Walking With God—With Eternity in View
“We . . . shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.”—MICAH 4:5.
1. Why can Jehovah be called the “King of eternity”?
JEHOVAH GOD did not have a beginning. He is fittingly called “the Ancient of Days,” since his existence stretches endlessly into the past. (Daniel 7:9, 13) Jehovah will also enjoy an eternal future. He alone is the “King of eternity.” (Revelation 10:6; 15:3) And in his eyes, a thousand years are “but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch during the night.”—Psalm 90:4.
2. (a) What is God’s purpose for obedient humans? (b) On what should we focus our hopes and plans?
2 Since the Giver of life is eternal, he could hold out to the first human pair, Adam and Eve, the prospect of endless life in Paradise. Because of disobedience, however, Adam forfeited the right to everlasting life, passing sin and death on to his descendants. (Romans 5:12) Yet, Adam’s rebellion did not thwart God’s original purpose. It is Jehovah’s will that obedient humans live forever, and he will accomplish his purpose without fail. (Isaiah 55:11) How fitting, then, that we focus our hopes and plans on serving Jehovah with eternity in view. While we want to keep “the day of Jehovah” close in mind, it is vital to remember that our goal is to walk with God forever.—2 Peter 3:12.
Jehovah Acts at His Appointed Time
3. How do we know that Jehovah has an “appointed time” to fulfill his purposes?
3 As those walking with God, we are keenly interested in accomplishing his will. We know that Jehovah is the Great Timekeeper, and we have confidence that he never fails to fulfill his purposes at his appointed time. For example, “when the full limit of the time arrived, God sent forth his Son.” (Galatians 4:4) The apostle John was told that there was an “appointed time” for the fulfillment of the prophetic things he saw in signs. (Revelation 1:1-3) There is “the appointed time for the dead to be judged.” (Revelation 11:18) More than 1,900 years ago, the apostle Paul was inspired to say that God “has set a day in which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness.”—Acts 17:31.
4. How do we know that Jehovah desires to bring an end to this wicked system of things?
4 Jehovah will bring an end to this wicked system of things, for his name is being reproached in today’s world. The wicked have blossomed. (Psalm 92:7) Through their words and deeds, they insult God, and it pains him to see his servants reviled and persecuted. (Zechariah 2:8) No wonder Jehovah has decreed that Satan’s entire organization will soon be brought to an end! God has determined exactly when this will occur, and the fulfillment of Bible prophecies makes it clear that we are now living in “the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4) He will soon act for the blessing of all who love him.
5. How did Lot and Habakkuk view the conditions that surrounded them?
5 Jehovah’s servants of the past longed to see the end of wickedness. Righteous Lot “was greatly distressed by the indulgence of the law-defying people in loose conduct.” (2 Peter 2:7) Grieved by the conditions surrounding him, the prophet Habakkuk pleaded: “How long, O Jehovah, must I cry for help, and you do not hear? How long shall I call to you for aid from violence, and you do not save? Why is it that you make me see what is hurtful, and you keep looking upon mere trouble? And why are despoiling and violence in front of me, and why does quarreling occur, and why is strife carried?”—Habakkuk 1:2, 3.
6. What did Jehovah say in reply to the prayer of Habakkuk, and what can we learn from this?
6 In part, Jehovah answered Habakkuk in these words: “The vision is yet for the appointed time, and it keeps panting on to the end, and it will not tell a lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3) God thus made it known that he would act at “the appointed time.” Though there might seem to be a delay, Jehovah will fulfill his purpose—without fail!—2 Peter 3:9.
Serving With Unflagging Zeal
7. Although Jesus did not know exactly when Jehovah’s day would come, how did he carry on his activities?
7 Is knowing Jehovah’s exact timing of events a prerequisite for us to walk with God zealously? No, it is not. Consider some examples. Jesus was keenly interested in the time when God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. Indeed, Christ taught his followers to pray: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:9, 10) Though Jesus knew that this request would be answered, he did not know the precise timing of matters. In his great prophecy regarding the end of this system of things, he said: “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36) Since Jesus Christ is central to the outworking of God’s purposes, he will be directly involved in the execution of his heavenly Father’s enemies. When Jesus was on earth, however, even he did not know when God would act. Did that make him less zealous in Jehovah’s service? Certainly not! Upon seeing Jesus zealously cleanse the temple, “his disciples called to mind that it is written: ‘The zeal for your house will eat me up.’” (John 2:17; Psalm 69:9) Jesus kept himself fully occupied with the work he was sent to do, and he did it with unflagging zeal. He also served God with eternity in view.
8, 9. When the disciples asked about the restoration of the Kingdom, what were they told, and how did they respond?
8 This was also true of Christ’s disciples. Jesus met with them just before he ascended to heaven. The account says: “When, now, they had assembled, they went asking him: ‘Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?’” Like their Master, they yearned for the Kingdom to come. Yet, Jesus replied: “It does not belong to you to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction; but you will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you, and you will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.”—Acts 1:6-8.
9 There is no indication that the disciples were disheartened by this reply. Instead, they zealously busied themselves with the work of preaching. Within weeks, they had filled Jerusalem with their teaching. (Acts 5:28) And within 30 years, they had expanded their preaching activity to such an extent that Paul could say that the good news was preached “in all creation that is under heaven.” (Colossians 1:23) Although the Kingdom was not ‘restored to Israel’ as the disciples had wrongly expected and it was not established in heaven during their lifetime, they kept on serving Jehovah zealously with eternity in view.
Examining Our Motives
10. Not knowing when God will destroy Satan’s system allows us to prove what?
10 Modern-day servants of Jehovah also long to see the end of this evil system of things. Our main concern, however, is not our deliverance into God’s promised new world. We want to see Jehovah’s name sanctified and his sovereignty vindicated. Because of this, we can rejoice that God has not told us the ‘day or hour’ set for the destruction of Satan’s system. This allows us to give evidence that we are determined to walk with God eternally because we love him and not because we have short-term, selfish goals.
11, 12. In what way was Job’s integrity challenged, and how does that challenge relate to us?
11 Maintaining our integrity to God also helps to prove that the Devil was wrong when he charged that upright Job—and thus humans like him—serve God out of self-interest. After Jehovah described his servant Job as a blameless, upright, God-fearing man, Satan wickedly alleged: “Is it for nothing that Job has feared God? Have not you yourself put up a hedge about him and about his house and about everything that he has all around? The work of his hands you have blessed, and his livestock itself has spread abroad in the earth. But, for a change, thrust out your hand, please, and touch everything he has and see whether he will not curse you to your very face.” (Job 1:8-11) By keeping his integrity under trial, Job proved this malicious claim to be false.
12 By similarly holding to a course of integrity, we can disprove any satanic charge that we serve God only because we know that a reward is imminent. Not knowing the exact time when God’s vengeance will be executed upon the wicked gives us the opportunity to prove that we truly love Jehovah and want to walk in his ways forever. It shows that we are loyal to God and trust in his way of handling matters. Moreover, not knowing the day and hour helps to keep us vigilant and spiritually awake because we realize that the end may come at any time, like a thief in the night. (Matthew 24:42-44) By daily walking with Jehovah, we make his heart rejoice and furnish a reply to the Devil, who taunts him.—Proverbs 27:11.
Plan for Eternity!
13. What does the Bible indicate about planning for the future?
13 Those who walk with God know that it is wise to make reasonable plans for the future. Aware of the problems and limitations of old age, many people try to make good use of their youth and strength so that their later life will be financially secure. What, then, of our far more important spiritual future? Proverbs 21:5 says: “The plans of the diligent one surely make for advantage, but everyone that is hasty surely heads for want.” Planning ahead with eternity in view is truly advantageous. Since we do not know precisely when the end of this system will come, we need to give some thought to our future needs. But let us be balanced and put divine interests first in life. People who lack faith may conclude that centering one’s interests on doing God’s will is shortsighted. But is it?
14, 15. (a) What illustration did Jesus speak concerning plans for the future? (b) Why was the rich man of Jesus’ illustration shortsighted?
14 Jesus spoke an illustration that is enlightening in this regard. He said: “The land of a certain rich man produced well. Consequently he began reasoning within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, now that I have nowhere to gather my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my storehouses and build bigger ones, and there I will gather all my grain and all my good things; and I will say to my soul: “Soul, you have many good things laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, enjoy yourself.”’ But God said to him, ‘Unreasonable one, this night they are demanding your soul from you. Who, then, is to have the things you stored up?’ So it goes with the man that lays up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.”—Luke 12:16-21.
15 Was Jesus making the point that the rich man should not have worked in an effort to have future material security? No, for the Scriptures encourage hard work. (2 Thessalonians 3:10) The rich man’s mistake was that he did not do what was necessary to be “rich toward God.” Even if he had been able to enjoy his material wealth for many years, he would have died eventually. He was shortsighted, not thinking about eternity.
16. Why can we confidently rely on Jehovah for a secure future?
16 Walking with Jehovah with eternity in view is both practical and farsighted. It is the best way to plan for the future. While it is wise to make practical plans concerning schooling, employment, and family responsibilities, we should always remember that Jehovah never abandons his loyal servants. King David sang: “A young man I used to be, I have also grown old, and yet I have not seen anyone righteous left entirely, nor his offspring looking for bread.” (Psalm 37:25) Jesus likewise gave assurance that God will provide for all who seek first the Kingdom and walk in Jehovah’s righteous ways.—Matthew 6:33.
17. How do we know that the end is near?
17 Though we serve God with eternity in view, we still keep Jehovah’s day close in mind. The fulfillment of Bible prophecy eloquently testifies to the nearness of that day. This century has been characterized by wars, pestilences, earthquakes, and food shortages, along with the persecution of true Christians and the global preaching of the good news of God’s Kingdom. All of these are features of the time of the end of this wicked system of things. (Matthew 24:7-14; Luke 21:11) The world is full of those who are “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) In these critical last days, life is difficult for us as Jehovah’s servants. How we yearn for the day when Jehovah’s Kingdom will sweep away all badness! Meanwhile, let us be determined to walk with God with eternity in view.
Serving With Endless Life in View
18, 19. What shows that faithful ones of old served God with eternity in view?
18 As we walk with Jehovah, let us bear in mind the faith of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah. After mentioning them, 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) Those faithful ones were “reaching out for a better place, that is, one belonging to heaven.” (Hebrews 11:16) In faith, they looked forward to a better place under the rulership of God’s Messianic Kingdom. We may be sure that God will reward them with life eternal in that better place—the earthly Paradise under Kingdom rule.—Hebrews 11:39, 40.
19 The prophet Micah expressed the determination of Jehovah’s people to worship God eternally. He wrote: “All the peoples, for their part, will walk each one in the name of its god; but we, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.” (Micah 4:5) Until his death, Micah loyally served Jehovah. Upon being resurrected in the new world, no doubt that prophet will continue to walk with God for all eternity. What a fine example for those of us living deep in the time of the end!
20. What should be our resolve?
20 Jehovah appreciates the love we show for his name. (Hebrews 6:10) He knows that it is difficult for us to maintain integrity to him in this world dominated by the Devil. Whereas “the world is passing away,” however, “he that does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:17; 5:19) With Jehovah’s help, then, let us be resolved to endure the trials we face from day to day. May our thinking and way of life focus on the wonderful blessings promised by our loving heavenly Father. These can be ours if we keep on walking with God with eternity in view.—Jude 20, 21.
How Would You Respond?
□ What is God’s purpose for obedient humans?
□ Why has Jehovah not yet acted to bring an end to the ungodly world?
□ Why should not knowing exactly when God will act not diminish our zeal?
□ What are some benefits of walking with God with eternity in view?
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Walking with God requires that we serve him zealously as did Christ’s early disciples