Jehovah Watches Us for Our Good
“[Jehovah’s] eyes are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.”—2 CHRON. 16:9.
1. Why does Jehovah examine us?
JEHOVAH is the perfect Father. He knows us so well that he is aware even of the “inclination of [our] thoughts.” (1 Chron. 28:9) However, he does not examine us merely in order to find fault. (Ps. 11:4; 130:3) Rather, he lovingly wants to protect us from anything that might damage our relationship with him or harm our prospects for gaining everlasting life.—Ps. 25:8-10, 12, 13.
2. Jehovah shows his strength in behalf of whom?
2 Jehovah is matchless in power and sees all. For that reason, he can come to the aid of his loyal ones whenever they call on him, and he can support them during their trials. “[Jehovah’s] eyes are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him,” says 2 Chronicles 16:9. Note that Jehovah uses his strength in behalf of those who serve him with a complete heart, a heart that is pure and sincere in motive. He shows no such concern for those who are deceitful or hypocritical.—Josh. 7:1, 20, 21, 25; Prov. 1:23-33.
Walk With God
3, 4. What does it mean to ‘walk with God,’ and what Bible examples shed light on this matter?
3 To many, it is inconceivable that the Creator of our vast universe allows humans to walk with him in a spiritual sense. Yet, that is exactly what Jehovah wants us to do. In Bible times, Enoch and Noah ‘walked with God.’ (Gen. 5:24; 6:9) Moses “continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.” (Heb. 11:27) King David found himself humbly walking alongside his heavenly Father. He said: “Because [Jehovah] is at my right hand, I shall not be made to totter.”—Ps. 16:8.
4 Of course, we cannot literally take Jehovah by the hand and walk with him. But we can do so in a figurative sense. How? The psalmist Asaph writes: “I am constantly with you; you have taken hold of my right hand. With your counsel you will lead me.” (Ps. 73:23, 24) Simply put, we walk with Jehovah when we closely follow his counsel, which we receive primarily through his written Word and through “the faithful and discreet slave.”—Matt. 24:45; 2 Tim. 3:16.
5. How does Jehovah keep a fatherly eye upon his loyal ones, and how should we feel toward him?
5 Because Jehovah cherishes those who walk with him, he keeps his fatherly eye upon them, caring for them, protecting them, and teaching them. “I shall make you have insight and instruct you in the way you should go,” God says. “I will give advice with my eye upon you.” (Ps. 32:8) Ask yourself: ‘Do I see myself walking hand in hand with Jehovah, as it were, listening to his wisdom and knowing that his loving eye is upon me? Does my awareness of his presence influence my thoughts, words, and deeds? And when I err, do I see Jehovah, not as a God who is aloof and stern, but as a warm, merciful Father who wants to help repentant ones back into his warm embrace?’—Ps. 51:17.
6. What advantage does Jehovah have over a human parent?
6 At times, Jehovah may come to our aid even before we embark on a wrong course. For instance, he may observe that our potentially treacherous heart begins to desire things that are improper. (Jer. 17:9) In such a situation, he can act even sooner than human parents can because his “beaming eyes” have the ability to look deep inside us, to examine our inmost thoughts. (Ps. 11:4; 139:4; Jer. 17:10) Consider God’s response to a situation that developed in the life of Baruch, the prophet Jeremiah’s personal secretary and close friend.
A True Father to Baruch
7, 8. (a) Who was Baruch, and what unwholesome desires may have started to develop in his heart? (b) How did Jehovah demonstrate his fatherly concern for Baruch?
7 Baruch was a professional scribe who faithfully served alongside Jeremiah in what became a difficult assignment—proclaiming Jehovah’s judgments to Judah. (Jer. 1:18, 19) At some point, Baruch, who may have belonged to a prominent family, began to seek “great things” for himself. Perhaps he began to nurture personal ambitions or a desire for material prosperity. Whatever the case, Jehovah saw that this dangerous thinking was developing in Baruch’s heart. Speaking through Jeremiah, Jehovah promptly addressed the matter, saying to Baruch: “You have said: ‘Woe, now, to me, for Jehovah has added grief to my pain! I have grown weary because of my sighing, and no resting-place have I found.’” Then God said: “You keep seeking great things for yourself. Do not keep on seeking.”—Jer. 45:1-5.
8 Although he was firm with Baruch, Jehovah reacted, not with anger, but with genuine fatherly concern. Evidently, God saw that the man’s desires did not reflect a wicked or devious heart. Jehovah also knew that Jerusalem and Judah were in their last days, and he did not want Baruch to stumble at that critical time. Hence, to bring his servant back to reality, God reminded him that He was “bringing in a calamity upon all flesh,” adding that if Baruch acted wisely, he would live. (Jer. 45:5) In effect, God said: ‘Be realistic, Baruch. Keep in mind what will soon happen to sinful Judah and Jerusalem. Remain faithful and live! I will protect you.’ Jehovah evidently reached Baruch’s heart, for he responded positively and survived the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred 17 years later.
9. How would you answer the questions raised in the paragraph?
9 As you reflect on the account about Baruch, consider the following questions and scriptures: What does God’s way of dealing with Baruch reveal about Jehovah and his feelings toward his servants? (Read Hebrews 12:9.) In view of the critical times in which we live, what can we learn from God’s counsel to Baruch and from Baruch’s response? (Read Luke 21:34-36.) In imitation of Jeremiah, how can Christian elders reflect Jehovah’s concern for His servants?—Read Galatians 6:1.
The Father’s Love Reflected in the Son
10. How is Jesus equipped to handle his position as Head of the Christian congregation?
10 During the pre-Christian era, Jehovah’s love for his people was revealed through his prophets and other faithful servants. Nowadays, it is seen, above all, in the Head of the Christian congregation, Jesus Christ. (Eph. 1:22, 23) Thus, in the book of Revelation, Jesus is depicted as a lamb with “seven eyes, which eyes mean the seven spirits of God that have been sent forth into the whole earth.” (Rev. 5:6) Yes, empowered with the fullness of God’s holy spirit, Jesus has perfect discernment. He too sees what we are on the inside, and nothing escapes his notice.
11. What role does Christ play, and how does his attitude toward us reflect that of his Father?
11 Like Jehovah, though, Jesus is no celestial policeman. He examines us through the eyes of love. One of Jesus’ titles, “Eternal Father,” reminds us of the role he will play in the granting of everlasting life to all who exercise faith in him. (Isa. 9:6) Moreover, as Head of the Christian congregation, Christ can move willing, spiritually mature Christians, especially elders, to provide comfort or counsel to those in need.—1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Tim. 4:1, 2.
12. (a) What do the letters to the seven congregations in Asia Minor reveal about Jesus? (b) How do elders reflect Christ’s attitude toward God’s flock?
12 Christ’s deep interest in the flock is reflected in the letters to the elders of the seven congregations in Asia Minor. (Rev. 2:1–3:22) Therein, Jesus indicated both his awareness of what was happening in each congregation and the depth of his concern for his followers. The same applies today—only more so—since the Revelation vision is fulfilled during “the Lord’s Day.”* (Rev. 1:10) Christ’s love is often expressed through the elders, who serve as spiritual shepherds of the congregation. He can move these “gifts in men” to give comfort, encouragement, or counsel when needed. (Eph. 4:8; Acts 20:28; read Isaiah 32:1, 2.) Do you view their efforts as an expression of Christ’s interest in you personally?
Help at the Right Time
13-15. How may God choose to answer our prayers? Give examples.
13 Have you ever prayed intensely for help and received an answer in the form of an encouraging visit from a spiritually mature Christian? (Jas. 5:14-16) Or perhaps the help came in the form of a talk at a Christian meeting or information in one of our publications. Jehovah often answers prayers in these ways. For example, after giving a talk, an elder was approached by a sister who in the weeks prior to the talk had been the victim of a gross injustice. Instead of complaining about her problem, she expressed deep appreciation for certain scriptural points made in the talk. They applied to her situation and gave her much comfort. How glad she was that she had attended that meeting!
14 Regarding help received through prayer, consider the example of three prison inmates who came to a knowledge of Bible truth while incarcerated and became unbaptized publishers. Because of a violent incident, a number of privileges were taken away from all the prisoners in the facility. That sparked a protest. The prisoners decided that after breakfast the next morning, as an act of defiance, they would refuse to return their plates. The three unbaptized publishers were now in a dilemma. If they joined in the revolt, they would be violating Jehovah’s counsel found at Romans 13:1. If they did not join in, they could expect reprisals from angry inmates.
15 Unable to communicate with one another, the three men prayed for wisdom. The following morning, all three found that they had decided on exactly the same solution—they simply would decline breakfast. When the guards later came to collect the plates, the three men had none to return. How glad they were that the “Hearer of prayer” was near!—Ps. 65:2.
Facing the Future With Confidence
16. How does the preaching work show Jehovah’s concern for sheeplike ones?
16 The worldwide preaching work is yet another evidence of Jehovah’s concern for honesthearted individuals, wherever they may live. (Gen. 18:25) Jehovah, often by using angelic direction, can guide his servants to sheeplike ones—even if these live in areas not yet reached by the good news. (Rev. 14:6, 7) For example, by means of an angel, God directed Philip, an evangelizer of the first century, to intercept an Ethiopian official and open up the Scriptures to him. The result? The man accepted the good news and became a baptized follower of Jesus.*—John 10:14; Acts 8:26-39.
17. Why should we not become overly anxious about the future?
17 As the present system of things moves toward its end, the foretold “pangs of distress” will continue. (Matt. 24:8) For example, food prices may rise considerably because of increasing demand, extreme weather, or economic instability. Employment may become harder to find, and employees may come under increased pressure to work longer hours. Whatever happens, all who keep spiritual interests in first place and maintain a ‘simple eye’ need not be overly anxious. They know that God loves them and will care for them. (Matt. 6:22-34) Consider, for example, how Jehovah provided for Jeremiah at the time of Jerusalem’s turbulent end in 607 B.C.E.
18. How did Jehovah prove his love for Jeremiah during the siege of Jerusalem?
18 During the latter part of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, Jeremiah was imprisoned in the Courtyard of the Guard. How would he obtain food? Had he been free, he could have searched for it. Instead, he was totally dependent on those around him, most of whom hated him! Still, Jeremiah trusted not in men but in God, who promised to care for him. Did Jehovah live up to his word? Absolutely! He saw to it that Jeremiah daily received “a round loaf of bread . . . until all the bread was exhausted from the city.” (Jer. 37:21) Jeremiah, as well as Baruch, Ebed-melech, and others, survived that time of famine, disease, and death.—Jer. 38:2; 39:15-18.
19. As we face the future, what should be our resolve?
19 Yes, “the eyes of Jehovah are upon the righteous ones, and his ears are toward their supplication.” (1 Pet. 3:12) Do you rejoice in your heavenly Father’s watchfulness? Do you feel safe and secure in knowing that his eyes are upon you for your good? Be determined, then, to continue walking with God—no matter what the future may hold. We can be sure that Jehovah will always keep a close, fatherly eye upon all his loyal ones.—Ps. 32:8; read Isaiah 41:13.
Although the letters apply primarily to Christ’s anointed followers, in principle they apply to all of God’s servants.
Another example of heavenly direction can be found at Acts 16:6-10. There, we read that Paul and his companions “were forbidden by the holy spirit” to preach in Asia and Bithynia. Instead, they were summoned to work in Macedonia, where many meek individuals responded to their evangelizing.
Can You Explain?
• How can we show that we are ‘walking with God’?
• How did Jehovah demonstrate his love for Baruch?
• As Head of the Christian congregation, how does Jesus reflect his Father’s qualities?
• In what ways can we show that we trust in God during these critical times?
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Like Jeremiah with Baruch, Christian elders today reflect Jehovah’s concern
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How may Jehovah provide help at the right time?