THE shepherd who repeatedly cried “Wolf!” when there was no wolf found that his subsequent cry for help went unheeded. Similarly today, many disregard the imminence of Jehovah’s day because they have heard countless warnings that have proved to be false alarms. The very fact that so many fail to discern which warning is genuine and then heed it plays into the hands of God’s great enemy, Satan, that false “angel of light.”—2 Corinthians 11:14.
A spirit of complacency would be dangerous even for those who have served Jehovah for some time. Why? Consider the warning by the apostle Peter in the first century.
Peter’s second inspired letter was a reminder to the early Christians, and it is to us as well. “Beloved ones,” he writes, “this is now the second letter I am writing you, in which, as in my first one, I am arousing your clear thinking faculties by way of a reminder.” (2 Peter 3:1) What basis does Peter have for this concern? Peter highlights the presence of ridiculers whose ridicule undermines the needed sense of urgency respecting the time in which God’s servants live. Now is the time to beware of being duped by scoffers. Peter thus urges his readers to “remember the sayings previously spoken by the holy prophets.” (2 Peter 3:2; Acts 3:22, 23) What had the prophets said?
God’s faithful servants had on many occasions called attention to how divine judgments brought an end to wickedness. Peter reminds his readers of the Flood of Noah’s day that God used as a means to intervene when the earth was filled with badness. That torrential Deluge effectively ended the world of that time. But God preserved Noah and his family in an ark along with representative living creatures “of every sort of flesh.” Universal legends testify to the truthfulness of the Biblical account.*—Genesis 6:19; 2 Peter 3:5, 6.
Peter calls that divine intervention ‘a fact that escapes the notice’ of some people. Then others were lulled into complacency by the ridiculers of the day. We, though, must never lose sight of what Jehovah has already done. Peter tells us: “By the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:7) Yes, divine intervention is to occur again.
God Is Not Slow
Millenniums of time have already passed. Why has God waited so long to solve mankind’s problems? Again, Peter focuses on another fact. He says: “Let this one fact not be escaping your notice, beloved ones, that one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8) Jehovah’s view of time differs from ours. To the eternal God, the period from Adam’s creation until now does not even amount to a week. But whatever view of time we have, each millennium and each day that passes bring us nearer to the outworking of Jehovah’s purpose.
“A watched pot never boils” is a saying that implies that simply waiting for an event seems to defer its occurrence. However, Peter recommends “awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah.” (2 Peter 3:12) How can we develop a mental attitude that keeps us alert to the imminence of divine intervention?
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Peter focuses attention on deeds and actions. He refers to “holy acts of conduct” as well as “deeds of godly devotion.” (2 Peter 3:11) What do these involve?
The real servant of God acts in a way that pleases Him. The faith of such a true worshiper is reflected in his conduct. This distinguishes him from those who merely speak of belief in God and his promises. Perhaps you have noticed that the public ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses sets them apart as different. They call at your home to draw attention to God’s promises outlined in the Bible. But they also bear witness to their hopes and beliefs wherever they meet people.
The Witness who busies himself declaring his faith to others has his beliefs reinforced and strengthened. Expression deepens impression and at the same time brings inner joy and contentment. When we announce the good news of God’s Kingdom, we are pleasing Jehovah too. We know that he is ‘not unrighteous so as to forget our work and the love we show for his name,’ as Peter’s fellow apostle Paul declares.—Hebrews 6:10; Romans 10:9, 10.
What is the result of this preoccupation with spreading the Kingdom good news during the dying days of this present wicked system? Hundreds of thousands of honesthearted people are learning how to come into a close relationship with Jehovah, to benefit from his undeserved kindness and find true happiness in the prospect of eternal life on a paradise earth.
Although we know from the Bible that Jehovah God will intervene at his due time, we need to heed a further warning that Peter gives. “Having this advance knowledge, be on your guard that you may not be led away with them by the error of the law-defying people and fall from your own steadfastness.”—2 Peter 3:17.
Jehovah surely knew in advance that some who lack strong faith could become discouraged by the seeming delay of divine intervention. He also knew that the influence of ungodly people could corrupt his true servants or, at the least, undermine their belief that the sanctification of God’s name is near. How tragic it would be to fall from steadfastness in these final days!
Now is no time to harbor doubts or uncertainty about what Jehovah will do. (Hebrews 12:1) Rather, now is the time to grow in appreciation of what Jehovah’s patience has brought—the prospect of salvation to millions who become part of the international great crowd and look forward to surviving the coming great tribulation. (Revelation 7:9, 14) Peter exhorts: “Go on growing in the undeserved kindness and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.”—2 Peter 3:18.
“Keep Yourselves in God’s Love”
Being busy in Kingdom preaching and regularly attending Christian meetings for worship and study of God’s Word offer us protection. Thus, we will not have time to become overly concerned about the deteriorating conditions in today’s wicked system. Fears and anxieties need have little place in the life of true Christians. (1 Corinthians 15:58) The busier we are serving Jehovah, the quicker time passes.
Jude, who was Peter’s contemporary and the half brother of Jesus, exhorts us: “You, beloved ones, by building up yourselves on your most holy faith, and praying with holy spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love, while you are waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ with everlasting life in view.” (Jude 20, 21) Notice the importance of a positive attitude that is fostered by perseverance in prayer. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Jude then adds: “Continue showing mercy to some that have doubts; save them by snatching them out of the fire. But continue showing mercy to others, doing so with fear, while you hate even the inner garment that has been stained by the flesh.” (Jude 22, 23) How vital it is to strengthen one another during these difficult times! And how important it is not to fall into temptation, using this extended “day of salvation” as an excuse for “loose conduct,” now so prevalent in today’s morally corrupt world.—Jude 4; 2 Corinthians 6:1, 2.
By heeding the loving counsel of Peter, Paul, and Jude and by being busy and active in God’s service, you can wait patiently on Jehovah’s intervention. But will you?
Do not hesitate to contact the Witnesses in your locality for help to strengthen your faith in the Creator’s promise of everlasting life. Learn what is required to qualify to share in this never-to-be-repeated global witness work that will be concluded at the approaching great tribulation. (Mark 13:10) You will then have the prospect of living in the new world of righteousness that Jehovah promises. (2 Peter 3:13) Heed his reminders! Wait patiently! Be busy!
Please see the book The Bible—God’s Word or Man’s?, page 116, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
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Learn now about God’s promise of Paradise
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Wolf: Animals/Jim Harter/Dover Publications, Inc.; young shepherd: Children: A Pictorial Archive from Nineteenth-Century Sources/Grafton/Dover Publications, Inc.