Serve Jehovah Loyally
“With someone loyal you [Jehovah] will act in loyalty.”—2 SAMUEL 22:26.
1. How does Jehovah act with those loyal to him?
JEHOVAH cannot be repaid for all that he does for his people. (Psalm 116:12) How wonderful are his spiritual and material gifts and tender mercy! King David of ancient Israel knew that God also acts in loyalty with those loyal to him. David said so in a song he composed “in the day that Jehovah had delivered him out of the palm of all his enemies and out of [King] Saul’s palm.”—2 Samuel 22:1.
2. What are some points presented in David’s song recorded in 2 Samuel chapter 22?
2 David began his song (paralleling Psalm 18) by praising Jehovah as “the Provider of escape” in answer to prayer. (2 Samuel 22:2-7) From his heavenly temple, God acted to deliver his loyal servant from mighty foes. (2Sa 22 Verses 8-19) David was thus rewarded for pursuing an upright course and keeping Jehovah’s ways. (2Sa 22 Verses 20-27) Enumerated next were deeds done in God-given strength. (2Sa 22 Verses 28-43) Last, David cited deliverance from faultfinders at home and from enemies abroad and gave thanks to Jehovah as “the One doing great acts of salvation for his king and exercising loving-kindness to his anointed one.” (2Sa 22 Verses 44-51) Jehovah can deliver us too if we pursue an upright course and rely on him for strength.
What It Means to Be Loyal
3. From a Scriptural standpoint, what does it mean to be loyal?
3 David’s song of deliverance gives us this comforting assurance: “With someone loyal you [Jehovah] will act in loyalty.” (2 Samuel 22:26) It is the Hebrew adjective cha·sidhʹ that denotes “someone loyal,” or “one of loving-kindness.” (Psalm 18:25, footnote) The noun cheʹsedh contains the thought of kindness that lovingly attaches itself to an object until its purpose in connection therewith is realized. Jehovah expresses that sort of kindness for his servants, even as they express it for him. This righteous, holy loyalty is rendered “loving-kindness” and “loyal love.” (Genesis 20:13; 21:23) In the Greek Scriptures, “loyalty” carries the idea of holiness and reverence, expressed in the noun ho·si·oʹtes and the adjective hoʹsi·os. Such loyalty includes faithfulness and devotion and means being devout and carefully performing all duties toward God. To be loyal to Jehovah means to stick to him with devotion so strong that it acts like a powerful adhesive.
4. How is Jehovah’s loyalty shown?
4 Jehovah’s own loyalty is shown in many ways. For example, he takes judicial action against the wicked because of loyal love for his people and loyalty to justice and righteousness. (Revelation 15:3, 4; 16:5) Loyalty to his covenant with Abraham moved him to be long-suffering toward the Israelites. (2 Kings 13:23) Those loyal to God can count on his help to the end of their loyal course and can be sure that he will remember them. (Psalm 37:27, 28; 97:10) Jesus was strengthened by the knowledge that as God’s chief “loyal one,” his soul would not be left in Sheol.—Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:25, 27.
5. Since Jehovah is loyal, what does he require of his servants, and what question will be given consideration?
5 Since Jehovah God is loyal, he requires loyalty of his servants. (Ephesians 4:24) For example, men must be loyal to qualify for appointment as congregation elders. (Titus 1:8) What factors should move Jehovah’s people to serve him loyally?
Appreciation for the Things Learned
6. How should we feel about the Scriptural things we have learned, and what should we remember about such knowledge?
6 Gratitude for the Scriptural things we have learned should move us to serve Jehovah loyally. The apostle Paul urged Timothy: “Continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from what persons you learned them and that from infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14, 15) Remember that such knowledge came from God through “the faithful and discreet slave.”—Matthew 24:45-47.
7. How should elders feel about spiritual food provided by God through the faithful slave?
7 Especially should appointed elders appreciate the nourishing spiritual food provided by God through the faithful slave. Years ago a few elders lacked such appreciation. One observer noted that these men “were critical of the articles in The Watchtower, not wanting to accept it as . . . God’s channel of truth, always trying to influence others in their way of thinking.” However, loyal elders never try to influence others to reject any of the spiritual food provided by God through the faithful slave.
8. What if we do not fully appreciate some Scriptural point presented by the faithful and discreet slave?
8 As Jehovah’s dedicated Witnesses, all of us must be loyal to him and to his organization. We should never even contemplate turning aside from God’s wonderful light, pursuing an apostate course that can lead to spiritual death now and eventual destruction. (Jeremiah 17:13) But what if it is hard for us to accept or fully appreciate some Scriptural point presented by the faithful slave? Then let us humbly acknowledge where we learned the truth and pray for wisdom to deal with this trial until it comes to an end with some published clarification of matters.—James 1:5-8.
Appreciate the Christian Brotherhood
9. How does 1 John 1:3-6 show that Christians must have a spirit of fellowship?
9 Heartfelt appreciation for the spirit of fellowship existing within our Christian brotherhood furnishes another incentive to serve Jehovah loyally. In fact, our relationship with God and Christ cannot be spiritually sound without this spirit. The apostle John told anointed Christians: “That which we have seen and heard we are reporting also to you, that you too may be having a sharing [“fellowship,” Diaglott] with us. Furthermore, this sharing of ours is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. . . . If we make the statement: ‘We are having a sharing with him,’ and yet we go on walking in the darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.” (1 John 1:3-6) This principle applies to all Christians, whether their hope is heavenly or earthly.
10. Though Euodia and Syntyche apparently had difficulty resolving a personal problem, how did Paul view these women?
10 Effort is required to maintain a spirit of fellowship. For instance, the Christian women Euodia and Syntyche apparently found it difficult to resolve a problem between them. Paul thus exhorted them “to be of the same mind in the Lord.” He added: “I request you too, genuine yokefellow, keep assisting these women who have striven side by side with me in the good news along with Clement as well as the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” (Philippians 4:2, 3) Those godly women had fought side by side with Paul and others “in the good news,” and he was sure that they were among those ‘whose names were in the book of life.’
11. If a loyal Christian encounters a spiritual problem, what would it be fitting to keep in mind?
11 Christians do not wear an insignia to show what they have been privileged to do in Jehovah’s organization and how they have served him loyally. If they have a spiritual problem, how unloving it would be to ignore their years of loyal service to Jehovah! Likely, the one called “genuine yokefellow” was a loyal brother eager to assist others. If you are an elder, are you a “genuine yokefellow,” ready to give help in a compassionate way? May all of us consider the good done by fellow believers, even as God does, and lovingly help them to bear their burdens.—Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 6:10.
Nowhere Else to Go
12. When Jesus’ statements caused ‘many disciples to go off to the things behind,’ what position did Peter take?
12 We will be impelled to serve Jehovah loyally with his organization if we remember that there is nowhere else to go for life eternal. When Jesus’ statements caused ‘many disciples to go off to the things behind,’ he asked his apostles: “You do not want to go also, do you?” Peter replied: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life; and we have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”—John 6:66-69.
13, 14. (a) Why did first-century Judaism lack divine favor? (b) What did one longtime Witness of Jehovah say about God’s visible organization?
13 “Sayings of everlasting life” were not found in Judaism of the first century C.E. Its principal sin was the rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. In none of its forms was Judaism based exclusively on the Hebrew Scriptures. The Sadducees denied the existence of angels and did not believe in the resurrection. Though the Pharisees disagreed with them in these respects, they sinfully made God’s Word invalid because of their unscriptural traditions. (Matthew 15:1-11; Acts 23:6-9) These traditions enslaved the Jews and made it difficult for many to accept Jesus Christ. (Colossians 2:8) Zeal for ‘the traditions of his fathers’ caused Saul (Paul) in his ignorance to be a vicious persecutor of Christ’s followers.—Galatians 1:13, 14, 23.
14 Judaism lacked God’s favor, but Jehovah blessed the organization made up of his Son’s followers—‘a people zealous for fine works.’ (Titus 2:14) That organization still exists, and of it a longtime Witness of Jehovah said: “If one thing has been most important to me, it has been the matter of keeping close to Jehovah’s visible organization. My early experience taught me how unsound it is to rely on human reasoning. Once my mind had been resolved on that point, I determined to stay by the faithful organization. How else can one get Jehovah’s favor and blessing?” There is nowhere else to go for divine favor and life eternal.
15. Why cooperate with Jehovah’s visible organization and with those shouldering responsibility in it?
15 Our hearts should impel us to cooperate with Jehovah’s organization because we know that it alone is directed by his spirit and is making known his name and purposes. Of course, those shouldering responsibility in it are imperfect. (Romans 5:12) But “Jehovah’s anger got to be hot” against Aaron and Miriam when they found fault with Moses and forgot that he, not they, was entrusted with God-given responsibility. (Numbers 12:7-9) Today, loyal Christians cooperate with “those who are taking the lead” because that is what Jehovah requires. (Hebrews 13:7, 17) Evidence of our loyalty includes attending Christian meetings regularly and making comments that ‘incite others to love and fine works.’—Hebrews 10:24, 25.
16. A desire to do what for others should also move us to serve Jehovah loyally?
16 A desire to be upbuilding to others should also motivate us to serve Jehovah loyally. Paul wrote: “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Corinthians 8:1) Since a certain kind of knowledge puffed up its possessors, Paul must have meant that love also upbuilds those showing that quality. A book by Professors Weiss and English says: “The person who has the capacity to love is usually loved in return. The capacity to extend good will and consideration into every aspect of life . . . has a marked constructive effect upon the person who extends such feelings as well as upon the person who receives them and thus brings pleasure to both.” By showing love, we upbuild others and ourselves, as is implied by Jesus’ words: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”—Acts 20:35.
17. How does love build up, and what will it prevent us from doing?
17 At 1 Corinthians 8:1, Paul used the Greek word a·gaʹpe, denoting principled love. It builds up, for it is long-suffering and kind, bears and endures all things, and never fails. This love dispels damaging emotions, such as pride and jealousy. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Such love will keep us from complaining about our brothers, who are imperfect even as we are. It will prevent us from becoming like the “ungodly men” who “slipped in” among true Christians of the first century. These men were “disregarding lordship and speaking abusively of glorious ones,” evidently maligning such individuals as anointed Christian overseers who had certain glory conferred upon them. (Jude 3, 4, 8) In loyalty to Jehovah, let us never yield to temptation to do anything similar.
Resist the Devil!
18. What would Satan like to do to Jehovah’s people, but why can he not do so?
18 Knowledge that Satan wants to destroy our unity as God’s people should increase our determination to serve Jehovah loyally. Satan would even like to do away with all of God’s people, and the Devil’s earthly servants sometimes kill true worshipers. But God will not allow Satan to wipe out all of them. Jesus died to “bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil.” (Hebrews 2:14) Especially has Satan’s realm for exercising power been limited since his ouster from heaven after Christ became King in 1914. And in Jehovah’s due time, Jesus will destroy Satan and his organization.
19. (a) What warning about Satan’s efforts did this journal give years ago? (b) To avoid Satan’s snares, what care should we exercise in dealing with fellow believers?
19 This journal once warned: “If Satan, the devil, can cause disorder among the people of God, can cause them to quarrel and fight among themselves, or to manifest and develop a selfish disposition that would lead to the destruction of love for the brethren, he would thereby succeed in devouring them.” (The Watch Tower, May 1, 1921, page 134) Let us not allow the Devil to destroy our unity, perhaps by inducing us to slander, or fight with, one another. (Leviticus 19:16) May Satan never overreach us in such a way that we personally harm those loyally serving Jehovah or make life more difficult for them. (Compare 2 Corinthians 2:10, 11.) Rather, let us apply Peter’s words: “Keep your senses, be watchful. Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone. But take your stand against him, solid in the faith.” (1 Peter 5:8, 9) By taking a firm stand against Satan, we can maintain our blessed unity as Jehovah’s people.—Psalm 133:1-3.
Prayerfully Rely on God
20, 21. How is prayerful reliance on Jehovah related to serving him loyally?
20 Prayerful reliance on God will help us to continue serving Jehovah loyally. When we see that he is answering our prayers, we are drawn ever closer to him. Prayerful reliance on Jehovah God was urged when the apostle Paul wrote: “I desire that in every place the men carry on prayer, lifting up loyal hands, apart from wrath and debates.” (1 Timothy 2:8) For instance, how important it is that elders prayerfully rely on God! Such a display of loyalty to Jehovah when meeting to discuss congregation matters will help to prevent endless debates and possible outbursts of wrath.
21 Prayerful reliance on Jehovah God helps us to care for privileges in his service. A man who had served Jehovah loyally for decades could say: “Our willing acceptance of any assignment given us in God’s worldwide organization, and our remaining at our post of duty, unmovable, bring God’s smile of approval upon our earnest efforts. Even if the task assigned should appear to be menial, it often turns out that without its faithful execution many other vital services could not be performed. Thus if we are humble and directly interested in glorifying Jehovah’s name and not our own, then we can be sure that we shall always be ‘steadfast, unmovable, having plenty to do in Jehovah’s work.’”—1 Corinthians 15:58.
22. How should Jehovah’s many blessings affect our loyalty?
22 Regardless of what we do in Jehovah’s service, of course, we cannot repay him for what he does for us. How secure we are in God’s organization, surrounded by those who are his friends! (James 2:23) Jehovah has blessed us with unity springing from brotherly love so deep-rooted that Satan himself cannot uproot it. Let us therefore stick to our loyal heavenly Father and work together as his people. Now and for all eternity, let us serve Jehovah loyally.
How Would You Answer?
□ What does it mean to be loyal?
□ What are some factors that should move us to serve Jehovah loyally?
□ Why must we resist the Devil?
□ How can prayer help us to be loyal servants of Jehovah?
[Picture on page 23]
Jehovah’s loyal servants do not allow their lionlike Adversary, the Devil, to disrupt their unity