Your Integrity Makes Jehovah’s Heart Rejoice
“Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.”—PROV. 27:11.
1, 2. (a) The book of Job describes what challenge made by Satan? (b) What indicates that Satan continued taunting Jehovah after the days of Job?
JEHOVAH permitted Satan to test the integrity of God’s loyal servant Job. As a result, Job lost his livestock, his children, and his health. But when Satan challenged Job’s integrity, he had more in mind than just the man Job. “Skin in behalf of skin, and everything that a man has he will give in behalf of his soul,” claimed Satan. This challenge raised an issue that went far beyond Job as an individual and that has continued long after his death.—Job 2:4.
2 About 600 years after Job’s trials, Solomon was inspired to write: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.” (Prov. 27:11) Clearly, at that time Satan was still challenging Jehovah. Moreover, in a vision given to the apostle John, Satan was seen accusing God’s servants following his eviction from heaven some time after the establishment of God’s Kingdom in 1914. Yes, even today, so deep into the last days of this wicked system, Satan is still challenging the integrity of God’s servants!—Rev. 12:10.
3. What valuable lessons can we learn from the book of Job?
3 Consider, then, three of the important lessons that we learn from the book of Job. First, the trials of Job expose the real enemy of mankind and the source of opposition against God’s people. That enemy is Satan the Devil. Second, no matter what trials we may encounter, having a close relationship with God will enable us to maintain our integrity. Third, when trials occur and we are tested in some way, God supports us just as he did Job. Today, Jehovah does this by means of his Word, his organization, and his holy spirit.
Keep the Real Enemy in Mind
4. Who is to blame for present world conditions?
4 Many do not believe that Satan exists. Thus, although they might be alarmed about world conditions, they do not discern the real cause—Satan the Devil. True, much of the responsibility for mankind’s woes rests with humans themselves. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, chose independence from their Creator. And since then, successive generations have acted very unwisely. Still, it was the Devil who deceived Eve into rebelling against God. He is the one who has developed among imperfect, dying mankind a world system under his control. Because Satan is “the god of this system of things,” human society displays the same basic characteristics that he does—pride, contentiousness, jealousy, greed, deception, and rebelliousness. (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Tim. 2:14; 3:6; read James 3:14, 15.) Such characteristics have led to political and religious conflicts, hatred, corruption, and disorder, which contribute much to mankind’s misery.
5. What do we want to do with the precious knowledge we possess?
5 What precious knowledge we as Jehovah’s servants have! Yes, we understand who is to blame for deteriorating world conditions. Do we not, then, feel impelled to share in the field ministry so as to inform people of the identity of the chief troublemaker? And are we not happy to stand up for the true God, Jehovah, and to explain to others how he will put an end to Satan and to mankind’s woes?
6, 7. (a) Who is responsible for the persecution of true worshippers? (b) How can we imitate the example of Elihu of old?
6 Satan is responsible not only for many of the world’s sorrows but also for the opposition that God’s people experience. He is determined to put us to the test. Jesus Christ told the apostle Peter: “Simon, Simon, look! Satan has demanded to have you men to sift you as wheat.” (Luke 22:31) Similarly, each of us who follows in Jesus’ footsteps will experience trials in some way or other. Peter compared the Devil to “a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.” And Paul said: “All those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted.”—1 Pet. 5:8; 2 Tim. 3:12.
7 How can we show that we keep the real enemy in mind when a tragedy befalls a fellow believer? Instead of distancing ourselves from the affected brother, we act like Elihu of old, who spoke to Job as a true friend. We join our brother in the struggle against our common enemy, Satan. (Prov. 3:27; 1 Thess. 5:25) Our goal is to help our fellow servant to maintain his integrity, come what may, and thus make Jehovah’s heart rejoice.
8. Why did Satan not succeed in getting Job to stop honoring Jehovah?
8 The first asset that Satan caused Job to lose was his livestock. Those animals were valuable, likely his livelihood. But Job also used them in worship. After Job had sanctified his children, “he got up early in the morning and offered up burnt sacrifices according to the number of all of them; for, said Job, ‘maybe my sons have sinned and have cursed God in their heart.’ That is the way Job would do always.” (Job 1:4, 5) Thus, Job sacrificed animals to Jehovah on a regular basis. Once the trials began, that was no longer possible. Job had no “valuable things” with which to honor Jehovah. (Prov. 3:9) But he could—and did—honor Jehovah with his lips!
Cultivate a Close Relationship With Jehovah
9. What is our most precious possession?
9 Whether we are rich or poor, young or elderly, in good health or bad, we can cultivate a close relationship with Jehovah. Regardless of the trials we face, having a close bond with God will enable us to maintain our personal integrity and make Jehovah’s heart rejoice. Even some individuals who had limited knowledge of the truth took a courageous stand and kept their integrity.
10, 11. (a) How did one of our sisters react to tests of integrity? (b) What powerful answer did this sister give to Satan?
10 Consider the example of Sister Valentina Garnovskaya, one of many Witnesses in Russia who like faithful Job kept their integrity despite severe trials. In 1945, when she was about 20 years old, a brother witnessed to her. He returned two more times to talk about the Bible, but then she never saw him again. Even so, Valentina began to preach to her neighbors. As a result, she was arrested and sentenced to eight years in a camp. In 1953 she was released and right away resumed her preaching work. Again she was arrested and imprisoned—this time for ten years. After spending several years in one camp, she was moved to another. In that camp, there were some sisters who had a copy of the Bible. One day a sister showed the Bible to Valentina. What a thrilling moment! Imagine, the only other Bible that Valentina had ever seen was the one in the hands of the brother who witnessed to her in 1945!
11 In 1967, Valentina was set free and was finally able to symbolize her dedication to Jehovah by water baptism. She zealously used her freedom to participate in the ministry until 1969. That year, however, she was again arrested, and this time she was sentenced to serve three years in prison. Still, Valentina kept on preaching. Before she died in 2001, she had helped 44 people to learn the truth. She had spent 21 years in prisons and camps. She had been willing to give up everything, including her freedom, in order to maintain her integrity. At the end of her life, Valentina said: “I never had my own place to live. All my possessions were in a single suitcase, but I was happy and content in serving Jehovah.” What a powerful answer Valentina gave to Satan, who claimed that humans will not remain loyal to God in the face of trials! (Job 1:9-11) We can be sure that she made Jehovah’s heart rejoice and that he eagerly looks forward to the time when he will bring Valentina and all others who died faithful back to life by means of the resurrection.—Job 14:15.
12. What role does love play in our relationship with Jehovah?
12 Our friendship with Jehovah is based on our love for him. We admire God’s qualities and do whatever we can to live in harmony with his purposes. Contrary to what the Devil claims, we give our love to Jehovah voluntarily and unconditionally. This heartfelt love strengthens us to maintain integrity under test. For his part, Jehovah “will guard the very way of his loyal ones.”—Prov. 2:8; Ps. 97:10.
13. How does Jehovah view what we do for him?
13 Love moves us to honor the name of Jehovah, no matter how limited we may feel. He sees our good motives and does not judge us if we cannot do all we would like to do. What counts is not only what we do but also why we do it. Even though Job was grief-stricken and had endured much, he spoke to his accusers about his love for Jehovah’s ways. (Read Job 10:12; 28:28.) In the final chapter of the book of Job, God expressed his anger toward Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar because they had not spoken the truth. At the same time, Jehovah indicated his approval of Job by referring to him four times as “my servant” and by instructing him to intercede in behalf of the wrongdoers. (Job 42:7-9) May we too act in such a way that Jehovah views us with favor.
Jehovah Supports His Faithful Servants
14. How did Jehovah help Job to correct his thinking?
14 Job maintained his integrity even though he was imperfect. Sometimes, under extreme pressure, he had the wrong perspective. For instance, he said to Jehovah: “I cry to you for help, but you do not answer me . . . With the full might of your hand you harbor animosity toward me.” Moreover, Job attached undue importance to justifying himself when he said: “I am not in the wrong” and “there is no violence upon my palms, and my prayer is pure.” (Job 10:7; 16:17; 30:20, 21) Nevertheless, Jehovah kindly helped Job by posing a series of questions that directed attention away from Job. They also enabled Job to see more clearly God’s supremacy and the insignificance of man. Job accepted the direction and corrected himself.—Read Job 40:8; 42:2, 6.
15, 16. In what ways does Jehovah provide help to his servants today?
15 Jehovah also offers kind, firm guidance to his servants today. Moreover, we enjoy important benefits. For instance, Jesus Christ provided the ransom sacrifice and thus laid the groundwork for forgiveness of sins. On the basis of that sacrifice, we can have a close relationship with God despite our imperfection. (Jas. 4:8; 1 John 2:1) When facing trials, we also pray for the support and strengthening aid of God’s holy spirit. Additionally, we have the complete Bible, and if we read it and meditate on its contents, we prepare ourselves for tests of faith. Study helps us to understand the issues of universal sovereignty and personal integrity.
16 Further, we benefit greatly from being part of the earth-wide brotherhood that Jehovah supplies with spiritual food by means of “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45-47) In each of the approximately 100,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses, meetings are conducted that instruct us and strengthen us to face possible tests of faith. This can be illustrated by the experience of Sheila, a teenage Witness living in Germany.
17. Illustrate the wisdom of sticking closely to the instruction of Jehovah’s organization today.
17 One day at school, Sheila’s class was temporarily left without supervision. Her classmates decided to experiment with a Ouija board. Sheila immediately left the classroom, and what she later heard made her glad she had done so. While using the Ouija board, some of the students felt the presence of demons and fled in panic. What, though, had helped Sheila to decide to leave the room so quickly? “Shortly before this incident, we had discussed at a meeting at the Kingdom Hall the dangers of Ouija boards. So I knew what to do,” explains Sheila. “I wanted to please Jehovah, just as the Bible says at Proverbs 27:11.” How good that Sheila was at the meeting and listened attentively to the program!
18. What are you personally resolved to do?
18 Let each of us be resolved to stick closely to the instruction we receive from God’s organization. By regular meeting attendance, Bible reading, study of Bible-based publications, prayer, and fellowship with mature Christians, we get the guidance and support we need. Jehovah wants us to be victorious, and he has confidence that we will continue to be loyal. What a privilege we have to hold high the name of Jehovah, to maintain integrity, and to make the heart of Jehovah rejoice!
Do You Recall?
• For what conditions and trials is Satan responsible?
• What is the most precious possession that we have?
• What is the basis of our friendship with Jehovah?
• What are some of the ways in which Jehovah supports us today?
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Do you feel impelled to share the precious knowledge that you have?
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We can help fellow worshippers to maintain their integrity
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Valentina was willing to sacrifice everything to maintain her integrity