Taught to Do Jehovah’s Will
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.”—PSALM 143:10.
1, 2. (a) When should we be taught, and with what realistic view? (b) Why is being taught by Jehovah so vital?
EVERY day that a person is alive and active, he can be taught something worthwhile. That is true in your case, and it is true of others. But what happens at death? It is not possible to be taught anything or to learn in that condition. The Bible clearly says that the dead “are conscious of nothing at all.” There is no knowledge in Sheol, the common grave of mankind. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10) Does this mean that our being taught, accumulating knowledge, is in vain? That depends on what we are taught and on how we use that knowledge.
2 If we are taught only what is worldly, we have no lasting future. Happily, though, millions of people in all nations are being taught the divine will with a view to everlasting life. The basis for this hope lies in being taught by Jehovah, the Source of life-giving knowledge.—Psalm 94:9-12.
3. (a) Why can it be said that Jesus was God’s first student? (b) What assurance do we have that humans would be taught by Jehovah, and with what result?
3 God’s firstborn Son, as His first student, was taught to do his Father’s will. (Proverbs 8:22-30; John 8:28) In turn, Jesus indicated that myriads of humans would be taught by his Father. What are the prospects for those of us who learn from God? Jesus said: “It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by Jehovah.’ Everyone that has heard from the Father and has learned comes to me. . . . Most truly I say to you, He that believes has everlasting life.”—John 6:45-47.
4. How are millions of people affected by divine teaching, and what prospects do they have?
4 Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 54:13, which was addressed to God’s symbolic woman, heavenly Zion. That prophecy has particular application to her sons, the 144,000 spirit-begotten disciples of Jesus Christ. A remnant of those spiritual sons is active today, spearheading a global teaching program. As a result, millions of others who make up “a great crowd” also benefit from being taught by Jehovah. They have the unique prospect of learning without death interrupting the process. How so? Well, they are in line to survive the fast-approaching “great tribulation” and to enjoy everlasting life on a paradise earth.—Revelation 7:9, 10, 13-17.
Greater Emphasis on Doing God’s Will
5. (a) What is the yeartext for 1997? (b) How should we feel about attending Christian meetings?
5 During 1997, in over 80,000 congregations worldwide, Jehovah’s Witnesses will keep close in mind the opening words of Psalm 143:10: “Teach me to do your will.” That will be the yeartext for 1997. Those words, prominently displayed in Kingdom Halls, will serve as a reminder that an outstanding place to receive divine education is at congregation meetings, where we can share in an ongoing program of instruction. When joining our brothers at meetings to be taught by our Grand Instructor, we can feel as the psalmist, who wrote: “I rejoiced when they were saying to me: ‘To the house of Jehovah let us go.’”—Psalm 122:1; Isaiah 30:20.
6. In the words of David, what do we acknowledge?
6 Yes, we desire to be taught to do God’s will rather than the will of our adversary the Devil or the will of imperfect humans. So, like David, we acknowledge the God whom we worship and serve: “For you are my God. Your spirit is good; may it lead me in the land of uprightness.” (Psalm 143:10) Instead of wanting to mix with men of untruth, David preferred to be where Jehovah’s worship was carried on. (Psalm 26:4-6) With God’s spirit to direct his steps, David could tread in the tracks of righteousness.—Psalm 17:5; 23:3.
7. How has God’s spirit operated on the Christian congregation?
7 The Greater David, Jesus Christ, assured the apostles that the holy spirit would teach them all things and bring back to their minds all the things he had told them. (John 14:26) From Pentecost onward, Jehovah has progressively been revealing “the deep things of God” contained in his written Word. (1 Corinthians 2:10-13) This he has done through a visible channel that Jesus termed “the faithful and discreet slave.” It provides spiritual food that is considered in the teaching program for congregations of God’s people worldwide.—Matthew 24:45-47.
Taught Jehovah’s Will at Our Meetings
8. Why is sharing in the Watchtower Study so valuable?
8 Material in the weekly congregation Watchtower Study frequently deals with the application of Bible principles. This certainly helps us to cope with life’s anxieties. In other studies profound spiritual truths or Bible prophecies are considered. How much we are taught during such studies! In many lands Kingdom Halls are filled to capacity for these meetings. Yet in a number of countries, meeting attendance has declined. Why, do you think? Might some be allowing secular work to interfere with their assembling together regularly “to incite to love and fine works”? Or might many hours be spent in social activities or in watching television, making the schedule seem too tight to get to all the meetings? Recall the inspired injunction at Hebrews 10:23-25. Is not gathering together for divine instruction even more important now as we “behold the day drawing near”?
9. (a) How can the Service Meeting equip us for the ministry? (b) What should be our attitude about witnessing?
9 One of our foremost responsibilities is that of serving as God’s ministers. The Service Meeting is designed to teach us how we can accomplish this effectively. We learn how to approach people, what to say, the way to react when there is a favorable response, and even what to do when people reject our message. (Luke 10:1-11) As effective methods are discussed and demonstrated in this weekly meeting, we are better prepared to reach people not only when going from house to house but also when preaching on the streets, in parking lots, on public transportation, at airports, at businesses, or in schools. In line with our request, “Teach me to do your will,” we will want to take advantage of every opportunity to do as our Master urged: “Let your light shine before men, that they may . . . give glory to your Father who is in the heavens.”—Matthew 5:16.
10. How can we truly help ‘deserving ones’?
10 At such congregation meetings, we are also taught to make disciples of others. Once interest is found or literature is placed, our aim when making return visits is to start home Bible studies. In a sense, this is similar to the disciples’ ‘staying with deserving ones’ so as to teach them the things that Jesus had commanded. (Matthew 10:11; 28:19, 20) Having excellent helps, such as the book Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life, we really are well equipped to accomplish our ministry thoroughly. (2 Timothy 4:5) Each week as you attend the Service Meeting and Theocratic Ministry School, endeavor to grasp and then use helpful points that will recommend you as one of God’s adequately qualified ministers, carrying out his will.—2 Corinthians 3:3, 5; 4:1, 2.
11. How have some demonstrated faith in the words found at Matthew 6:33?
11 It is God’s will that we “keep on . . . seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) Ask yourself, ‘How would I apply this principle if demands at my [or my mate’s] secular job interfered with meeting attendance?’ Many spiritually mature ones would take steps to speak to their employers about the matter. One full-time minister let her employer know that she needed to have time off each week in order to attend congregation meetings. He granted the request. But being curious about what takes place at the meetings, he asked to attend. There he heard an announcement concerning an upcoming district convention. As a result, the employer arranged to spend an entire day at the convention. What lesson do you draw from this example?
Taught Jehovah’s Will by Godly Parents
12. For children to be taught Jehovah’s will, what should Christian parents do with patience and firmness?
12 But congregation meetings and conventions are not the only provision for being taught to do the divine will. Godly parents are commanded to train, discipline, and bring up their children to praise Jehovah and do his will. (Psalm 148:12, 13; Proverbs 22:6, 15) Doing so requires that we take our “little ones” to meetings where they can ‘listen and learn,’ but what about teaching them from the holy writings at home? (Deuteronomy 31:12; 2 Timothy 3:15) Many families have conscientiously begun programs of regular family Bible study, only to allow these to fade or fall into neglect before long. Have you had such an experience? Will you conclude that the recommendation to have such a regular study is misdirected or that your family is so different that it just will not work in your case? Whatever the situation, you parents please review the fine articles “Our Rich Spiritual Heritage” and “The Rewards of Persistence” in The Watchtower of August 1, 1995.
13. How can families benefit from considering the daily text?
13 Families are encouraged to make a habit of considering the daily text from Examining the Scriptures Daily. Just reading the text and comments is good, but discussing the text and applying it is more beneficial. For example, if considering Ephesians 5:15-17, family members could reason on how to ‘buy out opportune time’ for personal study, to share in some form of the full-time ministry, and to care for other theocratic assignments. Yes, a family discussion of the daily text could lead one or many to “go on perceiving [more fully] what the will of Jehovah is.”
14. What kind of teachers does Deuteronomy 6:6, 7 indicate parents should be, calling for what?
14 Parents must be assiduous teachers of their children. (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7) But it is not simply a matter of lecturing or commanding their offspring. Father and mother also need to listen, in that way being better able to know what needs to be explained, clarified, illustrated, or repeated. In one Christian family, the parents stimulate open communication by encouraging their children to ask questions about things that they do not understand or that cause concern. They thus learned that a teenage son had difficulty comprehending that Jehovah does not have a beginning. The parents were able to use information from the Watch Tower Society’s publications showing that time and space are accepted as endless. That served to illustrate the point, and it satisfied their son. So take time to answer clearly and from the Scriptures your children’s questions, helping them to see that learning to do God’s will can be very satisfying. What else are God’s people—young and old—being taught today?
Taught to Love and to Fight
15. When might the genuineness of our brotherly love be tested?
15 In harmony with Jesus’ new command, we are “taught by God to love one another.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9) When things are tranquil and going well, we may feel that we do love all our brothers. Yet what happens when personal differences arise or we become offended because of what another Christian says or does? At this point the genuineness of our love may be put to the test. (Compare 2 Corinthians 8:8.) What does the Bible teach us to do in such situations? One thing is to strive to show love in the fullest sense. (1 Peter 4:8) Rather than looking for our own interests, getting provoked over minor shortcomings, or keeping an account of an injury, we should work at letting love cover a multitude of sins. (1 Corinthians 13:5) We know this is God’s will, for it is what his Word teaches.
16. (a) In what kind of warfare are Christians taught to engage? (b) How are we equipped?
16 While many would not link love and warfare, the latter is something else we are being taught, but a distinct type of warfare. David recognized his dependence on Jehovah to teach him how to carry on warfare, though in his time that included literal fighting against Israel’s enemies. (1 Samuel 17:45-51; 19:8; 1 Kings 5:3; Psalm 144:1) What about our fight today? Our weapons are not fleshly. (2 Corinthians 10:4) Ours is a spiritual fight, for which we need to be equipped with spiritual armor. (Ephesians 6:10-13) Through his Word and his congregated people, Jehovah teaches us to wage a successful spiritual fight.
17. (a) What tactics does the Devil use to divert us? (b) What should we wisely avoid?
17 In deceptive, subtle ways, the Devil often uses elements of the world, apostates, and other opposers of the truth in an effort to divert us to side issues. (1 Timothy 6:3-5, 11; Titus 3:9-11) It is as if he sees that he has little chance of overcoming us by a direct, frontal attack, so he tries to trip us by getting us to express our pet peeves and foolish questionings, which are bereft of spiritual substance. As vigilant warriors, we should be just as alert to such dangers as we are to frontal assaults.—1 Timothy 1:3, 4.
18. What does living no longer for ourselves really involve?
18 We do not promote the desires of men or the will of the nations. Jehovah has taught us through Jesus’ example that we must live no longer for ourselves; rather, we should be armed with the same mental disposition that Christ Jesus had and live for God’s will. (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15) In the past, we may have lived a very immoderate, profligate life, squandering precious time. Revelries, drinking matches, and immorality characterize this wicked world. Now that we are being taught to do God’s will, are we not grateful to be separated from this corrupt world? So let us wage a hard fight spiritually to avoid getting involved with defiling worldly practices.—1 Peter 4:1-3.
Teaching Us to Benefit Ourselves
19. Being taught Jehovah’s will and then doing it will lead to what benefits?
19 It is imperative to recognize that being taught to do Jehovah’s will benefits us greatly. Understandably, we must do our part by paying close attention so as to learn and then follow the instructions that come to us through his Son as well as through his Word and congregated people. (Isaiah 48:17, 18; Hebrews 2:1) By our doing so, we will be fortified to stand firm in these calamitous times and weather the storms ahead. (Matthew 7:24-27) Even now, we will be pleasing God by doing his will and will be ensuring that our prayers are answered. (John 9:31; 1 John 3:22) And we will experience genuine happiness.—John 13:17.
20. On what would it be good to meditate as you see the yeartext throughout 1997?
20 During the course of 1997, we will frequently have opportunity to read and consider the yeartext, Psalm 143:10: “Teach me to do your will.” As we do this, let us use some of the occasions to reflect on the provisions that God has made for us to be taught, as set out above. And let us use such meditation on those words as a stimulus to act consistently with that entreaty, knowing that “he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:17.
How Would You Answer?
□ Who today are being taught to do Jehovah’s will?
□ How should Psalm 143:10 affect us during 1997?
□ How are we being taught to do Jehovah’s will?
□ What is required of Christian parents in teaching their children?