“Because he has affection for me, I will rescue him. I will protect him because he knows my name.”
1, 2. What differences do we have in family circumstances and in the way we have learned the truth?
JEHOVAH created the family arrangement. (Ephesians 3:14, 15) Even if we belong to the same family, we all have different personalities and circumstances. Some may have grown up living with their parents. Others may have lost their parents in death because of sickness, an accident, or some other tragedy. Still others may not even know who their parents are.
2 We are all members of Jehovah’s family of worshippers and have learned the truth in different ways. You may have been raised by parents who trained you to live by Bible principles. (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7) Or maybe you are one of the thousands of people who have learned the truth through the preaching work of other servants of Jehovah.
3. What do all of us have in common?
3 Although we come from different backgrounds, all of us have some things in common. Because Adam disobeyed God, we all have inherited imperfection, sin, and death. (Romans 5:12) Even so, as true worshippers, we can call Jehovah “our Father.” In ancient times, God’s chosen people could say the words recorded at Isaiah 64:8: “O Jehovah, you are our Father.” Also, Jesus began his model prayer with the words: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.”
4, 5. To deepen our love for our heavenly Father, Jehovah, what will we discuss?
4 Our heavenly Father gives his family of true worshippers the care and protection they need. According to Psalm 91:14, Jehovah said: “Because he [a true worshipper] has affection for me, I will rescue him. I will protect him because he knows my name.” Jehovah lovingly rescues his people from their enemies and protects them, so that they are not destroyed.
Our heavenly Father gives us the care and protection we need
5 To deepen our love for our heavenly Father, Jehovah, we will discuss how he is (1) our Provider, (2) our Protector, and (3) our best Friend. As we consider these three points, let us think carefully about our personal friendship with God and learn how we can honor him as our Father. Also, we should think about the blessings Jehovah promises to give to those who draw close to him.
JEHOVAH, THE GRAND PROVIDER
6. Why can we say that Jehovah is the Giver of “every good gift”?
6 The disciple James wrote: “Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, coming down from the Father of the celestial lights.” (James 1:17) Life is a wonderful gift from Jehovah. (Psalm 36:9) If we use our lives to do Jehovah’s will, we will have many blessings now and everlasting life in the new world. (Proverbs 10:22; 2 Peter 3:13) But how is this possible, since all of us have inherited imperfection, sin, and death from Adam?
7. How has God made it possible for us to have a close relationship with him?
7 Jehovah is the Grand Provider in more ways than we can imagine. His quality of undeserved kindness motivates him to rescue us. As we learned, we all sin and have inherited imperfection from Adam. (Romans 3:23) However, because of Jehovah’s love, he provided a way for us to have a close relationship with him. The apostle John wrote: “By this the love of God was revealed in our case, that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might gain life through him. The love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.”
Jehovah is our Provider, our Protector, and our best Friend
8, 9. How was Jehovah the Grand Provider in the days of Abraham and Isaac? (See opening picture.)
8 About 1,900 years before Jesus was born, an event in Abraham’s life showed how Jehovah would lovingly give everlasting life to all obedient humans. Hebrews 11:17-19 explains: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, as good as offered up Isaac
9 Can you imagine how relieved Isaac felt when he realized that he did not have to die? No doubt he was grateful that Jehovah provided a replacement sacrifice, a ram that was nearby. (Genesis 22:10-13) Abraham named that place “Jehovah-jireh,” which means “Jehovah Will Provide.”
A WAY TO RESTORE PEACE WITH GOD
10, 11. Who have taken the lead in “the ministry of the reconciliation,” and how have they done this?
10 When we meditate on all that Jehovah has provided for us, we realize that without Jesus’ sacrifice we would not be able to become a friend of God. Paul wrote: “This is what we have concluded, that one man died for all; so, then, all had died. And he died for all so that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised up.”
11 Because Christians in the first century loved God and were thankful for the honor of serving him, they gladly accepted “the ministry of the reconciliation.” This ministry was the preaching work that made it possible for people to come to be at peace with God, enjoy his friendship, and become his sons. Today, anointed servants of Jehovah perform the same ministry. They serve as ambassadors for God and Christ. Their preaching work makes it possible for honest and humble people to be drawn by Jehovah and to become his servants.
12, 13. How can we show that we are thankful for everything that Jehovah has given us?
12 Because the other sheep are thankful to Jehovah for being the Grand Provider, they join the anointed in preaching the good news. In this preaching work, we use the Bible, which is another wonderful gift from God. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) When we make good use of the Bible in our ministry, we give others the opportunity to have everlasting life. Jehovah also gives us his holy spirit. Each of us relies on the holy spirit for help in the ministry. (Zechariah 4:6; Luke 11:13) As each edition of the Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses shows, the results of the preaching work are remarkable. It is a great honor to be a part of this work that praises our Father and Provider!
13 Since God has provided so much for us, we should ask ourselves: ‘Am I doing all I can in my ministry to show Jehovah how thankful I am for everything he has given me? How can I become a better preacher of the good news?’ If we are grateful for everything God gives us, we will put his Kingdom first in our lives. When we do this, Jehovah will make sure that we always have everything we need. (Matthew 6:25-33) Because Jehovah loves us, we want to do everything we can to please him and make his heart rejoice.
‘Am I doing all I can in my ministry to show Jehovah how thankful I am for everything he has given me?’
14. How has Jehovah been the Rescuer of his people?
14 The psalmist David sang: “I am helpless and poor; may Jehovah pay attention to me. You are my helper and my rescuer.” (Psalm 40:17) Many times Jehovah has been the Rescuer of his people as a group, especially when they have been severely persecuted and pursued by their enemies. We are very thankful that Jehovah always gives us what we need to remain faithful to him during such difficult times.
15. Give an example of how a loving father protected his child.
15 A loving father not only gives his children what they need but also protects them. He would immediately try to rescue them if they were in danger. One brother remembers how his father protected him when he was a young boy. He and his father were returning home from field service when they had to cross a stream. Heavy rain that morning had caused the stream to flood. The only way to cross the water was to jump from one large stone to another. Going ahead of his father, the boy lost his balance, fell into the stream, and went under the water twice. That boy was so grateful when his father quickly grabbed him by the shoulder and saved him from drowning. In a similar way, our heavenly Father protects us from dangers in this wicked world and from its ruler, Satan. Jehovah is the best Protector anyone could ever have.
Jehovah is the best Protector anyone could ever have
16, 17. How did Jehovah help and protect the Israelites when they fought the Amalekites?
16 Jehovah lovingly protected his people in the year 1513 before Christ. He had already rescued the Israelites from slavery and had protected them as they crossed the Red Sea. After walking through the wilderness toward Mount Sinai, the Israelites arrived at Rephidim.
17 Since the prophecy at Genesis 3:15 had not yet been fulfilled, Satan must have been desperate to attack the Israelites, who seemed to be unprotected. One way he did this was by using the Amalekites, who were enemies of God’s people. (Numbers 24:20) How did Jehovah protect his people from these enemies by means of Joshua, Moses, Aaron, and Hur? As Joshua and his men fought the Amalekites, on a nearby hill were Moses, Aaron, and Hur. As long as Moses kept his hands lifted up, Jehovah helped the Israelites to be stronger than their enemies. When Moses could not hold his hands up any longer, Aaron and Hur helped him by supporting his hands. Eventually, with Jehovah’s help and protection, “Joshua defeated Amalek and his people.” (Exodus 17:8-13) After that, Moses built an altar there, calling it “Jehovah-nissi,” which means “Jehovah Is My Signal Pole.”
KEPT SAFE FROM SATAN’S ATTACKS
18, 19. What protection has God given his servants in recent years?
18 Jehovah protects those who love and obey him. Like the Israelites at Rephidim, we rely on God for protection from our enemies. Jehovah has often protected us as a group, and he keeps us safe from the Devil’s attacks. For example, many times God has protected our brothers who were persecuted because of their Christian neutrality. This happened in Germany and in other countries when the Nazis were in power in the 1930’s and early 1940’s. When we read life stories and Yearbook experiences about God’s protection during such times of persecution, our trust in Jehovah will be made strong.
19 Jehovah also protects us by giving us loving reminders through his organization and its publications. Think about how these reminders have protected us in recent years. The world continues to become more and more obsessed with sex, alcohol, and pornography. But Jehovah has given us urgent reminders and specific help to protect us from doing things that could hurt our relationship with him. Recently, for example, we have received counsel from our heavenly Father to avoid the trap of bad associations on social networks. * (See footnote.)
20. What protection and guidance do we receive in our congregations?
20 How can we show that we are listening to such loving counsel and are being “taught by Jehovah”? By carefully obeying his commands. (Isaiah 54:13) Our congregations are a safe place where we receive protection and guidance. There, the elders give us help and counsel from the Bible. (Galatians 6:1) Jehovah is using these “gifts in men” to care for us in a loving way. (Ephesians 4:7, 8) So, what should we do if the elders give us counsel? We should willingly obey. If we do, Jehovah will bless us.
21. (a) What should we be determined to do? (b) What will we discuss in the next article?
21 So let us rely on the holy spirit for help and accept the guidance of our heavenly Father. We also need to meditate on the life of Jesus and do our best to follow his outstanding example. He received a great reward because he was “obedient to the point of death.” (Philippians 2:5-11) We too will be blessed if we trust in Jehovah with all our heart. (Proverbs 3:5, 6) Let us always rely on Jehovah, the one who will provide for us and protect us better than anyone else. Serving him is an honor that truly makes us happy. How, though, is Jehovah our best Friend? Our love for him will grow even stronger as we answer this question in the next article.