DOES Jehovah really care about his people? If so, how deep is his concern for them? There is only one way that we can know the answers to those questions—through God’s own revelation. In the Bible, Jehovah clearly reveals how he feels. Consider the words found at Isaiah 49:15.
To illustrate the deep feelings that he has for his people, Jehovah, through Isaiah, uses one of the most touching examples that we could imagine. He begins by asking this thought-provoking question: “Can a wife forget her suckling so that she should not pity the son of her belly?” At first glance, the answer seems obvious. How could a nursing mother forget her suckling? Her baby is completely dependent on her day and night—and it lets her know when it needs attention! But there is more to Jehovah’s question.
Why does a mother nurse her child and care for its every need? Is it just to quiet a crying baby? No. A mother naturally has pity for, or pities, “the son of her belly.” The Hebrew verb here translated “pity” is also rendered “show mercy.” (Exodus 33:19; Isaiah 54:10) This Hebrew term can convey the idea of tender compassion for the helpless or vulnerable. A mother’s compassion for her suckling is one of the strongest emotions that we can imagine.
Sadly, though, not every mother has pity for the baby that longs to nurse at her breast. “Even these women can forget,” says Jehovah. We are living in a world in which many men and women are “disloyal, having no natural affection.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) At times, we hear about mothers who neglect, abuse, or abandon their newborn baby. Commenting on Isaiah 49:15, one Bible reference work explains: “Mothers are sinful and their love is sometimes overcome by baseness. Even the greatest of human love may fail.”
“Yet,” Jehovah assures us, “I myself shall not forget you.” Now we can begin to see the point of the question that Jehovah raises, as stated at Isaiah 49:15. What he is making here is not so much a comparison as a contrast. Unlike imperfect mothers, who may fail to show compassion for their helpless infant, Jehovah will never fail or forget to show compassion for his worshippers in need. Fittingly, the reference work mentioned above says of Isaiah 49:15: “This is one of the strongest, if not the strongest expression of God’s love in the Old Testament.”
Is it not comforting to learn about “the tender compassion of our God”? (Luke 1:78) Why not learn how you can draw closer to Jehovah? This loving God assures his worshippers: “I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.”—Hebrews 13:5.
Suggested Bible reading for February: