“The eyes of Jehovah are everywhere, watching both the bad and the good.”—PROV. 15:3.
1, 2. How does Jehovah’s watchful care differ from the scrutiny of surveillance cameras?
IN MANY countries, surveillance cameras are increasingly used to monitor the flow of traffic and to capture images of accidents. If cameras record a hit-and-run accident, the recorded images can help the authorities to find and arrest the driver who fled the scene. Indeed, with electronic eyes everywhere, it is becoming more difficult for people to escape the consequences of their actions.
2 However, should the widespread use of surveillance cameras in any way remind us of our loving Father, Jehovah? The Bible does say that his eyes “are everywhere.” (Prov. 15:3) But does this mean that he is constantly scrutinizing what we are doing? Does God watch over us merely to enforce his laws, with punishment in mind? (Jer. 16:17; Heb. 4:13) Not at all! Jehovah observes us primarily because he loves each one of us and is interested in our welfare.—1 Pet. 3:12.
3. What five areas of God’s loving care will we consider?
3 What will help us to appreciate that God watches over us because he loves us? Let us consider how he shows this. He does so (1) by warning us when we show bad inclinations, (2) by correcting us when we take wrong steps, (3) by guiding us through principles found in his Word, (4) by helping us when we face various trials, and (5) by rewarding us when he notices the good in us.
A WATCHFUL GOD WARNS US
4. What was Jehovah’s intention in warning Cain that sin was “crouching at the door”?
4 First, let us consider how God warns us when we are developing bad inclinations. (1 Chron. 28:9) To appreciate this aspect of God’s watchful care, consider how he dealt with Cain, who “grew hot with anger” when he did not meet with divine approval. (Read Genesis 4:3-7.) Jehovah urged Cain to “turn to doing good.” If he did not, Jehovah warned, sin was “crouching at the door.” God asked him: “Will you get the mastery over it?” He wanted Cain to respond to the warning and to “be restored to favor.” Having divine favor would preserve a good relationship with God.
5. In what ways does Jehovah warn us about unwholesome inclinations that we might have?
5 What about us today? Jehovah’s eyes penetrate our heart; we cannot conceal our true inclinations and motivations from him. Our loving Father wants us to follow the pathways of righteousness; yet, he does not force us to change the course we are on. Through his Word, the Bible, he warns us when we are headed in the wrong direction. How? In our daily Bible reading, we often come across a passage that helps us to overcome bad tendencies and unwholesome inclinations. In addition, our Christian publications may shed light on a problem with which we may have been struggling and show us how we can overcome it. And at our congregation meetings, all of us receive counsel that comes at just the right time!
6, 7. (a) Why may it be said that material that is prepared for millions is evidence of God’s loving care for you? (b) How can you benefit from Jehovah’s caring personal attention?
6 All such warnings are really evidence of Jehovah’s loving, watchful care for us as individuals. True, the words of the Bible have been there for centuries, the publications prepared by God’s organization are written for millions, and the counsel at the meetings is intended for the whole congregation. Still, in all these cases, Jehovah directed your attention to his Word so that you could adjust your inclinations. Thus it can be said that this is evidence of Jehovah’s loving personal care for you.
7 To benefit from God’s warnings, we must first realize that he is truly concerned about us. Then we must respond positively to his Word, striving to eliminate any thoughts that are displeasing to God. (Read Isaiah 55:6, 7.) If we heed the warnings we are given, we will spare ourselves a lot of heartache. Suppose, however, that we give in to our bad inclinations. What help does our loving Father then provide?
OUR CARING FATHER CORRECTS US
8, 9. How does the counsel that Jehovah provides through his servants show the depth of his care? Illustrate.
8 We may become especially aware of Jehovah’s care when we receive correction. (Read Hebrews 12:5, 6.) True, we do not enjoy being counseled or disciplined. (Heb. 12:11) Yet, think of what the one who is offering us counsel must consider. He needs to be aware of what we are doing that could affect our relationship with Jehovah God, he must be concerned about our feelings, and he has to be willing to devote the time and effort needed to show us from the Bible how we can adjust our course to be pleasing to God. No less concerned is the Source of such counsel, Jehovah.
9 Let us consider an example of how human counselors can reflect God’s concern. Before coming into the truth, one brother regularly viewed pornography, but he overcame the habit. Yet, his old inclination was still there, smoldering like the embers of a fire. When he obtained a new cell phone, his bad craving was reignited. (Jas. 1:14, 15) He used the phone to access pornographic Internet sites. One day, while telephone witnessing, he lent his phone to an elder to enable him to look up some addresses. When the elder began using the phone, questionable sites appeared. This turned out to be a blessing for our spiritually imperiled brother. He received timely counsel, benefited from the correction given, and eventually overcame the bad tendencies. How grateful we can be to our caring heavenly Father, who sees even our hidden sins and corrects us before we go too far!
WE BENEFIT BY APPLYING BIBLE PRINCIPLES
10, 11. (a) In what way can you look to God for guidance? (b) How did one family experience the wisdom of following Jehovah’s guidance?
10 The psalmist sang to Jehovah: “You guide me with your advice.” (Ps. 73:24) Whenever we need guidance, we can “take notice of” Jehovah by consulting his Word to find out his view of matters. Applying Bible principles not only benefits us spiritually but sometimes helps us to care for our material needs.—Prov. 3:6.
11 An example of how Jehovah has guided some can be seen in the experience of a tenant farmer living in the mountainous region of Masbate in the Philippines. Both he and his wife have served as regular pioneers while raising a large family. One day, they were shocked to receive an eviction notice from their landlord. What was the reason? They had been falsely accused of dishonest behavior. Though the brother was concerned about where he would find a place for his family to live, he said: “Jehovah will provide. He always cares for our needs, no matter what happens.” The brother’s confidence was not misplaced. Some days later, the family learned to their relief that they would not have to leave the land. What had happened? The landowner had observed that despite the accusation, the Witness family, guided by Bible principles, maintained a respectful and peaceful spirit. This impressed the landowner so much that not only did he allow them to stay but he gave them additional land to cultivate. (Read 1 Peter 2:12.) Yes, Jehovah guides us through his Word to help us cope with life’s difficulties.
A FRIEND WHO HELPS US ENDURE TRIALS
12, 13. In what situations might some wonder if God really notices their suffering?
12 Sometimes, though, a trialsome situation lingers. We may be struggling with a chronic illness, with prolonged opposition from close family members, or with constant persecution. And what about those grievous personality conflicts we occasionally experience with someone in the congregation?
13 For instance, you may be hurt by a remark that you consider to be unkind. ‘This should not happen in God’s organization!’ you exclaim. Yet, the brother who made the remark receives privileges in the congregation and seems to be well-thought-of by others. ‘How can this be?’ you wonder. ‘Does Jehovah not see? Will he not act?’—Ps. 13:1, 2; Hab. 1:2, 3.
14. What might be one of the reasons why God does not intervene in solving our personal problems?
14 Jehovah may have valid reasons for not stepping in. For instance, while you may feel that the other party bears most of the blame, God may view things differently. From his standpoint, you may be more at fault than you realize. The comment that you considered to be so hurtful may, in fact, have been well-deserved counsel that you ought to give thought to. In his life story, Brother Karl Klein, who served on the Governing Body, told of an occasion when he received frank reproof from Brother J. F. Rutherford. Later, Brother Rutherford greeted Brother Klein with a cheerful, “Hello, Karl!” However, Brother Klein, still stinging from the reproof he had received, muttered only a halfhearted greeting. Realizing that Brother Klein was nursing hard feelings, Brother Rutherford warned him against falling prey to the Devil. Brother Klein later wrote: “When we harbor resentment against a brother, especially for saying something he has a right to say in the line of duty, we leave ourselves open to the Devil’s snares.” *
15. What realization will help you to avoid becoming impatient when waiting for Jehovah to help you through a trialsome situation?
15 Still, we may become impatient when a trialsome period seems to have no end. How can we cope? Suppose you are driving a car on a highway and get stuck in traffic. You do not know how long the delay will continue. If you get irritated and try to find another route, you might get lost. You could end up taking more time to reach your destination than you would had you patiently remained on course. Similarly, if you stick to the paths outlined in God’s Word, in time you will arrive at your destination.
16. What is another reason why Jehovah might choose to hold off from intervening in our trials?
16 Jehovah may hold off from intervening in our trials because he wants us to receive vital training. (Read 1 Peter 5:6-10.) No, God does not cause trials. (Jas. 1:13) “Your adversary, the Devil,” is causing most adversities. Yet, God can use a difficult situation to help us grow spiritually. He sees our suffering, and “because he cares” for us, he will make sure that it will continue only for “a little while.” Do you appreciate Jehovah’s watchful care when you suffer trials, confident that he will provide a way out?—2 Cor. 4:7-9.
BE BLESSED WITH GOD’S SMILE OF APPROVAL
17. For whom is Jehovah searching, and why?
17 Finally, God examines our life for a most reassuring reason. By means of Hanani the seer, He declared to King Asa: “The eyes of Jehovah are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” (2 Chron. 16:9) While God did not see a complete heart in Asa, he will “show his strength” toward you if you keep on doing what is right.
18. When you feel that you are not appreciated, what should you remember about Jehovah? (See opening image.)
18 God wants us to “search for what is good,” “love what is good,” and “do what is good” so that he may “show favor” to us. (Amos 5:14, 15; 1 Pet. 3:11, 12) Jehovah takes note of the righteous ones and blesses them. (Ps. 34:15) Think, for example, of the Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah. When Israel was under the yoke of slavery in Egypt, these two women feared God more than they feared Pharaoh, who had ordered them to kill all the male Hebrew children at birth. Evidently, their godly conscience moved them to preserve the lives of the babies. Shiphrah and Puah were later given families of their own. (Ex. 1:15-17, 20, 21) Their good deeds did not escape Jehovah’s roving eyes. Occasionally, we may feel that no one cares about the good we do. But Jehovah cares. He takes note of every good deed we have done, and he will repay us.—Matt. 6:4, 6; 1 Tim. 5:25; Heb. 6:10.
19. How did one sister learn that good deeds do not escape Jehovah’s notice?
19 A sister in Austria learned that her hard work did not escape God’s attentive eyes. Being of Hungarian descent, she received the address of a Hungarian-speaking person for her to contact in the ministry. She immediately called at the address, but no one was at home. She called back again and again. At times, she sensed that someone was there, but no one answered. She left literature, personal letters, her contact information, and so forth. After a year and a half of repeated visits, the door finally opened! The sister was greeted by a friendly lady, who said: “Please come in. I read everything you brought and have been waiting for you.” The householder had been going through chemotherapy treatments and had not been up to meeting people. A Bible study was started. Yes, God rewarded the sister for her diligent efforts!
20. How do you feel about Jehovah’s watchful care?
20 Jehovah sees whatever you are doing and will eventually repay you. When you become aware of God’s eyes on you, do not feel as if you were under the scrutiny of some impersonal surveillance camera. Rather, may you feel ever closer to the caring God who is truly concerned about you!
^ par. 14 Brother Klein’s life story was published in the October 1, 1984, issue of The Watchtower.