Enjoy the Benefits of Divine Teaching
“I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself.”—ISAIAH 48:17.
1. How will we fare if we apply divine teaching in our lives?
JEHOVAH GOD knows best. Nobody surpasses him in thought, word, or action. As our Creator, he is aware of our needs and supplies them abundantly. He certainly knows how to instruct us. And if we apply divine teaching, we benefit ourselves and enjoy true happiness.
2, 3. (a) How would God’s ancient people have benefited themselves if they had obeyed his commandments? (b) What will happen if we apply divine teaching in our lives today?
2 Divine teaching reveals God’s earnest desire that his servants avoid calamity and enjoy life by complying with his laws and principles. If Jehovah’s ancient people had listened to him, they would have enjoyed rich blessings, for he had told them: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”—Isaiah 48:17, 18.
3 God’s ancient people would have benefited themselves if they had paid attention to his commandments and instructions. Instead of suffering calamity at Babylonian hands, they would have enjoyed peace and prosperity as full, deep, and perennial as a river. Moreover, their righteous deeds would have been as innumerable as the sea’s waves. Similarly, if we apply divine teaching in our lives, we can enjoy its many benefits. What are some of these?
It Changes Lives
4. How has divine teaching been affecting the lives of many people?
4 Divine teaching has been benefiting many people by changing their lives for the good. Those who apply Jehovah’s instruction abandon “works of the flesh,” such as loose conduct, idolatry, spiritism, strife, and jealousy. Instead, they display the spirit’s fruitage of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:19-23) They also heed the counsel of Ephesians 4:17-24, where Paul urges fellow believers not to walk as the nations do, in the unprofitableness of their minds and in mental darkness, alienated from the life that belongs to God. Not being led by insensible hearts, Christlike individuals ‘put away the old personality that conforms to their former course of conduct and are made new in the force actuating their mind.’ They ‘put on the new personality created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.’
5. How does divine teaching affect the way people walk?
5 A fine benefit of applying divine teaching is that it shows us how to walk with God. If we walk with Jehovah, as Noah did, we follow the life course outlined by our Grand Instructor. (Genesis 6:9; Isaiah 30:20, 21) People of the nations “walk in the unprofitableness of their minds,” as the apostle Paul said. And how unprofitable some writings of those minds can be! Noting the writings of others on a wall in Pompeii, one observer himself wrote: “It is a wonder, O wall, that thou hast not yet crumbled under the weight of so much written nonsense.” But there is no nonsense in “the teaching of Jehovah” and the Kingdom-preaching work it makes possible. (Acts 13:12) By means of that work, truth-loving people are brought to their senses. They are taught how to stop walking in their sinful way, in ignorance of God’s purposes. No longer are they in darkness mentally, nor are they motivated by insensible hearts seeking unprofitable goals.
6. What relationship is there between our obedience to Jehovah’s teaching and our happiness?
6 Divine teaching also benefits us in that it acquaints us with Jehovah and his dealings. Such knowledge draws us closer to God, increases our love for him, and heightens our desire to obey him. Says 1 John 5:3: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.” We also comply with Jesus’ commandments because we know that his teaching is from God. (John 7:16-18) Such obedience protects us from spiritual harm and promotes our happiness.
A Real Purpose in Life
7, 8. (a) How are we to understand Psalm 90:12? (b) How can we bring in a heart of wisdom?
7 The teaching of Jehovah is beneficial in showing us how to use our life in a purposeful manner. In fact, divine teaching shows us how to count our days in a special way. A life expectancy of 70 years holds promise of some 25,550 days. A person 50 years old has already spent 18,250 of them, and his 7,300 remaining hoped-for days seem few indeed. Especially then may he appreciate more fully why the prophet Moses prayed to God at Psalm 90:12: “Show us just how to count our days in such a way that we may bring a heart of wisdom in.” But what did Moses mean by that?
8 Moses did not mean that God would reveal the exact number of days there would be in the lifetime of each Israelite. According to Psalm 90, verses 9 and 10, that Hebrew prophet recognized that a life span might be some 70 or 80 years—brief indeed. So the words of Psalm 90:12 evidently expressed Moses’ prayerful desire that Jehovah show, or teach, him and His people to exercise wisdom in valuing ‘the days of their years’ and using them in a God-approved way. Well, then, what about us? Do we appreciate each precious day? Are we bringing in a heart of wisdom by seeking to spend every day in a worthwhile way to the glory of our Grand Instructor, Jehovah God? Divine teaching helps us to do just that.
9. What can be expected if we learn to count our days to Jehovah’s glory?
9 If we learn to count our days to Jehovah’s glory, we may be able to keep right on counting, for divine teaching imparts knowledge for life eternal. “This means everlasting life,” said Jesus, “their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Of course, if we acquired all the worldly knowledge available, it would not bring us life eternal. But everlasting life can be ours if we gain and apply accurate knowledge of the two most important persons in the universe and really exercise faith.
10. What does one encyclopedia say about education, and how does this compare with the benefits of divine teaching?
10 No matter how long we have already lived, let us remember this notable benefit of divine teaching: It gives those applying it a real purpose in life. The World Book Encyclopedia states: “Education should help people become useful members of society. It should also help them develop an appreciation of their cultural heritage and live more satisfying lives.” Divine teaching is beneficial in helping us to live satisfying lives. It develops within us keen appreciation for our spiritual heritage as God’s people. And it surely makes us useful members of society, for it enables us to play a vital role in meeting the needs of people earth wide. Why can that be said?
Worldwide Teaching Program
11. How did Thomas Jefferson highlight the need for proper education?
11 Like no other program of instruction, divine teaching meets the educational needs of the people. The need to teach people was noted by Thomas Jefferson, who became the third president of the United States. In a letter of August 13, 1786, to George Wythe, a friend and a cosigner of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote: “I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness. . . . Preach, my dear sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish and improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know . . . that the tax which will be paid for the purpose [of education] is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests, and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”
12. Why can it be said that divine teaching is the most successful and beneficial program for global education?
12 Far from leaving righteously disposed people in ignorance, Jehovah’s teaching provides the best program for global education for their benefit. While World War II was still raging 50 years ago, the U.S. Committee on Educational Reconstruction saw an urgent need for “global education.” That need still exists, but divine teaching is the only successful program for global education. It is also the most beneficial because it raises people out of despair, uplifts them morally and spiritually, saves them from the world’s pride and prejudice, and imparts knowledge for eternal life. Above all, this program is benefiting people everywhere by teaching them to serve Jehovah God.
13. How is Isaiah 2:2-4 being fulfilled today?
13 The benefits of divine teaching are being enjoyed by the multitudes now becoming God’s servants. They are conscious of their spiritual need and are fully aware that Jehovah’s day is near. (Matthew 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6) Right now, “in the final part of the days,” these people of all nations are streaming to Jehovah’s mountain, his pure worship. It is firmly established and is exalted high above all worship that is contrary to God’s will. (Isaiah 2:2-4) If you are a dedicated Witness of Jehovah, are you not delighted to be among the ever-increasing throngs worshiping him and benefiting from divine teaching? How wonderful it is to be among those who exclaim: “Praise Jah, you people!”—Psalm 150:6.
Beneficial Effect on Our Spirit
14. Of what benefit is it to follow Paul’s counsel at 1 Corinthians 14:20?
14 Among the many benefits of divine teaching is the fine effect it can have on our thinking and spirit. It prompts us to think on righteous, chaste, virtuous, and praiseworthy things. (Philippians 4:8) Jehovah’s teaching helps us to follow Paul’s counsel: “Be babes as to badness; yet become full-grown in powers of understanding.” (1 Corinthians 14:20) If we apply this admonition, we will not seek knowledge in wickedness. Paul also wrote: “Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech be taken away from you along with all badness.” (Ephesians 4:31) Heeding such counsel will help us to avoid immorality and other gross sins. While this can be beneficial physically and mentally, it will especially bring us the joy of knowing that we are pleasing God.
15. What can help us to remain virtuous in thought?
15 If we are to remain virtuous in thought, one help is to avoid ‘bad associations that spoil useful habits.’ (1 Corinthians 15:33) As Christians, we would not keep company with fornicators, adulterers, and other wrongdoers. Logically, then, we must not associate with such individuals by reading about them for sensual pleasure or by viewing them on television or in motion pictures. The heart is treacherous, can easily acquire a desire for bad things, and can be tempted to do them. (Jeremiah 17:9) Let us therefore avoid such temptations by adhering to divine teaching. It can affect the thinking of “lovers of Jehovah” to such a beneficial extent that they “hate what is bad.”—Psalm 97:10.
16. How can God’s teaching affect the spirit we display?
16 Paul told his coworker Timothy: “The Lord be with the spirit you show. His undeserved kindness be with you people.” (2 Timothy 4:22) The apostle desired that God, by the Lord Jesus Christ, approve the actuating force motivating Timothy and other Christians. God’s teaching helps us to display a loving, kind, mild spirit. (Colossians 3:9-14) And how it differs from that of many in these last days! They are haughty, unthankful, lacking in natural affection, not open to any agreement, headstrong, pleasure-loving, and bereft of true godly devotion. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) As we continue to apply the benefits of divine teaching in our lives, however, we display a spirit that endears us to God and fellow humans.
Beneficial in Human Relations
17. Why is humble cooperation so important?
17 Jehovah’s teaching helps us to see the benefits of humble cooperation with fellow worshipers. (Psalm 138:6) Unlike many people today, we do not violate righteous principles but are open to agreement. For example, much good results because appointed overseers are open to agreement during meetings of elders. These men can speak calmly in the interest of truth, while not allowing emotion to overshadow logic or cause disunity. All members of the congregation will benefit from the spirit of unity we enjoy if all of us keep on applying divine teaching.—Psalm 133:1-3.
18. Divine teaching helps us to have what view of fellow believers?
18 Divine teaching is also beneficial in helping us to have a proper view of fellow believers. Jesus said: “No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him.” (John 6:44) Since 1919 in particular, Jehovah has had his servants proclaim his judgments, and Satan’s world system has been rocked and shaken by this global warning. At the same time, God-fearing humans—“the desirable things”—have been drawn by God to separate themselves from the nations and share with anointed Christians in filling Jehovah’s house of worship with glory. (Haggai 2:7) Surely, we should view such desirable ones drawn by God as beloved associates.
19. What does God’s teaching reveal about settling personal difficulties with fellow Christians?
19 Because all of us are imperfect, of course, things will not always go smoothly. When Paul was about to set out on his second missionary trip, Barnabas was determined to take Mark along. Paul did not agree because Mark “had departed from them from Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.” At that, “a sharp burst of anger” ensued. Barnabas took Mark with him to Cyprus, whereas Paul had Silas accompany him through Syria and Cilicia. (Acts 15:36-41) Later, this breach was evidently healed, for Mark was with Paul in Rome, and the apostle spoke well of him. (Colossians 4:10) One benefit of divine teaching is that it shows us how to settle personal difficulties between Christians by following such counsel as that of Jesus at Matthew 5:23, 24 and Matthew 18:15-17.
Ever Beneficial and Triumphant
20, 21. Our consideration of divine teaching should move us to do what?
20 Even from our brief consideration of some benefits and triumphs of divine teaching, doubtless all of us can see the need to persevere in applying it in our lives. With a prayerful spirit, then, let us continue to learn from our Grand Instructor. Soon, divine teaching will triumph as never before. It will be triumphant when this world’s intellectual ones have drawn their last breath. (Compare 1 Corinthians 1:19.) Moreover, as millions more learn and do God’s will, the knowledge of Jehovah will fill the earth as the waters cover the very sea. (Isaiah 11:9) How grandly this will benefit obedient mankind and vindicate Jehovah as the Universal Sovereign!
21 The teaching of Jehovah will always be beneficial and triumphant. Will you continue to benefit from it as an ardent student of God’s great Textbook? Are you living in harmony with the Bible and sharing its truths with others? If so, you can look forward to seeing the complete triumph of divine teaching, to the glory of our Grand Instructor, the Sovereign Lord Jehovah.
What Have You Learned?
□ What effect can divine teaching have on our lives?
□ How is Jehovah’s teaching meeting educational needs?
□ What beneficial effect can divine teaching have on our thinking and attitude?
□ How does God’s teaching prove beneficial with regard to human relations?
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Divine teaching shows us how to walk with God, as Noah did
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People of all nations are streaming to Jehovah’s mountain