“Look! This Is Our God”
The information discussed in these two study articles is based on the book Draw Close to Jehovah, which was released at the district conventions that were held around the world during 2002/03.—See the article “It Filled a Void in My Heart,” on page 20.
“Look! This is our God. We have hoped in him, and he will save us. This is Jehovah.”—ISAIAH 25:9.
1, 2. (a) How did Jehovah refer to the patriarch Abraham, and what might this cause us to wonder about? (b) How does the Bible assure us that a close relationship with God is within reach?
“MY FRIEND.” That is how Jehovah, the Creator of heaven and earth, referred to the patriarch Abraham. (Isaiah 41:8) Just imagine—a mere human enjoying a friendship with the Sovereign Lord of the universe! You may wonder, ‘Is it possible for me to be that close to God?’
2 The Bible assures us that a close relationship with God is within reach. Abraham was granted such closeness because he “put faith in Jehovah.” (James 2:23) Today, too, Jehovah’s “intimacy is with the upright ones.” (Proverbs 3:32) At James 4:8, the Bible urges us: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” Clearly, if we take steps to draw close to Jehovah, he will respond. Indeed, he will draw close to us. But do these inspired words mean that we—sinful, imperfect humans—take the first step? Not at all. Intimacy with Jehovah is possible only because our loving God has taken two important steps.—Psalm 25:14.
3. Jehovah has taken what two steps to make it possible for us to enjoy a friendship with him?
3 First, Jehovah arranged for Jesus “to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” (Matthew 20:28) That ransom sacrifice makes it possible for us to be close to God. The Bible states: “As for us, we love, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Yes, since God “first loved us,” he laid the foundation for us to enter into friendship with him. Second, Jehovah has revealed himself to us. In any friendship we forge, the bond is based on truly knowing the other person, admiring and valuing his distinctive traits. Consider what this means. If Jehovah were a hidden, unknowable God, we could never be close to him. Yet, far from concealing himself, Jehovah wants us to come to know him. (Isaiah 45:19) In his Word, the Bible, he reveals himself in terms we can comprehend—proof not only that he loves us but that he wants us to know and love him as our heavenly Father.
4. How will we feel about Jehovah as we get to know his qualities better?
4 Have you ever seen a small child point out his father to his friends and then say with innocent joy and pride, “That’s my daddy”? God’s worshipers have every reason to feel similarly about Jehovah. The Bible foretells a time when faithful people will exclaim: “Look! This is our God.” (Isaiah 25:8, 9) The more insight we gain into Jehovah’s qualities, the more we will feel that we have the best Father and the closest Friend imaginable. Yes, grasping Jehovah’s qualities gives us many reasons for drawing closer to him. So let us examine how the Bible reveals Jehovah’s cardinal attributes—power, justice, wisdom, and love. In this article, we will discuss the first three of these qualities.
“Exalted in Power”
5. Why is it fitting that Jehovah alone is called “the Almighty,” and in what ways does he use his awesome power?
5 Jehovah is “exalted in power.” (Job 37:23) Jeremiah 10:6 says: “In no way is there anyone like you, O Jehovah. You are great, and your name is great in mightiness.” Unlike any creature, Jehovah has unlimited power. For that reason, he alone is called “the Almighty.” (Revelation 15:3) Jehovah uses his awesome power to create, to destroy, to protect, and to restore. Consider just two examples—his creative power and his protective power.
6, 7. How powerful is the sun, and to what important truth does it testify?
6 When you stand outside on a bright summer day, what do you feel on your skin? The warmth of the sun. Really, though, you are feeling the results of Jehovah’s creative power. How powerful is the sun? At its core, its temperature is about 27 million degrees Fahrenheit [15 million degrees Celsius]. If you could take a pinhead-sized piece of the sun’s core and put it here on the earth, you could not safely stand within 90 miles [140 km] of that tiny heat source! Every second, the sun emits energy equivalent to the explosion of many hundreds of millions of nuclear bombs. Yet, the earth orbits at just the right distance from that awesome thermonuclear furnace. Too close, and earth’s water would vaporize; too far, and it would all freeze. Either extreme would render our planet lifeless.
7 Although their very lives depend upon the sun, many people take it for granted. Thus, they miss what the sun can teach us. Psalm 74:16 says of Jehovah: “You . . . prepared the luminary, even the sun.” Yes, the sun glorifies Jehovah, “the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 146:6) Even so, it is just one of the numerous creations that teach us about Jehovah’s immense power. The more we learn about Jehovah’s creative power, the more profound our awe becomes.
8, 9. (a) What tender word picture shows us Jehovah’s willingness to protect and care for his worshipers? (b) The shepherd of Bible times provided what care for his sheep, and what does this teach us about our Great Shepherd?
8 Jehovah also uses his vast power to protect his servants and to care for them. The Bible uses some vivid yet touching word pictures to describe Jehovah’s promises of protective care. Note, for example, Isaiah 40:11. Jehovah there likens himself to a shepherd and his people to sheep. We read: “Like a shepherd he will shepherd his own drove. With his arm he will collect together the lambs; and in his bosom he will carry them. Those giving suck he will conduct with care.” Can you visualize what is described in that verse?
9 Few animals are as helpless as domestic sheep. The shepherd of Bible times had to be courageous to protect his sheep from wolves, bears, and lions. (1 Samuel 17:34-36; John 10:10-13) But there were times when protecting and caring for the sheep called for tenderness. For example, when a sheep gave birth far from the fold, how would the shepherd keep the defenseless newborn lamb safe? He would carry it, perhaps for days, “in his bosom”—the loose folds of his upper garment. How, though, would a little lamb come to be in the shepherd’s bosom? The lamb might approach the shepherd and even nudge his leg. It is the shepherd, however, who would have to bend over, reach out and pick up the lamb, and place it in the security of his bosom. What a tender picture of the willingness of our Great Shepherd to protect and care for his servants!
10. What protection does Jehovah provide today, and why is such protection especially important?
10 Jehovah has done more than just promise protection. In Bible times, he demonstrated in miraculous ways that he is able “to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial.” (2 Peter 2:9) What about today? We know that he does not use his power to protect us from all calamity now. He does, however, provide something more important—spiritual protection. Our loving God protects us from spiritual harm by equipping us with what we need in order to endure trials and to safeguard our relationship with him. For example, Luke 11:13 states: “If you, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so will the Father in heaven give holy spirit to those asking him!” That powerful force can make us equal to any trial or problem we may face. (2 Corinthians 4:7) Jehovah thus works to preserve our life, not just for a few short years, but for eternity. With that prospect in mind, we may indeed view any suffering in this system as “momentary and light.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) Are we not drawn to a God who so lovingly uses his power in our behalf?
“Jehovah Is a Lover of Justice”
11, 12. (a) Why does Jehovah’s justice draw us to him? (b) What conclusion did David reach regarding Jehovah’s justice, and how can these inspired words comfort us?
11 Jehovah does what is right and fair, and he does so consistently, without partiality. Divine justice is, not a cold, harsh quality that repels us, but an endearing quality that draws us to Jehovah. The Bible clearly describes the heartwarming nature of this attribute. Let us, then, consider three ways in which Jehovah exercises his justice.
12 First, Jehovah’s justice moves him to show faithfulness and loyalty toward his servants. The psalmist David came to appreciate firsthand this facet of Jehovah’s justice. From his own experience and from his study of God’s ways, what conclusion did David reach? He declared: “Jehovah is a lover of justice, and he will not leave his loyal ones. To time indefinite they will certainly be guarded.” (Psalm 37:28) What comforting assurance! Our God will never for one moment abandon those who are loyal to him. We can therefore count on his closeness and his loving care. His justice guarantees this!—Proverbs 2:7, 8.
13. How is Jehovah’s concern for disadvantaged ones evident in the Law he gave to Israel?
13 Second, divine justice is sensitive to the needs of the afflicted. Jehovah’s concern for disadvantaged ones is evident in the Law he gave to Israel. For example, the Law made provisions to ensure that orphans and widows were cared for. (Deuteronomy 24:17-21) Recognizing how difficult life could be for such families, Jehovah himself became their fatherly Judge and Protector. (Deuteronomy 10:17, 18) He warned the Israelites that if they victimized defenseless women and children, he would hear the outcry of such ones. “My anger will indeed blaze,” he stated, as recorded at Exodus 22:22-24. While anger is not one of God’s dominant qualities, he is provoked to righteous indignation by deliberate acts of injustice, especially when the victims are vulnerable ones.—Psalm 103:6.
14. What is a truly remarkable evidence of Jehovah’s impartiality?
14 Third, at Deuteronomy 10:17, the Bible assures us that Jehovah “treats none with partiality nor accepts a bribe.” Unlike many humans with power or influence, Jehovah is not swayed by material wealth or outward appearance. He is free from bias or favoritism. A truly remarkable evidence of his impartiality is this: The opportunity of becoming his true worshipers, with endless life in view, is not restricted to an elite few. Rather, Acts 10:34, 35 states: “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” This prospect is open to all regardless of their social standing, the color of their skin, or the country in which they live. Is that not true justice at its very best? Indeed, a better understanding of Jehovah’s justice draws us to him!
“O the Depth of God’s . . . Wisdom!”
15. What is wisdom, and how does Jehovah display it?
15 The apostle Paul was moved to exclaim, as recorded at Romans 11:33: “O the depth of God’s . . . wisdom and knowledge!” Yes, as we contemplate the various aspects of Jehovah’s vast wisdom, we cannot help but be filled with awe. How, though, can we define this quality? Wisdom brings knowledge, discernment, and understanding together and puts them to work. Drawing upon his breadth of knowledge and his depth of understanding, Jehovah always makes the best decisions possible, carrying them out by means of the best course of action conceivable.
16, 17. How do Jehovah’s creations testify to his vast wisdom? Give an example.
16 What are some specific evidences of Jehovah’s vast wisdom? Says Psalm 104:24: “How many your works are, O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made. The earth is full of your productions.” Indeed, the more we learn about the things Jehovah has made, the more we find ourselves awed by his wisdom. Why, scientists have learned much from studying Jehovah’s creations! There is even a field of engineering, called biomimetics, that seeks to mimic designs found in nature.
17 For instance, perhaps you have gazed in wonder at the beauty of a spiderweb. It is indeed a marvel of design. Some frail-looking strands are proportionately stronger than steel, tougher than the fibers in a bulletproof vest. What exactly does that mean? Imagine a web enlarged in scale until it is the size of a net used on a fishing boat. Such a web would be so strong that it could stop a passenger plane in mid-flight! Yes, Jehovah has made all such things “in wisdom.”
18. How is Jehovah’s wisdom seen in his use of humans to record his Word, the Bible?
18 The greatest evidence of Jehovah’s wisdom can be found in his Word, the Bible. The wise counsel found in its pages truly shows us the best way to live. (Isaiah 48:17) But Jehovah’s incomparable wisdom is also seen in the way the Bible was written. How so? In his wisdom, Jehovah chose to use humans to record his Word. If he had used angels to write the inspired Word, would the Bible have the same appeal? Granted, angels could have portrayed Jehovah from their lofty viewpoint and could have expressed their own devotion to him. But would we really have been able to identify with the perspective of perfect spirit creatures, whose knowledge, experience, and strength are far superior to our own?—Hebrews 2:6, 7.
19. What example shows that the use of human writers gives the Bible tremendous warmth and appeal?
19 The use of human penmen gives the Bible tremendous warmth and appeal. Its writers were men with feelings like ours. Being imperfect, they faced trials and pressures similar to our own. In some cases, they wrote in the first person about their own feelings and struggles. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) So they penned words that no angel could have expressed. Take, for example, the words of David recorded in Psalm 51. According to the superscription, David composed this psalm after he had committed serious sin. He poured out his heart, expressing deep sorrow and begging for God’s forgiveness. Ps 51 Verses 2 and 3 say: “Thoroughly wash me from my error, and cleanse me even from my sin. For my transgressions I myself know, and my sin is in front of me constantly.” Notice Ps 51 verse 5: “Look! With error I was brought forth with birth pains, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Ps 51 Verse 17 adds: “The sacrifices to God are a broken spirit; a heart broken and crushed, O God, you will not despise.” Can you not feel the writer’s anguish? Who but an imperfect human could express such sentiments?
20, 21. (a) Why can it be said that despite the use of human writers, the Bible contains Jehovah’s wisdom? (b) What will be discussed in the next article?
20 Through his use of such imperfect humans, Jehovah provided just what we need—a record that is “inspired of God” yet retains the human element. (2 Timothy 3:16) Yes, those writers were guided by holy spirit. They thus recorded Jehovah’s wisdom, not their own. That wisdom is perfectly trustworthy. It is so far above our own wisdom that God lovingly urges us: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6) By heeding that wise advice, we draw closer to our all-wise God.
21 The most endearing and beautiful of all of Jehovah’s qualities is love. How Jehovah has shown love will be discussed in the next article.
Can You Remember?
• What steps has Jehovah taken to make it possible for us to cultivate intimacy with him?
• What are some examples of Jehovah’s creative power and of his protective power?
• In what ways does Jehovah exercise his justice?
• How is Jehovah’s wisdom seen in his creations as well as in the Bible?
[Picture on page 10]
Like a shepherd who carries a lamb in his bosom, Jehovah tenderly cares for His sheep
[Picture on page 13]
Jehovah’s wisdom is seen in the way the Bible was written