Trust in Jehovah With All Your Heart
“Those knowing your name will trust in you.”—PSALM 9:10.
1, 2. What are some things that people vainly trust in for security?
TODAY, when so many things threaten our well-being, it is natural to look for someone or something that will provide security. Some think that having more money will make their future secure, but in truth, money is a very uncertain refuge. The Bible says: “The one trusting in his riches—he himself will fall.” (Proverbs 11:28) Others look to human leaders, but even the best of these make mistakes. And eventually, they all die. Wisely, the Bible says: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.” (Psalm 146:3) Those inspired words also warn us against trusting in our own unaided efforts. We too are mere ‘sons of earthling man.’
2 The prophet Isaiah found fault with the national leaders of Israel in his day because they trusted in “the refuge of a lie.” (Isaiah 28:15-17) In their quest for security, they made political alliances with neighboring nations. Such alliances were untrustworthy—a lie. In a similar way, today many religious leaders cultivate relationships with political leaders. Those alliances too will prove to be “a lie.” (Revelation 17:16, 17) They will not bring lasting security.
The Good Examples of Joshua and Caleb
3, 4. How did the report by Joshua and Caleb differ from that of the ten other spies?
3 Where, then, should we look for security? To the same place that Joshua and Caleb looked in Moses’ day. Soon after Israel’s liberation from Egypt, the nation was poised to enter Canaan, the Promised Land. Twelve men were sent to spy out the land, and at the end of 40 days, they returned to give their report. Only two, Joshua and Caleb, spoke favorably of Israel’s prospects in Canaan. The others confirmed that the land was desirable but said: “The facts are that the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the fortified cities are very great . . . We are not able to go up against the people, because they are stronger than we are.”—Numbers 13:27, 28, 31.
4 The Israelites heeded the ten spies and became fearful, to the point of murmuring against Moses. Finally, Joshua and Caleb said with great emotion: “The land that we passed through to spy it out is a very, very good land. If Jehovah has found delight in us, then he will certainly bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that is flowing with milk and honey. Only against Jehovah do not rebel; and you, do not you fear the people of the land.” (Numbers 14:6-9) Still, the Israelites refused to listen and, as a result, were not allowed to enter the Promised Land at that time.
5. Why did Joshua and Caleb give a favorable report?
5 Why did Joshua and Caleb give a good report, while the ten spies gave a bad one? All 12 saw the same strong cities and established nations. And the ten were correct in saying that Israel was not strong enough to conquer the land. Joshua and Caleb knew that too. However, the ten looked at things from a fleshly viewpoint. Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, trusted in Jehovah. They had seen his powerful acts in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and at the foot of Mount Sinai. Why, decades later mere reports of those acts were enough to move Rahab of Jericho to risk her life for Jehovah’s people! (Joshua 2:1-24; 6:22-25) Joshua and Caleb, eyewitnesses of Jehovah’s acts, had complete confidence that God would continue to fight for his people. Forty years later, their trust was vindicated when a new generation of Israelites, under Joshua’s leadership, marched into Canaan and conquered the land.
Why We Should Trust Jehovah Implicitly
6. Why are Christians today under pressure, and where should they place their trust?
6 In these “critical times hard to deal with,” we, like the Israelites, face foes that are stronger than we are. (2 Timothy 3:1) We are pressured morally, spiritually and, in some cases, even physically. On our own, we are unable to withstand those pressures, since they originate with a superhuman source, Satan the Devil. (Ephesians 6:12; 1 John 5:19) Where, then, can we turn? In prayer to Jehovah, a faithful man of old said: “Those knowing your name will trust in you.” (Psalm 9:10) If we truly know Jehovah and understand what his name stands for, we will trust in him as surely as did Joshua and Caleb.—John 17:3.
7, 8. (a) How does creation give us reasons to trust in Jehovah? (b) What reasons does the Bible give for having trust in Jehovah?
7 Why should we trust in Jehovah? Joshua and Caleb did so in part because they had seen demonstrations of his power. So have we. Consider, for example, Jehovah’s works of creation, including the universe, with its billions of galaxies. The immense physical forces that Jehovah controls demonstrate that he is, indeed, the Almighty. As we contemplate the marvels of creation, we have to agree with Job, who said of Jehovah: “Who can resist him? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’” (Job 9:12) In truth, if Jehovah is on our side, we need fear no one in the whole universe.—Romans 8:31.
8 Consider, too, Jehovah’s Word, the Bible. This inexhaustible source of divine wisdom is powerful in helping us to overcome wrong practices and conform our lives to Jehovah’s will. (Hebrews 4:12) It is through the Bible that we come to know Jehovah by name and see the implications of his name. (Exodus 3:14) We realize that Jehovah can become whatever he chooses—a loving Father, a righteous Judge, a victorious Warrior—in order to fulfill his purposes. And we see how his word always comes true. As we study God’s Word, we come to say, as did the psalmist: “I have trusted in your word.”—Psalm 119:42; Isaiah 40:8.
9. How do the ransom and Jesus’ resurrection strengthen our trust in Jehovah?
9 The ransom is another reason to trust in Jehovah. (Matthew 20:28) How wonderful it is that God sent his own Son to die as a ransom for us! And the ransom is truly powerful. It covers the sins of all mankind who repent and turn to Jehovah with an honest heart. (John 3:16; Hebrews 6:10; 1 John 4:16, 19) A part of the process of paying the ransom was the resurrection of Jesus. That miracle, attested to by hundreds of eyewitnesses, is a further reason to trust in Jehovah. It is a guarantee that our hopes will not end in disappointment.—Acts 17:31; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.
10. What personal reasons do we have for trusting in Jehovah?
10 These are just some of the reasons why we can and should have absolute trust in Jehovah. There are many more, some of them personal. For example, from time to time, we all face difficult circumstances in our lives. As we seek Jehovah’s guidance in handling them, we see how practical that guidance is. (James 1:5-8) The more we rely on Jehovah in our day-to-day lives and see the good results of this, the stronger our trust in him will be.
David Trusted in Jehovah
11. Despite what circumstances did David trust in Jehovah?
11 David of ancient Israel is one who trusted in Jehovah. David faced the menace of King Saul, who wanted to kill him, and the powerful army of Philistines, who were trying to conquer Israel. Still, he survived and even triumphed. Why? David himself explains: “Jehovah is my light and my salvation. Of whom shall I be in fear? Jehovah is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be in dread?” (Psalm 27:1) We too will be successful if we similarly trust in Jehovah.
12, 13. How did David show that we should trust in Jehovah even when opposers use their tongues as weapons against us?
12 On one occasion David prayed: “Hear, O God, my voice in my concern. From the dreadfulness of the enemy may you safeguard my life. May you conceal me from the confidential talk of evildoers, from the tumult of practicers of hurtfulness, who have sharpened their tongue just like a sword, who have aimed their arrow, bitter speech, to shoot from concealed places at someone blameless.” (Psalm 64:1-4) We do not know for certain what moved David to write these words. But we know that today, opposers similarly ‘sharpen their tongue,’ using speech as a weapon of war. They “shoot” at blameless Christians, using spoken or written words as “arrows” of misrepresentation. If we trust unwaveringly in Jehovah, what will be the result?
13 David goes on to say: “God will shoot at them with an arrow suddenly. Wounds have resulted to them, and they cause one to stumble. But their tongue is against their own selves. . . . The righteous one will rejoice in Jehovah and will indeed take refuge in him.” (Psalm 64:7-10) Yes, though enemies sharpen their tongue against us, in the end ‘their tongue comes to be against their own selves.’ Jehovah eventually turns matters to a positive outcome, so that those who have trusted in him can rejoice in him.
Hezekiah’s Trust Vindicated
14. (a) In the face of what grave situation did Hezekiah trust in Jehovah? (b) How did Hezekiah show that he did not believe the lies of the Assyrian?
14 King Hezekiah was another whose trust in Jehovah was vindicated. During Hezekiah’s reign, the mighty Assyrian army threatened Jerusalem. That army had defeated many other nations. It had even conquered the cities of Judah until only Jerusalem was still free, and Sennacherib boasted that he would conquer that city too. Through Rabshakeh, he pointed out—correctly—that trusting in Egypt for assistance would be futile. However, he then said: “Do not let your God in whom you are trusting deceive you, saying: ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’” (Isaiah 37:10) However, Hezekiah knew that Jehovah is not deceptive. So he prayed, saying: “O Jehovah our God, save us out of [the Assyrian’s] hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Jehovah, are God alone.” (Isaiah 37:20) Jehovah listened to Hezekiah’s prayer. In one night, an angel killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. Jerusalem was spared, and Sennacherib left the soil of Judah. All of those who heard of this event learned of Jehovah’s greatness.
15. What alone will help prepare us for any difficult circumstance in which we might find ourselves in this unstable world?
15 Today, like Hezekiah, we are in a warlike situation. In our case, the warfare is spiritual. Still, as spiritual warriors, we need to cultivate survival skills. We need to anticipate attacks and prepare ourselves so as to be able to fend them off. (Ephesians 6:11, 12, 17) In this unstable world, situations can suddenly change. Civil unrest can arise unexpectedly. Countries with a history of religious tolerance can become intolerant. Only if we, like Hezekiah, prepare ourselves by cultivating an unshakable trust in Jehovah will we be ready for anything that might happen.
What Does It Mean to Trust in Jehovah?
16, 17. How do we demonstrate that we trust in Jehovah?
16 Trusting in Jehovah is not a matter of mere words. It involves our heart and is demonstrated by our actions. If we trust in Jehovah, we will fully trust his Word, the Bible. We will read it daily, meditate upon it, and allow it to guide our lives. (Psalm 119:105) Trusting in Jehovah also involves trusting in the power of the holy spirit. With the help of holy spirit, we can cultivate fruitage that is pleasing to Jehovah and we can vanquish entrenched bad habits. (1 Corinthians 6:11; Galatians 5:22-24) Thus, with the help of holy spirit, many have been able to quit smoking or taking drugs. Others have given up immoral life-styles. Yes, if we trust in Jehovah, we act in his strength, not our own.—Ephesians 3:14-18.
17 In addition, trusting in Jehovah means trusting those whom he trusts. For example, Jehovah has arranged for “the faithful and discreet slave” to care for the earthly Kingdom interests. (Matthew 24:45-47) We do not try to go it alone, and we do not ignore that appointment, for we trust in Jehovah’s arrangement. Further, elders serve in the local Christian congregation and, according to the apostle Paul, are appointed by holy spirit. (Acts 20:28) By cooperating with the elder arrangement in the congregation, we also show that we trust in Jehovah.—Hebrews 13:17.
Follow Paul’s Example
18. How do Christians today follow Paul’s example, but in what do they not put their trust?
18 The apostle Paul faced many pressures in his ministry, just as we do. In his day Christianity was misrepresented to the authorities, and he sometimes endeavored to correct those false impressions or to establish the preaching work legally. (Acts 28:19-22; Philippians 1:7) Today, Christians follow his example. Wherever possible, we help others to be enlightened about our work, using whatever means are available. And we work to defend and legally establish the good news. However, we do not put our whole trust in such efforts, in that we do not view success or failure as hanging on our winning court cases or getting favorable publicity. Rather, we trust in Jehovah. We remember his encouragement to ancient Israel: “Your mightiness will prove to be simply in keeping undisturbed and in trustfulness.”—Isaiah 30:15.
19. When subjected to persecution, how has our brothers’ trust in Jehovah been vindicated?
19 At times during our modern history, our work has been banned or restricted in Eastern and Western Europe, in parts of Asia and Africa, and in countries of South and North America. Does this mean that our trust in Jehovah has been misplaced? No. While he sometimes has permitted bitter persecution for his own good purpose, Jehovah has lovingly strengthened those who have borne the brunt of that persecution. Under it, many Christians have built a wonderful record of faith and trust in God.
20. While we may benefit from legal freedoms, in what respects will we never compromise?
20 On the other hand, in most lands we have legal recognition, and at times we receive favorable publicity in the media. We are grateful for this and recognize that this too serves Jehovah’s purpose. With his blessing, we use the greater freedom, not to improve our personal life-styles, but to serve Jehovah openly and fully. However, just for the sake of being well thought of by the authorities, we will never compromise our neutrality, diminish our preaching activity, or in any other way weaken our service to Jehovah. We are subjects of the Messianic Kingdom and are solidly on the side of Jehovah’s sovereignty. Our hope is, not in this system of things, but in the new world, where the heavenly Messianic Kingdom will be the only government ruling over this earth. Neither bombs, nor missiles, nor even nuclear attacks can shake that government or shoot it down from heaven. It is invincible and will fulfill Jehovah’s purpose for it.—Daniel 2:44; Hebrews 12:28; Revelation 6:2.
21. What course are we determined to follow?
21 Paul says: “We are not the sort that shrink back to destruction, but the sort that have faith to the preserving alive of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:39) May we all, then, faithfully serve Jehovah down to the end. We have every reason to place our full trust in Jehovah now and for all time to come.—Psalm 37:3; 125:1.
What Did You Learn?
• Why did Joshua and Caleb bring back a favorable report?
• What are some reasons why we should trust Jehovah implicitly?
• What does it mean to trust in Jehovah?
• Trusting in Jehovah, we are determined to take what stand?
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Why did Joshua and Caleb give a favorable report?
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Creation gives us strong reason for trusting in Jehovah
All three images: Courtesy of Anglo-Australian Observatory, photograph by David Malin
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Trusting in Jehovah means trusting those whom he trusts