23. What fine lesson of humility is here seen regarding the shepherding work?
23 Furthermore, what a striking lesson we have here of true humility. Even the risen Lord does not demand entrance, saying, Come on, open up! Instead, he pictures himself as standing out there, patiently knocking and waiting to see if you will be good enough to hear and respond. When on earth, Jesus said he was “mild-tempered and lowly in heart.” He still is, and in this he sets a fine example for us. Much emphasis is placed in these days on the shepherding work being done mainly by the appointed servants and overseers in the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses. These have a duty to call on all of Jehovah’s little ones, paying special attention to any who have become like sick or straying sheep. When making such calls, how careful these servants must be to have the same motive and show the same friendly and humble spirit as Jesus portrayed in his illustration.—Matt. 11:29; 18:12-14; Heb. 13:8.
24. How does this same lesson apply to all of Jehovah’s witnesses?
24 However, all of Jehovah’s witnesses can take the same lesson to heart. All of our work in calling on the people, from the first call onward, includes the aspect of shepherding. We are looking for sheeplike people. In a literal way, we keep “standing at the door and knocking.” Yes, we feel it is an obligation to keep on calling, but though many may fail to respond or show a sheeplike attitude, we must never, either literally or figuratively, put our foot in the door, insisting on delivering our message at all costs. We cannot demand either a hearing or an entrance, but we should let the people know we are there and by a sincere, friendly manner, “together with a mild temper and deep respect,” show that our motive is good.—Rev. 3:20; 1 Pet. 3:15.
25. In what further way will true humility be an invaluable help to us?
25 Finally, this lesson of humility is going to be a great help to us with regard to our prayers to the “Hearer of prayer.” A truly humble mind and heart will go a long way in enabling us at all times to “approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness,” assured of being heard and finding mercy and help at just the right time.—Heb. 4:16.
Assyrian Conquest of Israel
THE Bible records the conquest of Israel by Assyria. Assyrian king Pul, more commonly called by the name Tiglath-pileser, came against Israel at least twice some years before Israel was finally conquered completely by Assyria in 740 B.C.E. The Bible tells of the first of these invasions:
“Pul [Tiglath-pileser] the king of Assyria came into the land. Consequently Menahem [king of Israel] gave Pul a thousand talents of silver . . . At that the king of Assyria turned back, and he did not stay there in the land.”—2 Ki. 15:19, 20.
A few years later Pekah killed Menahem’s son who had succeeded him on the throne, and Pekah became king of Israel. The Bible goes on to tell about a second invasion by this same Assyrian king, this time in the days of King Pekah: “Tiglath-pileser the king of Assyria came in and proceeded to take Ijon and Abel-beth-maacah and Janoah and Kedesh and Hazor and Gilead and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and to carry them into exile in Assyria. Finally Hoshea the son of Elah formed a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah and struck him and put him to death; and he began to reign in place of him.”—2 Ki. 15:29, 30.
It is of interest that in writings of Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser, which have been uncovered in archaeological discoveries, he speaks about these very events recorded in the Bible. For example, in one document he wrote: “I received tribute from Kushtashpi of Commagene, Rezon of Damascus, Menahem of Samaria . . . ” And in another document he said: “They overthrew their king Pekah and I placed Hoshea as king over them.”