11, 12. (a) What other part of Zephaniah’s prophecy has been fulfilled upon the remnant? (b) How have the anointed remnant heeded the call, “May your hands not drop down”?
11 The faithful remnant rejoice to have been delivered in 1919 from spiritual captivity to Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. They have experienced the fulfillment of Zephaniah’s prophecy: “Joyfully cry out, O daughter of Zion! Break out in cheers, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! Jehovah has removed the judgments upon you. He has turned away your enemy. The king of Israel, Jehovah, is in the midst of you. You will fear calamity no more. In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: ‘Do not be afraid, O Zion. May your hands not drop down. Jehovah your God is in the midst of you. As a mighty One, he will save.’”—Zephaniah 3:14-17.
12 With the conviction and abundant proof that Jehovah is in their midst, the anointed remnant have fearlessly gone forward in fulfilling their divine commission. They have preached the good news of the Kingdom and have made known Jehovah’s judgments against Christendom, the rest of Babylon the Great, and Satan’s entire wicked system of things. Through thick and thin, over the decades since 1919, they have obeyed the divine command: “Do not be afraid, O Zion. May your hands not drop down.” They have not slacked their hand in distributing billions of tracts, magazines, books, and booklets announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. They have been a faith-inspiring example to the other sheep who, since 1935, have flocked to their side.
“May Your Hands Not Drop Down”
13, 14. (a) Why did some Jews draw back from serving Jehovah, and how did this become manifest? (b) What would it be unwise for us to do, and in what work should we not let our hands drop down?
13 While we ‘keep ourselves in expectation’ of Jehovah’s great day, how can we draw practical help from the prophecy of Zephaniah? First, we should beware of becoming like the Jews in Zephaniah’s day who drew back from following Jehovah because they entertained doubts about the nearness of Jehovah’s day. Such Jews did not necessarily express their doubts openly, but their course of action revealed that they did not really believe that Jehovah’s great day was near. They concentrated on amassing wealth instead of keeping themselves in expectation of Jehovah.—Zephaniah 1:12, 13; 3:8.
14 Today is no time to allow doubts to take root in our hearts. It would be very unwise to put off in our minds or hearts the coming of Jehovah’s day. (2 Peter 3:1-4, 10) We should avoid drawing back from following Jehovah or ‘letting our hands drop down’ in his service. This includes not “working with a slack hand” in our preaching “the good news.”—Proverbs 10:4; Mark 13:10.
16. What state of mind exists among many members of Christendom’s churches, but what encouragement does Jehovah give us?
16 Indifference is the prevalent attitude today in many parts of the earth, particularly in the more affluent nations. Even members of Christendom’s churches simply do not believe that Jehovah God will intervene in human affairs in our day. They brush off our efforts to reach them with the good news of the Kingdom either with a skeptical smile or with a curt “I’m not interested!” Under these conditions, perseverance in the witnessing work can be a real challenge. It tests our endurance. But by means of Zephaniah’s prophecy, Jehovah invigorates his faithful people, saying: “May your hands not drop down. Jehovah your God is in the midst of you. As a mighty One, he will save. He will exult over you with rejoicing. He will become silent in his love. He will be joyful over you with happy cries.”—Zephaniah 3:16, 17.
17. What fine example should newer ones among the other sheep follow, and how?
17 It is a fact in the modern-day history of Jehovah’s people that the remnant, as well as older ones among the other sheep, have accomplished a tremendous ingathering work in these last days. All these faithful Christians have shown endurance over the decades. They have not allowed indifference on the part of the majority in Christendom to discourage them. So may the newer ones among the other sheep not let themselves be disheartened by the indifference toward spiritual matters that is so prevalent today in many lands. May they not allow their ‘hands to drop down,’ or fall limp. May they use every opportunity to present The Watchtower, Awake!, and other fine publications specially designed to help sheeplike people learn the truth about Jehovah’s day and the blessings to follow.