“The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy, making the inexperienced one wise.”—PSALM 19:7.
1. What subjects do we often study at our meetings? How does regularly studying these subjects help us?
WHILE preparing for the Watchtower Study, have you ever thought, ‘It seems that we have studied this subject before’? If you have been attending meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses for some time, you probably have noticed that some subjects are discussed again and again. We often study about God’s Kingdom, the ransom, the preaching work, and qualities such as love and faith. Regularly studying these subjects keeps our faith strong and helps us to “become doers of the word, and not hearers only.”—James 1:22.
2. (a) What does the word “reminders” often mean in the Bible? (b) How are Jehovah’s laws different from human laws?
2 In the Bible, “reminders” often mean laws, commands, and rules that God gives to his people. Jehovah’s laws are very different from human laws, which are imperfect and often need to be changed. God’s laws are perfect, and we can trust that obeying them is always good for us. It is true that God gave some laws in the past that his people today do not have to follow anymore. But this is not because there was something wrong with those laws. The psalmist said: “The righteousness of your reminders is to time indefinite.”—Psalm 119:144.
3, 4. (a) What do Jehovah’s reminders sometimes include? (b) How would the Israelites benefit if they obeyed God’s commands?
3 Jehovah’s reminders sometimes include warnings. The nation of Israel regularly received warnings through God’s prophets. For example, just before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moses warned them: “Watch out for yourselves for fear your heart may be enticed, and you do turn aside and worship other gods and bow down to them, and Jehovah’s anger does blaze against you.” (Deuteronomy 11:16, 17) In the Bible, we read about many other helpful reminders that God gave his people.
4 Jehovah often reminded his people to fear him, to obey him, and to honor his name. (Deuteronomy 4:29-31; 5:28, 29) God promised that if they obeyed these commands, he would give them many blessings.—Leviticus 26:3-6; Deuteronomy 28:1-4.
HOW ISRAEL REACTED TO GOD’S REMINDERS
5. Why did Jehovah fight for King Hezekiah?
5 Throughout the history of the Israelites, God always kept his promise to them. For example, when Assyrian King Sennacherib invaded Judah and threatened King Hezekiah, Jehovah sent an angel to help His people. In just one night, God’s angel destroyed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. Sennacherib had to return home completely humiliated. (2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chronicles 32:21) Why did God fight for King Hezekiah? Because Hezekiah was loyal to him and “continued keeping his commandments.”—2 Kings 18:1, 5, 6.
Because King Hezekiah and King Josiah were loyal and obedient, Jehovah blessed them
6. How did King Josiah show that he trusted in Jehovah?
6 Another example of someone who obeyed Jehovah’s commands is King Josiah. From the time he was very young, he did “what was right in Jehovah’s eyes.” (2 Chronicles 34:1, 2) Josiah showed that he trusted in Jehovah by destroying all the idols in the land and by helping the people to worship Jehovah again. Because Josiah did these things, Jehovah blessed not only him but also the entire nation.—Read 2 Chronicles 34:31-33.
7. What happened when Israel disobeyed Jehovah?
7 Sadly, though, God’s people did not always trust Jehovah’s reminders. Throughout the centuries, they disobeyed Jehovah many times. When their faith was weak, others easily influenced them to worship false gods. (Ephesians 4:13, 14) And as God had warned them, when they did not put their trust in him, they suffered.—Leviticus 26:23-25; Jeremiah 5:23-25.
8. How is our situation similar to that of the Israelites?
8 How is our situation similar to that of the Israelites? God’s people today receive counsel and discipline, just as the Israelites did. (2 Peter 1:12) We are reminded of God’s commands every time we read the Bible. And Jehovah allows us to choose whether we will obey his commands or whether we will just do what seems right to us. (Proverbs 14:12) Let us discuss why we should pay attention to Jehovah’s reminders and how we benefit from doing that.
OBEY GOD AND LIVE
9. When the Israelites were in the wilderness, how did Jehovah remind them that he was supporting them?
9 When the Israelites began their 40-year journey through the wilderness, Jehovah did not explain to them exactly how he would direct, protect, and care for them. But he showed them in many ways that they would benefit if they trusted in him and obeyed his instructions. By leading them with a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night, Jehovah reminded the Israelites that he was supporting them on their difficult journey. (Exodus 40:36-38; Deuteronomy 1:19) He also made sure that they had all the things they needed. “They lacked nothing. Their very garments did not wear out, and their feet themselves did not become swollen.”—Nehemiah 9:19-21.
Have you made adjustments in your life so that you can follow the instructions we receive from God’s organization?
10. How is Jehovah leading his people today?
10 God’s servants today will soon be in a righteous new world. Do we trust that Jehovah is giving us everything we need to survive the “great tribulation”? (Matthew 24:21, 22; Psalm 119:40, 41) It is true that Jehovah does not use a pillar of cloud or a pillar of fire to lead us into the new world. But he does use his organization to give us reminders. For example, we have been encouraged to strengthen our friendship with Jehovah by reading the Bible, by having a Family Worship evening, as well as by regularly going to the meetings and out in the ministry. Have we made adjustments in our life so that we can follow these instructions? Doing this will help us to have the strong faith that we need to survive into the new world.
11. In what ways does God show that he cares about our health and happiness?
11 God’s organization also gives us direction that helps us make good decisions in our everyday life. For example, we have been encouraged to have the right attitude toward material things and to live a simple life so that we have less anxiety. We have received direction on deciding how to dress and care for our appearance, on choosing the right kind of entertainment, and on deciding how much education we need. We have also received instructions on how to prepare for emergencies. And think of the reminders that help us to be safe in our homes, cars, and Kingdom Halls. All this counsel shows that God cares about our health and happiness.
REMINDERS HELPED THE FIRST CHRISTIANS TO STAY FAITHFUL
12. (a) What subject did Jesus often talk to his disciples about? (b) What lesson in humility did Peter never forget? What should we learn from Jesus’ example?
12 In the first century, God’s people regularly received reminders. Jesus often talked to his disciples about how important it is to be humble. But he did not just explain to them what it means to be humble. He showed them by his example. On the night before he died, Jesus and his apostles were together for the Passover. While his apostles were eating, Jesus got up from the meal and washed their feet. This was usually the job of a servant. (John 13:1-17) What Jesus did that night taught the apostles a powerful lesson that they never forgot. Some 30 years later, the apostle Peter, who had been at that meal, gave other Christians counsel about humility. (1 Peter 5:5) Jesus’ example should encourage all of us to be humble in the way we treat one another.—Philippians 2:5-8.
13. Jesus taught his disciples about the need to have what important quality?
13 Another subject that Jesus often talked to his disciples about was the need for strong faith. Once, the disciples were not able to heal a boy who was controlled by a demon. They asked Jesus: “Why is it we could not expel it?” Jesus answered: “Because of your little faith.” Then he told them that if they had faith the size of “a mustard grain,” nothing would be impossible for them. (Matthew 17:14-20) During Jesus’ entire ministry on earth, he taught his disciples that it is extremely important to have faith. (Read Matthew 21:18-22.) Do we attend all our conventions, assemblies, and meetings so that we can strengthen our faith? These are much more than just happy gatherings. They are opportunities for us to show our trust in Jehovah.
Do you attend all our conventions, assemblies, and meetings so that you can strengthen your faith?
14. Why is it important to show unselfish love today?
14 The Christian Greek Scriptures include many reminders for us to show love for one another. Jesus said that the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) Jesus’ half brother James called love “the kingly law.” (James 2:8) And the apostle John wrote: “Beloved ones, I am writing you, not a new commandment, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning.” (1 John 2:7, 8) What did John mean by the “old commandment”? He was referring to the command to love. This command was “old” because Jesus had given it many years earlier, “from the beginning.” But this command was also “new” because the disciples would later have to show unselfish love in new situations. Today, we are grateful to receive warnings that help us not to have a selfish attitude like that of most in the world. Instead, we show unselfish love.
15. What was the main reason Jesus came to earth?
15 Jesus truly cared for people. He showed this by healing the sick and by resurrecting the dead. But healing people was not the main reason Jesus came to earth. His preaching and teaching helped the people in a much greater way. How? All of those whom Jesus healed and resurrected, for example, later became old and died, but those who accepted the message he preached had the opportunity to receive everlasting life.—John 11:25, 26.
16. How are Jehovah’s Witnesses today obeying Jesus’ command to make disciples?
16 Jesus commanded his disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations.” (Matthew 28:19) Christians in the first century continued the work Jesus started, and we today preach to more people in more places than ever before. More than seven million Witnesses of Jehovah are zealously teaching others about God’s Kingdom in more than 230 lands, and the Witnesses are studying the Bible regularly with millions. This preaching work proves that we are living in the last days.
TRUST IN JEHOVAH TODAY
17. What counsel did Paul and Peter give Christians in the first century?
17 Reminders helped Christians in the first century to strengthen their faith. For example, when Paul was in prison in Rome, he told Timothy: “Keep holding the pattern of healthful words that you heard from me.” (2 Timothy 1:13) These words must have been very encouraging for Timothy. Also, after Peter encouraged Christians to work hard to show qualities such as endurance, brotherly affection, and self-control, he added: “I shall be disposed always to remind you of these things, although you know them and are firmly set in the truth.”—2 Peter 1:5-8, 12.
18. How did Christians in the first century feel about receiving direction?
18 It is true that what Paul and Peter wrote to the congregations was similar to what was “previously spoken by the holy prophets.” (2 Peter 3:2) But did our brothers in the first century get upset when they received such direction? No. They knew that God was giving them this direction because he loved them and wanted to help them to stay faithful.—2 Peter 3:18.
Jehovah gives us reminders because he loves us and wants to help us stay faithful
19, 20. Why can we trust that following the direction Jehovah gives us is best for us? How do we benefit from Jehovah’s reminders?
19 Today, we have so many reasons to trust that following the direction Jehovah gives us in his Word, the Bible, is best for us. The counsel in his Word is never wrong. (Read Joshua 23:14.) The Bible tells us about how God has dealt with humans over thousands of years. This was written down for our benefit. (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11) Also, we have seen Bible prophecies fulfilled in our day. Prophecies are like reminders that are given many years in advance. For example, millions of people have become worshippers of Jehovah, as the prophecy said would happen in “the final part of the days.” (Isaiah 2:2, 3) This world is getting worse and worse. This is also a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. And, as we have already discussed, the worldwide preaching work is directly fulfilling Jesus’ words.—Matthew 24:14.
20 Throughout the centuries, our Creator has clearly shown that we can trust in him. Are we benefiting from his reminders? One sister named Rosellen says: “As I began to put my full trust in Jehovah, I began to see more clearly his loving hand sustaining and strengthening me.” We too can benefit from paying attention to Jehovah’s reminders.