“Because he has affection for me, I will rescue him. I will protect him because he knows my name.”—PS. 91:14.
1, 2. What differences do we have in family circumstances and spiritual backgrounds?
JEHOVAH is responsible for the existence of the family arrangement. (Eph. 3:14, 15) Even if we belong to the same family, however, we have different traits and circumstances. You may have lived with your parents from birth to adulthood. Others may have lost their parents in death, perhaps because of sickness, an accident, or some other tragedy. Still others do not even know who their parents are.
2 Among members of Jehovah’s family of worshippers, spiritual backgrounds also vary. You may have been ‘brought up in the truth,’ as some say, and your parents inculcated godly principles in you. (Deut. 6:6, 7) Or you may be one of the thousands who have come to learn the truth through the preaching activity of other servants of Jehovah.—Rom. 10:13-15; 1 Tim. 2:3, 4.
3. What do all of us have in common?
3 Despite the factors just mentioned, all of us have certain things in common. We suffer the consequences of Adam’s disobedience and have inherited imperfection, sin, and death. (Rom. 5:12) Even so, as true worshippers, we can rightly address Jehovah as “our Father.” Referring to God’s chosen people of ancient times, Isaiah 64:8 states: “O Jehovah, you are our Father.” Moreover, Jesus opened his model prayer with the words: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.”—Matt. 6:9.
4, 5. As we examine the depth of our appreciation for our Father, Jehovah, what will it be helpful to consider?
4 Our heavenly Father provides the care and protection we need as a people calling on his name in faith. The psalmist quotes him as saying: “Because he [a true worshipper] has affection for me, I will rescue him. I will protect him because he knows my name.” (Ps. 91:14) Yes, Jehovah God lovingly provides escape from our enemies and protects us as his people, so that we are not wiped out.
5 To enhance our appreciation for our heavenly Father, let us consider three important factors: (1) Our Father is our Provider. (2) Jehovah is our Protector. (3) And God is our best Friend. As we consider these points, it will be helpful to meditate on our relationship with God and discern how we can honor him as our Father. It will also be beneficial to reflect on the blessings Jehovah holds out to those who draw close to him.—Jas. 4:8.
JEHOVAH, THE GRAND PROVIDER
6. What is one way in which Jehovah proves to be the Giver of “every good gift”?
6 “Every good gift and every perfect present is from above,” wrote the disciple James, “coming down from the Father of the celestial lights.” (Jas. 1:17) Life itself is a wonderful gift from Jehovah. (Ps. 36:9) By using our lives to do the divine will, we experience abundant blessings now and have the prospect of eternal life in the new world. (Prov. 10:22; 2 Pet. 3:13) But how is this possible in view of the tragic consequences of Adam’s disobedience?
7. How has God opened the way for us to have a close relationship with him?
7 Jehovah is indeed the Grand Provider in ways without number. For instance, his undeserved kindness comes to our rescue. Yes, all of us are sinful and have inherited imperfection from our first earthly father. (Rom. 3:23) Nevertheless, because of Jehovah’s love, he took the initiative to open the way for us to have a close relationship with him. “By this the love of God was revealed in our case,” wrote the apostle John, “that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might gain life through him. The love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.”—1 John 4:9, 10.
8, 9. How did Jehovah prove to be the Grand Provider in the time of Abraham and Isaac? (See opening image.)
8 In the 19th century B.C.E., a prophetic event unfolded that reveals the extent of Jehovah’s loving provision for obedient humans to enjoy everlasting life. Hebrews 11:17-19 explains: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, as good as offered up Isaac—the man who had gladly received the promises attempted to offer up his only-begotten son—although it had been said to him: ‘What will be called your offspring will be through Isaac.’ But he reasoned that God was able to raise him up even from the dead, and he did receive him from there in an illustrative way.” It is not difficult to see the parallel. Jehovah offered his Son, Jesus Christ, in behalf of the world of mankind.—Read John 3:16, 36.
9 How Isaac must have welcomed his deliverance from a sacrificial death! He was undoubtedly grateful for God’s provision of a replacement sacrifice—a ram caught in a nearby thicket. (Gen. 22:10-13) No wonder that place came to be called “Jehovah-jireh,” which means “Jehovah Will Provide.”—Gen. 22:14; ftn.
PROVISION FOR RECONCILIATION
10, 11. Who have taken the lead in “the ministry of the reconciliation,” and how have they done so?
10 As we meditate on how Jehovah proves to be the Grand Provider, we gratefully acknowledge the vital role played by Jesus Christ, even as Paul did when he wrote: “This is what we have concluded, that one man died for all; so, then, all had died. And he died for all so that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised up.”—2 Cor. 5:14, 15.
11 Because of their love for God and their gratitude for the inestimable privilege of serving him, the early Christians gladly accepted “the ministry of the reconciliation.” Their work of preaching and making disciples opened the way for honesthearted individuals to come to be at peace with God, enjoy his friendship, and eventually become his spiritual children. Today, anointed servants of Jehovah perform the same ministry. What they accomplish as ambassadors for God and Christ makes it possible for rightly disposed people to be drawn by Jehovah and become believers.—Read 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; John 6:44; Acts 13:48.
12, 13. How can we show that we appreciate Jehovah’s many provisions?
12 Out of appreciation for Jehovah as the Grand Provider, all Christians who have an earthly hope share with the anointed in the Kingdom-preaching work. In this activity, we make use of the Bible, another of God’s splendid provisions. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) By skillful use of God’s inspired Word in our ministry, we give others the opportunity to gain everlasting life. To help us in this work, each of us relies on yet another provision from Jehovah—his holy spirit. (Zech. 4:6; Luke 11:13) The results are impressive, as shown in each edition of the Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses. What an honor it is to share in this work to the praise of our Father and Provider!
13 In view of all that God has provided, we do well to ask ourselves: ‘Am I doing all I can in my ministry to show Jehovah the depth of my appreciation for his provisions? In what ways can I improve and become a more effective preacher of the good news?’ We can demonstrate our gratitude for God’s wonderful provisions by keeping Kingdom interests first in our lives. If we do so, Jehovah will see to it that our needs are cared for. (Matt. 6:25-33) Because of God’s love, we surely want to do as much as we can to please him and make his heart rejoice.—Prov. 27:11.
14. How has Jehovah been the Rescuer of his people?
14 The psalmist David sang: “I am helpless and poor; may Jehovah pay attention to me. You are my helper and my rescuer.” (Ps. 40:17) Jehovah has repeatedly been the Rescuer of his people as a group, especially when they have been severely persecuted and relentlessly hounded by their enemies. How thankful we are for God’s help at such times and for the many spiritual provisions he constantly makes for us!
15. Illustrate how a loving father seeks to protect his child.
15 A loving father not only provides for his children but also seeks to protect them. He would naturally try to rescue them if they were in danger. One brother remembers a specific incident that occurred when he was just a young boy. He and his father were returning home from the field service when their path took them across a stream. A heavy downpour that morning had caused the brook to flood. The only way to cross the water was to jump from one large stone to another. Going ahead of his father, the boy lost his footing on one of the stones, tumbled into the flooding water, and went under twice. How grateful the boy was that his father quickly grabbed him firmly by the shoulder and saved him from drowning! Our heavenly Father delivers us from what might be viewed as raging torrents of this wicked world and from its ruler, Satan. Jehovah is certainly the best Protector anyone could ever hope to have.—Matt. 6:13; 1 John 5:19.
16, 17. How did Jehovah help and protect the Israelites when they fought the Amalekites?
16 The loving protection made possible by Jehovah is well-illustrated by what occurred after he rescued the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and miraculously protected them as they crossed the Red Sea in 1513 B.C.E. After trekking through the wilderness toward Mount Sinai, the nation arrived at Rephidim.
17 In view of the divine prophecy of Genesis 3:15, Satan may have been desperate as he looked for an opportunity to attack the vulnerable Israelites. He did this through the Amalekites, who were enemies of God’s people. (Num. 24:20) Consider what Jehovah accomplished by means of four faithful men—Joshua, Moses, Aaron, and Hur. As Joshua fought the Amalekites, stationed on a nearby hill were Moses, Aaron, and Hur. The Israelites proved superior in battle when Moses raised his hands. When his hands became heavy, Aaron and Hur supported them. So it was that with Jehovah’s help and protection, “Joshua defeated Amalek and his people.” (Ex. 17:8-13) Moses built an altar there, calling it “Jehovah-nissi,” which means “Jehovah Is My Signal Pole.”—Read Exodus 17:14, 15; ftn.
KEPT SAFE FROM SATAN’S CLUTCHES
18, 19. What protection has God provided for his servants in our time?
18 Jehovah protects those who love and obey him. Like the Israelites at Rephidim, we look to God for safety when confronted by enemies. Jehovah has often protected us as a group, and he keeps us out of the Devil’s clutches. Think of the many occasions when God has safeguarded our brothers who were maintaining their Christian neutrality. For example, this was the case during the Nazi era in Germany and other countries in the 1930’s and early 1940’s. Reading and reflecting on life stories and Yearbook accounts of God’s protection during times of persecution will strengthen our trust in Jehovah as our Refuge.—Ps. 91:2.
19 Through Jehovah’s organization and its publications, we receive loving reminders for our protection. Consider how this has proved to be of benefit in recent times. As this world sinks further into the quagmire of debauchery and pornography, Jehovah has provided urgent reminders and practical help to alert us to moral dangers. For instance, we receive fatherly counsel to avoid bad associations through the misuse of social networking.*—1 Cor. 15:33.
20. What protection and guidance are available through the Christian congregation?
20 How can we demonstrate that we are really being “taught by Jehovah”? By carefully heeding his commands. (Isa. 54:13) In the safe haven of our congregations, we find needed guidance and protection, for it is there that faithful men who serve as elders provide Scriptural help and counsel. (Gal. 6:1) Much of Jehovah’s tender care reaches us through these “gifts in men.” (Eph. 4:7, 8) How should we respond? Willing submission and obedience result in God’s blessing.—Heb. 13:17.
21. (a) We should be determined to do what? (b) What will be considered in the next article?
21 Let us be determined to be led by holy spirit and thus yield to the guidance of our heavenly Father. We also need to meditate on the life course of his Son, Jesus Christ, whose peerless example we strive to follow. For his obedience even to the point of death, Jesus received a rich reward. (Phil. 2:5-11) Like him, we will be blessed for trusting in Jehovah with all our heart. (Prov. 3:5, 6) So may we always look to Jehovah as the Provider and Protector beyond compare. What a joy and great privilege it is to serve him! Our love for him will grow as we reflect on the third aspect of our Father’s care for us—his friendship. The next article focuses on how Jehovah is our best Friend.