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How Jehovah Helps Us to Carry Out Our Ministry

How Jehovah Helps Us to Carry Out Our Ministry

“They will certainly know that a prophet was among them.”​—EZEK. 2:5.

SONG 67 “Preach the Word”


1. What can we expect, and of what can we be sure?

 WE CAN expect to face opposition as we carry out our preaching work. That opposition may well increase in the future. (Dan. 11:44; 2 Tim. 3:12; Rev. 16:21) Still, we can be sure that Jehovah will give us the help we need. Why? Jehovah has always helped his servants to accomplish their assignments​—no matter how difficult the tasks. To illustrate, let us consider some events in the life of the prophet Ezekiel, who preached to the Jewish exiles in Babylon.

2. How did Jehovah describe the people in Ezekiel’s territory, and what will we consider in this article? (Ezekiel 2:3-6)

2 What kind of people were in Ezekiel’s preaching territory? Jehovah described them as “defiant,” “hardhearted,” and “rebellious.” They were as harmful as thorns and as dangerous as scorpions. No wonder Jehovah told Ezekiel repeatedly: “Do not be afraid”! (Read Ezekiel 2:3-6.) Ezekiel was able to carry out his preaching commission because he was (1) sent by Jehovah, (2) empowered by God’s spirit, and (3) nourished by God’s words. How did these three factors help Ezekiel? And how do they help us today?


3. What words must have strengthened Ezekiel, and how did Jehovah assure him of His support?

3 Jehovah told Ezekiel: “I am sending you.” (Ezek. 2:3, 4) Those words must have strengthened Ezekiel. Why? No doubt he recalled that Jehovah had used similar words when He commissioned Moses and Isaiah as His prophets. (Ex. 3:10; Isa. 6:8) Ezekiel also knew how Jehovah had helped those two prophets overcome challenges. So when Jehovah told Ezekiel twice: “I am sending you,” the prophet had good reason for trusting in Jehovah’s support. Further, in the book of Ezekiel, we find this statement numerous times: “The word of Jehovah came to me.” (Ezek. 3:16) Moreover, the statement “The word of Jehovah again came to me” occurs repeatedly. (Ezek. 6:1) Surely, Ezekiel was convinced that he was sent by Jehovah. In addition, being the son of a priest, Ezekiel had likely been taught by his father how throughout history Jehovah assured His prophets of His backing. To Isaac, Jacob, and Jeremiah, Jehovah had spoken the words: “I am with you.”​—Gen. 26:24; 28:15; Jer. 1:8.

4. What comforting thoughts must have strengthened Ezekiel?

4 How would the Israelites in general respond to Ezekiel’s preaching? Jehovah stated: “The house of Israel will refuse to listen to you, for they do not want to listen to me.” (Ezek. 3:7) By rejecting Ezekiel, the people were rejecting Jehovah. Those words assured Ezekiel that the people’s rejection did not mean that he had failed as a prophet. Jehovah also assured Ezekiel that when the judgments he proclaimed came true, the people would “know that a prophet was among them.” (Ezek. 2:5; 33:33) No doubt those comforting thoughts gave Ezekiel the strength he needed to fulfill his ministry.


Like Ezekiel, we may face indifference and opposition, but we know that Jehovah is with us (See paragraphs 5-6)

5. According to Isaiah 44:8, from what do we derive strength?

5 We too derive strength from knowing that we have been sent by Jehovah. He honors us by calling us his “witnesses.” (Isa. 43:10) What a grand privilege that is! Just as Jehovah urged Ezekiel: “Do not be afraid,” Jehovah urges us: “Do not be in dread.” Why is there no reason to fear our opposers? Like Ezekiel, we are sent by Jehovah and have His backing.​—Read Isaiah 44:8.

6. (a) How does Jehovah assure us of his support? (b) From what do we draw comfort and strength?

6 Jehovah assures us of his support. For example, just before Jehovah stated: “You are my witnesses,” he said: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not flood over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame singe you.” (Isa. 43:2) As we carry out our ministry, we sometimes encounter floodlike obstacles and face firelike trials. Even so, with Jehovah’s help we keep preaching. (Isa. 41:13) As in Ezekiel’s day, most people today reject the message. We keep in mind that their rejection does not mean that we have failed as God’s Witnesses. We draw comfort and strength from knowing that Jehovah is pleased when we faithfully continue to declare his message. The apostle Paul stated: “Each person will receive his own reward according to his own work.” (1 Cor. 3:8; 4:1, 2) One longtime pioneer sister says: “It gives me joy to know that Jehovah rewards our efforts.”


Ezekiel sees a vision of Jehovah’s celestial chariot, which strengthens his conviction that Jehovah will help him to accomplish his ministry (See paragraph 7)

7. Whenever Ezekiel reflected on the vision he saw, it must have had what effect on him? (See cover picture.)

7 Ezekiel saw how powerful God’s spirit is. In vision, he witnessed holy spirit at work on the mighty spirit creatures and on the gigantic wheels of a celestial chariot. (Ezek. 1:20, 21) What was Ezekiel’s reaction? He recorded what happened. “When I saw it, I fell facedown.” Overcome with awe, Ezekiel dropped to the ground. (Ezek. 1:28) Later, whenever Ezekiel reflected on that impressive vision, it must have strengthened his conviction that with the help of God’s spirit, he could accomplish his ministry.

8-9. (a) What did Jehovah’s command give Ezekiel? (b) How did Jehovah further strengthen Ezekiel for his difficult territory?

8 Jehovah commanded Ezekiel: “Son of man, stand up on your feet that I may speak with you.” That command along with God’s spirit gave Ezekiel the strength that he needed to get up from the ground. Ezekiel wrote: “Spirit came into me and made me stand up on my feet.” (Ezek. 2:1, 2) Later and throughout his ministry, Ezekiel was guided by God’s “hand”​—that is, God’s holy spirit. (Ezek. 3:22; 8:1; 33:22; 37:1; 40:1) God’s spirit strengthened Ezekiel for the task he received​—that of preaching to the “hardheaded and hardhearted” people in his territory. (Ezek. 3:7) Jehovah told Ezekiel: “I have made your face exactly as hard as their faces and your forehead exactly as hard as their foreheads. I have made your forehead like a diamond, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or be terrified by their faces.” (Ezek. 3:8, 9) In effect, Jehovah told Ezekiel: ‘Do not let the people’s stubbornness discourage you. I will fortify you.’

9 Thereafter, God’s spirit carried Ezekiel along in his preaching territory. “The hand of Jehovah rested strongly on me,” wrote Ezekiel. It took the prophet a week to absorb the message that he had to deliver and to make it his own. (Ezek. 3:14, 15) Then Jehovah directed him to a valley plain where “spirit entered into [him].” (Ezek. 3:23, 24) Ezekiel was ready to begin his ministry.


As in Ezekiel’s case, what helps us today to carry out the ministry? (See paragraph 10)

10. What help do we need to carry out our preaching activities, and why?

10 What help do we need to carry out our preaching work? To answer, think back to what happened to Ezekiel. Before he started with his actual preaching activities, God’s spirit gave him the strength he needed. Today, as in Ezekiel’s case, we can carry out the preaching work only with the help of God’s spirit. Why? Because Satan wages war against us in order to stop our preaching activities. (Rev. 12:17) From a human standpoint, we seem totally outmatched by Satan. But by means of our witnessing work, we are conquering him! (Rev. 12:9-11) In what way? When we share in the ministry, we show that we are not intimidated by Satan’s threats. Each time we preach, Satan suffers a defeat. So, what conclusion can we draw from our being able to carry out our preaching activities despite opposition? We can conclude that we are empowered by holy spirit and that we have Jehovah’s approval.​—Matt. 5:10-12; 1 Pet. 4:14.

11. What will God’s spirit do for us, and how can we keep receiving it?

11 What further assurance can we draw from knowing that Jehovah had figuratively hardened Ezekiel’s face and forehead? God’s spirit can make us equal to any challenge we might encounter in our ministry. (2 Cor. 4:7-9) What, then, can we do to make sure that we keep receiving God’s spirit? We need to pray for it persistently, confident that Jehovah will hear our prayers. Jesus taught his disciples: “Keep on asking, . . . keep on seeking, . . . keep on knocking.” In response, Jehovah will “give holy spirit to those asking him.”​—Luke 11:9, 13; Acts 1:14; 2:4.


12. Based on Ezekiel 2:9–3:3, where did the scroll come from and what did it contain?

12 Ezekiel was not only empowered by God’s spirit but also nourished by God’s words. In vision, Ezekiel saw a hand holding a scroll. (Read Ezekiel 2:9–3:3.) Where did the scroll come from? What did it contain? How did it nourish Ezekiel? Let us see. The scroll came from God’s throne. Likely, Jehovah used one of the four angels Ezekiel saw earlier to hand the scroll to him. (Ezek. 1:8; 10:7, 20) The scroll contained God’s words​—an extensive judgment message that Ezekiel was to convey to the rebellious exiles. (Ezek. 2:7) That message was written on both the front and the back of the scroll.

13. What did Jehovah tell Ezekiel to do with the scroll, and why was it sweet?

13 Jehovah told his prophet to eat the scroll and “fill [his] stomach with it.” Obediently, Ezekiel ate the scroll completely. What did this part of the vision mean? Ezekiel needed to absorb fully the message he was to deliver. It had to become part of him, as it were, affecting his inmost feelings. Then something surprising happened. Ezekiel discovered that the scroll “was as sweet as honey.” (Ezek. 3:3) Why? For Ezekiel, the honor of representing Jehovah was a sweet, or a pleasant, experience. (Ps. 19:8-11) He was grateful that Jehovah had approved of him to serve as his prophet.

14. What helped Ezekiel to be ready to take on his assignment?

14 Later, Jehovah told Ezekiel: “Take to heart and listen to all my words that I speak to you.” (Ezek. 3:10) With those instructions, Jehovah told Ezekiel to store in his memory the words written in the scroll and to meditate on them. Doing so nourished Ezekiel personally. It also provided him with a powerful message to deliver to the people. (Ezek. 3:11) With God’s message in his heart and on his lips, Ezekiel was ready to take on his assignment and fulfill it.​—Compare Psalm 19:14.


15. To endure, what do we need to “take to heart”?

15 To endure in our ministry, we too need to continue to be nourished by God’s words. We need to “take to heart” all that Jehovah speaks to us. Today Jehovah speaks to us by means of his written Word, the Bible. How can we make sure that God’s Word continues to affect our thoughts, feelings, and motivations?

16. What must we do with God’s Word, and how can we absorb it in our heart?

16 Just as we are nourished physically when we eat food and digest it, we are nourished spiritually when we study God’s Word and meditate on it. We keep in mind the lesson about the scroll. When it comes to God’s Word, Jehovah wants us to “fill [our] stomach with it,” that is, to absorb it. We can do so by means of prayer, reading, and meditation. First, we pray to prepare our heart to receive God’s thoughts. Then, we read a Bible passage. Next, we pause in order to meditate, to think deeply, about what we have read. What will be the outcome? The more we meditate, the more our figurative heart will absorb God’s Word.

17. Why is it vital to meditate on what we read in the Bible?

17 Why is it vital to read the Bible and meditate on it? Doing so gives us the inner strength we need to preach the Kingdom message now and to proclaim the hard-hitting judgment message that we may deliver in the near future. Also, when we meditate on Jehovah’s appealing qualities, our relationship with him will grow ever stronger. As a result, we will enjoy something truly sweet, or pleasant​—inner peace and contentment.​—Ps. 119:103.


18. What will the people in our territory have to acknowledge, and why?

18 Unlike Ezekiel, we are not inspired to prophesy to the people. We are, however, determined to continue delivering the inspired message that Jehovah has preserved in his written Word until the preaching work has been completed to his satisfaction. When the time of judgment arrives, the people in our territory will have no basis to say that they did not receive a warning or that God overlooked them. (Ezek. 3:19; 18:23) Instead, they will have to recognize that the message we preached came from God.

19. What will give us the strength to fulfill our ministry?

19 What will give us the strength to fulfill our ministry? The same three factors that strengthened Ezekiel. We keep preaching because we know that we have been sent by Jehovah, we are empowered by God’s holy spirit, and we are nourished by God’s Word. With Jehovah’s help, we are motivated to carry out our ministry and endure “to the end.”​—Matt. 24:13.

SONG 65 Move Ahead!

a In this article, we will consider three factors that helped the prophet Ezekiel to carry out his preaching assignment. As we review how Jehovah helped his prophet, we will strengthen our confidence that Jehovah will help us to carry out our ministry.