Walk in Jehovah’s Ways
“Happy is everyone fearing Jehovah, who is walking in his ways.”—PS. 128:1.
1, 2. Why can we be sure that happiness is attainable?
HAPPINESS—everybody wants it. But you will undoubtedly agree that desiring happiness and even pursuing it are not the same as experiencing it.
2 Yet, happiness is attainable. “Happy is everyone fearing Jehovah, who is walking in his ways,” says Psalm 128:1. We can be happy if we revere God and walk in his ways by doing his will. What effect can this have on our conduct and on the qualities we display?
Prove Yourself Trustworthy
3. How is trustworthiness linked with our dedication to God?
3 Those fearing Jehovah are trustworthy, even as he is. Jehovah fulfilled every promise he made to ancient Israel. (1 Ki. 8:56) Our dedication to God is the most significant promise we could ever make, and frequent prayer will help us to keep it. We can pray as did the psalmist David: “You yourself, O God, have listened to my vows. . . . I will make melody to your name forever, that I may pay my vows day after day.” (Ps. 61:5, 8; Eccl. 5:4-6) To be God’s friends, we must be trustworthy.—Ps. 15:1, 4.
4. How did Jephthah and his daughter treat the vow he made to Jehovah?
4 In the days of Israel’s Judges, Jephthah vowed that if Jehovah gave him victory over the Ammonites, he would present as “a burnt offering” the first one meeting him upon his return from battle. That one turned out to be Jephthah’s daughter—his only child. With faith in Jehovah, both Jephthah and his unmarried daughter fulfilled his vow. Although marriage and childbearing were highly esteemed in Israel, Jephthah’s daughter willingly remained single and enjoyed the privilege of engaging in sacred service at Jehovah’s sanctuary.—Judg. 11:28-40.
5. In what respect did Hannah prove trustworthy?
5 The godly woman Hannah proved trustworthy. She lived with her Levite husband, Elkanah, and his other wife, Peninnah, in the mountainous region of Ephraim. Peninnah bore several children and taunted barren Hannah particularly when the family went to the tabernacle. On one of these occasions, Hannah vowed that if she bore a son, she would give him to Jehovah. She soon became pregnant and gave birth to a boy who was given the name Samuel. After he was weaned, Hannah presented him to God at Shiloh, lending Samuel to Jehovah “all the days of his life.” (1 Sam. 1:11) She thus fulfilled her vow even though she did not know that she would eventually have other children.—1 Sam. 2:20, 21.
6. How was the trustworthiness of Tychicus manifested?
6 The first-century Christian Tychicus was a trustworthy man and a “faithful minister.” (Col. 4:7) Tychicus traveled with the apostle Paul from Greece through Macedonia, into Asia Minor, and perhaps on to Jerusalem. (Acts 20:2-4) He may have been “the brother” who helped Titus to administer the gift for needy fellow believers in Judea. (2 Cor. 8:18, 19; 12:18) When Paul was first imprisoned in Rome, he had the trustworthy emissary Tychicus carry letters to fellow believers in Ephesus and Colossae. (Eph. 6:21, 22; Col. 4:8, 9) During his second Roman imprisonment, Paul sent Tychicus to Ephesus. (2 Tim. 4:12) If we are trustworthy, we too will enjoy blessings in Jehovah’s service.
7, 8. Why can we say that David and Jonathan were true friends?
7 God expects us to be trustworthy friends. (Prov. 17:17) King Saul’s son Jonathan befriended David. When Jonathan heard that David had killed Goliath, “Jonathan’s very soul became bound up with the soul of David, and Jonathan began to love him as his own soul.” (1 Sam. 18:1, 3) Jonathan even warned David when Saul wanted to kill him. After David fled, Jonathan met him and made a covenant with him. Speaking to Saul about David almost cost Jonathan his life, but the two friends met again and renewed their bond of friendship. (1 Sam. 20:24-41) At their last meeting, Jonathan strengthened David’s hand “in regard to God.”—1 Sam. 23:16-18.
8 Jonathan died in battle against the Philistines. (1 Sam. 31:6) In a dirge, David sang: “I am distressed over you, my brother Jonathan, very pleasant you were to me. More wonderful was your love to me than the love from women.” (2 Sam. 1:26) This love was affection between friends and had no sexual overtones. David and Jonathan were true friends.
Always Be “Humble in Mind”
9. How is the importance of humility shown in Judges chapter 9?
9 To be God’s friends, we must be “humble in mind.” (1 Pet. 3:8; Ps. 138:6) The importance of humility is shown in Judges chapter 9. Gideon’s son Jotham said: “Once upon a time the trees went to anoint a king over them.” The olive tree, the fig tree, and the vine were mentioned. They represented worthy individuals who did not seek to rule over their fellow Israelites. But the bramble—useful only as fuel—represented the kingship of proud Abimelech, a murderer eager to dominate others. Though he ‘played the prince over Israel three years,’ he met an untimely death. (Judg. 9:8-15, 22, 50-54) How much better it is to be “humble in mind”!
10. What have you learned from Herod’s failure to “give the glory to God”?
10 In the first century C.E., tensions arose between proud King Herod Agrippa of Judea and the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon, who sought peace with him. When Herod was giving a public address on one occasion, they cried out: “A god’s voice, and not a man’s!” Herod did not reject such adulation, and Jehovah’s angel struck him so that he died a terrible death “because he did not give the glory to God.” (Acts 12:20-23) What if we are somewhat skilled as a speaker or a teacher of Bible truths? Then let us credit God for what he allows us to do.—1 Cor. 4:6, 7; Jas. 4:6.
Be Courageous and Strong
11, 12. How does Enoch’s experience show that Jehovah gives his servants courage and strength?
11 If we humbly walk in Jehovah’s ways, he will give us courage and strength. (Deut. 31:6-8, 23) Enoch, the seventh man in the genealogical line from Adam, courageously walked with God by pursuing an upright course amid his wicked contemporaries. (Gen. 5:21-24) Jehovah strengthened Enoch to deliver a powerful message to them because of their ungodly words and deeds. (Read Jude 14, 15.) Do you have the courage needed to declare God’s judgments?
12 Jehovah executed judgment on the ungodly in the global Flood of Noah’s day. Yet, Enoch’s prophecy is of encouragement to us, for ungodly people of our day will soon be destroyed by God’s holy myriads. (Rev. 16:14-16; 19:11-16) In answer to our prayers, Jehovah gives us courage to declare his message, whether it relates to his judgments or to blessings under Kingdom rule.
13. Why can we be sure that God can provide the courage and strength that we need in order to cope with depressing problems?
13 We need God-given courage and strength to cope with depressing problems. When Esau took two Hittite women as wives, “they were a source of bitterness of spirit to [his parents] Isaac and Rebekah.” Rebekah even lamented: “I have come to abhor this life of mine because of the daughters of Heth. If [our son] Jacob ever takes a wife from the daughters of Heth like these from the daughters of the land, of what good is life to me?” (Gen. 26:34, 35; 27:46) Isaac took matters in hand and sent Jacob away to find a wife among the worshippers of Jehovah. Although Isaac and Rebekah could not change what Esau had done, God gave them the wisdom, courage, and strength to remain faithful to Him. If we pray for needed help, Jehovah will do the same for us.—Ps. 118:5.
14. How did a little Israelite girl display courage?
14 Centuries later, a little Israelite girl taken captive by a marauding band became a servant in the home of the Syrian army commander Naaman, a man afflicted with leprosy. Having heard about the miracles God performed through the prophet Elisha, the girl courageously told Naaman’s wife: ‘If my master would go to Israel, Jehovah’s prophet would cure him of his leprosy.’ Naaman did go to Israel, and he was miraculously healed. (2 Ki. 5:1-3) What a fine example that girl is for youngsters who rely on Jehovah for the courage to witness to teachers, schoolmates, and others!
15. What courageous action was taken by Ahab’s household steward Obadiah?
15 God-given courage helps us to endure persecution. Consider King Ahab’s household steward Obadiah, a contemporary of the prophet Elijah. When Queen Jezebel ordered the slaughter of God’s prophets, Obadiah hid 100 of them “by fifties in a cave.” (1 Ki. 18:13; 19:18) Would you courageously aid persecuted fellow Christians, as Obadiah helped Jehovah’s prophets?
16, 17. How did Aristarchus and Gaius react to persecution?
16 If we are persecuted, we can be confident that Jehovah will be with us. (Rom. 8:35-39) In the open-air theater at Ephesus, Paul’s coworkers Aristarchus and Gaius faced a mob likely numbering into the thousands. The silversmith Demetrius had incited a riot. He and fellow craftsmen made silver shrines of the goddess Artemis, and their profitable business was threatened because Paul’s preaching work caused many of the city’s residents to forsake idol worship. The mob dragged Aristarchus and Gaius into the theater and kept shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Aristarchus and Gaius probably expected to die, but the city recorder quieted the crowd.—Acts 19:23-41.
17 If you had undergone such an experience, would you have sought a less challenging life? There is no indication that Aristarchus or Gaius lost courage. Being from Thessalonica, Aristarchus knew that proclaiming the good news could result in persecution. Sometime earlier, a riot had occurred when Paul preached there. (Acts 17:5; 20:4) Because Aristarchus and Gaius walked in Jehovah’s ways, they had God-given strength and courage to endure persecution.
Keeping an Eye on Others’ Interests
18. How were Prisca and Aquila “keeping an eye” on the interests of others?
18 Whether we are now being persecuted or not, we should be concerned about fellow Christians. Prisca and Aquila were “keeping an eye” on the interests of others. (Read Philippians 2:4.) That fine married couple may have provided lodging for Paul in Ephesus, where the silversmith Demetrius fomented the riot mentioned earlier. That situation may have moved Aquila and Prisca to ‘risk their necks’ for Paul. (Rom. 16:3, 4; 2 Cor. 1:8) Today, concern for our persecuted brothers makes us “cautious as serpents.” (Matt. 10:16-18) We carry on our work cautiously and refuse to betray them by divulging their names or other information to persecutors.
19. What good things did Dorcas do for others?
19 Keeping an eye on the interests of others takes various forms. Some Christians have needs, and we may be able to fill those needs. (Eph. 4:28; Jas. 2:14-17) In the first-century congregation at Joppa, there was a generous woman named Dorcas. (Read Acts 9:36-42.) Dorcas “abounded in good deeds and gifts of mercy” that evidently included the making of garments for needy widows. Her death in 36 C.E. caused much sadness among the widows. God used the apostle Peter to resurrect Dorcas, and it is very likely that she spent the rest of her life on earth joyfully preaching the good news and doing good things for others. How glad we are to have such unselfish Christian women among us today!
20, 21. (a) What does encouragement have to do with looking out for others’ interests? (b) What can you do to be encouraging?
20 We look out for the interests of others by encouraging them. (Rom. 1:11, 12) Paul’s coworker Silas was a source of encouragement. After the circumcision issue was decided about 49 C.E., the governing body in Jerusalem sent out emissaries to carry a letter to believers elsewhere. Silas, Judas, Barnabas, and Paul took it to Antioch. There Silas and Judas “encouraged the brothers with many a discourse and strengthened them.”—Acts 15:32.
21 Later, Paul and Silas were jailed at Philippi, but as the result of an earthquake, it was possible for them to give a witness and see the jailer and his household become believers. Before leaving that city, Silas and Paul encouraged the brothers. (Acts 16:12, 40) Like Paul and Silas, seek to encourage others by your comments, talks, and zealous field service. And when you have a “word of encouragement,” by all means, “tell it.”—Acts 13:15.
Continue to Walk in Jehovah’s Ways
22, 23. How can we really benefit from Bible accounts?
22 How grateful we should be for the true-life accounts recorded in the Word of Jehovah, the “God of all encouragement”! (2 Cor. 1:3, Byington) If we are to benefit from these experiences, we must apply the Bible’s lessons to our life and allow ourselves to be led by God’s holy spirit.—Gal. 5:22-25.
23 Meditation on Bible accounts will help us to display godly qualities. It will strengthen our relationship with Jehovah, who grants us “wisdom and knowledge and rejoicing.” (Eccl. 2:26) In turn, we can make God’s loving heart rejoice. (Prov. 27:11) May we be determined to do so by continuing to walk in Jehovah’s ways.
How Would You Answer?
• How can you prove yourself trustworthy?
• Why should we be “humble in mind”?
• How can Bible accounts help us to be courageous?
• In what ways can we keep an eye on the interests of others?
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Trustworthy Jephthah and his daughter fulfilled his vow, although doing so was difficult
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Young ones, what have you learned from the Israelite girl?
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How did Dorcas fill the needs of fellow Christians?