19. (a) How can money or material goods be used, then, in winning God’s friendship? (b) What is the proper use of one’s resources?
19 How, then, do we use riches or material goods to make friends with God? Not to bribe God but to glorify God! God owns the whole world, and “the silver is mine, and the gold is mine,” says Jehovah. “To me belongs every wild animal of the forest, the beasts upon a thousand mountains.” (Hag. 2:8; Ps. 50:10) So we could not enrich God materially, but we can use our resources to glorify God, by telling others of his purposes, by giving him exclusive devotion and loyal love. When we encourage other persons to study the Bible, when we bring to them Bible-study aids, when we talk with them and help them understand God’s purposes and promise of a righteous new world—we are using our resources to glorify God.
20. Why is it urgent to make friends with God now, and with whom should we associate?
20 By using our resources to glorify God, we are laying up heavenly treasure and making friends with those who will never forsake us, never abandon us and who can give us the gift of everlasting life under the kingdom of heaven. This matter of making friends with God and his Son is urgent because this world is now in its “time of the end,” and will soon pass away at God’s war of Armageddon. Now is the time to show that we are friendly toward God. Now is the time to get all the help we can in winning God’s friendship. That is why we need to associate regularly with those who love and obey God, those whom Jesus Christ called “my friends.” (Luke 12:4) By associating with the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses, thousands of persons are learning the course to take to make friends for themselves ‘by means of the unrighteous riches, so that, when such fail, they may receive them into the everlasting dwelling places.’—Luke 16:9.
Proving Ourselves God’s Friends
“O Jehovah, who will be a guest in your tent? Who will reside in your holy mountain? He who is walking faultlessly and practicing righteousness and speaking the truth in his heart.”—Psalm 15:1, 2.
1. How does the Bible describe God’s new world, and what requirements should interest us?
NO ONE will gain entrance into God’s new world, there to reside permanently as God’s guest, unless he is a friend of God. Since God gathers around him only the pure and the good, there are requirements for being a guest in Jehovah’s tent. What these requirements are should be the interest of every true Christian, for only by meeting them may he attain the blessed realization of everlasting life in a dwelling place of which the Bible declares: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away . . . I heard a loud voice from the throne say: ‘Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them.’”—Rev. 21:1, 3.
2. What divine description is given of the friend of God?
2 The psalmist David was inspired to set down the requirements for being God’s guest, hence God’s friend: “O Jehovah, who will be a guest in your tent? Who will reside in your holy mountain? He who is walking faultlessly and practicing righteousness and speaking the truth in his heart. He has not slandered with his tongue. To his companion he has done nothing bad, and no reproach has he taken up against his intimate acquaintance. In his eyes anyone contemptible is certainly rejected, but those fearing Jehovah he honors.”—Ps. 15:1-4.
3. Why is Jehovah rightly careful about those who will be his guests, and how was this carefulness shown in David’s day?
3 That the Almighty God takes into his tent as guests only certain ones is not surprising. Whoever has a home of his own does not receive into it as a guest just anybody; he does not entertain all persons. Many home owners would not have bad persons staying with them even for a short time. The same principle applies with Jehovah God. He does not receive everybody into his tent: “No one bad may reside for any time with you.” (Ps. 5:4) This was true in David’s day, in regard to the tent of God. David had brought the ark of Jehovah from the house of Obed-edom to Jerusalem: “So they brought the ark of Jehovah in and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it.” (2 Sam. 6:17) To enter this tent was to enter into the presence of the Most High. David selected certain ones to serve at this tent, Asaph being among those so privileged. (1 Chron. 16:4-6) Only those who walked faultlessly and who were pure and upright could be in constant attendance in Jehovah’s tent on his holy mountain.