“What is Jehovah requiring of you? Only to exercise justice, to cherish loyalty, and to walk in modesty with your God!”—MICAH 6:8.
1, 2. How did David show that he was loyal to God? (See opening picture.)
SAUL and his 3,000 soldiers were looking for David in the wilderness of Judah to kill him. But one night, David and his men found the place where Saul and his soldiers were camped. They were all asleep, so David and Abishai walked carefully past the soldiers and found Saul. Abishai whispered to David: “Let me pin him to the ground with the spear just once, and I will not need to do it twice.” But David would not let him kill Saul. He told Abishai: “Do not harm him, for who can lift his hand against the anointed of Jehovah and remain innocent?” Then David said: “It is unthinkable from Jehovah’s standpoint for me to lift my hand against the anointed of Jehovah!”—1 Samuel 26:8-12.
2 David understood what he needed to do to be loyal to Jehovah. He knew he should respect Saul, and he did not even think of hurting him. Why? Because God had chosen Saul to be king of Israel. Today, as in the past, Jehovah wants all of his servants to be loyal to him and respect those whom he allows to have authority.—Read Micah 6:8.
3. How was Abishai loyal to David?
3 Abishai respected David because he knew that God had chosen David to be king. Yet after becoming king, David committed serious sins. He had sexual relations with Uriah’s wife and then told Joab to make sure that Uriah would be killed in battle. (2 Samuel 11:2-4, 14, 15; 1 Chronicles 2:16) Joab was Abishai’s brother, so Abishai may have heard about what David did, but he continued to respect David. In addition, Abishai was a military leader and could have used this authority to make himself king, but he never did. Instead, he served David and protected him from his enemies.—2 Samuel 10:10; 20:6; 21:15-17.
4. (a) How was David an example of loyalty to God? (b) What other examples will we consider?
4 David was loyal to Jehovah all his life. When he was young, he killed the giant Goliath, who was insulting Jehovah and the Israelites. (1 Samuel 17:23, 26, 48-51) When David was king, Jehovah’s prophet Nathan had to correct him for the sins he committed. Immediately, David admitted that he had sinned, and he repented. (2 Samuel 12:1-5, 13) Later, when David was an old man, he gave many valuable things to help build Jehovah’s temple. (1 Chronicles 29:1-5) It is clear that even though David made serious mistakes in his life, he never stopped being loyal to God. (Psalm 51:4, 10; 86:2) In this article, we will discuss the example of David and others who lived at that time and learn how we can be loyal to Jehovah more than to anyone else. And we will discuss other qualities that will help us to do so.
WILL YOU BE LOYAL TO JEHOVAH?
5. What lesson do we learn from Abishai’s mistake?
5 When Abishai wanted to kill Saul, he was trying to be loyal to David. But because David knew that it would be wrong to harm “the anointed of Jehovah,” he did not let Abishai kill the king. (1 Samuel 26:8-11) This teaches us an important lesson: When we need to decide whom to be loyal to first, we need to think about which Bible principles can help us in our situation.
It is more important to be loyal to Jehovah than to anyone else
6. Although it is natural to be loyal to our family and friends, why must we be careful?
6 It is natural to be loyal to someone we love, such as a friend or a family member. But because we are imperfect, our feelings can mislead us. (Jeremiah 17:9) So if someone we love is doing something bad and leaves the truth, we must remember that it is more important to be loyal to Jehovah than to anyone else.—Read Matthew 22:37.
7. How did one sister stay loyal to God in a difficult situation?
7 If someone in your family has been disfellowshipped from the congregation, you can show Jehovah that you are loyal to Him. For example, one day Anne’s mother, who was disfellowshipped, called her on the phone to say that she wanted to visit her. (See endnote.) Anne’s mother said that she was very unhappy because the family refused to talk to her. This made Anne feel sad, and she promised to reply in a letter. Before she wrote the letter, Anne meditated on some Bible principles. (1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 John 9-11) Then, in the letter, she explained in a kind way that her mother was the one who left the family when she sinned and refused to repent. Anne told her mother that the only way she could be happy again was by returning to Jehovah.—James 4:8.
8. What qualities will help us to be loyal to God?
8 Loyal servants of God in David’s time were also humble, kind, and courageous. Let us see how these qualities can help us to be loyal to Jehovah.
WE MUST BE HUMBLE
9. Why did Abner try to kill David?
9 Saul’s son Jonathan and the commander of Israel’s army, Abner, saw David bring Goliath’s head to King Saul. Jonathan became David’s friend and stayed loyal to him. (1 Samuel 17:57–18:3) But Abner did not. In fact, later he even helped Saul, who wanted to kill David. (1 Samuel 26:1-5; Psalm 54:3) Both Jonathan and Abner knew that God wanted David to be the next king of Israel. But after Saul died, Abner did not support David. Instead, he tried to make Saul’s son Ish-bosheth king. Later, Abner may have wanted to be king himself, and perhaps that is why he had sexual relations with one of King Saul’s wives. (2 Samuel 2:8-10; 3:6-11) Why did Jonathan and Abner feel so differently about David? Because Jonathan was loyal to Jehovah and was humble but Abner was not.
10. Why was Absalom not loyal to God?
10 Absalom, King David’s son, was not loyal to God because he was not humble. He wanted to be king, so he got “a chariot and horses and 50 men to run before him.” (2 Samuel 15:1) He also convinced many Israelites to be loyal to him. He even tried to kill his father, although he knew that Jehovah had made David king of Israel.—2 Samuel 15:13, 14; 17:1-4.
11. How can we benefit from Bible accounts about Abner, Absalom, and Baruch?
11 When a person is not humble and wants to have more authority, it is hard for him to stay loyal to God. Of course, we love Jehovah, and we do not want to be selfish and wicked like Abner and Absalom. But we must be careful that we do not start to desire a lot of money or a job that makes us feel important. This will harm our relationship with Jehovah. For some time, Baruch, Jeremiah’s secretary, wanted something he did not have and was no longer happy serving God. Then Jehovah said to Baruch: “Look! What I have built up I am tearing down, and what I have planted I am uprooting—the entire land. But you are seeking great things for yourself. Stop seeking such things.” (Jeremiah 45:4, 5) Baruch listened to Jehovah. And we must listen to him too, because soon he will destroy this wicked world.
When you ask your brother to go to the elders for help, you are being kind to him and loyal to Jehovah
12. Show why we cannot be loyal to God when we are selfish.
12 Daniel, a brother in Mexico, had to decide to whom he would be loyal. He wanted to marry a girl who did not worship Jehovah. Daniel says: “I continued writing to her even after I entered the pioneer service.” But then he realized that he was just selfishly doing what he wanted. He was not being loyal to Jehovah, and he needed to be humble. So he told an experienced elder about the girl. Daniel explains: “He helped me to see that to be loyal to God, I needed to stop writing to her. After many prayers and tears, that is what I did. Soon, my joy in the ministry increased.” Daniel now has a wife who loves Jehovah, and he serves as a circuit overseer.
LOYALTY TO GOD HELPS US TO BE KIND
13. How did Nathan stay loyal to both God and David when David sinned?
13 When we are loyal to Jehovah, we can also be loyal to others and help them in the best way. The prophet Nathan stayed loyal to Jehovah and was also loyal to David. After David had taken a man’s wife and then killed him, Jehovah sent Nathan to counsel David. Nathan was courageous and obeyed Jehovah. But he also acted wisely and spoke to David in a kind way. He wanted to help David understand how serious his sins were. So he told him a story of a rich man who stole the only lamb that a poor man had. When David heard this, he got very angry at what the rich man had done. Nathan then said: “You are the man!” David realized that he had sinned against Jehovah.—2 Samuel 12:1-7, 13.
14. How can you be loyal to both Jehovah and your friend or relative?
14 You too can be loyal to Jehovah first and be loyal to others by being kind. For example, you may have proof that a brother has committed a serious sin. You may want to stay loyal to him, especially if he is a close friend or a family member. But you also know that it is more important to be loyal to Jehovah. So like Nathan, obey Jehovah but be kind to your brother. Tell him that he should ask the elders for help and that he should speak to them soon. If he does not, then you should tell the elders yourself. By doing this, you stay loyal to Jehovah. And at the same time, you are kind to your brother because the elders can help him to have a good relationship with Jehovah again. They will correct him in a calm and gentle way.—Read Leviticus 5:1; Galatians 6:1.
WE NEED COURAGE TO BE LOYAL TO GOD
15, 16. Why did Hushai need courage to be loyal to God?
15 Hushai was one of King David’s loyal friends. When people wanted to make Absalom king, Hushai needed courage to stay loyal to David and to God. He knew that Absalom had come to Jerusalem with his soldiers and that David had run away. (2 Samuel 15:13; 16:15) But what did Hushai do? Did he abandon David and support Absalom? No. Although David was old and many people wanted to kill him, Hushai stayed loyal to him because Jehovah had appointed David to be king. So Hushai went to the Mount of Olives to meet David.—2 Samuel 15:30, 32.
16 David asked Hushai to go back to Jerusalem and pretend to be Absalom’s friend so that he could convince Absalom to listen to his advice instead of Ahithophel’s. Hushai was courageous and risked his life to obey David and to stay loyal to Jehovah. David prayed that Jehovah would help Hushai, and that is what happened. Absalom listened to Hushai instead of Ahithophel.—2 Samuel 15:31; 17:14.
17. Why do we need courage to be loyal?
17 We need courage to be loyal to Jehovah and obey him instead of doing what our family members, workmates, or government authorities want us to do. For example, ever since he was a little boy, Taro, in Japan, did all he could to make his parents happy. He obeyed them and was loyal to them, not just because he had to, but because he loved them. But when he started to study with Jehovah’s Witnesses, his parents wanted him to stop. This made him sad, and it was very difficult for him to tell them that he had decided to go to the meetings. Taro says: “They were so angry that for years, I was forbidden to visit them at home. I prayed for courage to stick to my decision. Now their attitude has softened, and I can visit them regularly.”—Read Proverbs 29:25.
18. How have you benefited from this study?
18 Like David, Jonathan, Nathan, and Hushai, may we too feel the satisfaction that comes from being loyal to Jehovah. We never want to be like Abner and Absalom, who were not loyal. It is true that we are imperfect and make mistakes. But let us show Jehovah that being loyal to him is the most important thing in our lives.
 (paragraph 7) Some names have been changed.