“Jehovah is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those who are discouraged.” Psalm 34:18
[Study 51 from ws 12/20 p.16, February 15 – February 21, 2021]
One assumes that the aim of this Watchtower Study article is to bolster the flagging spirits of the brothers and sisters, many of whom are despairing they will ever see Armageddon in their lifetime. Based on the theme, one would expect clear evidence to be presented that Jehovah intervenes to save discouraged ones.
The first two examples given in the Study article are Joseph, and Naomi and Ruth.
Now as the account of Joseph shows there is clear evidence that Jehovah was involved in the final outcome which was advantageous not only to Joseph, but also his family, both brothers, and father. However, what is not mentioned, is that it was Jehovah’s purpose that Jacob and Joseph survive and prosper so that not only a nation would come from them that would be God’s special possession for 1700+ years, but that the line of the promised Messiah would come. Given this important point, using the example of Joseph to suggest that God would deal with us in such a special way as he did with Joseph, just by us remaining in the Organization, (which they view as synonymous as serving God), is misleading and damaging. At the end of paragraph 7, the Organization appears to be trying to infer that young Witnesses unjustly imprisoned will have similar help from God as to that given to Joseph. Perhaps this is aimed particularly at younger Witnesses imprisoned in Russia. While God could personally intervene on their behalf, the chances are very slim. That is not the way God usually works according to the evidence of the scriptures.
With the account of Naomi and Ruth, there is no obvious intervention by God. It is basically an account relating how a good-hearted wealthy man ensured that justice and help was given to two individuals who while prepared to work hard, had fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. It is true, there were provisions made for needy ones in the Mosaic law given by God to the Israelites, but Witnesses today are not living in Israel under the benefits of that Mosaic law. Despite the book of Acts showing clearly how early Christians cared for one another, arguably, there are no such similar arrangements within the Organization today. Instead of sending contributions directly to the needy, we are expected to contribute to the Organization and accept their word that they have helped others with that money. Therefore, this raises the question, can the Organization truly qualify as God’s Organization even on this one point alone? Arguably not.[i]
This contrasts with the fact that practicing Muslims feel moved to make a minimum contribution each year in terms of money and property or goods to help others (admittedly, primarily Muslims). These acts of charity are described as “Zakat”, and “Sadaqah”. In large cities and towns, sometimes, such as in harsh winters especially, these Muslims will be found feeding the homeless (Muslim or not) and providing overnight shelter where possible. The author has personally worked with Muslim colleagues who have participated in this work and who stated how important it was to them. (NOTE: This statement should not be taken to infer that the Muslim faith is God’s Organization, merely that on this point, they would be a better candidate than the Organization).
Likewise, the accounts of the Levite priest and the apostle Peter give no hint of angelic intervention. The Levite encouraged himself, when he analyzed his blessings, while Peter was forgiven and encouraged by Jesus, particularly because Jesus wanted him to spearhead the spreading of Christianity to the Jews in the first century.
The theme promises encouragement, but rather turns out to be pretty empty of real solid encouragement and precedent that we can be saved from discouragement. Instead, the Organization misrepresents Jehovah by implying he will personally intervene on the behalf of any suffering discouragement. As a result, many Witnesses will expect Jehovah to bail them out of their predicament, (often the result of wrong decisions, heavily influenced by the Organization and its publications), but the reality is that he will not. Sadly, this could lead to a loss of faith in God by many of them.
[i] Occasional natural disaster relief, currently being scaled back, does not come close to filling the requirements of this attitude of mind.
Hi Tadua. Thank you for your review covering the theme that is very close to my heart. You pointed well several problems regarding WT application of this (IMO) important verse. I’d like mention few aspects regarding this article to encourage brothers and sisters that are in difficult situation. You are right; the WT article contains examples of God’s interventions that are not relevant or at least debatable. Nevertheless, God answers prayers and does intervene in every case. Psalm 34:18 speaks of specific intervention on behalf of people in specific situation. The writers of this WT article assume that God acts… Read more »
Hi Frankie Thank you for your warm heartfelt comments. I certainly believe the encouraging words of Philippians 4:6-7 which reads “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let YOUR petitions be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard YOUR hearts and YOUR mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.“ However God manouvering others / other events in our favor is another matter. Not that he or Jesus do not have the power, but on what basis would they choose us over someone else?… Read more »
Thank you Tadua for your kind response. My answer is late. I had notes ready for my response on February 27, and I was revising their concept. And it was then, unexpectedly, that sudden severe abdominal pains began to begin, followed by serious flu with a high fever attacking 40 °C for 5 days which was only slowly declining. I am still weak but after almost 4 weeks I am capable to work a bit with my PC. So what about my notes? Dear Tadua, I understood the following questions from your answer, and I would like to share some… Read more »
Thank you so much for this insightful review. I always look forward to readying your reviews & the comments.
I had this “lovely” experience in the Zoom meeting of the local congregation yesterday (I’m attending by phone): Paragraph 13 concludes saying “But he [Jehovah] will help us to cope, perhaps through acts of loyal love expressed by our spiritual family.” A brother had actually already connected that to the mark of true discipleship, love “among yourselves” (John 13:34,35). I then continued to point out that, if we are to obey the implied direction, we need to spend time with/on each other first. So if I want to auxilary pioneer (50 hours per month ministry), I should also spend at… Read more »
Its not an open forum for discussion, the meetings that is. If you are not prepared to read the bold txt highlight to what the answer should be they really are not interested. When leading a watchtower once, a brother gave a scripture that was not in the paragraph and was chastised for it, “we must only use the scriptures cited….”, complete nonsense, are we really saying don’t use the bible to highlight something. Needless to say the Elder taking the wt., was a nonworking layabout of 30 years experience, walked around with a head full of scripture and a… Read more »
Thank you for your article. But does this mean that God does not intervene in our lives today when we sincerely call out to him in prayer? Now that’s a discouraging thought.. Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor? Romans My point is that who are we to decide when, how and for whom does God intervene? That was something I never quite understood when witnesses said that the only prayers that God listened of non-JWs were of those asking for help in understanding the Bible. The rest of the prayers “answered” were… Read more »
Hi Kairaat. You are right. Our heavenly Father hears every prayer (Matt 7:11-12) that is spoken in faith (Matt 21:22), in accordance with His will (1 John 5:14) and when I want not my will to be done, but the will of Jehovah (Matt 26:39): “… nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” When I pray to God for anything, I always remember the Lord’s prayer to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, and in the end I say, “… but let all things be done according to your will” (Matt. 6:10). God always responds to my… Read more »
To share an encouraging story. I recently awoke from 30 plus years in the society. I would also like to thank Tadua and the whole family here. I would highly recommend the documentary a lamp in the dark and its sequel tares among the wheat. After watching this I went out and bought a 1611 King James Version. I am now convinced I have the true Bible believers inspired words of God in my hands instead of the revised NWT that has clearly perverted omitted and added to Gods Words leading to the destruction of faith to many sincere ones.… Read more »
Where do we find “God the Son” in scripture?
Sorry for the late reply. My week has been rather turbulent. My brother was close to suicide last Sunday, my sister last year came very close so its been rather scary. I believe I will very shortly be POMO and this situation has pushed this issue much faster than I had planned. I would really appreciate your prayers right now this is a lovely group and I have enjoyed your articles and videos. Your right that term isn’t found in the Bible and apologies if you thought I was being dogmatic I just wanted to share my faith and some… Read more »
Yes, I always thought God’s blessing was not upon me because I wasn’t helped in a miraculous way as with such faithful examples of old. This is what Watchtower’s teaching seemed to inculcate in me and it was very discouraging. In the meantime, I have recaptured my brain and doing my own thinking. If the Lord God did not even spare his first-born Son from a tortuous death, why should I expect miraculous intervention? And why shouldn’t I use my brain to avoid suffering instead of ‘rejoicing’ with it and even bringing it on? Watchtower gave me a certain disciplinary… Read more »
I believe your way is not your own way, but it is our Lord’s way and you certainly are the man of “this way” (Acts 9:2).
Wish you many God’s blessings on your truth-seeking journey.
I love these short sum ups of the weeks WT study as I can no longer stand to sit in front of a screen for two hours listening to the repetitive blurb from the “faithfull evil slave ” but at least I’m able to know and discuss with my jw wife the latest light from on high .thank you .
I feel about the same, Ian. Tadua’s summaries are regularly hitting the nail on the head, and show excellent insight. What comes from the Org seems to be just another way of propping the tent up with thin pieces of wood.
My sentiments exactly! I really appreciate these WT reviews along with all the well thought out comments. I learn more from these than from any WT article. I also can’t stand listening to the zoom meetings & hearing the repetitious comments from the Organizations brainwashing. That is very discouraging. But like you, I want to keep up with what’s being taught there, at least for now. Someday I may be freed from all of that. But for now it seems best I keep abreast with what is going on with them.