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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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The Watchtower—Study Edition (Simplified)  |  June 2017

Keep Your Eyes on the Big Issue

Keep Your Eyes on the Big Issue

“May people know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.”PSALM 83:18.

SONGS: 9, 22

1, 2. (a) What big issue affects all mankind? (b) Why is this issue important to us?

FOR many people today, money is the big issue. It is what they think about and worry about. They spend their time trying to make more money or keep the money they have. For other people, the most important issue is their family, their health, or the things they want to accomplish in life.

2 There is an issue that is much more important than any of these. That issue is the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty. It is very important that we never stop focusing on this issue. If we are not careful, we could become so busy with our daily lives or so worried about our own problems that we forget how important it is. If we support Jehovah’s sovereignty, we will be better able to deal with problems in our daily life, and we will draw closer to Jehovah.

 WHY IS THIS ISSUE IMPORTANT?

3. What does Satan claim about God’s rulership?

3 Satan the Devil has raised the question of whether Jehovah has the right to rule. Satan wants humans to think that Jehovah is a corrupt Ruler and that He does not want what is best for us. Satan has implied that people would be much happier if they ruled themselves. (Genesis 3:1-5) He has also implied that no human is really loyal to God and that if life gets to be too difficult, anyone will reject Him as Ruler. (Job 2:4, 5) So Jehovah is allowing time to go by to make it clear to all that life without God as Ruler is miserable.

4. Why must the issue of sovereignty be settled?

4 Of course, Jehovah knows that the Devil’s accusations are lies. So why has he allowed time for Satan to try to prove his point? The answer involves everyone, both in heaven and on earth. (Read Psalm 83:18.) Adam and Eve rejected Jehovah’s rulership, and so have many others since then. This could make some think that the Devil is right. As long as the issue remains unsettled in the minds of humans or angels, there cannot be real peace and unity. But after Jehovah’s sovereignty is vindicated, everyone will live under his wonderful rule forever. There will be peace throughout the universe.Ephesians 1:9, 10.

5. How are we involved in the issue of sovereignty?

5 God’s sovereignty will be vindicated, and rule by Satan and humans will completely fail and be removed. God’s rule through his Messianic Kingdom will succeed. Faithful people will have proved that humans can keep their integrity and loyally support God’s rulership. (Isaiah 45:23, 24) Do we want to be among these faithful ones? Of course! So then, we need to understand how important this issue truly is.

VINDICATION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SALVATION

6. How important is the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty?

6 The vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty is more important than our personal happiness. But that does not mean that our salvation does not matter or that Jehovah does not really care about us. How do we know this?

The vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty is more important than our personal happiness and salvation

7, 8. How will the vindication of God’s sovereignty benefit us?

7 Jehovah loves humans very much. In fact, we are so precious to him that he gave his Son so that we could have everlasting life. (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9) If Jehovah did not keep his promises for our future, Satan and  other opposers would be right. Satan claims that Jehovah is a liar who keeps good things from humans and rules in an unfair way. Opposers make fun of Jehovah’s promises and say: “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as they were from creation’s beginning.” (2 Peter 3:3, 4) But Jehovah will keep his promises. He has made sure that the vindication of his sovereignty will include salvation for obedient humans. (Read Isaiah 55:10, 11.) Jehovah’s sovereignty is based on love. So we can be sure that he will always love and value his loyal servants.Exodus 34:6.

8 The fact that Jehovah’s sovereignty is such an important issue does not mean that our salvation is not important to him. Jehovah cares deeply about us. We need to keep in mind what is more important and loyally support Jehovah’s rulership.

HOW JOB CHANGED HIS VIEWPOINT

9. What did Satan say about Job? (See opening picture.)

9 It is important that we have the right viewpoint regarding Jehovah’s sovereignty. We can see this from reading the book of Job, one of the first Bible books written. There we read that Satan claimed that if Job suffered greatly, he would reject God. Satan even asked God to make Job suffer. Jehovah would not do that, but he did allow Satan to test Job, saying: “Everything that he has is in your hand.” (Read Job 1:7-12.) Soon after that, Job lost his servants and his possessions. Then he found out that his ten children had tragically died. Satan made it seem that God had caused these tragedies. (Job 1:13-19) Next, Satan made Job very sick with a painful and disgusting illness. (Job 2:7) To make matters worse, Job’s own wife and three false friends all said hurtful and discouraging things to him.Job 2:9; 3:11; 16:2.

10. (a) How did Job show his integrity to God? (b) Why did Job need correction?

10 Was Satan’s claim right? No. Even though Job suffered terrible tragedies, he never rejected Jehovah. (Job 27:5) But, for a while, Job forgot what was really important and thought mostly of himself. He kept saying that he had done nothing wrong. Job also felt that he deserved to know why he was suffering. (Job 7:20; 13:24) We can probably understand Job’s feelings. Yet, Jehovah knew that Job had the wrong viewpoint, and he corrected Job. How did he do this?

11, 12. What did Jehovah help Job to appreciate? How did Job respond?

11 We can read what Jehovah told Job in chapters 38 through 41 of the book of Job. Jehovah did not explain to Job why he was suffering. Instead, Jehovah wanted to help him understand how small he was in comparison with God. He taught Job that there were issues far more important than Job’s own problems. (Read Job  38:18-21.) Jehovah’s words helped Job to adjust his viewpoint.

12 Was it unkind of Jehovah to speak to Job in this way after all he had suffered? No, and Job himself did not think so. Job understood and valued Jehovah’s counsel. He even said: “I take back what I said, and I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6) Earlier, a young man named Elihu had also helped Job adjust his thinking. (Job 32:5-10) After Job listened to Jehovah’s loving counsel and changed his view, Jehovah let others know that he was pleased with Job’s faithfulness.Job 42:7, 8.

13. How could Jehovah’s counsel help Job after his trials had ended?

13 Jehovah’s counsel continued to benefit Job even after his trials had ended. “Jehovah blessed the last part of Job’s life more than the beginning.” In time, he “came to have seven more sons and three more daughters.” (Job 42:12-14) Although Job loved these children, he surely missed the ones who had died. And he probably never forgot all the terrible things that had happened to him and his family. Even if Job eventually learned the reason for his trials, he may have wondered why God had allowed him to suffer quite so much. If Job had such thoughts, he could have remembered what Jehovah told him. That would have comforted him and helped him have the right viewpoint.Psalm 94:19, footnote.

Can we focus on Jehovah’s sovereignty instead of on our own problems? (See paragraph 14)

14. What can we learn from Job’s experience?

14 Meditating on what happened to Job can help us to adjust our thinking and can comfort us. The book of Job is part of the record that Jehovah had written “for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we  might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) It teaches us that we should not think so much about our own problems that we stop thinking about the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty. Like Job, we show our support for Jehovah’s sovereignty by remaining faithful to him even when life is difficult.

15. What does our faithfulness when we have problems accomplish?

15 Job’s experience can comfort us because it shows that trials do not mean that Jehovah is angry with us. Trials give us an opportunity to support Jehovah’s sovereignty. (Proverbs 27:11) When we faithfully endure, we please Jehovah, and our hope for the future becomes stronger. (Read Romans 5:3-5.) Job’s experience shows us that “Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.” (James 5:11) If we support Jehovah’s sovereignty, he will reward us. Knowing this helps us to “endure fully with patience and joy.”Colossians 1:11.

STAYING FOCUSED

16. Why do we need to remind ourselves that the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty is very important?

16 It is true that it can be difficult to focus on the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty when we are dealing with problems in life. Even small problems may seem big if we think too much about them. So we constantly need to remind ourselves how important it is to support God’s sovereignty no matter what difficulties we experience.

Keeping busy in Jehovah’s work can help us remember what is really important

17. How can being busy in Jehovah’s work help us focus on what is really important?

17 Keeping busy in Jehovah’s work can help us remember what is really important. For example, a sister named Renee had a stroke, was in constant pain, and also had cancer. While  she was in the hospital, she witnessed to those who worked there, other patients, and visitors. One time when Renee stayed in a hospital for two and a half weeks, she preached for 80 hours. Although Renee knew she was going to die, she never forgot what was really important. Supporting Jehovah’s sovereignty gave her peace.

18. What does Jennifer’s experience teach us about supporting Jehovah’s sovereignty?

18 We can also support Jehovah’s sovereignty when we are dealing with smaller, everyday problems. A sister named Jennifer spent three days at an airport waiting for a flight home. As flight after flight was canceled, Jennifer felt exhausted and alone. She could have begun to feel very sorry for herself. But instead, Jennifer prayed that Jehovah would help her share the good news with others who were waiting in the airport. She ended up witnessing to many people and placing a lot of literature. Jennifer said, “I felt that Jehovah blessed me despite the trying experience and gave me enough strength to carry his name in a worthwhile way.”

19. What identifies true worshippers?

19 Only Jehovah’s people truly understand the importance of Jehovah’s sovereignty. This understanding identifies true worshippers. So each of us must make sure to keep supporting Jehovah’s sovereignty.

20. How does Jehovah feel about all that you do to support his sovereignty?

20 Jehovah notices and values all you do to support his sovereignty as you serve him faithfully and endure trials. (Psalm 18:25) The next article will explain further why Jehovah’s sovereignty deserves your support and how you can support it more fully.