We Shall Walk in the Name of Jehovah Our God
“We, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.”—MICAH 4:5.
1. As regards morality, what was the situation in Noah’s day, and how was Noah different?
THE first man mentioned in the Bible as walking with God was Enoch. The second was Noah. The record tells us: “Noah was a righteous man. He proved himself faultless among his contemporaries. Noah walked with the true God.” (Genesis 6:9) By Noah’s time, mankind in general had deviated from pure worship. The bad situation was made worse by unfaithful angels who formed unnatural unions with women and produced offspring called Nephilim, “the mighty ones,” or “the men of fame,” of those days. No wonder the earth became filled with violence! (Genesis 6:2, 4, 11) Still, Noah proved himself faultless and was “a preacher of righteousness.” (2 Peter 2:5) When God commanded him to build an ark for the preservation of life, Noah obediently “proceeded to do according to all that God had commanded him. He did just so.” (Genesis 6:22) Truly, Noah walked with God.
2, 3. What fine example did Noah provide for us today?
2 Paul included Noah in his list of faithful witnesses when he wrote: “By faith Noah, after being given divine warning of things not yet beheld, showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; and through this faith he condemned the world, and he became an heir of the righteousness that is according to faith.” (Hebrews 11:7) What a splendid example! Certain that Jehovah’s words would come true, Noah expended time, energy, and resources in order to fulfill God’s commands. In a similar way, many today turn their backs on secular opportunities in this world and expend their time, energy, and resources in obeying Jehovah’s commands. Their faith is noteworthy and will result in their own salvation as well as that of others.—Luke 16:9; 1 Timothy 4:16.
3 Exercising faith must have been as difficult for Noah and his family as it was for Enoch, Noah’s great-grandfather, who was discussed in the preceding article. In Noah’s day as in Enoch’s, true worshippers were a small minority—just eight people proved faithful and survived the Flood. Noah preached righteousness in a violent and immoral world. Moreover, he and his family were building a huge wooden ark in preparation for a worldwide flood, although no one had seen such a flood before. That must have seemed very strange to those observing them.
4. What failing of Noah’s contemporaries did Jesus highlight?
4 Interestingly, when Jesus referred to the days of Noah, he did not speak of the violence, the false religion, or the immorality—grievous as those were. The error that Jesus highlighted was the refusal of people to heed the warning being given. He said that they were “eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark.” Eating, drinking, marrying, being given in marriage—what was wrong with that? They were just living “normal” lives! But a flood was coming, and Noah was preaching righteousness. His words and his conduct should have been a warning to them. Still, they “took no note until the flood came and swept them all away.”—Matthew 24:38, 39.
5. What qualities did Noah and his family need?
5 Looking back on those times, we see the wisdom of Noah’s course. However, in the days before the Flood, it took courage to be different from everyone else. It took strong conviction for Noah and his family to build the huge ark and fill it with representatives of the animal kinds. Did some among those few faithful souls sometimes wish that they could be less conspicuous and just live “normal” lives? Even if such thoughts crossed their minds, they did not weaken in their integrity. After a great many years—longer than any one of us will have to endure in this system of things—the faith of Noah led to his salvation through the Flood. However, Jehovah executed judgment on all those who were living “normal” lives and taking no note of the meaning of the times they were living in.
Violence Again Plagues Mankind
6. After the Flood, what situation still existed?
6 After the waters of the Flood receded, mankind had a fresh start. However, humans were still imperfect, and “the inclination of the heart of man” continued to be “bad from his youth up.” (Genesis 8:21) Besides, although the demons could no longer materialize human bodies, they were still very active. The world of ungodly mankind quickly showed that it was “lying in the power of the wicked one,” and just as today, true worshippers had to fight against “the machinations of the Devil.”—1 John 5:19; Ephesians 6:11, 12.
7. How did violence escalate in the post-Flood world?
7 At least from the time of Nimrod, the post-Flood earth once again became the scene of human violence. As a result of increasing population and the progress of technology, that violence has escalated over time. In earlier years, there were the sword, the spear, the bow and arrow, and the chariot. In more recent times came the musket and the cannon, then the rifle and the sophisticated artillery of the early 20th century. World War I brought to the fore more frightening weapons, such as the airplane, the tank, the submarine, and poison gas. In that war, these weapons took millions of lives. Was that unexpected? No.
8. How has Revelation 6:1-4 been fulfilled?
8 In the year 1914, Jesus was enthroned as King of God’s heavenly Kingdom, and “the Lord’s day” began. (Revelation 1:10) In a vision reported in the book of Revelation, Jesus is seen as a King riding forth victoriously on a white horse. Other horsemen follow him, each representing a different plague on mankind. One of them rides a fiery-colored horse, and to him it was granted “to take peace away from the earth so that they should slaughter one another; and a great sword was given him.” (Revelation 6:1-4) This horse and its rider picture warfare, and the great sword represents the unprecedented destructiveness of modern warfare with its powerful weapons. Those weapons today include nuclear devices, each one capable of destroying tens of thousands of people; rockets able to deliver those devices to targets thousands of miles away; as well as sophisticated chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.
We Take Note of Jehovah’s Warnings
9. How does today’s world compare with that existing before the Flood?
9 In the days of Noah, Jehovah brought mankind to ruin because of the extreme violence of wicked humans abetted by the Nephilim. What of today? Is the earth any less violent than it was then? Hardly! Moreover, just as in Noah’s day, people today are going about their business, trying to live a “normal” life, refusing to heed the warnings being sounded. (Luke 17:26, 27) Is there any reason, then, to doubt that Jehovah will once again bring mankind to ruin? No.
10. (a) What warning is repeatedly given in Bible prophecy? (b) What is the only wise course today?
10 Hundreds of years before the Flood, Enoch prophesied the destruction that must come in our day. (Jude 14, 15) Jesus too spoke of the coming “great tribulation.” (Matthew 24:21) Other prophets warned of that time. (Ezekiel 38:18-23; Daniel 12:1; Joel 2:31, 32) And in the book of Revelation, we read a graphic description of that final destruction. (Revelation 19:11-21) As individuals, we imitate Noah and are active as preachers of righteousness. We take note of Jehovah’s warnings and lovingly help our neighbors to do the same. Hence, like Noah, we walk with God. Indeed, it is vital that any who desire life keep on walking with God. How can we do that in view of the pressures that we face each day? We need to cultivate strong faith in the outworking of God’s purpose.—Hebrews 11:6.
Keep Walking With God in Troublous Times
11. In what way do we imitate first-century Christians?
11 In the first century, anointed Christians were spoken of as belonging to “The Way.” (Acts 9:2) Their whole way of life centered on faith in Jehovah and Jesus Christ. They walked in the path their Master had trod. Today, faithful Christians do likewise.
12. What happened after Jesus miraculously fed a crowd?
12 The importance of faith is seen in an event that took place during Jesus’ ministry. On one occasion, Jesus miraculously fed a crowd of about 5,000 men. The people were amazed and delighted. Notice, though, what happened next. We read: “When the men saw the signs he performed, they began to say: ‘This is for a certainty the prophet that was to come into the world.’ Therefore Jesus, knowing they were about to come and seize him to make him king, withdrew again into the mountain all alone.” (John 6:10-15) That night he traveled to another location. Jesus’ refusal to accept the kingship likely disappointed many. After all, he had shown that he was wise enough to be king and that he had the power to satisfy the people’s physical needs. However, it was not yet Jehovah’s time for him to rule as King. Besides, Jesus’ Kingdom was to be heavenly, not earthly.
13, 14. What viewpoint did many betray, and how was their faith tested?
13 Nevertheless, the crowds determinedly followed Jesus and found him, as John says, “across the sea.” Why did they follow him after he avoided their efforts to make him a king? Many betrayed a fleshly viewpoint, speaking pointedly of the material provisions that Jehovah had made in the wilderness in Moses’ day. The implication was that Jesus should continue to make material provisions for them. Jesus, perceiving their wrong motives, began to teach them spiritual truths that could help adjust their thinking. (John 6:17, 24, 25, 30, 31, 35-40) In response, some murmured against him, especially when he spoke this illustration: “Most truly I say to you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. He that feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I shall resurrect him at the last day.”—John 6:53, 54.
14 Jesus’ illustrations often moved people to show whether they truly desired to walk with God. This one was no exception. It provoked strong reactions. We read: “Many of his disciples, when they heard this, said: ‘This speech is shocking; who can listen to it?’” Jesus went on to explain that they should look for the spiritual meaning of his words. He said: “It is the spirit that is life-giving; the flesh is of no use at all. The sayings that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” Still, many would not listen, and the account reports: “Owing to this many of his disciples went off to the things behind and would no longer walk with him.”—John 6:60, 63, 66.
15. What right viewpoint did some of Jesus’ followers have?
15 Nevertheless, not all of Jesus’ disciples reacted that way. Admittedly, the loyal disciples did not fully understand what Jesus had said. Still, their confidence in him remained very firm. Peter, one of those loyal disciples, expressed the feelings of all who remained when he said: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life.” (John 6:68) What an excellent attitude, and what a fine example!
16. How might we be tested, and what proper viewpoint should we cultivate?
16 We today could be tested as those early disciples were. In our case, we might be disappointed that Jehovah’s promises are not being fulfilled as quickly as we personally would like. We might feel that explanations of the Scriptures in our Bible-based publications are difficult to understand. The conduct of a fellow Christian might disappoint us. Would it be right to stop walking with God for these or similar reasons? Of course not! The disciples who abandoned Jesus betrayed a fleshly way of thinking. We must avoid doing the same.
“We Are Not the Sort That Shrink Back”
17. How can we be helped to keep walking with God?
17 The apostle Paul wrote: “All Scripture is inspired of God.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Through the pages of the Bible, Jehovah tells us clearly: “This is the way. Walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21) Obeying God’s Word helps us to ‘keep strict watch on how we walk.’ (Ephesians 5:15) Studying the Bible and meditating on what we learn enable us to “go on walking in the truth.” (3 John 3) Truly, as Jesus said, “the spirit . . . is life-giving; the flesh is of no use at all.” The only reliable guidance by which to direct our steps is spiritual guidance, which comes through Jehovah’s Word, his spirit, and his organization.
18. (a) What do some unwisely do? (b) What kind of faith do we cultivate?
18 Today, those who become disgruntled because of fleshly thinking or unfulfilled expectations often turn to making the most of what this world has to offer. Losing their sense of urgency, they see no need to “keep on the watch,” and they choose to pursue selfish goals instead of putting Kingdom interests first. (Matthew 24:42) Walking in that way is most unwise. Notice the apostle Paul’s words: “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) Like Enoch and Noah, we live in turbulent times, but like them, we have the privilege of walking with God. Doing so, we have the assured expectation that we will see Jehovah’s promises fulfilled, wickedness destroyed, and a righteous new world brought to pass. What a wonderful prospect!
19. How does Micah describe the course of true worshippers?
19 The inspired prophet Micah said of the nations of the world that they would “walk each one in the name of its god.” Then he spoke of himself and other faithful worshippers and said: “We, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.” (Micah 4:5) If your determination is the same as Micah’s, stay close to Jehovah however turbulent the times become. (James 4:8) May it be the heartfelt desire of each one of us to walk with Jehovah our God now and to time indefinite, even forever!
How Would You Answer?
• What similarities are there between Noah’s day and today?
• What course did Noah and his family follow, and how can we imitate their faith?
• What wrong viewpoint was betrayed by some of Jesus’ followers?
• What are true Christians determined to do?
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Just as in Noah’s day, people today are consumed with their daily activities
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As Kingdom preachers, “we are not the sort that shrink back”