“Trust in Jehovah and do what is good . . . and act with faithfulness.”
1. Jehovah created humans with what unique abilities?
JEHOVAH created humans with unique abilities. He gave us the ability to think, which helps us to solve problems and plan for the future. (Proverbs 2:11) He gave us power, so that we can do what we have planned and reach our goals. (Philippians 2:13) He also gave us a conscience, a sense of right and wrong that we have inside of us. Our conscience helps us to avoid sinning and to correct our mistakes.
2. How does Jehovah expect us to use our abilities?
2 Jehovah expects us to use our abilities in a good way. Why? Because he loves us and knows that we will be happy when we use the gifts he has given us. For example, in the Hebrew Scriptures, we read: “The plans of the diligent surely lead to success,” and “whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might.” (Proverbs 21:5; Ecclesiastes 9:10) In the Greek Scriptures, we read: “As long as we have the opportunity, let us work what is good toward all,” and “to the extent that each one has received a gift, use it in ministering to one another.” (Galatians 6:10; 1 Peter 4:10) Clearly, Jehovah wants us to do what we can to benefit ourselves and others.
3. What limitations do humans have?
3 Jehovah wants us to use our abilities, but he knows that we have limitations. For example, we cannot remove imperfection, sin, and death. (1 Kings 8:46) Also, we cannot control other people, because everyone is free to make his own choices. And no matter how much knowledge or experience we have, we will never have as much as Jehovah has.
4. What will we consider in this article?
4 We should always allow Jehovah to guide us, trusting that he will support us and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. However, Jehovah also wants us to think about what we can do to solve problems and help others. (Read Psalm 37:3.) We need to both “trust in Jehovah and do what is good.” We need to “act with faithfulness.” How can we do this? Let us consider the examples of Noah, David, and other faithful servants of God who relied on Jehovah. We will see that there were things they could not do but that they chose to focus on the things they could do.
WHEN WE ARE SURROUNDED BY WICKEDNESS
5. Describe Noah’s situation.
5 Noah lived in a world that was “filled with violence” and immorality. (Genesis 6:4, 9-13) Even though he knew that Jehovah would eventually destroy that wicked world, Noah must have been upset by what the people were doing. In that situation, Noah realized that there were things he could not do, but he also realized that there were things he could do.
6, 7. (a) What could Noah not do? (b) How are we in a situation similar to Noah’s?
6 What Noah could not do: Noah faithfully preached Jehovah’s warning message, but he could not force people to accept it. And he could not make the Flood come any sooner. Noah had to trust that Jehovah would keep His promise to end wickedness, believing that God would do so at just the right time.
7 We too live in a world filled with wickedness, which we know Jehovah has promised to destroy. (1 John 2:17) In the meantime, we cannot force people to accept the “good news of the Kingdom.” And we cannot do anything to make the “great tribulation” start earlier. (Matthew 24:14, 21) Like Noah, we need to have strong faith, trusting that God will end all wickedness soon. (Psalm 37:10, 11) We are convinced that Jehovah will not allow this wicked world to continue for even one day longer than it needs to.
Like Noah, we need to have strong faith, trusting that God will end all wickedness soon
8. What did Noah focus on? (See opening picture.)
8 What Noah could do: Instead of giving up because of what he could not do, Noah focused on what he could do. Noah faithfully preached Jehovah’s warning message. (2 Peter 2:5) This work must have helped him to keep his faith strong. In addition to preaching, he followed Jehovah’s instructions to build an ark.
9. How can we imitate Noah’s example?
9 Like Noah, we stay busy “in the work of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) For example, we may help with the construction and maintenance of our Kingdom Halls and Assembly Halls, volunteer at assemblies and conventions, or work at a branch office or a remote translation office. Most important, we stay busy in the preaching work, which strengthens our hope for the future. One faithful sister said that when she talks to others about the blessings of God’s Kingdom, she realizes that people have absolutely no hope and that they see their problems as permanent. As that sister mentioned, we have a hope, and it becomes stronger when we tell others about it. This hope helps us to remain in the race for life!
WHEN WE SIN
10. Describe David’s situation.
10 King David was a faithful man, and Jehovah loved him very much. (Acts 13:22) Even so, David had sexual relations with Bath-sheba, which was a serious sin. Worse yet, he tried to hide his sin by planning for Bath-sheba’s husband, Uriah, to be killed in battle. David even had Uriah deliver the letter with instructions for his own death! (2 Samuel 11:1-21) Eventually, David’s sins became known. (Mark 4:22) When that happened, how did David react?
11, 12. (a) After he sinned, what could David not do? (b) What will Jehovah do for us if we repent?
11 What David could not do: David could not undo what he had done. In fact, he would suffer some of the consequences of his sin for the rest of his life. (2 Samuel 12:10-12, 14) So he needed faith. He had to trust that when he truly repented, Jehovah would forgive him and help him endure the consequences of his actions.
12 Because we are imperfect, we all sin. But some mistakes are more serious than others, and in some cases we may not be able to undo our mistakes. We too may have to suffer the consequences of our actions. (Galatians 6:7) But we trust God’s promise that if we repent, he will support us through difficult times, even when those difficulties are our own fault.
13. How did David repair his relationship with Jehovah?
13 What David could do: David wanted to repair his relationship with Jehovah. How did he do that? David allowed Jehovah to help him. For example, he accepted correction from Jehovah’s prophet Nathan. (2 Samuel 12:13) David also prayed to Jehovah and confessed his sins, showing that he really wanted Jehovah’s favor again. (Psalm 51:1-17) Instead of feeling overwhelmed by his guilt, David learned from his mistakes. He never repeated those serious sins. Years later, he died a faithful man, and that is how Jehovah remembers him.
14. What can we learn from David’s example?
14 What can we learn from David’s example? If we commit a serious sin, we need to repent sincerely, confess our sin to Jehovah, and ask for his forgiveness. (1 John 1:9) We also need to talk to the elders because they can help us to repair our relationship with Jehovah. (Read James 5:14-16.) When we accept Jehovah’s help, we show that we trust in his promise to forgive us. In addition, we need to learn from our mistakes and continue serving Jehovah with confidence.
IN OTHER SITUATIONS
15. What do we learn from Hannah’s example?
15 You can probably think of other faithful servants in the Bible who trusted in Jehovah while doing what they could in difficult situations. For example, there was a time when Hannah could not have children. She could not change that situation. But she trusted that Jehovah would comfort her. So she continued to worship at the tabernacle and pray to Jehovah, telling him how she felt. (1 Samuel 1:9-11) What an excellent example for us! When we have health problems or other difficulties that we cannot change, we throw our anxiety on Jehovah and trust that he cares for us. (1 Peter 5:6, 7) And we do what we can to benefit from the Christian meetings and other programs that Jehovah’s organization provides.
Hannah trusted in Jehovah, so she continued to worship at the tabernacle and to pray
16. What can parents learn from Samuel?
16 What about faithful parents whose children have stopped serving Jehovah? The prophet Samuel could not force his adult sons to remain loyal to God. (1 Samuel 8:1-3) He had to leave the matter in Jehovah’s hands. However, Samuel did what he could to remain loyal to God and please his heavenly Father. (Proverbs 27:11) Today, many Christian parents are in a similar situation. They trust that like the father in Jesus’ illustration of the prodigal son, Jehovah is always ready to welcome back sinners who repent. (Luke 15:20) In the meantime, parents can focus on remaining loyal to Jehovah, hoping that their example will motivate their children to return to him.
17. Why is the example of the poor widow encouraging?
17 Another good example was the poor widow in Jesus’ day. (Read Luke 21:1-4.) She could not do anything about the corruption at the temple, and she could not change the fact that she was poor. (Matthew 21:12, 13) But her trust in Jehovah motivated her to support true worship. She was generous and gave “two small coins,” which was all the money she had. That faithful woman showed complete trust in Jehovah. She knew that if she put her service to Jehovah first, he would make sure that she had what she needed. In a similar way, we trust that if we put God’s Kingdom first, Jehovah will make sure that we have what we need.
18. Give an example of a brother who had the right attitude.
18 Many of our brothers and sisters today show similar trust in Jehovah by focusing on what they can do instead of what they cannot do. Consider a brother named Malcolm, who remained faithful until his death in 2015. During the many years that he and his wife served Jehovah, they had good times and bad times. “Life is unpredictable at times, uncertain, and even hard to deal with,” he said. “But Jehovah blesses those who lean on him.” What was Malcolm’s advice? “Pray to be as productive and as active in Jehovah’s service as you can be. Focus on what you can do, not on what you cannot do.” *
19. (a) Why is our yeartext for 2017 a good choice? (b) How will you apply the 2017 yeartext in your life?
19 This wicked world is going “from bad to worse,” so we can expect to have more and more difficulties. (2 Timothy 3:1, 13) It is more important than ever that we do not become overwhelmed by our difficulties. Instead, we need to have strong trust in Jehovah and focus on what we can do. That is why our yeartext for 2017 is a good choice: “Trust in Jehovah and do what is good”!
Our yeartext for 2017: “Trust in Jehovah and do what is good.”