“You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things.”
1, 2. Of what must each of us be convinced? (See opening picture.)
AS DISCUSSED in the preceding article, the Devil contends that Jehovah exercises his sovereignty in an unworthy way and that mankind would be better off ruling themselves. Is Satan right? Suppose that humans who chose self-rule could live forever. Would they be better off without God’s rulership? Would you be happier if you had absolute independence and everlasting life?
2 No one can answer those questions for you. Each person should think the matter through. In doing so, it should become evident that God’s sovereignty is right. It is the best rulership. And it deserves our wholehearted support. The Bible provides a basis for such conviction. Consider, for example, what the Scriptures tell us about the rightfulness of Jehovah’s sovereignty.
JEHOVAH HAS THE RIGHT TO RULE
3. Why is Jehovah the only rightful Sovereign?
3 Jehovah is the rightful Sovereign of the universe because he is the almighty God and Creator. (1 Chron. 29:11; Acts 4:24) At Revelation 4:11, Christ’s 144,000 heavenly corulers are depicted in a vision, saying: “You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they came into existence and were created.” Yes, because Jehovah created all things, he has full right to rule over humans as well as spirit creatures.
4. Why is opposing God’s sovereignty a misuse of free will?
4 Satan has created nothing. Consequently, he has no rightful claim to universal rulership. In rebelling against Jehovah’s sovereignty, he and the first human couple acted arrogantly. (Jer. 10:23) True, as creatures with free will, they could choose independence from God. But did that give them the right to do so? No. Free will enables people to make many appropriate choices daily. However, it does not entitle them to rebel against their Creator and Life-Giver. Clearly, taking a stand against Jehovah is a misuse of free will. As humans, our place is under Jehovah’s righteous rule.
5. Why can we be sure that God’s decisions are just?
5 Jehovah is the rightful Sovereign for yet another reason. He exercises his authority with perfect justice. He declares: “I am Jehovah, the One showing loyal love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I take delight.” (Jer. 9:24) He does not look to any written code of laws made by imperfect men as a basis for determining what is just and fair. His perfect sense of justice emanates from his own being, and on that basis, he provided written laws for humans. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of [his] throne,” so we can be confident that all of his laws, principles, and decisions are righteous. (Ps. 89:14; 119:128) In contrast, despite his allegation that Jehovah’s sovereignty is deficient, Satan has been unable to produce a world wherein justice always prevails.
6. What is one reason why Jehovah has the right to govern the world?
6 Moreover, Jehovah is the rightful Sovereign because he has the knowledge and wisdom needed to care for the universe. Consider, for example, the fact that God enabled his Son to heal diseases that doctors could not cure. (Matt. 4:23, 24; Mark 5:25-29) From Jehovah’s standpoint, this was no miracle. He understands the processes involved and has the ability to undo any damage. The same is true with regard to his ability to raise the dead and prevent natural disasters.
7. How is Jehovah’s wisdom far superior to that of the world under Satan’s dominion?
7 The world under Satan’s influence is still searching for a way to settle national and international disputes. Jehovah alone has the wisdom to bring about world peace. (Isa. 2:3, 4; 54:13) As we learn of Jehovah’s knowledge and wisdom, we feel as did the apostle Paul, who wrote under inspiration: “O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments are and beyond tracing out his ways are!”
JEHOVAH’S RULERSHIP IS BEST
8. What touches your heart about Jehovah’s way of ruling?
8 The Bible does more than establish Jehovah’s right to rule. It shows why his sovereignty is superior to that of others. One reason is that he rules with love. Indeed, our hearts are touched by how he chooses to exercise his sovereignty. He is “merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and abundant in loyal love and truth.” (Ex. 34:6) God treats his human servants with dignity and respect. He cares for us better than we can care for ourselves. Contrary to what the Devil claims, Jehovah does not hold back anything good from his faithful worshippers. Why, he even gave his precious Son so that we could have the prospect of endless life!
9. How do we know that God’s concern extends to individuals?
9 Jehovah’s concern extends beyond the welfare of his people as a whole. He also shows keen interest in each individual. Consider, for example, the three centuries during which Jehovah was raising up and empowering judges to deliver the nation of Israel from their oppressors. During that turbulent period, he did not fail to notice one non-Israelite named Ruth. At considerable sacrifice, she converted to true worship. Jehovah blessed Ruth with a husband and a son. But that is not all. When she is resurrected, Ruth will learn that her son was part of the line that led to the Messiah. And imagine how moved she will be to discover that her life story was preserved in a Bible book bearing her name!
10. Why is Jehovah’s sovereignty not unduly restrictive?
10 Jehovah’s way of ruling is neither oppressive nor rigid. It allows for freedom and promotes joy. (2 Cor. 3:17) David expressed it this way: “In his [God’s] presence are majesty and splendor; strength and joy are in his dwelling place.” (1 Chron. 16:7, 27) Similarly, the psalmist Ethan wrote: “Happy are the people who know the joyful shouting. O Jehovah, they walk in the light of your face. They rejoice in your name all day long, and in your righteousness they are exalted.”
11. How can we strengthen our conviction that Jehovah’s sovereignty is best?
11 Frequent meditation on Jehovah’s goodness can strengthen our conviction that his rulership is best. We come to feel as did the psalmist: “A day in your courtyards is better than a thousand anywhere else!” (Ps. 84:10) How could it be otherwise? As our loving Designer and Creator, Jehovah knows what we need in order to be truly happy, and he fills that need abundantly. Whatever he requires of us is for our benefit and ultimately results in our greatest joy. That is so even if his requirements involve our making some sacrifices.
12. What is our primary motive for upholding Jehovah’s sovereignty?
12 The Bible indicates that after the Thousand Year Reign of Christ, some people will choose to rebel against Jehovah’s sovereignty. (Rev. 20:7, 8) What might induce them to do such a thing? The Devil, released from imprisonment and intent on misleading mankind, will no doubt appeal to selfishness. He has always done that. He may attempt to convince people that there is a way to live forever without obeying Jehovah. Of course, that could never be true. But more to the point: Will such a false claim hold any appeal for us? If we love Jehovah and serve him because of his goodness and because of his being the rightful Sovereign of the universe, then such a devilish claim will be repulsive. We will never desire life other than life under Jehovah’s rightful and loving sovereignty.
LOYALLY UPHOLD GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
13. How does imitating God show support for him?
13 Surely Jehovah’s sovereignty merits our wholehearted support. As we have seen, he has the right to rule, and his way of ruling is the best. We can uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty by maintaining our integrity and by serving God faithfully. How else can we show our support? We can do so by doing things Jehovah’s way. When we handle matters as Jehovah would, we show that we love and uphold his way of ruling.
14. How can elders and family heads imitate Jehovah?
14 We learn from our study of the Bible that Jehovah exercises authority in a loving manner. In harmony with that, family heads and elders who love his sovereignty will not be demanding, as if exercising a small sovereignty of their own. Instead, they will imitate Jehovah. Paul was just such an imitator of God and his Son. (1 Cor. 11:1) Paul did not embarrass others or pressure them into taking a desired course of action. Rather, he appealed to them. (Rom. 12:1; Eph. 4:1; Philem. 8-10) That is Jehovah’s way of handling matters. Thus, that should be the way of all who love and uphold his way of ruling.
15. How does respect for theocratic headship reveal our love for Jehovah’s way of ruling?
15 What is our response to divinely authorized headship? By our respectful cooperation, we show our support for Jehovah’s sovereignty. Even if we do not fully understand or agree with a decision, we will still want to support theocratic order. That is quite different from the way of the world, but it is the way of life under Jehovah’s rulership. (Eph. 5:22, 23; 6:1-3; Heb. 13:17) We benefit from doing so, for God has our interests at heart.
16. How do supporters of God’s sovereignty make personal decisions?
16 We can also show our support of God’s sovereignty by our personal decisions. It is not Jehovah’s way to provide a specific command for every situation. Instead, in guiding us he reveals his thinking. For example, he does not provide a detailed dress code for Christians. Rather, he reveals his desire that we select styles of dress and grooming that show modesty and that befit Christian ministers. (1 Tim. 2:9, 10) He is also concerned that we do not stumble others or disturb them by our decisions. (1 Cor. 10:31-33) When we guide our steps, not solely by preference, but primarily by Jehovah’s thinking and concerns, we show that we love and support his way of ruling.
17, 18. What are some ways in which married couples can show that they uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty?
17 Consider an area wherein Christian married couples can support Jehovah’s ways and thereby uphold his sovereignty. What if married life proves to be more challenging than expected? Suppose that it even seems disappointing. Why not pause to reflect on Jehovah’s dealings with Israel. He referred to himself as being like a husband to that ancient nation. (Isa. 54:5; 62:4) What a difficult “marriage” that proved to be! Yet, Jehovah was not quick to give up on it. He repeatedly showed mercy toward the nation and loyalty to his covenant with them. (Read Psalm 106:43-45.) Are we not drawn to Jehovah by such loyal love?
18 Accordingly, married couples who love Jehovah’s ways imitate him. They do not seek an unscriptural way out of a difficult marriage. They realize that Jehovah has yoked them together and that he wants them to “stick” to each other. The only Scriptural ground for divorce that might free one to remarry is sexual immorality. (Matt. 19:5, 6, 9) By making the best of their situation and even seeking to improve it, they uphold Jehovah’s righteous way of ruling.
19. If we fall short of upholding God’s sovereignty, what should we do?
19 Being imperfect, we will on occasion do things that disappoint Jehovah. He knows this and has lovingly made provision for us by means of Christ’s ransom. Thus, when we fall short in some respect, we should ask Jehovah for forgiveness. (1 John 2:1, 2) Rather than continually berate ourselves, we should endeavor to learn from the mistake. If we stay close to Jehovah, he will forgive us and help us to heal and to handle similar situations successfully in the future.
20. Why show support for Jehovah’s sovereignty now?
20 In the new world, all will come under Jehovah’s sovereignty and learn his righteous ways. (Isa. 11:9) We, however, receive much of that education now. And the settling of the issue of sovereignty is well under way. Now is the time to uphold God’s sovereignty by our integrity, our service, and our earnest endeavors to imitate him in all we do.