They “Did Just So”
“This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments.”—1 JOHN 5:3.
1. What can be said as to the extent of God’s love?
“GOD IS LOVE.” All who come to know God and obey his commandments gain a deep appreciation for the depth of that love. “The love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent forth his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.” As we exercise faith in Jesus’ precious ransom sacrifice, we ‘remain in God’s love.’ (1 John 4:8-10, 16) Thus we may enjoy a wealth of spiritual blessings now and in the system of things to come, everlasting life.—John 17:3; 1 John 2:15, 17.
2. How has observing God’s commandments benefited his servants?
2 The Bible record abounds with examples of those who have observed God’s commandments and have been richly blessed as a result. These include pre-Christian witnesses, concerning some of whom the apostle Paul wrote: “In faith all these died, although they did not get the fulfillment of the promises, but they saw them afar off and welcomed them and publicly declared that they were strangers and temporary residents in the land.” (Hebrews 11:13) Later, devoted Christian servants of God benefited from “the undeserved kindness and the truth [that] came to be through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) Throughout some 6,000 years of human history, Jehovah has rewarded faithful witnesses who have obeyed his commandments, which truly “are not burdensome.”—1 John 5:2, 3.
In the Days of Noah
3. In what ways did Noah do “just so”?
3 The Bible record states: “By faith Noah, after being given divine warning of things not yet beheld, showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; and through this faith he condemned the world, and he became an heir of the righteousness that is according to faith.” As “a preacher of righteousness,” Noah obeyed God implicitly, warning the violent pre-Flood world about the impending divine judgment. (Hebrews 11:7; 2 Peter 2:5) In building the ark, he carefully followed the divinely provided blueprint. Then he brought in the designated animals and food supplies. “Noah proceeded to do according to all that God had commanded him. He did just so.”—Genesis 6:22.
4, 5. (a) How has a sinister influence affected mankind to this day? (b) Why should we do “just so” in obeying divine instructions?
4 Noah and his family had to contend with the sinister influence of disobedient angels. These sons of God materialized and cohabited with women, producing a superhuman hybrid offspring that bullied mankind. “The earth came to be ruined in the sight of the true God and the earth became filled with violence.” Jehovah sent the Deluge to wipe out that wicked generation. (Genesis 6:4, 11-17; 7:1) Since Noah’s day demonic angels have not been permitted to materialize in human form. Nevertheless, ‘the whole world continues to lie in the power of the wicked one,’ Satan the Devil. (1 John 5:19; Revelation 12:9) Prophetically, Jesus compared that rebellious generation of Noah’s day to the generation of mankind that has rejected him since the sign of his “presence” began to become evident in 1914.—Matthew 24:3, 34, 37-39; Luke 17:26, 27.
5 Today, as in Noah’s day, Satan is trying to bring mankind and our planet to ruination. (Revelation 11:15-18) Hence it is urgent that we heed the inspired command: “Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the crafty acts of the Devil.” (Ephesians 6:11, footnote) In this, we are fortified by studying God’s Word and applying it in our lives. Further, we have Jehovah’s caring organization, with its anointed “faithful and discreet slave” and its loving elders, to shepherd us patiently in the way that we should go. We have a global preaching work to accomplish. (Matthew 24:14, 45-47) Like Noah, who so carefully obeyed divine instructions, may we always do “just so.”
Moses—The Meekest of Men
6, 7. (a) What rewarding choice did Moses make? (b) What courageous pattern did Moses leave for us?
6 Consider another man of faith—Moses. He could have enjoyed a self-sparing life amid the luxuries of Egypt. But he chose “to be ill-treated with the people of God rather than to have the temporary enjoyment of sin.” As Jehovah’s commissioned servant, “he looked intently toward the payment of the reward [and] continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.”—Hebrews 11:23-28.
7 At Numbers 12:3, we read: “The man Moses was by far the meekest of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground.” Conversely, Pharaoh of Egypt acted like the proudest of all men. When Jehovah commanded Moses and Aaron to declare his judgment on Pharaoh, how did they respond? We are told: “Moses and Aaron went ahead doing as Jehovah had commanded them. They did just so.” (Exodus 7:4-7) What a courageous pattern for us who declare God’s judgments today!
8. How were the Israelites required to do “just so,” and how will the rejoicing that resulted be paralleled in the near future?
8 Did the Israelites lend Moses loyal support? After Jehovah had afflicted Egypt with nine of the ten plagues, he gave Israel detailed instructions on celebrating the Passover. “Then the people bowed low and prostrated themselves. Subsequently the sons of Israel went and did just as Jehovah had commanded Moses and Aaron. They did just so.” (Exodus 12:27, 28) At midnight of that eventful day, Nisan 14, 1513 B.C.E., God’s angel proceeded to slay all of Egypt’s firstborn but passed over the Israelite homes. Why were the firstborn of Israel spared? Because they had found protection under the blood of the Passover lamb, splashed on their doorways. They had done just as Jehovah had commanded Moses and Aaron. Yes, “they did just so.” (Exodus 12:50, 51) At the Red Sea, Jehovah performed a further miracle in saving his obedient people while destroying Pharaoh and his mighty military machine. How the Israelites exulted! Likewise today, many who have obeyed Jehovah’s commandments will rejoice to be eyewitnesses of his vindication at Armageddon.—Exodus 15:1, 2; Revelation 15:3, 4.
9. What modern-day privileges are foreshadowed by the Israelites’ doing “just so” in connection with the tabernacle?
9 When Jehovah commanded Israel to take up a contribution and build a tabernacle in the wilderness, the people generously gave their full support. Then, even to the minutest detail, Moses and his willing coworkers followed the architectural plans provided by Jehovah. “So the work for the tabernacle of the tent of meeting all came to its completion, in that the sons of Israel kept doing according to all that Jehovah had commanded Moses. They did just so.” Similarly, at the inauguration of the priesthood, “Moses proceeded to do according to all that Jehovah had commanded him. He did just so.” (Exodus 39:32; 40:16) In modern times, we have the opportunity to give wholehearted support to the preaching work and to programs for Kingdom expansion. It is our privilege thus to unite in doing “just so.”
Joshua—Courageous and Very Strong
10, 11. (a) What equipped Joshua for success? (b) How may we be strengthened to cope with modern-day trials?
10 When Moses commissioned Joshua to lead Israel into the land of promise, likely Jehovah’s inspired written Word was available only in the five books of Moses, one or two psalms, and the book of Job. Moses had instructed Joshua to congregate the people when they reached the Promised Land and to “read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing.” (Deuteronomy 31:10-12) Moreover, Jehovah himself commanded Joshua: “This book of the law should not depart from your mouth, and you must in an undertone read in it day and night, in order that you may take care to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way successful and then you will act wisely.”—Joshua 1:8.
11 The daily reading of Jehovah’s “book” equipped Joshua to handle the trials ahead, just as daily reading of Jehovah’s Word, the Bible, strengthens His modern-day Witnesses to cope with the trials of these critical “last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1) Surrounded as we are by a violent world, let us also take to heart God’s admonition to Joshua: “Be courageous and strong. Do not suffer shock or be terrified, for Jehovah your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) After conquering Canaan, Israel’s tribes were richly rewarded when settling into their inheritance. “Just as Jehovah had commanded Moses, so the sons of Israel did.” (Joshua 14:5) A similar reward awaits all of us today who read God’s Word and apply it in our lives, obediently doing “just so.”
Kings—Faithful and Disobedient
12. (a) What command was given to the kings in Israel? (b) The kings’ failure to obey resulted in what?
12 What of the kings in Israel? Jehovah had laid upon the king this requirement: “When he takes his seat on the throne of his kingdom, he must write in a book for himself a copy of this law from that which is in the charge of the priests, the Levites. And it must continue with him, and he must read in it all the days of his life, in order that he may learn to fear Jehovah his God so as to keep all the words of this law and these regulations by doing them.” (Deuteronomy 17:18, 19) Did Israel’s kings obey that command? For the most part, they failed miserably, so that they suffered the maledictions foretold at Deuteronomy 28:15-68. Finally, Israel was scattered “from the one end of the earth to the other end of the earth.”
13. How may we be benefited, as was David, by showing love for Jehovah’s Word?
13 However, David—the first faithful human king in Israel—showed exceptional devotion to Jehovah. He proved to be ‘a lion cub in Judah,’ foreshadowing Christ Jesus, the conquering ‘lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David.’ (Genesis 49:8, 9; Revelation 5:5) Wherein did David’s strength lie? He had deep appreciation for Jehovah’s written Word and lived by it. In Psalm 19, “a melody of David,” we read: “The law of Jehovah is perfect.” After referring to the reminder, orders, commandment, and judicial decisions of Jehovah, David goes on to state: “They are more to be desired than gold, yes, than much refined gold; and sweeter than honey and the flowing honey of the combs. Also, your own servant has been warned by them; in the keeping of them there is a large reward.” (Psalm 19:7-11) If daily reading of Jehovah’s Word and meditating on it were rewarding 3,000 years ago, how much more this is so today!—Psalm 1:1-3; 13:6; 119:72, 97, 111.
14. In what way does Solomon’s course show the need for more than knowledge?
14 Still, it is not sufficient simply to gain knowledge. It is also essential for God’s servants to act upon that knowledge, to apply it according to the divine will—yes, to do “just so.” This can be illustrated in the case of David’s son Solomon, whom Jehovah chose “to sit upon the throne of the kingship of Jehovah over Israel.” Solomon received the assignment to build the temple, using the architectural plans that David received “by inspiration.” (1 Chronicles 28:5, 11-13) How could Solomon accomplish this tremendous task? In answer to a prayer, Jehovah granted him wisdom and knowledge. With these, and by adhering to the divinely provided plans, Solomon was able to construct that magnificent house, which came to be filled with Jehovah’s glory. (2 Chronicles 7:2, 3) Later, though, Solomon failed. In what respect? Jehovah’s law had stated concerning the king in Israel: “He should also not multiply wives for himself, that his heart may not turn aside.” (Deuteronomy 17:17) Yet Solomon “came to have seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives gradually . . . inclined his heart to follow other gods.” In his later years, Solomon turned aside from doing “just so.”—1 Kings 11:3, 4; Nehemiah 13:26.
15. How did Josiah do “just so”?
15 There were a few obedient kings in Judah, the last of whom was Josiah. In the year 648 B.C.E., he started to clean idolatry out of the land and to renovate Jehovah’s temple. It was there that the high priest found “the book of Jehovah’s law by the hand of Moses.” What did Josiah do about this? “The king now went up to the house of Jehovah with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the Levites and all the people, the great as well as the small; and he began to read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant, which had been found at the house of Jehovah. And the king kept standing in his place and proceeded to conclude the covenant before Jehovah to go following Jehovah and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his regulations with all his heart and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book.” (2 Chronicles 34:14, 30, 31) Yes, Josiah “did just so.” As a result of his faithful course, the execution of Jehovah’s judgment on faithless Judah was stayed until the days of his delinquent sons.
Living by God’s Word
16, 17. (a) In what respects must we follow in Jesus’ footsteps? (b) What other faithful servants of God provide examples for us?
16 Of all the men who ever lived, the finest example of meditating on God’s Word and living by it is the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s Word was as food to him. (John 4:34) He told his listeners: “The Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he beholds the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19, 30; 7:28; 8:28, 42) Jesus “did just so,” declaring: “I have come down from heaven to do, not my will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38) We who are dedicated Witnesses of Jehovah are called upon to do “just so” by following in Jesus’ footsteps.—Luke 9:23; 14:27; 1 Peter 2:21.
17 Doing God’s will was always uppermost in Jesus’ mind. He was thoroughly familiar with God’s Word and was thus equipped to give Scriptural answers. (Matthew 4:1-11; 12:24-31) By paying constant attention to God’s Word, we too can become “fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) Let us follow the example of faithful servants of Jehovah in ancient times and in later times and above all that of our Master, Jesus Christ, who said: “In order for the world to know that I love the Father, even as the Father has given me commandment to do, so I am doing.” (John 14:31) May we also show our love for God by continuing to do “just so.”—Mark 12:29-31.
18. What should stimulate us to “become doers of the word,” and what will be discussed next?
18 As we meditate upon the obedient course of God’s servants in Bible times, are we not encouraged to perform faithful service during the closing days of Satan’s wicked system? (Romans 15:4-6) We should indeed be stimulated to “become doers of the word” in the fullest sense, as the following article will discuss.—James 1:22.
Do You Recall?
□ What should “the love of God” mean for us?
□ What do we learn from the examples of Noah, Moses, and Joshua?
□ To what extent did the kings in Israel obey God’s “word”?
□ How is Jesus our Exemplar in doing “just so”?
[Pictures on page 15]
Noah, Moses, and Joshua “did just so”