Jehovah Is Our Sovereign Lord!
“In the Sovereign Lord Jehovah I have placed my refuge.”—PS. 73:28.
1. With his words recorded at 1 Corinthians 7:31, Paul was evidently alluding to what?
“THE scene of this world is changing.” The apostle Paul said so. (1 Cor. 7:31) Evidently, he was likening the world to a stage, with actors in a drama playing their roles as good or bad characters until a change of scenes.
2, 3. (a) To what can the challenge to Jehovah’s sovereignty be compared? (b) What questions will we consider?
2 Today, a drama of utmost importance is under way—and it involves you! Especially does it relate to the vindication of Jehovah God’s sovereignty. This drama can be illustrated by a situation that might exist in a certain land. On the one hand, there is the duly constituted government that maintains order. On the other hand, there is a criminal entity ruling by fraud, violence, and murder. The illegal organization is a challenge to the sovereign rulership and tests the loyalty of all citizens to their government.
3 A similar situation exists on a universal scale. There is the legally constituted government of the “Sovereign Lord Jehovah.” (Ps. 71:5) But mankind is now threatened by a criminal organization headed by “the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) It presents a challenge to the duly constituted government of God and tests the loyalty of all people to his sovereign rulership. How did this state of affairs come about? Why does God permit it? What can we do about it as individuals?
Features of the Drama
4. The unfolding universal drama involves what two interrelated issues?
4 This unfolding universal drama involves two interrelated issues: Jehovah’s sovereignty and human integrity. In the Scriptures, Jehovah is often called “the Sovereign Lord.” With complete trust in him, for instance, the psalmist sang: “In the Sovereign Lord Jehovah I have placed my refuge.” (Ps. 73:28) “Sovereignty” is supremacy in power or rulership. A sovereign exercises supreme authority. There are good reasons for viewing Jehovah God as the Supreme One.—Dan. 7:22.
5. Why should we be moved to uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty?
5 As the Creator, Jehovah God is the Sovereign of the earth and the entire universe. (Read Revelation 4:11.) Jehovah is also our Judge, Statute-Giver, and King, for within himself he combines the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of universal government. (Isa. 33:22) Since we owe our very existence to God and are dependent on him, we should view him as our Sovereign Lord. We will be motivated to uphold his lofty position if we always bear in mind that “Jehovah himself has firmly established his throne in the very heavens; and over everything his own kingship has held domination.”—Ps. 103:19; Acts 4:24.
6. What is integrity?
6 To support Jehovah’s sovereignty, we must maintain our integrity to him. “Integrity” is moral soundness or completeness. An integrity keeper is one who is blameless and upright. The patriarch Job was such a man.—Job 1:1.
How the Drama Began
7, 8. How did Satan challenge the rightfulness of Jehovah’s sovereignty?
7 Some 6,000 years ago, a spirit creature challenged the rightfulness of Jehovah’s sovereignty. A selfish desire to be worshipped was at the root of that rebel’s words and actions. He induced the first human pair, Adam and Eve, to become disloyal to divine sovereignty and tried to tarnish Jehovah’s name by claiming that He had lied. (Read Genesis 3:1-5.) The rebel became the great Adversary, Satan (Resister), Devil (Slanderer), serpent (deceiver), and dragon (devourer).—Rev. 12:9.
8 Satan set himself up as a rival ruler. Faced with this challenge, what would the Sovereign Lord Jehovah do? Would he immediately destroy the three rebels—Satan, Adam, and Eve? He surely had the power to do so, and such action would have settled the question of who had supreme power. It would also have proved that Jehovah had told the truth about the penalty for violating his law. Why did God not take such action?
9. What did Satan call into question?
9 By lying and turning Adam and Eve away from God, Satan called into question Jehovah’s right to require obedience of mankind. Moreover, by inducing the first human pair to disobey God, Satan also called into question the loyalty of all intelligent creatures. As revealed in the case of Job, who was loyal to Jehovah’s sovereignty, Satan claimed that he could turn all humans away from God.—Job 2:1-5.
10. By postponing the asserting of his sovereignty, what has God allowed?
10 By postponing the asserting of his sovereignty, Jehovah has allowed Satan time to prove his claim. God has also given humans the opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to his sovereignty. What has happened with the passing of the centuries? Satan has built up a powerful criminal organization. Jehovah will eventually destroy it and the Devil, giving overwhelming proof of God’s rightful sovereignty. Jehovah God was so certain of a positive outcome that he foretold it when the rebellion took place in Eden.—Gen. 3:15.
11. What have many humans done with respect to Jehovah’s sovereignty?
11 Many humans have exercised faith and maintained their integrity with respect to Jehovah’s sovereignty and the sanctification of his name. Their number includes Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Ruth, David, Jesus, the early disciples of Christ, and millions of integrity keepers today. Such upholders of divine sovereignty share in proving Satan a liar and in clearing Jehovah’s name of the reproach that the Devil has heaped upon it by boasting that he could turn all mankind away from God.—Prov. 27:11.
The Outcome Is Certain
12. How can we be sure that God will not endlessly tolerate wickedness?
12 We can be certain that Jehovah will soon assert his sovereignty. He will not endlessly tolerate wickedness, and we know that we are living in the last days. Jehovah took action against the wicked during the Flood. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and Pharaoh and his forces. Sisera and his army and Sennacherib and his Assyrian troops were no match for the Most High. (Gen. 7:1, 23; 19:24, 25; Ex. 14:30, 31; Judg. 4:15, 16; 2 Ki. 19:35, 36) We can therefore be confident that Jehovah God will not indefinitely put up with disrespect for his name and mistreatment of his Witnesses. Furthermore, we now see evidence of the sign of Jesus’ presence and of the conclusion of this wicked system of things.—Matt. 24:3.
13. How can we escape being destroyed along with Jehovah’s enemies?
13 To escape being destroyed along with God’s enemies, we must prove loyal to Jehovah’s sovereignty. How can we do so? By keeping separate from Satan’s criminal rule and refusing to be intimidated by his agents. (Isa. 52:11; John 17:16; Acts 5:29) Only under those circumstances can we uphold our heavenly Father’s sovereignty and have the hope of being spared when Jehovah clears his name of reproach and demonstrates that he is the Universal Sovereign.
14. What is revealed in various portions of the Bible?
14 Details regarding mankind and Jehovah’s sovereignty are presented throughout the Bible. The first three chapters tell us about creation and the fall of man into sin, whereas the last three deal with mankind’s recovery. The intervening pages provide details regarding steps taken by the Sovereign Lord Jehovah to accomplish his purpose for humankind, the earth, and the universe. Genesis shows how Satan and wickedness entered the world, and the concluding portion of Revelation reveals how evil will be eliminated, the Devil will be destroyed, and the will of God is to be done on the earth as it is in heaven. Indeed, the Bible reveals the cause of sin and death and shows how they will be removed from the earthly scene and be replaced by unbounded joy and life eternal for integrity keepers.
15. To benefit personally when the drama involving sovereignty ends, what must we do?
15 Soon the scene of this world will change completely. The curtain will fall on the centuries-old drama involving sovereignty. Satan will be removed from the stage, headed for eventual oblivion, and God’s will shall certainly prevail. But to benefit from this and enjoy the many blessings foretold in God’s Word, we must uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty now. We cannot straddle the fence. To be able to say: “Jehovah is on my side,” we must remain on his side.—Ps. 118:6, 7.
We Can Maintain Integrity!
16. Why can we be certain that it is possible for humans to maintain integrity to God?
16 We can uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty and maintain our integrity, for the apostle Paul wrote: “No temptation has taken you except what is common to men. But God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out in order for you to be able to endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13) What is the source of the temptation mentioned by Paul, and how does God make the way out for us?
17-19. (a) To what temptation did the Israelites succumb in the wilderness? (b) Why is it possible for us to maintain our integrity to Jehovah?
17 As illustrated by Israel’s experiences in the wilderness, the “temptation” comes through circumstances that could induce us to break God’s law. (Read 1 Corinthians 10:6-10.) The Israelites could have resisted temptation, but they desired “injurious things” when Jehovah miraculously provided a month’s supply of quail for them. Even though the people had been without meat for some time, God had given them enough manna to eat. Yet, they gave way to the temptation of yielding to unrestrained greed when gathering the quail.—Num. 11:19, 20, 31-35.
18 Earlier, while Moses was receiving the Law on Mount Sinai, the Israelites became idolaters, engaging in calf worship and sensual pleasures. The absence of their visible leader meant that temptation was unchecked. (Ex. 32:1, 6) Just before entering the Promised Land, thousands of Israelites were seduced by Moabite women, with whom they committed sexual immorality. On that occasion, thousands of Israelites died for their sin. (Num. 25:1, 9) At times, the people of Israel succumbed to the temptation to complain rebelliously, on one occasion speaking against Moses as well as against God himself! (Num. 21:5) The people of Israel even murmured after the destruction of wicked Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their associates, wrongly reasoning that the execution of the rebels was unjust. As a result, 14,700 Israelites perished from a divinely sent scourge.—Num. 16:41, 49.
19 None of the temptations just mentioned were of such a nature that the Israelites could not have resisted them. The people yielded to temptation because they lost faith and forgot Jehovah, his loving care for them, and the rightness of his ways. As in the case of the Israelites, the temptations that we face are common to human experience. If we put forth needed effort to resist them and rely on God to sustain us, we can maintain our integrity. We can be confident of this because “God is faithful” and does not allow us to be “tempted beyond what [we] can bear.” Jehovah never forsakes us to the point of permitting us to come into situations that make it humanly impossible to do his will.—Ps. 94:14.
20, 21. When we are tempted, how does God make “the way out”?
20 By strengthening us to resist temptation, Jehovah makes “the way out.” For example, persecutors may subject us to physical abuse in an effort to make us renounce our faith. Such treatment may tempt us to compromise so as to escape further beatings, torture, or possibly death. On the basis of Paul’s inspired assurance recorded at 1 Corinthians 10:13, however, we know that the situation giving rise to temptation is only temporary. Jehovah will not allow it to develop to the point where we cannot remain faithful to him. God can fortify our faith and give us the spiritual strength we need in order to maintain integrity.
21 Jehovah sustains us by means of his holy spirit. That spirit also brings back to our mind Scriptural thoughts that we need in order to resist temptation. (John 14:26) Consequently, we are not deceived into following a wrong course. For instance, we understand the related issues of Jehovah’s sovereignty and human integrity. With that knowledge, many have been sustained by God to remain faithful to death. But it was not death that made the way out for them; it was Jehovah’s help that made it possible for them to endure to the end without yielding to temptation. He can do the same for us. In fact, he also uses his faithful angels in our behalf as public servants “sent forth to minister to those who are going to inherit salvation.” (Heb. 1:14) As the next article shows, only integrity keepers can hope to have the joyful privilege of upholding God’s sovereignty forever. We can be among them if we cling to Jehovah as our Sovereign Lord.
How Would You Answer?
• Why should we recognize Jehovah as our Sovereign Lord?
• What does it mean to maintain our integrity to God?
• How do we know that Jehovah will soon assert his sovereignty?
• In view of 1 Corinthians 10:13, why is it possible to maintain integrity?
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Satan induced Adam and Eve to become disloyal to Jehovah
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Be determined to uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty