What Is Our Heavenly Father Really Like?
MANY people can recite the Our Father, or the Lord’s Prayer, the model prayer that Jesus taught his disciples. (Matthew 6:9-13) Each time they say that prayer, they address God as “Our Father.” How many, though, can say that they know him well?
What about you? How well do you know God? Do you enjoy a close relationship with him, talk to him, and share your joys and sorrows with him? Really, what is involved in knowing him?
“Jehovah Is His Name”
A toddler may know his father only as Daddy. As he grows up, however, he comes to know his father’s name and reputation and is likely proud of him. What of our heavenly Life-Giver? Do you know his personal name and what it stands for?
Although many repeat the phrase “Hallowed be thy name” when they say the Lord’s Prayer, they may be at a loss when asked, “What is that name?” (King James Version) The starry heavens, a majestic mountain, a colorful coral reef teeming with life—they provide evidence of the existence of God. Yet, they do not disclose his name. To learn that name, we need to turn to the Bible. It concisely states: “Jehovah is his name.”—Exodus 15:3.
God wants us to know him by his name, Jehovah. Why? Because his name represents the person that he is. That name literally means “He Causes to Become.” In other words, he becomes whatever he needs to become in order to fulfill his purpose. Think of it this way: In order to take care of his family, a father becomes a breadwinner, a counselor, a judge, a negotiator, a protector, and a teacher, depending on the family’s needs and circumstances. In the same way, the name Jehovah assures us that God is fully able to carry out his will to the blessing of all who serve him, come what may.
Let us consider the different roles that our loving God takes on, as it were, in harmony with the meaning of his name. It will help you to appreciate what kind of God Jehovah is, as well as to learn what you must do to draw close to him.
“The God of Love and of Peace”
The apostle Paul called our Maker “the God of love and of peace.” (2 Corinthians 13:11) Why? Jesus Christ earlier said: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Out of his deep love for mankind, God gave his beloved Son as a ransom, making it possible for those who exercise faith in him to enjoy life without end, free from the pain and suffering that resulted from sin. That is why Paul also said: “The wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Should that not move us to love God and draw close to him?
God expresses his love not only to mankind as a whole but also to faithful ones personally. To the ancient Israelites, who were often wayward, Moses said: “Is it to Jehovah that you keep doing this way, O people stupid and not wise? Is he not your Father who has produced you, he who made you and proceeded to give you stability?” (Deuteronomy 32:6) Do you appreciate what that means? As a loving Father, Jehovah felt for his people, despite being aware of their shortcomings. And he provided for all their legitimate needs—material, emotional, and spiritual.
We all go through life with its many ups and downs and at times feel distressed, even depressed. We need someone to help us look at our situation and problems with the right perspective. Who can help us? Through his Word, the Bible, Jehovah proves to be a loving Counselor and Caregiver. That Sacred Volume explains why we experience so much suffering and how we can cope with it successfully. Just as a father lovingly helps his son who has fallen and hurt himself, Jehovah in his great love stoops down, as it were, to provide the help we need. Truly, Jehovah’s hand is not short toward those who show faith in him.—Isaiah 59:1.
God’s love for us is also shown by his being the “Hearer of prayer.” (Psalm 65:2) How is that so? The apostle Paul explains: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7) By turning to God in heartfelt prayer and following the guidance he provides in his Word, you too can experience “the peace of God that excels all thought.”
“A God of Knowledge”
Jehovah God is described in the Bible as “perfect in knowledge.” As “a God of knowledge,” he understands human nature and the needs of humans better than anyone else. (Job 36:4; 1 Samuel 2:3) He made known through his servant Moses that “not by bread alone does man live but by every expression of Jehovah’s mouth does man live.” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4) This means that for true satisfaction in life, we need more than material provisions.
Our Creator provides valuable guidance and counsel for us through his Word, the Bible. When we study the Bible and apply his counsel in our life, we benefit from “every expression of Jehovah’s mouth.” For example, Zuzanna, a Christian woman, said this about her family life: “Our marriage was strengthened by our reading the Bible together, attending Christian meetings together, and sharing what we learned with others. Owing to God’s spiritual instruction, we share the same goals and enjoy a stronger relationship.”
Would you like to benefit from the spiritual counsel and direction that God provides? By having a regular study of the Bible and applying the Bible’s counsel, you put yourself in line for many spiritual blessings from him.—Hebrews 12:9.
The “God of Salvation”
The world today is full of strife. There is no certainty about what tomorrow will bring. If you live in a war-torn country, you may long for peace. In many other parts of the world, people live in fear of crime and violence, economic instability, and acts of terrorism. Who will save us from all of this? Now, as never before, humankind needs protection and deliverance.
“The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection,” says the Bible. (Proverbs 18:10) Knowing God’s name and relying on it can direct our attention to what he has done and what he will yet do to deliver those who show faith in him. Jehovah God has proved beyond any doubt that he can deliver his people. For instance, he saved Israel by destroying Pharaoh’s war chariots and military forces. Jehovah proved to be the God of faithfulness, the God who remembers the afflicted and desires to act in their behalf.—Exodus 15:1-4.
Our eternal future also depends on having faith in Jehovah God as the Savior. King David of ancient Israel, who had to cope with numerous hardships, demonstrated that kind of faith when he wrote about Jehovah: “You are my God of salvation.” (Psalm 25:5) With confidence the apostle Peter stated: “Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial.”—2 Peter 2:9.
Regarding a person who looks to him for help, God has promised: “I shall protect him because he has come to know my name.” (Psalm 91:14) Modern-day servants of God have experienced the truthfulness of that promise. Henryk in Poland has served Jehovah faithfully for 70 years, despite adversity and persecution. When Henryk was only 16 years old, his father was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Henryk and his brother were placed in a Nazi correctional facility for youths. After that, he was moved from one concentration camp to another. Concerning the events of those days, Henryk recalls: “In all my trying situations, Jehovah never left me. He always helped me to remain faithful, even though several times death was staring me in the face.” Yes, Jehovah gives his servants the faith and strength to endure.
Soon God will prove to be a Savior to all who exercise faith in him and look to him for deliverance. He declares: “I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.” (Isaiah 43:11) At “the war of the great day of God the Almighty,” he will annihilate the wicked from the face of the earth and deliver the upright. (Revelation 16:14, 16; Proverbs 2:21, 22) Jehovah assures us: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:11.
Becoming “Children of God”
In the days of the prophet Malachi, the Israelites claimed to have Jehovah as their Father. Yet, when it came to showing honor and devotion to him, they offered as sacrifices bread that was polluted and animals that were blind and lame. That is why Jehovah asked them: “If I am a father, where is the honor to me?”—Malachi 1:6.
Do not make the same mistake as those unfaithful Israelites. Instead, we encourage you to learn about Jehovah God and draw close to him. “Draw close to God,” urged the disciple James, “and he will draw close to you.”—James 4:8.
Having Jehovah as Father brings certain responsibilities. If you endeavor to honor God by loyally upholding his standards in every aspect of your life, he will never forget your efforts. On the contrary, he will help you to walk the straight path that leads to the promised new world, in which “death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.” (Revelation 21:4) At that time, all obedient mankind “will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”—Romans 8:21.
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God wants us to know him by his name, Jehovah, which literally means “He Causes to Become”
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“In all my trying situations, Jehovah never left me.”—HENRYK
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“Our marriage was strengthened by our reading the Bible together, attending Christian meetings together, and sharing what we learned with others.”—ZUZANNA