“Evil men cannot understand justice, but those who seek Jehovah can understand everything.”—PROVERBS 28:5.
1-3. (a) What will help us to remain faithful to God during these last days? (b) What will we learn in this article?
TODAY we are living near the end of the last days. We see more and more wicked people. They “sprout like weeds.” (Psalm 92:7) So we are not surprised that many people reject what God says is right. Paul told Christians: “Be young children as to badness,” but “become full-grown in your understanding.” (1 Corinthians 14:20) How can we do this?
2 We find the answer in our theme text, which says: “Those who seek Jehovah can understand everything.” (Proverbs 28:5) This means they can understand everything that is necessary in order to please Jehovah. Proverbs 2:7, 9 also teaches us that Jehovah gives wisdom to those who do what is right. As a result, they can “understand what is righteous and just and fair, the entire course of what is good.”
3 Noah, Daniel, and Job had this godly wisdom. (Ezekiel 14:14) And so do God’s people today. What about you? Do you have godly wisdom? To “understand everything” that you need in order to please Jehovah, you need to know him well. So in this article, we are going to learn (1) how Noah, Daniel, and Job came to know God, (2) how knowing God helped them, and (3) how we can develop faith like theirs.
NOAH WALKED WITH GOD IN A WICKED WORLD
4. How did Noah come to know Jehovah, and how did knowing God well help him?
Noah could have learned about God’s qualities by paying attention to creation
4 How did Noah come to know Jehovah? From the time that Adam and Eve started to have children, people have learned about Jehovah in three ways: through his creation, from other faithful servants of God, and from experiencing the benefits of obeying him. (Isaiah 48:18) By paying attention to creation, Noah could have seen proof that God exists and could also have learned about God’s qualities. As a result, Noah would have understood that Jehovah is powerful and that he is the only true God. (Romans 1:20) Thus, Noah did not just believe in God, but he also developed strong faith in him.
5. How did Noah learn about what God wanted for mankind?
5 The Bible says that “faith follows the thing heard,” which means that what we hear from others can help us to have faith. (Romans 10:17) Noah probably heard about Jehovah from his relatives. His father, Lamech, had faith in God and was born before Adam died. (See opening picture.) His grandfather was Methuselah, and his great-great-grandfather was Jared, who died 366 years after Noah was born. * (See footnote.) (Luke 3:36, 37) Perhaps those men and their wives taught Noah that Jehovah created humans and that He wanted them to have children, fill the earth, and serve Him. Noah would also have learned that Adam and Eve had disobeyed Jehovah, and he could see the bad results of their decision. (Genesis 1:28; 3:16-19, 24) Noah loved what he learned, and it motivated him to serve Jehovah.—Genesis 6:9.
6, 7. How did hope strengthen Noah’s faith?
6 Hope strengthens faith. Imagine how Noah’s faith was strengthened when he learned that his name, which means “Rest” or “Consolation,” included the idea of hope. (Genesis 5:29, footnote) Jehovah inspired Lamech to say about his son Noah: “This one will bring us comfort from our labor and from the painful toil of our hands because of the ground that Jehovah has cursed.” So Noah had hope that God would make things better. Like Abel and Enoch, he had faith that an “offspring” would bruise the serpent’s head.—Genesis 3:15.
7 Noah did not fully understand God’s promise recorded at Genesis 3:15. But he understood that this prophecy gave hope for the future. Enoch had preached a similar message, saying that Jehovah would destroy the wicked. (Jude 14, 15) Certainly, Enoch’s message, which will fully come true at Armageddon, must have strengthened Noah’s faith and hope!
Faith and godly wisdom will protect us from Satan’s tricks and from this world’s influence
8. How did knowing God well protect Noah?
8 How did accurate knowledge of God help Noah? Because Noah learned about Jehovah, he developed faith and godly wisdom. This protected him, especially from doing anything that would make Jehovah sad. How so? Noah wanted to be God’s friend, so he was not friends with those who did not have faith in Jehovah and who rejected him. Unlike them, Noah was not fooled by the demons who had come to the earth. People were impressed by the powerful demons and might have even tried to worship them. (Genesis 6:1-4, 9) Also, Noah knew that Jehovah wanted humans to have children and fill the earth. (Genesis 1:27, 28) So when the demons took wives and had children with them, Noah knew that this was wrong. It became even clearer when those children grew bigger and stronger than all other children. Eventually, Jehovah told Noah that he would bring a flood to destroy all the wicked people. Because Noah had faith in Jehovah’s warning, he built the ark, and he and his family were saved.—Hebrews 11:7.
9, 10. How can we develop faith like Noah’s?
9 How can we develop faith like Noah’s? It is important to study God’s Word carefully, to love what we learn, and to use it to make changes and good choices in our life. (1 Peter 1:13-15) Then faith and godly wisdom will protect us from Satan’s tricks and from this world’s influence. (2 Corinthians 2:11) Many people in the world love violence and immorality and follow their wrong desires. (1 John 2:15, 16) They ignore the fact that we are close to the end of this wicked world. If we do not have strong faith, we could start to think this way too. Do not forget that when Jesus compared our time with Noah’s, he did not talk about violence or immorality but about the danger of getting distracted from serving God.—Read Matthew 24:36-39.
10 Ask yourself: ‘Does my life show that I truly know Jehovah? Does my faith motivate me to do what Jehovah says is right and to teach others what God wants them to do?’ Your answers to these questions will help you to know whether you too are walking with the true God as Noah did.
DANIEL SHOWED GODLY WISDOM IN PAGAN BABYLON
11. (a) What does young Daniel’s love for God tell us about his parents? (b) Which of Daniel’s qualities would you like to have?
11 How did Daniel come to know Jehovah? Daniel’s parents must have taught him to love Jehovah and his Word. And Daniel did so all his life. Even when he was old, he still studied the Scriptures carefully. (Daniel 9:1, 2) Daniel knew Jehovah very well. He also knew all that Jehovah had done for the Israelites. We see this in Daniel’s humble and sincere prayer found at Daniel 9:3-19. Read this prayer, and think carefully about it. Ask yourself, ‘What does this prayer teach me about Daniel?’
12-14. (a) How did Daniel show godly wisdom? (b) How did Jehovah bless Daniel’s courage and loyalty?
12 How did knowing God well help Daniel? It was not easy for a faithful Jew to serve God in pagan Babylon. For example, Jehovah told the Jews: “Seek the peace of the city to which I have exiled you.” (Jeremiah 29:7) Yet, he had also commanded them to worship only him with their whole heart. (Exodus 34:14) How could Daniel obey both commands? Godly wisdom helped Daniel to know that he had to obey Jehovah first, then human rulers. Hundreds of years later, Jesus taught the same principle.—Luke 20:25.
13 Think about what Daniel did when a law said that nobody could pray to any god or person except the king for 30 days. (Read Daniel 6:7-10.) He could have made excuses and said, ‘It is only for 30 days.’ Instead, Daniel refused to let a human law become more important than his worship to God. Daniel could have prayed to Jehovah in a private place. But he knew that many people saw him pray every day. So even though it was dangerous, Daniel continued to pray where people could see him, because he did not want people to think that he had stopped serving Jehovah.
14 Jehovah blessed Daniel’s courageous and loyal decision. He performed a miracle and saved Daniel from being killed by lions. As a result, people throughout the Medo-Persian Empire learned about Jehovah!—Daniel 6:25-27.
15. How can we develop faith like Daniel’s?
15 How can we develop faith like Daniel’s? To get strong faith, it is not enough just to read God’s Word. We need to understand it. (Matthew 13:23) We want to know how Jehovah thinks and feels about matters. So we need to think deeply about what we read. It is also very important to pray often, especially when we have difficulties. We can have faith that Jehovah will generously give us the wisdom and strength that we pray for.—James 1:5.
JOB USED GODLY PRINCIPLES IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD
16, 17. How did Job come to know Jehovah?
16 How did Job come to know Jehovah? Job was not an Israelite. But Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were his distant relatives, and Jehovah had taught them about himself and what he wanted for humans. In some way, Job also learned many of those precious truths. (Job 23:12) He said to Jehovah: “My ears have heard about you.” (Job 42:5) And Jehovah himself said that Job told others the truth about Him.—Job 42:7, 8.
17 Job also came to know Jehovah’s qualities by looking at creation. (Job 12:7-9, 13) Both Elihu and Jehovah used creation to teach Job how small humans are compared with God. (Job 37:14; 38:1-4) Jehovah’s words affected Job and made him humbly say to God: “Now I know that you are able to do all things and that nothing you have in mind to do is impossible for you.” He added: “I repent in dust and ashes.”—Job 42:2, 6.
18, 19. How did Job show that he truly knew Jehovah?
18 How did knowing God well help Job? Job understood godly principles very well. He truly knew Jehovah, and this motivated him to act in the right way. For example, Job knew that he could not say that he loved God if he was unkind to others. (Job 6:14) He did not think that he was better than others, but rather, he treated them as if they were his family, whether they were rich or poor. Job said: “Did not the One who made me in the womb also make them?” (Job 31:13-22) Even when Job was rich and powerful, he did not become proud and did not view others as less important than he was. That is very different from the way many people who are rich and powerful act today.
19 Job did not want anything, including material things, to become more important to him than Jehovah. He knew that if that happened, he would reject “the true God above.” (Read Job 31:24-28.) Also, Job viewed marriage as a sacred promise between a husband and wife. He even made a promise to himself that he would not look at a woman in an immoral way. (Job 31:1) That is very impressive, because Job lived during a time when Jehovah allowed men to have more than one wife. So Job could have had a second wife if he had wanted to. But he must have known that the first marriage arranged by Jehovah was between one man and one woman, and Job chose to live that way. * (See footnote.) (Genesis 2:18, 24) In fact, about 1,600 years later, Jesus taught the same principle, that sex and marriage are meant to be between one husband and one wife.—Matthew 5:28; 19:4, 5.
20. How does knowing Jehovah and his standards well help us to choose the right friends and entertainment?
20 How can we develop faith like Job’s? Again, we need to know Jehovah well and let this knowledge influence all we do. For example, the Bible says that Jehovah “hates anyone who loves violence” and that we should not spend time with people who hide the truth. (Read Psalm 11:5; 26:4.) Now ask yourself: ‘What do these two scriptures tell me about how Jehovah thinks? How should that affect what is most important in my life? How should it affect what I look at on the Internet, whom I choose to be my friends, and what I choose for entertainment?’ Your answers can help you to see how well you know Jehovah. We do not want to be influenced by this wicked world. So we need to train our “powers of discernment,” that is, we need to learn the difference between what is right and wrong and between what is wise and unwise.—Hebrews 5:14; Ephesians 5:15.
21. What will help us to “understand everything” that we need to know in order to please Jehovah?
21 Because Noah, Daniel, and Job did all they could to know Jehovah well, he helped them to “understand everything” that was necessary in order to please him. Their example proves that doing things Jehovah’s way leads to a successful life. (Psalm 1:1-3) So ask yourself, ‘Do I know Jehovah as well as Noah, Daniel, and Job did?’ In fact, today we can know Jehovah even better than those faithful men did because he has given us much more information about himself. (Proverbs 4:18) So study the Bible carefully. Think deeply about it. And pray for holy spirit. Then this wicked world will not influence you. Instead, you will act with godly wisdom and get ever closer to your Father in heaven.—Proverbs 2:4-7.