Jehovah by trusting in him?
11 In view of all of Jehovah’s qualities, how can we honor him? As we shall see, we can honor him by showing him fear and reverence, by obeying him, by acknowledging him in all our ways, by making gifts, by imitating him, and by making petitions to him. We can also honor him by putting faith in him, by trusting him no matter what happens. “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart,” we are urged. So we honor Jehovah God by taking him at his word. For example, he says: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not gaze about [in fear], for I am your God. I will fortify you. I will really help you.” (Proverbs 3:5; Isaiah 41:10) Failure to trust him completely would be to dishonor him.
12. What part do obedience and fear play in honoring Jehovah?
12 A closely related way that we honor Jehovah God is by obeying him. And vital to obedience is godly fear, yes, fear of displeasing God. Showing the relationship between fearing and obeying are Jehovah’s words to Abraham after Abraham obediently attempted to sacrifice Isaac, his son. “Now I do know that you are God-fearing,” Jehovah said. (Genesis 22:12) When discussing what children owe their parents, the apostle Paul also showed that obedience and honor go hand in hand. (Ephesians 6:1-3) So by obeying God’s commandments, which are not burdensome, we honor Jehovah. Unquestionably, to disobey Jehovah God would be to dishonor him.—1 John 5:3.
13. Honoring God will cause us to have what mental attitude regarding our activities and plans?
13 Further, we can bring due honor to Jehovah God by heeding the counsel at Proverbs 3:6: “In all your ways take notice of him [yes, acknowledge him], and he himself will make your paths straight.” The disciple James gives us good advice along this line. Instead of proceeding self-confidently from day to day, trusting in our own abilities, we ought to say: “If Jehovah wills, we shall live and also do this or that.” (James 4:15) Years ago it was the custom of the International Bible Students to add to any statement relating to the future the abbreviation D.V., which stands for Deo volente, meaning “God willing.”
14. (a) What attitude relative to our efforts must we take if we would honor God? (b) What attitude is manifested in connection with the publishing of Watch Tower Society literature?
14 We also honor Jehovah God by manifesting a humble attitude, crediting God with any successes that we may enjoy. The apostle Paul properly observed regarding his ministry: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God kept making it grow; so that neither is he that plants anything nor is he that waters, but God who makes it grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:6, 7) Truly, Paul was concerned with bringing due honor to God, not to himself or to any other human. Thus, today, the publications of the Watch Tower Society do not identify those who write them, and writers avoid letting others know what they have contributed. In this way, attention is focused on the information, which is designed to honor Jehovah, and not on any human.
15. What experience illustrates the difficulty some people have in understanding the modesty of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
15 This policy of focusing attention on Jehovah, thus honoring him, is surprising to some. A few years ago, when setting up a sound system for a public talk in New York City’s Central Park, the Witnesses were playing one of the Kingdom Melodies tapes as a test for the system. A well-dressed couple asked one of the Witnesses what the music was. Thinking that the couple were Witnesses, he answered: “That’s Kingdom Melodies No. 4.” “Yes, but who composed that music?” they asked. The Witness replied: “Oh, the composer is anonymous.” The couple responded: “People who compose that kind of music do not do it anonymously.” The Witness replied: “But Jehovah’s Witnesses do.” Yes, they do this so that all honor goes to Jehovah God!
16. In what various ways can we use our voices to bring honor to Jehovah God?
16 Another way to honor Jehovah is by using our lips to witness about him. If we are truly concerned with bringing honor to him, then we will be conscientious in spreading the good news of the Kingdom. We can do this by going from house to house and by whatever other methods are available to us, not overlooking opportunities to witness informally. (John 4:6-26; Acts 5:42; 20:20) In addition, we have opportunities to honor our God with our voices at our congregation meetings, both by making comments and by joining in heartfelt singing of our Kingdom songs. (Hebrews 2:12; 10:24, 25) In our daily conversation, we can also honor Jehovah God with our lips. With a little effort, we can maneuver the conversation into upbuilding spiritual channels, and this will result in bringing honor to Jehovah God.—Psalm 145:2.
17. (a) What bearing does right conduct have on our honoring Jehovah? (b) What effect does wrong conduct have?
17 As fine as it is to honor Jehovah God with our lips, it is also necessary to honor him by our conduct. Jesus condemned those who, while honoring God with their lips, had hearts that were far removed from Him. (Mark 7:6) Wrong conduct is bound to bring dishonor to Jehovah God. For example, at Romans 2:23, 24, we read: “You, who take pride in law, do you by your transgressing of the Law dishonor God? For ‘the name of God is being blasphemed on account of you people among the nations.’” In recent years many thousands have been disfellowshipped from the congregations of Jehovah’s people. Likely, even greater numbers who engaged in dishonorable conduct were not disfellowshipped because they manifested a truly repentant attitude. All these people had been honoring Jehovah with their lips, but they failed to do so by their conduct.
18. (a) What concern must certain greatly favored ones have if they are to show due honor to Jehovah? (b) How does the situation with some priests in Malachi’s day illustrate the need for concern?
18 Those busy in different avenues of full-time service—be it at Bethel, in traveling or missionary work, or as pioneers—are greatly favored as to their opportunities to contribute to Jehovah’s honor. Theirs is the obligation to do their very best in whatever work they are assigned, being ‘faithful in that which is least as well as in much.’ (Luke 16:10) In some ways their honorable position was illustrated, though not typified, by the priests and Levites in ancient Israel. However, because of the negligence of some priests in Malachi’s day, Jehovah said to them: “If I am a father, where is the honor to me? And if I am a grand master, where is the fear of me?” (Malachi 1:6) Those priests were despising God’s name by offering blind, lame, and sick animals as sacrifices. Unless those with special privileges of service today strive to do their very best, they especially can be deserving the censure that Jehovah God gave those priests. They would be coming short as to honoring God.
19. (a) As noted at Proverbs 3:9, what is an additional way of honoring Jehovah? (b) What is another vital way to honor Jehovah?
19 Another way we can honor Jehovah God is by making monetary contributions to the worldwide preaching work that he has authorized. “Honor Jehovah with your valuable things and with the firstfruits of all your produce,” we are urged. (Proverbs 3:9) The privilege of making such contributions is an opportunity to honor Jehovah God that no one should overlook. We can also honor Jehovah God in our prayers, praising and thanking him. (1 Chronicles 29:10-13) In fact, because we come to him in humility and with deep respect, our very coming to God in prayer is according him honor.
20. (a) Who commonly are honored by people of the world, and how? (b) By heeding what command can we further honor Jehovah?
20 Today many people, youths in particular, honor those they admire by imitating them—by talking like them and by acting like them. Often the persons they imitate are sports heroes or stars in the world of entertainment. In contrast, as Christians, we should honor Jehovah God by endeavoring to imitate him. The apostle Paul urged that we do so, writing: “Become imitators of God, as beloved children, and go on walking in love.” (Ephesians 5:1, 2) Yes, by striving to imitate Jehovah, we honor him.
21. (a) What will equip us to give Jehovah glory and honor? (b) What are the rewards Jehovah gives to those who honor him?
21 Truly, there are many ways in which we can and should give God glory and honor. Let us never forget that by regularly feeding on his Word and becoming ever better acquainted with him, we will be more able to honor him. What are the rewards for doing so? “Those honoring me,” Jehovah says, “I shall honor.” (1 Samuel 2:30) Jehovah will eventually honor his worshipers by giving them everlasting life in happiness, either in heaven as corulers with his Son, Jesus Christ, or on the Paradise earth.
Do You Remember?
□ Whom do humans generally honor, and whom do they commonly neglect to honor?
□ What does it mean to honor someone, and what are ways that it can be done?
□ What are some of the basic reasons why Jehovah God is deserving of honor?
□ What are some of the ways that we can honor Jehovah?
□ In what ways does Jehovah reward those who honor him?