“The hand of Jehovah will become known to his servants.”
SONGS: 65, 26
1, 2. What do some people think about God?
MANY people believe that their actions do not matter to God. They think that God does not really care about what happens to them. For example, after a very violent storm destroyed a large part of the Philippines in November 2013, the mayor of one large city said: “God must have been somewhere else.”
2 Other people think that God cannot see what they are doing. (Isaiah 26:10, 11; 3 John 11) Some people in the apostle Paul’s time thought the same way. He said about them: “They did not see fit to acknowledge God.” They were unrighteous, wicked, greedy, and bad.
3. (a) What questions should we ask ourselves? (b) In the Bible, to what does God’s “hand” often refer?
3 What about us? We know that Jehovah sees everything we do. But do we believe that Jehovah is interested in us? Do we see his helping hand in our life? In the Bible, God’s “hand” often refers to his applied power. He uses his power to help his servants and to defeat his enemies. (Read Deuteronomy 26:8.) Jesus said that some people would “see God.” (Matthew 5:8) Are we among those people? How can we “see God”? Let us learn from Bible examples of those who saw God’s hand in their life and of those who did not see it. We will also learn how faith helps us to see God’s hand.
THEY REFUSED TO SEE GOD’S HAND
4. Why did Israel’s enemies refuse to see God’s hand?
4 In the past, many people had the opportunity to see and hear how God helped Israel. Jehovah used miracles to free his people from Egypt and to defeat many kings in the Promised Land. (Joshua 9:3, 9, 10) Even though other kings heard and saw how Jehovah saved his people, “they formed an alliance to fight against Joshua and Israel.” (Joshua 9:1, 2) When they fought against Israel, those kings had the opportunity to see God’s hand. As a result of Jehovah’s great power, “the sun stood still and the moon did not move until the nation could take vengeance on its enemies.” (Joshua 10:13) But Jehovah allowed the hearts of Israel’s enemies “to become stubborn,” so that they fought against Israel. (Joshua 11:20) Israel’s enemies were defeated because they refused to admit that Jehovah was fighting for his people.
We must look for God’s hand in our life
5. What did wicked King Ahab refuse to believe?
5 Later, wicked King Ahab had the opportunity to see God’s hand several times. Elijah told him: “There will be no dew or rain except by my word!” (1 Kings 17:1) This was only possible because of God’s hand, but Ahab refused to believe that. Later, Elijah prayed to Jehovah, and God answered him by sending fire from heaven. Ahab saw that. Then, Elijah told Ahab that Jehovah would end the drought and send a downpour of rain. (1 Kings 18:22-45) Ahab saw all these miracles and still refused to believe that he had seen Jehovah’s power. What do we learn from these examples? We must look for God’s hand in our life.
THEY SAW JEHOVAH’S HAND
6, 7. What did the Gibeonites and Rahab recognize?
6 The Gibeonites were very different from the nations around them. They saw God’s hand. Instead of fighting the Israelites, the Gibeonites wanted to make peace with them. Why? They said that it was because they had heard about Jehovah and all he had done. (Joshua 9:3, 9, 10) It was wise of them to recognize that Jehovah was fighting for Israel.
7 Rahab also saw Jehovah’s hand. She was not an Israelite, but she had heard about how Jehovah freed his people from Egypt. When two Israelite spies came to her, she told them: “I do know that Jehovah will give you the land.” Rahab believed that Jehovah could save her and her family. She showed her faith in Jehovah even though she knew that doing so was dangerous.
8. How did some Israelites recognize God’s hand?
8 Unlike wicked King Ahab, some of the Israelites who saw the fire coming from heaven in response to Elijah’s prayer recognized that God had done that. They cried out: “Jehovah is the true God!” (1 Kings 18:39) To them, it was clear that they had seen God’s power.
9. How can we see Jehovah and his hand today?
9 We have considered good and bad examples that help us to understand what it means to “see God” or to see God’s hand. As we come to know Jehovah and his qualities, we see his hand with ‘the eyes of our heart.’ (Ephesians 1:18) This motivates us to want to imitate faithful humans both past and present who have seen how Jehovah has helped his people. However, do we have proof that God is helping people today?
PROOF OF GOD’S HAND TODAY
10. What proof do we have that Jehovah is helping people today? (See opening picture.)
10 We have abundant proof that Jehovah continues to help people today. We often hear experiences of those who prayed for God’s help in their life and had their prayers answered. (Psalm 53:2) For example, while preaching on a small island in the Philippines, Allan met a woman who started to cry. He says, “Just that morning, she prayed to Jehovah that his Witnesses would find her.” As a teenager, she studied the Bible with the Witnesses, but when she got married and moved to the island, she did not continue her study. God answered her prayer so quickly that it touched her heart. In less than a year, she dedicated her life to Jehovah.
11, 12. (a) How is Jehovah helping his servants? (b) Explain how Jehovah helped one sister.
11 Many servants of Jehovah have seen his helping hand when they stopped bad habits such as smoking, abusing drugs, or watching pornography. Some say that they tried to stop on their own but could not. However, when they asked Jehovah for help, he gave them “the power beyond what is normal,” and they were finally able to stop their bad habits.
Jehovah helps his servants to endure personal difficulties
12 Jehovah also helps his servants to endure personal difficulties. This happened to Amy. She was assigned to help build a Kingdom Hall and a missionary home on a small island in the Pacific Ocean. The culture was different, there was often no electricity or water, the streets were flooded, she missed her family, and she was living in a small hotel room. One day, she yelled at a sister she was working with. She felt very bad about what she had done. When she went back to her dark room, she prayed to Jehovah and asked for help. Then, when the electricity came back on, she read an article in the Watchtower about a Gilead graduation. The article discussed the same difficulties she had to endure. She says: “I felt that Jehovah was speaking to me that night. It gave me the motivation to continue in my assignment.”
13. What proof do we have that Jehovah has helped his people to defend their right to preach?
13 Jehovah has also helped his people to defend and legally establish the good news. (Philippians 1:7) For example, when some governments tried to stop the preaching work, we defended ourselves in court. We have won at least 268 high-court cases around the world, 24 of which were won in the European Court of Human Rights since the year 2000. It is clear that nobody can stop God’s hand!
14. What other proof do we have that God is with his people?
14 The preaching of the good news worldwide is additional proof of God’s helping hand. (Matthew 24:14; Acts 1:8) And the unity among Jehovah’s servants from all nations can only be possible with Jehovah’s help. This unity is unique! Even people who do not worship Jehovah admit: “God is really among you.” (1 Corinthians 14:25) We have abundant proof that God is with his people. (Read Isaiah 66:14.) What about you personally? Do you see Jehovah’s hand in your life?
DO YOU SEE JEHOVAH’S HAND IN YOUR LIFE?
15. At times, why may we not see Jehovah’s hand in our life?
15 Sometimes, we may not see God’s hand in our life. Why? When we have a lot of problems, we may forget that Jehovah has helped us many times before. This happened to Elijah. He was courageous, but when Queen Jezebel wanted to kill him, he was scared. For a moment, he forgot how Jehovah had helped him earlier. The Bible says that Elijah wanted to die. (1 Kings 19:1-4) Where could he find help and courage? He needed to look to Jehovah!
16. How can we see God when we have problems?
16 Job was so focused on his worries that he did not see his situation the way Jehovah saw it. (Job 42:3-6) Sometimes, we too may find it hard to see God because of our problems. What can help us to see what God does for us? We must meditate on what the Bible says about our problems. Then, Jehovah will be more real to us, and we too will be able to say: “My ears have heard about you, but now I do see you with my eyes.”
17, 18. (a) How can you see Jehovah’s hand in your life? (b) Share an experience that shows how God is helping us today.
17 How can you see Jehovah’s hand in your life? Let us consider five examples. First, you may feel that Jehovah helped you to find the truth. Second, you may remember going to a Christian meeting, hearing a talk, and saying, “That was just what I needed!” Third, perhaps you have seen how Jehovah answered one of your prayers. Fourth, maybe you wanted to do more for Jehovah and you saw how he helped you to reach that goal. Fifth, maybe you left your job because it took time away from your service to Jehovah and then you saw God fulfill his promise: “I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5) When we have a strong relationship with Jehovah, we can easily see his hand in our life.
18 Sarah, a sister from Kenya, says: “I prayed about a student who I felt did not appreciate her Bible study. I asked Jehovah if I should stop the study. Immediately after I said ‘Amen,’ my phone rang. The Bible student called to ask if she could attend the meeting with me! I was awestruck!” If we look for what God is doing for us, we will see his helping hand. Rhonna, a sister who lives in Asia, says that it takes time to see how Jehovah helps us in our life. “But once you do,” she adds, “it’s amazing to discover how much interest he has in us!”
19. What else must we do to see God?
19 Jesus said that those who “will see God” must be “pure in heart.” (Matthew 5:8) What does that mean? We must keep our thoughts pure and stop doing anything that is wrong. (Read 2 Corinthians 4:2.) In this article, we learned that to see God, we must keep strengthening our relationship with him. In the next article, we will discuss how faith can help us to see Jehovah’s hand more clearly in our life.