1, 2. Who were some of Jehovah’s friends?
WHOM do you want as your friend? Someone whom you like. Someone whom you get along with and who gets along with you. Someone who has a kind personality and qualities you admire.
2 Jehovah God selects some humans to be his friends. For example, Abraham was one of Jehovah’s friends. (Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23) Jehovah also liked David. He said that David was ‘a man agreeable to his heart.’ (Acts 13:22) And the prophet Daniel was “very precious” to Jehovah.—Daniel 9:23.
3. Why were Abraham, David, and Daniel friends of Jehovah?
3 How did Abraham, David, and Daniel become Jehovah’s friends? Jehovah said to Abraham: “You have listened to my voice.” (Genesis 22:18) Jehovah becomes a friend of those who humbly obey him. Even a nation of people could become his friends. Jehovah explained to the nation of Israel: “Obey my voice, and I will become your God, and you will become my people.” (Jeremiah 7:23) So you too need to obey Jehovah if you really want to become his friend.
JEHOVAH PROTECTS HIS FRIENDS
4, 5. How does Jehovah protect his friends?
4 The Bible says that Jehovah is looking for ways “to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) At Psalm 32:8, Jehovah promises his friends: “I will give you insight and instruct you in the way you should go. I will give you advice with my eye upon you.”
5 A powerful enemy wants to stop us from being God’s friends. But Jehovah wants to protect us. (Read Psalm 55:22.) As friends of Jehovah, we serve him with all our heart. We are loyal to him even under difficult circumstances. And we have the same confidence that the psalmist had. He wrote about Jehovah: “Because he is at my right hand, I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8; 63:8) How does Satan try to stop us from being God’s friends?
6. What did Satan claim about humans?
6 In Chapter 11 we learned that Satan challenged Jehovah and accused him of being a liar and of being unfair by not allowing Adam and Eve to decide for themselves what was right and what was wrong. The Bible book of Job teaches us that Satan also accuses humans who want to be friends of God. Satan claims that they serve God because of what they can get from Him, not because they love Him. Satan even claims that he can turn anyone against God. Let’s see what we can learn from Job and how Jehovah protected him.
7, 8. (a) How did Jehovah feel about Job? (b) What did Satan say about Job?
7 Who was Job? He was a good man who lived about 3,600 years ago. Jehovah said that at that time there was no man like him on the earth. Job had deep respect for God, and he hated what was bad. (Job 1:8) Yes, Job was a real friend of Jehovah.
8 Satan claimed that Job served God for selfish reasons. Satan said to Jehovah: “Have you not put up a protective hedge [or, fence] around him and his house and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock has spread out in the land. But, for a change, stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your very face.”—Job 1:10, 11.
9. What did Jehovah allow Satan to do?
9 Satan accused Job of serving Jehovah only for what he could get from Him. Satan also claimed that he could get Job to stop serving Jehovah. Jehovah didn’t agree with Satan, but He gave Satan permission to test whether Job was a friend of Jehovah because he loved Him.
SATAN ATTACKS JOB
10. How did Satan attack Job, and how did Job react?
10 First, Satan stole or destroyed all the animals belonging to Job. Then Satan killed most of Job’s servants. Job lost everything. In a final attack, Satan killed Job’s ten children in a storm. But Job remained loyal to Jehovah. “In all of this, Job did not sin or accuse God of doing anything wrong.”—Job 1:12-19, 22.
11. (a) What else did Satan do to Job? (b) How did Job react?
11 Satan did not give up. He challenged God by saying: “Strike his bone and flesh, and he will surely curse you to your very face.” So Satan struck Job with a very painful disease. (Job 2:5, 7) Again, Job was loyal to Jehovah. He said: “Until I die, I will not renounce [or, give up] my integrity!”—Job 27:5.
12. How did Job prove that Satan was a liar?
12 Job didn’t know anything about Satan’s accusations or why he was suffering so much. He thought that Jehovah was the cause of his troubles. (Job 6:4; 16:11-14) But even so, Job stayed loyal to Jehovah. Now there was no doubt. Job was not selfish. He was God’s friend because he loved Him. Satan’s accusations were all lies!
13. What was the result of Job’s loyalty?
13 Even though Job did not know what was happening in heaven, he was loyal to God and proved that Satan was evil. Jehovah rewarded Job for his loyal friendship.—Job 42:12-17.
HOW SATAN ACCUSES YOU
14, 15. What is Satan’s accusation against all men and women?
14 You can learn important lessons from what happened to Job. Today, Satan accuses us of serving Jehovah for what we can get from Him. At Job 2:4, Satan claimed: “A man will give everything that he has for his life.” So Satan accuses all men and women of being selfish, not just Job. Hundreds of years after Job died, Satan was still insulting Jehovah and accusing his servants. For example, at Proverbs 27:11, we read: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, so that I can make a reply to him who taunts [or, insults] me.”
15 You can choose to obey Jehovah and be His loyal friend, proving that Satan is a liar. Even if you need to make big changes in your life to become God’s friend, it is the best decision you could ever make! This decision is a serious matter. Satan claims that you will not be loyal to God when you have problems. He tries to trick us into being disloyal to God. How so?
16. (a) What methods does Satan use to try to stop people from serving Jehovah? (b) How might the Devil try to stop you personally from serving Jehovah?
16 Satan uses many different methods to try to stop us from being God’s friend. He attacks “like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.” (1 Peter 5:8) Do not be surprised when your friends, family members, or others try to stop you from studying the Bible and from doing what is right. You may feel as if you are being attacked. * (John 15:19, 20) Satan also disguises himself “as an angel of light.” So he may try to trick us into disobeying Jehovah. (2 Corinthians 11:14) Another method Satan uses to try to stop us from serving Jehovah is to make us think that we are never good enough to serve God.—Proverbs 24:10.
OBEY JEHOVAH’S COMMANDMENTS
17. Why do we obey Jehovah?
17 When we obey Jehovah, we prove that Satan is a liar. What will help us to be obedient? The Bible says: “You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) We obey Jehovah because we love him. As our love for Jehovah grows, we will want to do everything he asks us to do. The apostle John wrote: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.”—1 John 5:3.
18, 19. (a) What are some things that Jehovah says are wrong? (b) How do we know that Jehovah isn’t asking us to do something that we cannot do?
18 But what are some things that Jehovah tells us are wrong? There are some examples in the box “Hate What Jehovah Hates.” At first, you might think that some of these things are not so bad. But when you read the Bible verses and carefully think about them, you will understand the wisdom of obeying Jehovah’s laws. You may also feel that you need to make some changes in your life. Even though this may be difficult at times, if you make those changes, you will have the peace and happiness that come from being a loyal friend of God. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) How do we know that it is possible to make these changes?
19 Jehovah never asks us to do anything that we cannot do. (Deuteronomy 30:11-14) As a real Friend, he knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses. (Psalm 103:14) The apostle Paul encourages us: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) We can be confident that Jehovah will always give us the strength to do what is right. He will give you “the power beyond what is normal” to help you to endure difficult situations. (2 Corinthians 4:7) After experiencing Jehovah’s help during such times, Paul could say: “For all things I have the strength through the one who gives me power.”—Philippians 4:13.
LEARN TO LOVE WHAT GOD LOVES
20. What qualities should you imitate, and why?
20 If we want to be Jehovah’s friend, we must stop doing what Jehovah says is wrong, but we must also do more. (Romans 12:9) God’s friends love what he loves. They are described at Psalm 15:1-5. (Read.) Jehovah’s friends imitate his qualities and show “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.”—Galatians 5:22, 23.
21. How can you learn to show the qualities that God loves?
21 How can you learn to show those beautiful qualities? You need to learn what Jehovah loves by reading and studying the Bible regularly. (Isaiah 30:20, 21) As you do this, your love for Jehovah will grow, and as your love for him grows, you will want to obey him.
22. What will be the result if you obey Jehovah?
22 The changes that you may need to make in your life can be compared to taking off old clothes and putting on new ones. The Bible says that you need to “strip off the old personality” and clothe yourself with “the new personality.” (Colossians 3:9, 10) Even though it may not be easy, when we make these changes and obey Jehovah, he promises to give us “a large reward.” (Psalm 19:11) Yes, choose to obey Jehovah and prove that Satan is a liar. Serve Jehovah, not because of any future reward, but because of unselfish love. Then you will become a real friend of God!
^ par. 16 This doesn’t mean that Satan is controlling the people who try to stop you from studying the Bible. But Satan is “the god of this system of things,” and “the whole world is lying in [his] power.” So it is not surprising when some people try to stop us from serving Jehovah.—2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 5:19.