Jehovah Safeguards Us for Salvation
“You . . . are being safeguarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last period of time.”—1 PET. 1:4, 5.
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER?
How did Jehovah draw us to true worship?
How can we allow Jehovah to lead us with his counsel?
How does Jehovah provide us with encouragement?
1, 2. (a) What assurance do we have that God will help us to keep our integrity? (b) How well does Jehovah know each of us?
“HE THAT has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.” (Matt. 24:13) With those words, Jesus made it clear that for us to be preserved alive when God executes judgment on Satan’s world, we must maintain our integrity to the end. But this does not mean that Jehovah expects us to endure in our own wisdom or strength. The Bible assures us: “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 do those words imply?
2 For Jehovah to make sure that we are not tempted beyond what we can bear, he has to know everything about us, including the challenges we face, our individual makeup, and just how much we can take. Does God really know us that well? Yes. The Scriptures reveal that Jehovah knows each of us intimately. He is familiar with our daily routine and habits. He can even discern our thoughts and the intentions of our heart.—Read Psalm 139:1-6.
3, 4. (a) How does David’s experience indicate that Jehovah pays attention to individuals? (b) What remarkable work is Jehovah accomplishing today?
3 Does it seem farfetched that God would take such an interest in lowly humans? The psalmist David pondered this question, saying to Jehovah: “When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared, what is mortal man that you keep him in mind?” (Ps. 8:3, 4) Perhaps this question was prompted by David’s own experience. In him, the youngest son of Jesse, Jehovah had found “a man agreeable to his heart” and had taken him “from following the flock to become a leader” over Israel. (1 Sam. 13:14; 2 Sam. 7:8) Imagine how David must have felt upon realizing that the Creator of the universe had paid attention to his private meditations, the musings of a shepherd boy!
4 It is no less astonishing to contemplate the remarkable personal interest that Jehovah is showing in us today. He is collecting together in true worship “the desirable things of all the nations,” and he is helping his servants to maintain their integrity. (Hag. 2:7) To understand better how Jehovah helps us to keep our integrity, let us reflect on how he draws people to true worship in the first place.
DRAWN BY GOD
5. How does Jehovah draw people to his Son? Illustrate.
5 Jesus said: “No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him.” (John 6:44) Those words imply that to become a disciple of Christ, we must have God’s help. How does Jehovah draw sheeplike ones to his Son? Through the preaching of the good news and the operation of holy spirit. For example, when Paul and his missionary companions were in Philippi, they met a woman named Lydia and began sharing the good news with her. The inspired record states: “Jehovah opened her heart wide to pay attention to the things being spoken by Paul.” Yes, God provided his spirit to help her get the sense of the message, with the result that she and her household got baptized.—Acts 16:13-15.
6. How were all of us drawn by God to true worship?
6 Was Lydia’s experience unique? By no means. If you are a dedicated Christian, you too were drawn by God to true worship. Just as our heavenly Father saw something valuable in the heart of Lydia, he saw something good in you. When you began listening to the good news, Jehovah helped you to grasp it by supplying holy spirit. (1 Cor. 2:11, 12) When you endeavored to apply what you learned, he blessed your efforts to do his will. When you dedicated your life to him, his heart rejoiced. Indeed, ever since you started on the road to life, Jehovah has been with you each step of the way.
7. How do we know that God will help us to remain faithful?
7 Having helped us to begin walking with him, Jehovah does not now leave us to our own devices to remain faithful. He knows that just as we did not come into the truth on our own, we will not stay in the truth on our own. Writing to anointed Christians, the apostle Peter said: “You . . . are being safeguarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last period of time.” (1 Pet. 1:4, 5) Those words apply in principle to all Christians and should be of interest to each of us today. Why? Because we all need God’s help to remain faithful to him.
RESTRAINED FROM TAKING A FALSE STEP
8. Why do we need to beware of taking a false step?
8 The pressures of life and our own imperfections could cause us to lose our spiritual focus and put us in danger of taking a false step without our even being aware of it. (Read Galatians 6:1.) This is illustrated by an incident that took place in the life of David.
9, 10. How did Jehovah restrain David from taking a false step, and what does He do for us today?
9 While being hunted by King Saul, David had shown admirable restraint in not retaliating against that jealous monarch. (1 Sam. 24:2-7) But soon thereafter, David’s imperfect impulses got the better of him. He was in need of provisions for his men and respectfully asked for assistance from a fellow Israelite named Nabal. When Nabal responded with insults, David became enraged and set out to avenge himself on the men of Nabal’s entire household, failing to discern that killing innocent people would make him bloodguilty before God. Only the timely intervention of Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saved David from making a calamitous mistake. Recognizing Jehovah’s hand in the matter, David said to her: “Blessed be Jehovah the God of Israel, who has sent you this day to meet me! And blessed be your sensibleness, and blessed be you who have restrained me this day from entering into bloodguilt and having my own hand come to my salvation.”—1 Sam. 25:9-13, 21, 22, 32, 33.
10 What lesson can we learn from this account? Jehovah used Abigail to restrain David from taking a false step. He does much the same for us today. Of course, we should not expect that God will send someone to intervene whenever we are about to make a mistake; nor can we presume to know precisely how God will act in any given situation or what he will allow in the outworking of his purpose. (Eccl. 11:5) Nonetheless, we can be confident that Jehovah is always aware of our circumstances and will help us to remain faithful to him. He assures us: “I shall make you have insight and instruct you in the way you should go. I will give advice with my eye upon you.” (Ps. 32:8) How does Jehovah give us advice? How can we benefit from it? And why can we be sure that Jehovah is leading his people today? Note how those questions are answered in the book of Revelation.
SAFEGUARDED BY COUNSEL
11. To what extent is Jehovah aware of what is taking place in the congregations of his people?
11 In the vision recorded in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, the glorified Jesus Christ inspects the seven congregations of Asia Minor. The vision reveals that Christ sees not just general trends but specific situations. In some instances, he even mentions individuals, and in each case, he gives appropriate commendation or counsel. What does this indicate? In the fulfillment of the vision, the seven congregations represent anointed Christians after 1914, and the counsel given to the seven congregations applies in principle to all the congregations of God’s people today earth wide. Thus, it is safe to conclude that Jehovah by means of his Son is actively leading his people. How can we benefit from that guidance?
12. How can we allow Jehovah to guide our steps?
12 One way we can benefit from Jehovah’s loving direction is through personal study. By means of the publications of the faithful and discreet slave class, Jehovah provides a wealth of Scriptural counsel. (Matt. 24:45) To benefit from it, however, we must take the time to study it and apply what we learn. Personal study is one means by which Jehovah can “guard [us] from stumbling.” (Jude 24) Have you ever studied something in our literature that seems to have been written just for you? Accept the correction as coming from Jehovah. Just as a friend might tap you on the shoulder to bring something to your attention, Jehovah can use his spirit to draw your attention to an aspect of your conduct or personality that you—and no doubt many others like you—need to improve. By being sensitive to the leadings of the spirit, we allow Jehovah to guide our steps. (Read Psalm 139:23, 24.) In this regard, we do well to examine our study habits.
13. Why would it be wise for us to examine our study habits?
13 Excessive time spent on entertainment can rob us of time needed for personal study. One brother observes: “It is so easy to let personal study slip. Entertainment is more available now than ever before, and it is less expensive than ever before. It is available on TV, on the computer, and on the phone. We are surrounded by it.” Unless we are careful, time needed for in-depth personal study can gradually diminish until it all but disappears. (Eph. 5:15-17) Each of us does well to ask: ‘How often do I take time to dig deeper in my study of God’s Word? Is it only when I have a talk or a meeting part to prepare?’ If so, perhaps we could make better use of the evening set aside for family worship or personal study to treasure up the spiritual wisdom that Jehovah provides to safeguard us for salvation.—Prov. 2:1-5.
SUSTAINED BY ENCOURAGEMENT
14. How do the Scriptures show that Jehovah pays attention to our feelings?
14 David faced many distressing circumstances in his life. (1 Sam. 30:3-6) His inspired words reveal that Jehovah knew his feelings. (Read Psalm 34:18; 56:8.) God knows our feelings as well. When we are “broken at heart” or “crushed in spirit,” he draws near to us. This in itself may give us a measure of comfort, as it did David, who sang: “I will be joyful and rejoice in your loving-kindness, in that you have seen my affliction; you have known about the distresses of my soul.” (Ps. 31:7) But Jehovah does more than just notice our distress. He sustains us by providing comfort and encouragement. One way he does this is by means of Christian meetings.
15. What lesson can we learn from Asaph’s experience?
15 One benefit of attending meetings is illustrated by the experience of the psalmist Asaph. Dwelling on injustices caused Asaph to question the value of serving God. Asaph grew discouraged. He described his feelings this way: “My heart was soured and in my kidneys I was sharply pained.” As a result, he almost stopped serving Jehovah. What helped Asaph to regain his balance? “I proceeded to come into the grand sanctuary of God,” he said. There, among fellow worshippers of Jehovah, he regained the proper perspective. He saw that the success of the wicked was only temporary, that Jehovah would without fail set matters right. (Ps. 73:2, 13-22) It is similar with us. The stress of dealing with the injustices of Satan’s world can wear us down. Meeting together with our brothers refreshes us and helps us retain our joy in serving Jehovah.
16. How can we benefit from the example of Hannah?
16 What, though, if a situation in the congregation makes it difficult for you to attend meetings? Perhaps you have had to relinquish a privilege of service and are embarrassed, or you have had a difference of opinion with a brother or sister. If so, you may find the example of Hannah helpful. (Read 1 Samuel 1:4-8.) Recall that she was sorely vexed over a family situation involving her rival wife, Peninnah. The situation became especially acute each year when the family went to offer sacrifices to Jehovah at Shiloh. It was so distressing to Hannah that “she would weep and not eat.” Yet, she did not allow this to keep her away from occasions for worshipping Jehovah. Jehovah took notice of her faithfulness and blessed her.—1 Sam. 1:11, 20.
17, 18. (a) In what ways do we receive encouragement at congregation meetings? (b) How do you feel about the tender care Jehovah provides to help us attain salvation?
17 Christians today have good reason for imitating Hannah’s example. We need to be faithful in attending meetings. As we all have experienced, meetings provide vital encouragement. (Heb. 10:24, 25) The warmth of Christian fellowship comforts us. A simple expression made in a talk or comment may touch our heart. In conversation before or after a meeting, a fellow believer may give us a listening ear or share consoling words. (Prov. 15:23; 17:17) As we raise our voices in song to Jehovah, our spirits are uplifted. Especially when we are beset by “disquieting thoughts” do we need the encouragement that we receive at meetings, where Jehovah sustains us with his “own consolations” and supports us in our determination to remain faithful.—Ps. 94:18, 19.
18 Secure in our God’s tender care, we feel as did the psalmist Asaph, who sang to Jehovah: “You have taken hold of my right hand. With your counsel you will lead me.” (Ps. 73:23, 24) How grateful we are that Jehovah safeguards us for salvation!
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You too have been drawn by Jehovah
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We are safeguarded by applying God’s counsel
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We are sustained by the encouragement we receive