“He Will Draw Close to You”
“[God] is not far off from each one of us.”—ACTS 17:27.
1, 2. (a) When looking up at the starry heavens, what question might we ask regarding the Creator? (b) How does the Bible assure us that humans are far from insignificant in Jehovah’s eyes?
HAVE you ever looked up at the starry heavens on a clear night and been filled with wonder? The sheer number of stars and the vastness of space inspire awe. In this immense universe, the earth is but a speck. Does this mean that the Creator, “the Most High over all the earth,” is too lofty to be concerned about humans or too distant and unsearchable to be known by them?—Psalm 83:18.
2 The Bible assures us that humans are far from insignificant in Jehovah’s eyes. In fact, God’s Word encourages us to seek him, saying: “He is not far off from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27; 1 Chronicles 28:9) Indeed, if we take steps to draw close to God, he will respond to our efforts. In what way? The words of our yeartext for 2003 give this heartwarming answer: “He will draw close to you.” (James 4:8) Let us discuss some of the marvelous blessings that Jehovah showers upon those who are close to him.
A Personal Gift From Jehovah
3. What gift does Jehovah give to those who draw close to him?
3 First, Jehovah’s servants have a precious gift that he has reserved for his people. All the power, wealth, and education that this system of things offers cannot secure this gift. It is a personal gift, one that Jehovah gives only to those close to him. What is it? God’s Word answers: “If . . . you give forth your voice for discernment itself, if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God. For Jehovah himself gives wisdom.” (Proverbs 2:3-6) Imagine imperfect humans being able to find “the very knowledge of God”! That gift—the knowledge found in God’s Word—is compared to “hid treasures.” Why?
4, 5. Why can “the very knowledge of God” be compared to “hid treasures”? Illustrate.
4 For one thing, the knowledge of God has great value. One of its most precious blessings is the prospect of everlasting life. (John 17:3) But that knowledge enriches our life even now. For example, as a result of our careful study of God’s Word, we have come to know the answers to such important questions as: What is God’s name? (Psalm 83:18) What is the true condition of the dead? (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10) What is God’s purpose for the earth and mankind? (Isaiah 45:18) We have also come to know that the best way to live is by applying the Bible’s wise counsel. (Isaiah 30:20, 21; 48:17, 18) Thus, we have sound guidance that helps us to cope with the anxieties of life and to pursue a course that promotes genuine happiness and satisfaction. Above all, our study of God’s Word has enabled us to come to know Jehovah’s marvelous qualities and to draw close to him. What could be more valuable than a close relationship with Jehovah based on “the very knowledge of God”?
5 There is another reason why the knowledge of God can be compared to “hid treasures.” Like many treasures, it is relatively rare in this world. Of earth’s six billion inhabitants, some six million worshipers of Jehovah, or about 1 in 1,000, have found “the very knowledge of God.” To illustrate what a rare privilege it is to know the truth of God’s Word, consider just one Bible question: What happens to humans at death? We know from the Scriptures that the soul dies and that the dead are unconscious. (Ezekiel 18:4) Yet, the false belief that something inside a person continues living after death is embraced by most of the world’s religions. It is an integral part of the religions of Christendom. It also prevails in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, and Taoism. Just think—billions of people are deceived by this one false doctrine!
6, 7. (a) Who only can find “the very knowledge of God”? (b) What example shows that Jehovah has blessed us with insight that escapes many “wise and intellectual ones”?
6 Why have not more people found “the very knowledge of God”? Because one cannot fully grasp the meaning of God’s Word without His help. Remember, this knowledge is a gift. Jehovah gives it only to those who are willing to search his Word with honesty and humility. Such ones may not be “wise in a fleshly way.” (1 Corinthians 1:26) Many among them may even be considered “unlettered and ordinary” by the world’s standards. (Acts 4:13) Yet, that does not matter. Jehovah rewards us with “the very knowledge of God” because of qualities he finds in our heart.
7 Consider an example. Many scholars in Christendom have produced extensive commentaries on the Bible. Such reference works may explain historical background, the meaning of Hebrew and Greek words, and more. With all of their learning, have such scholars really found “the very knowledge of God”? Well, do they clearly understand the theme of the Bible—the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty by means of his heavenly Kingdom? Do they know that Jehovah God is not part of a Trinity? We do have an accurate understanding of such matters. Why? Jehovah has blessed us with insight into spiritual truths that escapes many “wise and intellectual ones.” (Matthew 11:25) How Jehovah blesses those who are close to him!
“Jehovah Is Guarding All Those Loving Him”
8, 9. (a) How did David describe another blessing for those who are close to Jehovah? (b) Why do true Christians need divine protection?
8 Those who are close to Jehovah enjoy another blessing—divine protection. The psalmist David, who was no stranger to adversity, wrote: “Jehovah is near to all those calling upon him, to all those who call upon him in trueness. The desire of those fearing him he will perform, and their cry for help he will hear, and he will save them. Jehovah is guarding all those loving him.” (Psalm 145:18-20) Yes, Jehovah is near to those who love him and therefore can be swift in responding to their cries for help.
9 Why do we need divine protection? In addition to feeling the effects of living in these “critical times hard to deal with,” true Christians are a special target of Jehovah’s chief Adversary, Satan the Devil. (2 Timothy 3:1) That crafty enemy is out “to devour” us. (1 Peter 5:8) Satan persecutes, pressures, and tempts us. He also looks for attitudes of mind and heart that he can exploit. He has an objective in mind: to weaken our faith and consume us spiritually. (Revelation 12:12, 17) Since we have such a powerful foe to contend with, is it not reassuring to know that “Jehovah is guarding all those loving him”?
10. (a) How does Jehovah guard his people? (b) What is the most important kind of protection, and why?
10 How, though, does Jehovah guard his people? His promise of protection does not guarantee us a problem-free life in this system; nor does it mean that he is obligated to work miracles in our behalf. Nevertheless, Jehovah does provide physical protection for his people as a group. After all, he would never allow the Devil to efface true worshipers from the earth! (2 Peter 2:9) Above all, Jehovah protects us spiritually. He equips us with what we need to endure trials and to safeguard our relationship with him. In the long run, spiritual protection is the most important kind of protection. Why? As long as we have our relationship with Jehovah, nothing—not even death—can do us lasting harm.—Matthew 10:28.
11. What provisions has Jehovah made for the spiritual protection of his people?
11 Jehovah has made abundant provisions for the spiritual protection of those who are close to him. Through his Word, the Bible, he grants us wisdom to cope with various trials. (James 1:2-5) Applying the practical counsel found in the Scriptures makes a difference. In addition, Jehovah gives “holy spirit to those asking him.” (Luke 11:13) That spirit is the most powerful force in the universe, so it can certainly equip us to face successfully any trial or temptation that may come our way. Through Christ, Jehovah provides “gifts in men.” (Ephesians 4:8) These spiritually qualified men endeavor to reflect Jehovah’s own heartfelt compassion in helping fellow worshipers.—James 5:14, 15.
12, 13. (a) By what means does Jehovah supply us with spiritual food at the proper time? (b) How do you feel about Jehovah’s provisions for our spiritual well-being?
12 Jehovah provides something else to safeguard us: spiritual food at the proper time. (Matthew 24:45) By means of printed publications, including the journals The Watchtower and Awake!, as well as by meetings, assemblies, and conventions, Jehovah supplies us with what we need when we need it. Can you recall an occasion when you heard something at a Christian meeting, an assembly, or a convention that touched your heart and strengthened or comforted you? Have you ever read an article in one of the above-mentioned journals and felt that it was written for you?
13 One of Satan’s most effective weapons is discouragement, and we are not immune to its effects. He well knows that prolonged despondency can rob us of strength, even making us vulnerable. (Proverbs 24:10) Because Satan is trying to capitalize on negative feelings, we need help. The Watchtower and Awake! magazines have occasionally featured articles that help us to combat discouragement. Regarding one such article, a Christian sister wrote: “I read the article almost every day, and the tears still well up. I keep it by my bed so that I can have it with me whenever I am feeling down. Through articles like these, I can just feel Jehovah’s protective arms embracing me.”a Are we not grateful to Jehovah for supplying us with timely spiritual food? Remember, his provisions for our spiritual well-being are evidence that he is close to us and has placed us under his protective care.
Access to the “Hearer of Prayer”
14, 15. (a) What personal blessing does Jehovah bestow upon those who are close to him? (b) Why is being granted free access to Jehovah in prayer a remarkable privilege?
14 Have you ever noticed that as humans gain power and authority, they often become less accessible to those under them? What, though, about Jehovah God? Is he too far removed to be interested in the expressions made to him by mere humans? On the contrary! The gift of prayer is yet another blessing that Jehovah bestows upon those who are close to him. Being granted free access to the “Hearer of prayer” is a truly remarkable privilege. (Psalm 65:2) Why?
15 To illustrate: The chief executive of a large corporation has many responsibilities. He decides which matters he will handle personally and which he will delegate to others. Similarly, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe has the option to determine which matters he will involve himself in and which he will delegate. Consider all that Jehovah has delegated to his beloved Son, Jesus. The Son has been given “authority to do judging.” (John 5:27) The angels have been “made subject to him.” (1 Peter 3:22) Jehovah’s powerful holy spirit has been put at Jesus’ disposal to help him to lead his disciples on earth. (John 15:26; 16:7) Jesus could therefore say: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.” (Matthew 28:18) Yet, when it comes to our prayers, Jehovah has chosen to involve himself personally. That is why the Bible directs us to address our prayers only to Jehovah, doing so in the name of Jesus.—Psalm 69:13; John 14:6, 13.
16. Why can we be confident that Jehovah really listens to our prayers?
16 Does Jehovah really listen to our prayers? If he were indifferent or unconcerned, he would never urge us to “persevere in prayer” or to throw our burdens and anxieties on him. (Romans 12:12; Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7) Faithful servants in Bible times had complete confidence that Jehovah listens to prayer. (1 John 5:14) Thus, the psalmist David stated: “[Jehovah] hears my voice.” (Psalm 55:17) We too have every reason to be confident that Jehovah is close, ready to hear our every thought and care.
Jehovah Rewards His Servants
17, 18. (a) How does Jehovah feel about the faithful service of his intelligent creatures? (b) Explain how Proverbs 19:17 shows that our merciful deeds do not go unnoticed by Jehovah.
17 Jehovah’s position as the Universal Sovereign is unaffected by what mere humans may do or refuse to do. Nevertheless, Jehovah is an appreciative God. He values—in fact, cherishes—the faithful service of his intelligent creatures. (Psalm 147:11) This, then, is another benefit enjoyed by those who are close to Jehovah: He rewards his servants.—Hebrews 11:6.
18 The Bible clearly shows that Jehovah values what his worshipers do. For example, we read: “He that is showing favor to the lowly one is lending to Jehovah, and his treatment He will repay to him.” (Proverbs 19:17) Jehovah’s merciful consideration for lowly ones was reflected in the Mosaic Law. (Leviticus 14:21; 19:15) How does Jehovah feel when we imitate his mercy in our dealings with lowly ones? When we give to the lowly one, expecting nothing in return, Jehovah views this as a loan made to Him. Jehovah promises to repay that debt with favor and blessings. (Proverbs 10:22; Matthew 6:3, 4; Luke 14:12-14) Yes, when we show compassion to a fellow worshiper in need, it touches Jehovah’s heart. How grateful we are to know that our merciful deeds do not go unnoticed by our heavenly Father!—Matthew 5:7.
19. (a) Why can we be assured that Jehovah appreciates what we do in the preaching and disciple-making work? (b) How does Jehovah reward acts of service rendered in support of his Kingdom?
19 Jehovah especially appreciates what we do in behalf of his Kingdom. When we draw close to Jehovah, it is only natural that we want to use our time, energy, and resources to share as fully as possible in the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work. (Matthew 28:19, 20) At times, we may feel that we are accomplishing little. Our imperfect heart might even cause us to wonder whether Jehovah is pleased with our efforts. (1 John 3:19, 20) But Jehovah treasures every gift—no matter how small—that springs from a heart motivated by love. (Mark 12:41-44) The Bible assures us: “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name.” (Hebrews 6:10) Indeed, Jehovah remembers and rewards even the smallest act of service rendered in support of his Kingdom. In addition to rich spiritual blessings now, we can look forward to the joys of life in the coming new world, where Jehovah will generously open his hand and satisfy the righteous desires of all who are close to him!—Psalm 145:16; 2 Peter 3:13.
20. Throughout the year 2003, how might we keep in mind the words of our yeartext, and with what result?
20 Throughout the year 2003, let us ask ourselves if we are making continuous effort to draw close to our heavenly Father. If we are, we can be certain that he will respond as he has promised. After all, “God . . . cannot lie.” (Titus 1:2) If you draw close to him, he will draw close to you. (James 4:8) And with what result? Rich blessings now and the prospect of drawing ever closer to Jehovah throughout eternity!
Do You Recall?
• What gift does Jehovah give to those who draw close to him?
• What provisions does Jehovah make for the spiritual protection of his people?
• Why is being granted free access to Jehovah in prayer a remarkable privilege?
• How does the Bible show that Jehovah appreciates the faithful service of his intelligent creatures?
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Jehovah has blessed us with insight into spiritual truths
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Jehovah provides spiritual protection
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Jehovah is close, ready to hear our every prayer