You Are Precious in God’s Eyes!
“With a love to time indefinite I have loved you. That is why I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”—JEREMIAH 31:3.
1. How did Jesus’ attitude toward the common people of his day differ from that of the Pharisees?
THEY could see it in his eyes. This man, Jesus, was nothing like their religious leaders; he cared. He felt pity for these people because they “were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36) Their religious leaders were supposed to be loving shepherds representing a loving, merciful God. Instead, they looked down on the common people as mere rabble—and accursed!* (John 7:47-49; compare Ezekiel 34:4.) Clearly, such a warped, unscriptural outlook was a far cry from Jehovah’s view of his people. He had told his nation, Israel: “With a love to time indefinite I have loved you.”—Jeremiah 31:3.
2. How did Job’s three companions try to convince him that he was worthless in God’s eyes?
2 The Pharisees, though, were hardly the first to try to convince Jehovah’s beloved sheep that they were worthless. Consider the case of Job. To Jehovah he was righteous and blameless, but the three “comforters” insinuated that Job was an immoral, wicked apostate who would die without leaving a trace behind him. They asserted that God would not value any righteousness on Job’s part, since God did not trust even his own angels and viewed heaven itself as unclean!—Job 1:8; 4:18; 15:15, 16; 18:17-19; 22:3.
3. What means does Satan use today to try to convince people that they are worthless and unlovable?
3 Today, Satan is still using this ‘crafty act’ of trying to convince people that they are unloved and worthless. (Ephesians 6:11, footnote) True, he often seduces people by appealing to their vanity and pride. (2 Corinthians 11:3) But he also delights in crushing the self-respect of vulnerable ones. This is particularly so in these critical “last days.” Many today grow up in families where there is “no natural affection”; many have to deal daily with those who are fierce, selfish, and headstrong. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Years of ill-treatment, racism, hatred, or abuse may have convinced such ones that they are worthless and unlovable. One man wrote: “I don’t feel love for or loved by anyone. I find it very difficult to believe that God cares anything about me.”
4, 5. (a) Why is the idea of personal worthlessness contrary to the Scriptures? (b) What is one dangerous consequence of our believing that none of our efforts are worth anything?
4 The idea of personal worthlessness stabs at the heart of the truth of God’s Word, the teaching of the ransom. (John 3:16) If God would pay so high a price—his own Son’s precious life—to buy us an opportunity to live forever, surely He must love us; surely we must be worth something in His eyes!
5 Furthermore, how discouraging it would be to feel that we are displeasing to God, that none of our efforts are worth anything! (Compare Proverbs 24:10.) In this negative light, even well-meant encouragement, designed to help us further our service to God where possible, may to some sound instead like condemnation. It may seem to echo our own inner conviction that whatever we do is not enough.
6. What is the best antidote to extremely negative thoughts about ourselves?
6 If you sense such negative feelings in yourself, do not despair. Many of us are unreasonably hard on ourselves from time to time. And remember, God’s Word is designed for “setting things straight” and for “overturning strongly entrenched things.” (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Corinthians 10:4) The apostle John wrote: “By this we shall know that we originate with the truth, and we shall assure our hearts before him as regards whatever our hearts may condemn us in, because God is greater than our hearts and knows all things.” (1 John 3:19, 20) Let us consider, then, three ways in which the Bible teaches us that we are precious to Jehovah.
Jehovah Values You
7. How did Jesus teach all Christians about their value in the eyes of God?
7 First, the Bible directly teaches that each one of us has worth in God’s eyes. Jesus said: “Five sparrows sell for two coins of small value, do they not? Yet not one of them goes forgotten before God. But even the hairs of your heads are all numbered. Have no fear; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6, 7) In those days, the sparrow was the cheapest of the birds sold as food, yet not one of them went unnoticed by its Creator. Thus the groundwork is laid for a stunning contrast: When it comes to humans—who are worth far, far more—God knows every detail. It is as if the very hairs of our heads were individually numbered!
8. Why is it realistic to think that Jehovah could number the hairs of our heads?
8 The hairs numbered? If you suspect that this aspect of Jesus’ illustration is unrealistic, consider: God remembers his faithful servants so completely that he is able to resurrect them— re-creating them in every detail, including their complex genetic codes and all their years of memories and experiences. Numbering our hairs (of which the average head sprouts about 100,000) would be a simple feat by comparison!—Luke 20:37, 38.
What Does Jehovah See in Us?
9. (a) What are some qualities that Jehovah values? (b) Why do you think that such qualities are precious to him?
9 Second, the Bible teaches us what Jehovah values in us. Simply put, he delights in our positive qualities and in our efforts. King David told his son Solomon: “All hearts Jehovah is searching, and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning.” (1 Chronicles 28:9) As God searches through billions of human hearts in this violent, hate-filled world, how delighted he must be when he comes upon a heart that loves peace, truth, and righteousness! (Compare John 1:47; 1 Peter 3:4.) What happens when God finds a heart that swells with love for him, that seeks to learn about him and share such knowledge with others? At Malachi 3:16, Jehovah tells us that he listens to those who speak with others about him and even has “a book of remembrance” for all “those in fear of Jehovah and for those thinking upon his name.” Such qualities are precious to him!
10, 11. (a) How might some tend to discount evidence that Jehovah values their good qualities? (b) How does the example of Abijah show that Jehovah values good qualities in all degrees?
10 The self-condemning heart, however, may resist such evidence of our value in the eyes of God. It may insistently whisper, ‘But there are so many others who are more exemplary in those qualities than I am. How disappointed Jehovah must be when he compares me with them!’ Jehovah does not compare, nor is he a rigid, all-or-nothing thinker. (Galatians 6:4) It is with great subtlety that he reads hearts, and he values good qualities in all degrees.
11 For instance, when Jehovah decreed that the entire apostate dynasty of King Jeroboam was to be executed, cleared away like “dung,” He ordered that just one of the king’s sons, Abijah, be given a decent burial. Why? “Something good toward Jehovah the God of Israel has been found in him.” (1 Kings 14:10, 13) Did this mean that Abijah was a faithful worshiper of Jehovah? Not necessarily, since he died, as did the rest of his wicked household. (Deuteronomy 24:16) Still, Jehovah valued the “something good” that he saw in Abijah’s heart and acted accordingly. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible notes: “Where there is but some good thing of that kind, it will be found: God that seeks it, sees it, be it ever so little, and is pleased with it.” And do not forget that if God finds even a small measure of some good quality in you, he can make it grow as long as you endeavor to serve him faithfully.
12, 13. (a) How does Psalm 139:3 show that Jehovah values our efforts? (b) In what sense might it be said that Jehovah sifts our activities?
12 Jehovah values our efforts in a similar manner. At Psalm 139:1-3, we read: “O Jehovah, you have searched through me, and you know me. You yourself have come to know my sitting down and my rising up. You have considered my thought from far off. My journeying and my lying outstretched you have measured off, and you have become familiar even with all my ways.” So Jehovah is aware of all our doings. But he is far more than just aware. In Hebrew the phrase “you have become familiar even with all my ways” may also carry the meaning “you treasure up all my ways” or “you cherish all my ways.” (Compare Matthew 6:19, 20.) How, though, could Jehovah cherish our ways when we are so imperfect and sinful?
13 Interestingly, according to some scholars, when David wrote that Jehovah had “measured off” his journeys and rest periods, the Hebrew literally meant to “sift” or “winnow.” One reference work observed: “It means . . . to winnow out all the chaff, and to leave all the grain—to save all that is valuable. So here it means that God, as it were, sifted him. . . . He scattered all that was chaff, or all that was valueless, and saw what there was that was real and substantial.” The self-condemning heart may sift our doings in the opposite way, berating us mercilessly for past errors and dismissing our accomplishments as nothing. But Jehovah forgives our sins if we sincerely repent and strive hard not to repeat our mistakes. (Psalm 103:10-14; Acts 3:19) He sifts out and remembers our good works. In fact, he remembers them forever as long as we remain faithful to him. He would view it as unrighteousness to forget these, and he is never unrighteous!—Hebrews 6:10.
14. What shows that Jehovah values our activity in the Christian ministry?
14 What are some of the good works that God values? Virtually anything we do in imitation of his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:21) Certainly one very important work, then, is the spreading of the good news of God’s Kingdom. At Romans 10:15, we read: “How comely are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!” While we may not normally think of our lowly feet as “comely,” the word Paul used here was the same one used in the Greek Septuagint version to describe Rebekah, Rachel, and Joseph—all three of whom were noted for their beauty. (Genesis 26:7; 29:17; 39:6) So our moving about in the service of our God, Jehovah, is very beautiful and precious in his eyes.—Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20.
15, 16. Why does Jehovah value our endurance, and how do King David’s words at Psalm 56:8 underscore this fact?
15 Another quality that God values is our endurance. (Matthew 24:13) Remember, Satan wants you to turn your back on Jehovah. Each day that you remain loyal to Jehovah is another day that you have helped to furnish a reply to Satan’s taunts. (Proverbs 27:11) Sometimes endurance is no easy matter. Health problems, financial woes, emotional distress, and other obstacles can make each passing day a trial. Endurance in the face of such trials is all the more precious to Jehovah. That is why King David asked Jehovah to store up his tears in a figurative “skin bottle,” asking confidently, “Are they not in your book?” (Psalm 56:8) Yes, Jehovah treasures up and remembers all the tears and suffering we endure in maintaining our loyalty to him. They too are precious in his eyes.
16 In view of our finer qualities and our efforts, how clear it is that Jehovah finds much to value in each of us! No matter how Satan’s world has treated us, Jehovah views us as precious and part of “the desirable things of all the nations.”—Haggai 2:7.
What Jehovah Has Done to Demonstrate His Love
17. Why should Christ’s ransom sacrifice convince us that Jehovah and Jesus love us as individuals?
17 Third, Jehovah does much to prove his love for us. Surely, Christ’s ransom sacrifice is the most potent answer to the satanic lie that we are worthless or unlovable. Never should we forget that the agonizing death Jesus suffered on the torture stake and the even greater agony Jehovah endured in watching his beloved Son’s death were proof of their love for us. Moreover, that love applies to us personally. That is how the apostle Paul saw it, for he wrote: “The Son of God . . . loved me and handed himself over for me.”—Galatians 2:20.
18. In what sense does Jehovah draw us to Christ?
18 Jehovah has proved his love for us by helping us individually to take advantage of the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus said at John 6:44: “No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him.” By means of the preaching work, which reaches us individually, and by means of his holy spirit, which Jehovah uses to help us grasp and apply spiritual truths despite our limitations and imperfections, Jehovah personally draws us toward his Son and the hope of eternal life. Jehovah can therefore say of us as he said of Israel: “With a love to time indefinite I have loved you. That is why I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”—Jeremiah 31:3.
19. Why should the privilege of prayer convince us of Jehovah’s personal love for us?
19 Perhaps it is through the privilege of prayer, though, that we experience Jehovah’s love in the most intimate way. He invites each of us to “pray incessantly” to him. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) He listens! He is even called the “Hearer of prayer.” (Psalm 65:2) He has not delegated this office to any other person, not even to his own Son. Just think: The Creator of the universe urges us to approach him in prayer, with freeness of speech. Your supplications may even move Jehovah to do what he might not otherwise have done.—Hebrews 4:16; James 5:16; see Isaiah 38:1-16.
20. Why is God’s love for us no excuse for self-importance or egotism on our part?
20 No balanced Christian would take such evidence of God’s love and esteem as an excuse to view himself as more important than he really is. Paul wrote: “Through the undeserved kindness given to me I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think; but to think so as to have a sound mind, each one as God has distributed to him a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3) So while we bask in the warmth of our heavenly Father’s love, let us be sound in mind and remember that God’s loving-kindness is undeserved.—Compare Luke 17:10.
21. What satanic lie must we continually resist, and what divine truth must we ever ponder?
21 Let each of us do everything in our power to resist all the ideas that Satan promotes in this dying old world. That includes rejecting the thought that we are worthless or unloved. If life in this system has taught you to see yourself as an obstacle too daunting even for God’s immense love to surmount, or your good works as too insignificant even for his all-seeing eyes to notice, or your sins as too vast even for the death of his precious Son to cover, you have been taught a lie. Reject such lies with all the repugnance that they deserve! Let us keep ever in mind the inspired words of the apostle Paul at Romans 8:38, 39: “I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In fact, they dismissed the poor with the contemptuous term “ʽam-ha·ʼaʹrets,” or “people of the land.” According to one scholar, the Pharisees taught that one should neither trust these with valuables, nor trust their testimony, nor entertain them as guests, nor be their guests, nor even buy from them. The religious leaders said that for one’s daughter to marry one of these people would be like exposing her bound and helpless to a beast.
What Do You Think?
□ Why does Satan try to convince us that we are worthless and unloved?
□ How did Jesus teach that Jehovah values each of us?
□ How do we know that Jehovah prizes our good qualities?
□ How can we be sure that Jehovah treasures our efforts?
□ How has Jehovah proved his love for us as individuals?
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Jehovah notices and remembers all of those who think upon his name