“Evil men cannot understand justice, but those who seek Jehovah can understand everything.”—PROV. 28:5.
1-3. (a) What will help us to remain faithful to God during these last days? (b) What will we consider in this article?
AS THE last days near their end, the wicked continue to “sprout like weeds.” (Ps. 92:7) It comes as no surprise, therefore, that moral standards are being abandoned. In this environment, how can we “be young children as to badness” yet “full-grown in [our] understanding”?—1 Cor. 14:20.
2 The answer is found in our theme text, which says in part: “Those who seek Jehovah can understand everything”—that is, everything necessary to please him. (Prov. 28:5) A similar thought is expressed at Proverbs 2:7, 9, which says that Jehovah “treasures up practical wisdom for the upright.” As a result, the upright are able to “understand what is righteous and just and fair, the entire course of what is good.”
3 Noah, Daniel, and Job acquired that wisdom. (Ezek. 14:14) The same is true of God’s people today. What about you personally? Do you “understand everything” necessary to please Jehovah? The key is to have accurate knowledge of him. With that in mind, let us consider (1) how Noah, Daniel, and Job came to know God, (2) how that knowledge benefited them, and (3) how we can develop a faith like theirs.
NOAH WALKED WITH GOD IN A WICKED WORLD
4. How did Noah come to know Jehovah, and how did accurate knowledge help him?
4 How Noah came to know Jehovah. Since early in human history, men and women of faith have learned about God in three primary ways: by observing the visible creation, from other God-fearing humans, and by experiencing the blessings of living in harmony with God’s righteous standards and principles. (Isa. 48:18) By observing the physical creation, Noah would have seen abundant evidence not only of God’s existence but also of his many invisible qualities, such as “his eternal power and Godship.” (Rom. 1:20) As a result, Noah did more than believe in God; he developed strong faith in him.
5. How did Noah become familiar with God’s purpose for mankind?
5 Faith “follows the thing heard.” (Rom. 10:17) How did Noah hear about Jehovah? He no doubt learned much from his relatives. These included his father, Lamech, who was a man of faith and whose life overlapped Adam’s. (See opening picture.) They also included his grandfather Methuselah and his great-great-grandfather Jared, whose life overlapped Noah’s by 366 years.* (Luke 3:36, 37) Perhaps from these men and possibly from their wives, Noah learned about mankind’s start, God’s purpose that a righteous human family fill the earth, and the rebellion in Eden—the results of which Noah could see for himself. (Gen. 1:28; 3:16-19, 24) In any event, what Noah learned touched his heart, moving him to serve God.—Gen. 6:9.
6, 7. How did hope reinforce Noah’s faith?
6 Faith is reinforced by hope. Imagine, then, how Noah must have felt when he learned that his name, which probably means “Rest; Consolation,” embodied hope! (Gen. 5:29, ftn.) Under inspiration, Lamech said: “This one [Noah] will bring us comfort from . . . the painful toil of our hands because of the ground that Jehovah has cursed.” Noah had hope in God. Like Abel and Enoch before him, he believed in the “offspring” who would bruise the serpent’s head.—Gen. 3:15.
7 While Noah may not have grasped the details of the prophecy recorded at Genesis 3:15, he no doubt saw in it the hope of deliverance. Moreover, that Edenic promise harmonized with the message proclaimed by Enoch, who also foretold God’s judgment of the wicked. (Jude 14, 15) Enoch’s message, which will have its final fulfillment at Armageddon, surely reinforced Noah’s faith and hope!
8. In what ways did accurate knowledge of God protect Noah?
8 How accurate knowledge of God benefited Noah. Accurate knowledge gave Noah faith and godly wisdom, which protected him from harm, especially spiritual harm. For instance, because Noah “walked with the true God,” he did not walk, or associate, with the ungodly. He was not fooled by the materialized demons, who surely impressed faithless, gullible humans with their superhuman abilities—perhaps even to the point of becoming objects of idolatry. (Gen. 6:1-4, 9) Also, Noah knew that humans were told to reproduce and fill the earth. (Gen. 1:27, 28) Hence, he must have known that sexual unions between women and materialized spirits were both unnatural and wrong. That conclusion was no doubt confirmed when those unions produced abnormal offspring. In time, God warned Noah that He was going to bring a flood upon the earth. Noah’s faith in that warning moved him to build the ark, thus saving his household.—Heb. 11:7.
9, 10. How can we imitate Noah’s faith?
9 How we cultivate faith like Noah’s. The key is to be good students of God’s Word, to take to heart what we learn, and to let that knowledge mold us and guide us. (1 Pet. 1:13-15) Then faith and godly wisdom will protect us from Satan’s clever designs and from the world’s evil spirit. (2 Cor. 2:11) That spirit fosters a love for violence and immorality. And it impels people to focus on fleshly desires. (1 John 2:15, 16) It may even move the spiritually weak to ignore the evidence of the closeness of God’s great day. Note that when Jesus compared our time with Noah’s, he focused, not on violence or immorality, but on the dangers of spiritual apathy.—Read Matthew 24:36-39.
10 Ask yourself: ‘Does my way of life indicate that I truly know Jehovah? Does my faith impel me not only to live in harmony with God’s righteous standards but also to proclaim them?’ May your answers show that you too ‘walk with the true God.’
DANIEL SHOWED GODLY WISDOM IN PAGAN BABYLON
11. (a) Daniel’s godly devotion as a youth reveals what about his upbringing? (b) What qualities of Daniel would you like to imitate?
11 How Daniel came to know Jehovah. Daniel was evidently well-instructed by his parents, who taught him to love Jehovah and his written Word. Moreover, that love stayed with Daniel all his life. Even in his old age, we find him poring over the Scriptures. (Dan. 9:1, 2) Daniel’s intimate knowledge of God, including God’s dealings with Israel, is beautifully reflected in the prophet’s heartfelt and contrite prayer recorded at Daniel 9:3-19. Why not take a few moments to read that prayer and meditate on it, taking special note of what it tells you about Daniel as a person?
12-14. (a) In what ways did Daniel show godly wisdom? (b) How was Daniel blessed for his courageous loyalty to God?
12 How accurate knowledge of God benefited Daniel. For a faithful Jew, life in pagan Babylon presented big challenges. For instance, Jehovah told the Jews: “Seek the peace of the city to which I have exiled you.” (Jer. 29:7) Yet, at the same time, he required their exclusive devotion. (Ex. 34:14) What enabled Daniel to balance the two requirements? Godly wisdom helped him to grasp the principle of relative subjection to secular authorities. Centuries later, Jesus taught the very same principle.—Luke 20:25.
13 Consider what Daniel did when an official decree forbade prayer to any god or man other than the king for 30 days. (Read Daniel 6:7-10.) Daniel could have made excuses, saying, ‘Thirty days is not forever!’ But he refused to let a royal edict override his Scriptural obligations. Of course, he could have prayed discreetly so as not to be observed. He knew that his daily custom was well-known. So while it meant risking his life, Daniel decided not to give even the impression that he was compromising in his worship.
14 Jehovah blessed Daniel’s conscientious and courageous decision by miraculously sparing him a cruel death. In fact, the outcome resulted in a marvelous witness for Jehovah that reached the farthest parts of the Medo-Persian Empire!—Dan. 6:25-27.
15. How can we cultivate faith like that of Daniel?
15 How to cultivate faith like Daniel’s. The key to strong faith is not simply to read God’s Word but to ‘get the sense’ of it. (Matt. 13:23) We want Jehovah’s mind on matters, which includes grasping Bible principles. Hence, we need to meditate on what we read. Also important is regular heartfelt prayer, especially when we face trials or other challenging situations. When we pray in faith for wisdom and strength, Jehovah will generously give them to us.—Jas. 1:5.
JOB APPLIED GODLY PRINCIPLES IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD
16, 17. How did Job gain an accurate knowledge of God?
16 How Job came to know Jehovah. Job was not an Israelite. He was, however, a distant relative of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Jehovah had revealed details to them about himself and his purpose for mankind. In some undisclosed way, Job learned many of those precious truths. (Job 23:12) “My ears have heard about you,” he said. (Job 42:5) Moreover, Jehovah himself stated that Job spoke truthfully about Him.—Job 42:7, 8.
17 Job also saw many of God’s invisible qualities in the visible creation. (Job 12:7-9, 13) Later, both Elihu and Jehovah used aspects of creation to remind Job of man’s insignificance compared with God’s greatness. (Job 37:14; 38:1-4) Jehovah’s words reached Job’s heart, for he humbly said to God: “Now I know that you are able to do all things and that nothing you have in mind to do is impossible for you. . . . I repent in dust and ashes.”—Job 42:2, 6.
18, 19. In what ways did Job show that he truly knew Jehovah?
18 How accurate knowledge of God benefited Job. Job had outstanding insight into godly principles. He truly knew Jehovah, and he acted on that knowledge. Consider: Job knew that he could not profess to love God and at the same time be unkind to his fellow man. (Job 6:14) He did not elevate himself above others but showed brotherly concern for all, rich and poor. “Did not the One who made me in the womb also make them?” he said. (Job 31:13-22) Clearly, Job had not allowed his earlier prestige and wealth to warp his view of himself or others. What a contrast to many of the powerful and wealthy in the world!
19 Job rejected all forms of idolatry—even in his heart. He knew that false worship, including devotion to material riches, would be a denial of “the true God above.” (Read Job 31:24-28.) He viewed marriage as a sacred bond between a man and a woman. He even made a covenant with his eyes not to look immorally at a virgin. (Job 31:1) Keep in mind that this was at a time when God tolerated polygamy. So Job could have taken a second wife had he wanted to.* Evidently, though, he took as a pattern the marital union that God established in Eden, making that example a law to himself. (Gen. 2:18, 24) Some 1,600 years later, Jesus Christ taught his listeners to adhere to the same righteous principles regarding marriage and sexual morality.—Matt. 5:28; 19:4, 5.
20. How does accurate knowledge of Jehovah and of his standards help us in choosing good associates and wholesome entertainment?
20 How we cultivate faith like Job’s. The key, once again, is to have accurate knowledge of Jehovah and to let that knowledge guide us in every aspect of life. For example, the psalmist David states that Jehovah “hates anyone who loves violence,” and David warns against associating “with deceitful men.” (Read Psalm 11:5; 26:4.) What insight do those scriptures give you into God’s thinking? How should that insight influence your priorities, use of the Internet, and choice of associates and entertainment? Your answers may help you to see how well you know Jehovah. To remain blameless in today’s complex and wicked world, we must train our “powers of discernment” so that we can distinguish not just right from wrong but also wise from unwise.—Heb. 5:14; Eph. 5:15.
21. What will enable us to “understand everything” we need to know to please our heavenly Father?
21 Because Noah, Daniel, and Job searched for Jehovah with all their heart, he let himself be found by them. He helped them to “understand everything” necessary to please him. They thus became examples of righteousness, and they led truly successful lives. (Ps. 1:1-3) So ask yourself, ‘Do I know Jehovah as well as Noah, Daniel, and Job did?’ In fact, thanks to increased spiritual light, you can know him even more fully! (Prov. 4:18) So dig deeply into God’s Word. Meditate on it. And pray for holy spirit. Then you will draw ever closer to your heavenly Father. And you will act with insight and wisdom in today’s ungodly world.—Prov. 2:4-7.
Noah’s great-grandfather Enoch also “kept walking with the true God.” However, “God took him” some 69 years before Noah was born.—Gen. 5:23, 24.
The same could be said of Noah. He had just one wife, even though polygamy began to be practiced soon after the rebellion in Eden.—Gen. 4:19.