Jehovah Always Does What Is Right
“Jehovah is righteous in all his ways.”—PSALM 145:17.
1. How do you react when someone draws a wrong conclusion about you, and what lesson can we learn from such an experience?
HAS someone ever drawn the wrong conclusion about you, perhaps questioning your actions or motives, without having all the facts? If so, you likely felt hurt—and understandably so. From this, we can learn an important lesson: It is wise to avoid jumping to conclusions when we do not have the whole picture.
2, 3. How do some react to Bible accounts that do not contain enough details to answer every question, yet what does the Bible tell us about Jehovah?
2 We do well to keep this lesson in mind when it comes to reaching conclusions about Jehovah God. Why is that? Because there are certain Bible accounts that may at first seem puzzling. These accounts—perhaps about the actions of some of God’s worshipers or God’s past judgments—may not contain enough details to answer all our questions. Sadly, some take exception to such accounts, even questioning whether God is righteous and just. Yet, the Bible tells us that “Jehovah is righteous in all his ways.” (Psalm 145:17) His Word also assures us that he “does not act wickedly.” (Job 34:12; Psalm 37:28) Imagine, then, how he must feel when others draw wrong conclusions about him!
3 Let us consider five reasons why we should accept Jehovah’s judgments. Then, with those reasons in mind, we will examine two Bible accounts that some may find difficult to understand.
Why Accept Jehovah’s Judgments?
4. Why should we be modest when considering God’s actions? Illustrate.
4 First, because Jehovah knows all the facts involved and we do not, we should be modest when considering God’s actions. To illustrate: Imagine that a judge with an outstanding record of making fair-minded decisions has handed down a sentence in a court case. What would you think about someone who without knowing all the facts or really understanding the laws involved criticized the judge’s decision? It would be foolish for someone to pass judgment on a matter without being fully informed about it. (Proverbs 18:13) How much more foolish it would be for mere humans to criticize “the Judge of all the earth”!—Genesis 18:25.
5. What should we not forget when we read Bible accounts about executions of God’s judgments upon certain individuals?
5 A second reason to accept God’s judgments is that unlike humans, God can read hearts. (1 Samuel 16:7) His Word states: “I, Jehovah, am searching the heart, examining the kidneys, even to give to each one according to his ways, according to the fruitage of his dealings.” (Jeremiah 17:10) Hence, when we read Bible accounts about God’s judgments upon certain individuals, let us not forget that his all-seeing eyes took into account hidden thoughts, motives, and intentions that went unrecorded in his Word.—1 Chronicles 28:9.
6, 7. (a) How has Jehovah demonstrated that he holds to his just and righteous standards even at great personal cost? (b) What should we remember if we read something in the Bible that causes us to wonder whether God acted in a just or right way?
6 Note a third reason to accept Jehovah’s judgments: He holds to his righteous standards even at great personal cost. Consider an example. In giving his Son as a ransom for delivering obedient mankind from sin and death, Jehovah satisfied his just and righteous standards. (Romans 5:18, 19) Yet, seeing his beloved Son suffer and die on a torture stake must have caused Jehovah the greatest possible pain. What does this tell us about God? Regarding “the ransom paid by Christ Jesus,” the Bible says: “This was in order to exhibit [God’s] own righteousness.” (Romans 3:24-26) Another translation of Romans 3:25 reads: “This showed that God always does what is right and fair.” (New Century Version) Yes, the extent to which Jehovah was willing to go in order to provide the ransom shows that he has the highest regard for “what is right and fair.”
7 So, then, if we read something in the Bible that causes some to wonder whether God acted in a just or right way, we should remember this: Because of his loyalty to his standards of righteousness and justice, Jehovah did not spare his own Son from undergoing a painful death. Would he compromise those standards in other matters? The truth is, Jehovah never violates his righteous and just standards. We thus have ample reason to be convinced that he always does what is right and fair.—Job 37:23.
8. Why would it be inconsistent for humans to imagine that justice and righteousness could somehow be lacking in Jehovah?
8 Consider a fourth reason why we should accept Jehovah’s judgments: Jehovah made man in His image. (Genesis 1:27) Humans are thus endowed with attributes like those of God, including a sense of justice and righteousness. It would be inconsistent if our sense of justice and righteousness caused us to imagine that those same qualities could somehow be lacking in Jehovah. If we become troubled over a particular Bible account, we need to remember that because of our inherited sin, our sense of what is just and right is imperfect. Jehovah God, in whose image we were made, is perfect in justice and righteousness. (Deuteronomy 32:4) It would be absurd even to imagine that humans could be more just and righteous than God!—Romans 3:4, 5; 9:14.
9, 10. Why is Jehovah not obligated to explain or justify his actions to humans?
9 A fifth reason for accepting Jehovah’s judgments is that he is “the Most High over all the earth.” (Psalm 83:18) As such, he is not obligated to explain or justify his actions to humans. He is the Great Potter, and we are like clay that has been shaped into vessels, for him to deal with as he pleases. (Romans 9:19-21) Who are we—the pottery of his hand—to question his decisions or actions? When the patriarch Job misunderstood God’s dealings with mankind, Jehovah corrected him, asking: “Really, will you invalidate my justice? Will you pronounce me wicked in order that you may be in the right?” Realizing that he had spoken without understanding, Job later repented. (Job 40:8; 42:6) May we never make the mistake of finding fault with God!
10 Clearly, we have sound reasons to believe that Jehovah always does what is right. With this foundation for understanding Jehovah’s ways, let us examine two Bible accounts that some may find puzzling. The first involves the actions of one of God’s worshipers, and the other, an execution of judgment by God himself.
Why Did Lot Offer His Daughters to an Angry Mob?
11, 12. (a) Relate what happened when God sent two materialized angels to Sodom. (b) This account has raised what questions in the mind of some?
11 In Genesis chapter 19, we find the account of what happened when God sent two materialized angels to Sodom. Lot insisted that the visitors stay in his home. That night, however, a mob of men from the city surrounded the house and demanded that the visitors be brought out to them for immoral purposes. Lot tried to reason with the mob, but to no avail. Seeking to protect his guests, Lot said: “Please, my brothers, do not act badly. Please, here I have two daughters who have never had intercourse with a man. Please, let me bring them out to you. Then do to them as is good in your eyes. Only to these men do not do a thing, because that is why they have come under the shadow of my roof.” The mob would not listen and almost broke down the door. Finally, the angelic visitors struck that frenzied crowd with blindness.—Genesis 19:1-11.
12 Understandably, this account has raised questions in the mind of some. They wonder: ‘How could Lot seek to protect his guests by offering his daughters to a lustful mob? Did he not act improperly, even cowardly?’ In view of this account, why would God inspire Peter to call Lot a “righteous man”? Did Lot act with God’s approval? (2 Peter 2:7, 8) Let us reason on this matter so that we do not draw the wrong conclusion.
13, 14. (a) What should be noted about the Bible account regarding Lot’s actions? (b) What shows that Lot did not act in a cowardly way?
13 To begin with, it should be noted that rather than condoning or condemning Lot’s actions, the Bible simply reports what took place. The Bible also does not tell us what Lot was thinking or what motivated him to act as he did. When he comes back in the “resurrection of . . . the righteous,” perhaps he will reveal the details.—Acts 24:15.
14 Lot was hardly a coward. He was placed in a difficult situation. By saying that the visitors had “come under the shadow” of his roof, Lot indicated that he felt compelled to provide protection and refuge for them. But this would not be easy. Jewish historian Josephus reports that the Sodomites were “unjust towards men, and impious towards God . . . They hated strangers, and abused themselves with Sodomitical practices.” Yet, Lot did not shrink back from the hateful mob. On the contrary, he went out and reasoned with those angry men. He even “shut the door behind him.”—Genesis 19:6.
15. Why can it be said that Lot may well have acted in faith?
15 ‘Still,’ some may ask, ‘why would Lot offer his daughters to the mob?’ Instead of assuming that his motives were bad, why not consider some possibilities? First of all, Lot may well have acted in faith. How so? No doubt Lot was aware of how Jehovah had protected Sarah, the wife of Abraham, Lot’s uncle. Recall that because Sarah was very beautiful, Abraham had asked her to identify him as her brother, lest others kill him in order to take her.* Subsequently, Sarah was taken to the household of Pharaoh. Jehovah, however, intervened, preventing Pharaoh from violating Sarah. (Genesis 12:11-20) It is possible that Lot had faith that his daughters could be similarly protected. Significantly, Jehovah through his angels did intervene, and the young women were kept safe.
16, 17. (a) In what way may Lot have been trying to shock or confuse the men of Sodom? (b) Whatever Lot’s reasoning, of what can we be sure?
16 Consider another possibility. Lot may also have been trying to shock or confuse the men. He may have believed that his daughters would not be desired by the crowd because of the homosexual lust of the Sodomites. (Jude 7) In addition, the young women were engaged to men of the city, so relatives, friends, or business associates of his prospective sons-in-law might well have been in the crowd. (Genesis 19:14) Lot may have hoped that by reason of such ties, some men in that mob would speak up in defense of his daughters. A mob thus divided would not be nearly so dangerous.*
17 Whatever Lot’s reasoning and motives, we can be sure of this: Since Jehovah always does what is right, he must have had good reason to view Lot as a “righteous man.” And judging from the actions of the crazed mob of Sodomites, can there be any doubt that Jehovah was fully justified in executing judgment upon the inhabitants of that wicked city?—Genesis 19:23-25.
Why Did Jehovah Strike Uzzah Dead?
18. (a) What happened when David attempted to bring the Ark to Jerusalem? (b) What question does this account raise?
18 Another account that might seem puzzling to some involves David’s attempt to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The Ark was placed on a wagon, which was led by Uzzah and his brother. The Bible states: “They came gradually as far as the threshing floor of Nacon, and Uzzah now thrust his hand out to the ark of the true God and grabbed hold of it, for the cattle nearly caused an upset. At that Jehovah’s anger blazed against Uzzah and the true God struck him down there for the irreverent act, so that he died there close by the ark of the true God.” Some months later, a second attempt succeeded when the Ark was transported in the God-appointed way, carried on the shoulders of Kohathite Levites. (2 Samuel 6:6, 7; Numbers 4:15; 7:9; 1 Chronicles 15:1-14) Some may ask: ‘Why did Jehovah react so strongly? Uzzah was only trying to save the Ark.’ Lest we draw the wrong conclusion, we do well to note some helpful details.
19. Why is it impossible for Jehovah to act unjustly?
19 We need to remember that it is impossible for Jehovah to act unjustly. (Job 34:10) For him to do so would be unloving, and we know from our study of the Bible as a whole that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) In addition, the Scriptures tell us that “righteousness and judgment are the established place of [God’s] throne.” (Psalm 89:14) How, then, could Jehovah ever act unjustly? If he were to do so, he would be undermining the very foundation of his sovereignty.
20. For what reasons should Uzzah have been aware of the regulations regarding the Ark?
20 Keep in mind that Uzzah should have known better. The Ark was associated with Jehovah’s presence. The Law specified that it was not to be touched by unauthorized individuals, explicitly warning that violators would be punished by death. (Numbers 4:18-20; 7:89) Therefore, the transfer of that sacred chest was not a task to be treated lightly. Uzzah evidently was a Levite (though not a priest), so he should have been familiar with the Law. Besides, years earlier the Ark had been moved to the house of his father for safekeeping. (1 Samuel 6:20–7:1) It had stayed there for some 70 years, until David chose to move it. So from childhood on, Uzzah had likely been aware of the laws regarding the Ark.
21. In the case of Uzzah, why is it important to remember that Jehovah sees the motives of the heart?
21 As mentioned earlier, Jehovah can read hearts. Since his Word calls Uzzah’s deed an “irreverent act,” Jehovah may have seen some selfish motive that is not expressly revealed in the account. Was Uzzah perhaps a presumptuous man, prone to overstep due bounds? (Proverbs 11:2) Did leading in public the Ark that his family had guarded in private give him an inflated sense of self-importance? (Proverbs 8:13) Was Uzzah so faithless as to think that Jehovah’s hand was too short to steady the sacred chest that symbolized His presence? Whatever the case, we can be sure that Jehovah did what was right. He likely saw something in Uzzah’s heart that caused Him to render swift judgment.—Proverbs 21:2.
A Sound Basis for Confidence
22. How is Jehovah’s wisdom seen in that his Word at times omits certain details?
22 Jehovah’s incomparable wisdom is seen in that his Word at times omits certain details. Jehovah thereby gives us an opportunity to show that we trust him. From what we have considered, is it not clear that we have sound reasons to accept Jehovah’s judgments? Yes, when we study God’s Word with a sincere heart and an open mind, we learn more than enough about Jehovah to be convinced that he always does what is just and right. Hence, if some Bible account raises questions to which we cannot find immediate explicit answers, let us have full confidence that Jehovah did what was right.
23. What confidence can we have regarding Jehovah’s future actions?
23 We can have similar confidence regarding Jehovah’s future actions. Hence, we may rest assured that when he comes to execute judgment at the approaching great tribulation, he will not “sweep away the righteous with the wicked.” (Genesis 18:23) His love of righteousness and justice will never allow him to do that. We can also have full confidence that in the coming new world, he will satisfy all our needs in the best possible way.—Psalm 145:16.
Abraham’s fear was valid, for an ancient papyrus tells of a Pharaoh who had armed men seize a beautiful woman and kill her husband.
For additional observations, see The Watchtower of December 1, 1979, page 31.
Do You Recall?
• For what reasons should we accept Jehovah’s judgments?
• What can help us to avoid reaching the wrong conclusion about Lot’s offering his daughters to the angry mob?
• What factors can help us to understand why Jehovah struck Uzzah dead?
• What confidence can we have regarding Jehovah’s future actions?