The Word of Jehovah Never Fails
“Not one word out of all the good words that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you.”—JOSHUA 23:14.
1. Who was Joshua, and what did he do toward the end of his life?
HE WAS a dynamic and fearless military commander, a man of faith and integrity. He walked with Moses and was handpicked by Jehovah to lead the nation of Israel out of a fear-inspiring wilderness into a land flowing with milk and honey. Toward the end of his life, this highly respected man, Joshua, gave a moving farewell speech to the older men of Israel. Doubtless, that speech fortified the faith of those who listened to him. It can do the same for you.
2, 3. When Joshua addressed the older men of Israel, what was the situation of Israel, and what did Joshua say?
2 Picture the setting, as described in the Bible: “It came about many days after Jehovah had given Israel rest from all their enemies all around, when Joshua was old and advanced in days, that Joshua proceeded to call all Israel, its older men and its heads and its judges and its officers, and to say to them: ‘As for me, I have grown old, I have advanced in days.’”—Joshua 23:1, 2.
3 Joshua was approaching 110 years of age, having lived during one of the most exciting periods in the history of God’s people. He had been an eyewitness to mighty acts of God, and he had seen the fulfillment of many of Jehovah’s promises. Thus, it was with the absolute conviction of firsthand experience that he said: “You well know with all your hearts and with all your souls that not one word out of all the good words that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you. Not one word of them has failed.”—Joshua 23:14.
4. What assurances did Jehovah give the Israelites?
4 What words of Jehovah had come true in Joshua’s lifetime? We will consider three assurances that Jehovah gave the Israelites. First, God would deliver them from bondage. Second, he would protect them. Third, he would sustain them. Jehovah has given similar assurances to his modern-day people, and we have seen them come true during our lifetime. Before we discuss what Jehovah has done in modern times, though, let us consider his activity in Joshua’s day.
Jehovah Delivers His People
5, 6. How did Jehovah deliver the Israelites from Egypt, and what did this demonstrate?
5 When the Israelites cried out to God because of their slavery in Egypt, Jehovah took notice. (Exodus 2:23-25) At the burning bush, Jehovah said to Moses: “I am proceeding to go down to deliver [my people] out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a land good and spacious, to a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 3:8) How exciting it must have been to see Jehovah bring this about! When Pharaoh refused to let Israel leave Egypt, Moses informed him that God would turn the waters of the Nile into blood. Jehovah’s word did not fail. The water in the Nile River was turned into blood. The fish died, and the river water was undrinkable. (Exodus 7:14-21) Pharaoh remained obstinate, and Jehovah brought nine more plagues, describing each one in advance. (Exodus, chapters 8-12) After the tenth plague struck dead the firstborn of Egypt, Pharaoh ordered the Israelites to leave—and leave they did!—Exodus 12:29-32.
6 That deliverance opened the way for Jehovah to adopt Israel as his chosen nation. It magnified Jehovah as the Fulfiller of promises, the one whose word never fails. It demonstrated Jehovah’s supremacy over the gods of the nations. Reading about that deliverance strengthens our faith. Imagine what it must have been like to experience it! Joshua saw that Jehovah was without doubt “the Most High over all the earth.”—Psalm 83:18.
Jehovah Protects His People
7. How did Jehovah protect the Israelites from Pharaoh’s army?
7 What of the second assurance—Jehovah would protect his people? This assurance was implicit in Jehovah’s promise that he would deliver them from Egypt and let them enter the Promised Land. Recall that the enraged Pharaoh pursued Israel with his powerful army, equipped with hundreds of chariots. How confident that arrogant man must have been, especially when the Israelites appeared to be trapped between the mountains and the sea! Now God stepped in to protect his people by stationing a cloud between the two camps. On the Egyptian side was darkness; on the Israelite side was light. While the cloud stalled the Egyptian advance, Moses lifted his rod and the waters of the Red Sea parted, providing both an escape path for the Israelites and a trap for the Egyptians. Jehovah utterly destroyed Pharaoh’s mighty military machine, protecting His people from certain defeat.—Exodus 14:19-28.
8. What protection did the Israelites enjoy (a) in the wilderness and (b) when they entered the Promised Land?
8 After crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites wandered in a land described as a “vast and terrible wilderness infested with poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty, waterless land.” (Deuteronomy 8:15, The New English Bible) Jehovah protected his people there too. And what of their entry into the Promised Land? Powerful Canaanite armies opposed them. Yet, Jehovah said to Joshua: “Get up, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Nobody will take a firm stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I proved to be with Moses I shall prove to be with you. I shall neither desert you nor leave you entirely.” (Joshua 1:2, 5) Those words of Jehovah did not fail. Within roughly six years, Joshua defeated 31 kings and subjugated large sections of the Promised Land. (Joshua 12:7-24) That conquest would have been impossible without Jehovah’s protective care.
Jehovah Sustains His People
9, 10. How did Jehovah sustain his people in the wilderness?
9 Consider now the third assurance—Jehovah would sustain his people. Shortly after their deliverance from Egypt, God promised the Israelites: “Here I am raining down bread for you from the heavens; and the people must go out and pick up each his amount day for day.” Sure enough, God provided that ‘bread from heaven.’ “When the sons of Israel got to see it, they began to say to one another: ‘What is it?’” It was manna, the bread that Jehovah had promised them.—Exodus 16:4, 13-15.
10 For 40 years in the wilderness, Jehovah cared for the Israelites, providing them with food and water. He even saw to it that their mantles did not wear out and that their feet did not become swollen. (Deuteronomy 8:3, 4) Joshua witnessed it all. Jehovah delivered, protected, and sustained his people, just as he had promised them.
Deliverance in Modern Times
11. What occurred in Brooklyn, New York, in 1914, and the time for what had then arrived?
11 What of our time? On Friday morning, October 2, 1914, Charles Taze Russell, who took the lead at that time among the Bible Students, strode into the dining room at Bethel in Brooklyn, New York. “Good morning, all,” he said cheerily. Then, before taking his seat, he joyfully announced: “The Gentile times have ended; their kings have had their day.” Once again, the time had come for Jehovah, the Sovereign of the universe, to act in behalf of his people. And act he did!
12. What deliverance occurred in 1919, and for what did this pave the way?
12 Just five years later, Jehovah delivered his people from “Babylon the Great,” the mighty world empire of false religion. (Revelation 18:2) Few of us are old enough to have witnessed that exciting deliverance. Yet, we plainly see the results. Jehovah reestablished pure worship and united those who yearned to worship him. This had been foretold through the prophet Isaiah: “It must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it all the nations must stream.”—Isaiah 2:2.
13. What increase among Jehovah’s people have you seen?
13 Isaiah’s words did not fail to come true. In 1919 the anointed remnant began a bold worldwide witnessing campaign that raised the worship of the true God on high. In the 1930’s, it became evident that the “other sheep” were being gathered in. (John 10:16) First came thousands, then hundreds of thousands, and now millions are taking a stand for pure worship! In a vision given to the apostle John, they are described as “a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” (Revelation 7:9) What have you seen during your lifetime? How many Witnesses of Jehovah were there on earth when you first learned the truth? Today, those who serve Jehovah number more than 6,700,000. By delivering his people from Babylon the Great, Jehovah opened the way for the thrilling increase that we now see on a global scale.
14. What deliverance is yet to come?
14 Another act of deliverance is yet to come—one that will involve everyone on the face of the earth. In a stunning display of power, Jehovah will sweep aside all who oppose him, and he will deliver his people into a new world in which righteousness is to dwell. What a delight it will be to see an end to wickedness and the dawn of the most glorious era in all human history!—Revelation 21:1-4.
Jehovah’s Protection in Our Day
15. Why has there been a need for Jehovah’s protection in modern times?
15 As we have seen, the Israelites of Joshua’s day needed Jehovah’s protection. Are Jehovah’s people in modern times any different? Hardly! Jesus warned his followers: “People will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name.” (Matthew 24:9) Over the years, Jehovah’s Witnesses in many lands have endured bitter opposition and cruel persecution. Yet, Jehovah has proved to be with his people. (Romans 8:31) His Word assures us that nothing—‘no weapon formed against us’—will stop our Kingdom-preaching and teaching work.—Isaiah 54:17.
16. What evidence have you seen that Jehovah protects his people?
16 Despite the world’s hatred, Jehovah’s people have prospered. Jehovah’s Witnesses are flourishing in 236 lands—compelling evidence, indeed, that Jehovah is with us to protect us from those who wish to crush or silence us. Can you recall the names of mighty political or religious leaders who during your lifetime bitterly oppressed God’s people? What has happened to them? Where are they now? Most have been brought to nothing, just like Pharaoh in the days of Moses and Joshua. And what of God’s modern-day servants who died faithful? They are protected in Jehovah’s memory. There is no safer place for them to be. Clearly, in the matter of protection, Jehovah’s words have proved true.
Jehovah Sustains His People Today
17. Jehovah gave what assurance concerning spiritual food?
17 Jehovah sustained his people in the wilderness, and he sustains them today. We are spiritually fed by “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matthew 24:45) We receive knowledge of spiritual truths that were kept secret for centuries. The angel told Daniel: “Make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of the end. Many will rove about, and the true knowledge will become abundant.”—Daniel 12:4.
18. Why can it be said that true knowledge is abundant today?
18 We are now living in the time of the end, and true knowledge is indeed abundant. Worldwide, holy spirit has led lovers of truth to an accurate knowledge of the true God and his purposes. Bibles abound in the earth today, and so do publications that help people understand the precious truths that the Bible contains. Consider, for example, the table of contents in the study publication What Does the Bible Really Teach?* Among its chapters are: “What Is the Truth About God?,” “Where Are the Dead?,” “What Is God’s Kingdom?,” and “Why Does God Allow Suffering?” Humans have pondered such questions for thousands of years. Now the answers are readily available. Even after centuries of ignorance and Christendom’s apostate teaching, God’s Word prevails, sustaining all who yearn to serve Jehovah.
19. What promises have you seen fulfilled, and what conclusion have you come to?
19 Surely from what we have seen with our own eyes, we can say: “Not one word out of all the good words that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you. Not one word of them has failed.” (Joshua 23:14) Jehovah delivers, protects, and sustains his servants. Can you point to any promise of his that failed to be fulfilled at his appointed time? It is impossible to do so. We wisely trust in the reliable Word of God.
20. Why may we look to the future with confidence?
20 What of the future? Jehovah has told us that most of us can hope to live on an earth transformed into a delightful paradise. A few among us have the hope of ruling with Christ in heaven. Whatever our hope, we have every reason to remain faithful as did Joshua. The day will come when our hope will be realized. Then we will look back on all the promises that Jehovah has made, and we too will say: “They have all come true.”
Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Can You Explain?
• Joshua saw the fulfillment of what assurances of Jehovah?
• What divine assurances have you seen fulfilled?
• Of what may we be certain concerning the word of God?
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Jehovah intervened to deliver his people
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How did Jehovah protect his people at the Red Sea?
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How did Jehovah sustain his people in the wilderness?
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Jehovah cares for his people today