“Be Patient and Trust Jehovah”
"Don't let it bother you
when all goes well for those
who do sinful things."
―Psalms 37:7 CEV
Many among Jehovah's people have become upset, perhaps even stumbled,
over recent developments and revelations of wrongdoing and
errors in the conduct and teachings of those who have been looked up
to as leaders in the organization. Because of their "righteous
indignation," some of them feel that these sins and errors should be exposed. In
this they believe they have Jesus as an example. What do you think?
Do we have an obligation to publicize "the sins" of God's people?
Or, even more importantly, should we leave? (Isaiah
What matters to Jehovah most is our faith and obedience. (Rom. 16:26; Heb. 11:6; 1 John 5:3) He gives us the opportunity to demonstrate both. Time and again he has led his people into situations where they were able to exhibit to him what they were truly like at heart. For example, he allowed his people, whom he had delivered out of Egypt, to go hungry, thirsty, and suffer in order to humble them and put their faith and obedience to the test:
"And you shall [earnestly] remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and to prove you, to know what was in your [mind and] heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. . . that He might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end." ―Deuteronomy 8:2, 16, Amplified Bible
The ordeal that they endured while wandering in the wilderness was to follow in blessings for them, after they had learned from it. But did they? The apostle Paul tells us that their suffering caused the majority of them to rebel and disobey, even wanting to return to Egypt, due to their lack of faith:
"Who were those people that heard God's voice and rebelled? Weren't they the same ones that came out of Egypt with Moses? 17 Who were the people that made God angry for forty years? Weren't they the ones that sinned and died in the desert? 18 And who did God say would never enter his place of rest? Weren't they the ones that disobeyed him? 19 We see that those people did not enter the place of rest because they did not have faith." ―Hebrews 3:16-19, CEV
Jehovah had good
reason for allowing his people to experience hardship before leading them into
the promised land, for he is "searching the heart." Only by fully
trusting in him and being obedient to his commands, especially under
trying conditions, could they prove successful and worthy of taking
possession of the land. Thus, his people had to be shown what they were
truly like at heart, and be given the opportunity to make any
necessary adjustments to their faith and obedience. That is why the Scriptures speak of "the tested quality of
[our] faith." Did they discern that? What about us? Are we suffering today? Is it not always
easier to trust in Jehovah when times are good? (Jeremiah 17:9,10;
James 1:3; 1 Peter 1:7, NWT)
In Jeremiah’s time Jehovah again put his people’s faith and obedience to the test. It became a matter of life and death for them. For that reason he made Jeremiah “a metal tester” among his people, that is, the people were tested by how they responded to Jeremiah's message. (Jeremiah 6:27-30, NWT) Jeremiah was commissioned by God to “rise up and speak to them everything that I myself command you.” (Jeremiah 1:17) Jehovah did not command others to join the prophets he himself had chosen in exposing the wickedness of his people. He did not commission others to "test" his people. For someone to prove obedient and be spared the coming adverse judgment, God's message by means of Jeremiah was simple: “Serve the king of Babylon and keep living.” (Jer. 27:17)
We can well imagine how the message that Jehovah wanted proclaimed by means of his appointed prophet would have been corrupted or contradicted, and could well have turned into total confusion, if everyone were to join in and add their own opinions and pronouncements. At the very least, it would have detracted from God’s own message. Yet, there were those who felt compelled to speak out, and they took it upon themselves to "prophesy" in God’s name.
"These unfaithful prophets claim I give them their dreams, but it isn't true. I didn't choose them to be my prophets, and yet they babble on and on, speaking in my name, while stealing words from each other. And when my people hear these liars, they are led astray instead of being helped. So I warn you that I am now the enemy of these prophets. I, the LORD, have spoken." ―Jeremiah 23:30-32, Contemporary English Version
Instead of helping the people, encouraging them to obey and listen to the message Jehovah was declaring, these self-appointed prophets were actually leading God's people astray by contradicting God's instructions. Since Jehovah had not personally given them any message, they were "stealing words from each other." It was not his message they were preaching. Therefore, they made themselves liars, becoming a danger to anyone who inquired of them. Jehovah became the enemy, not only of the false prophets, but also of those who went to these prophets.
"If a prophet is deceived and tells these idolaters the lies they want to hear, I, God, get blamed for those lies. He won't get by with it. I'll grab him by the scruff of the neck and get him out of there. They'll be equally guilty, the prophet and the one who goes to the prophet." ―Ezekiel 14:9,10, The Message Bible
Today, for the most part, Jehovah has not given us details regarding his time schedule, what he is doing and why he is doing things a certain way, many times so different from the way we would do it. We may be upset and feel indignant and hurt at all the injustice and wrongdoings we see around us, especially when we are personally affected. But that does not guarantee that we accurately reflect Jehovah's view on matters. So, Jehovah tells us to leave all concerns in his hands, to patiently wait on him. This gives us the opportunity to exercise faith in him, in his promises, and in his way of fulfilling them. Often, just waiting without being able to do anything is the hardest thing. Yet, for good reason, that is what Jehovah is telling us, while at the same time keeping us busy in the preaching of the "good news" of the kingdom, the means by which he will bring an end to all suffering. (Matt. 24:14)
"We speak the Good News because God tested us and trusted us to do it. When we speak, we are not trying to please people, but God, who tests our hearts." ―1 Thess. 2:4, New Century Version
Having been influenced by the various
"prophets" that are supposing to speak in Jehovah's name, many
formerly zealous Witnesses today feel that they can no longer
conscientiously participate in preaching "the good news about the
kingdom," arguing we have gotten some details, such as dates, wrong.
But not understanding everything there is to know about the kingdom
did not prevent Jesus from sending his disciples forth to preach the
reality of the kingdom. (Matt.
Also, many don’t know whether they should still attend meetings because of concerns over the errors we have been taught. Yet, it's good to ask ourselves: Is what Jehovah has told us not to do―talking against our brothers, judging them, biting and devouring one another, engage in strife, fits of anger, contentions, divisions―are such things keeping us from doing what we have been encouraged to do, namely, "the gathering of ourselves together," and building up of one another "to love and fine works," persevering under trials and helping each other to endure and stand firm? (Acts 11:23; 14:21,22; Gal. 5:14,15,19-21; Heb. 10:23-25)
"Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another. Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of God's people; pursue the practice of hospitality. Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others' joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others' grief]." ―Romans 12:10-15, AMP.
We demonstrate Christ-like love for
our brothers, and for God, by our own example, by our continuing to
be steadfast and rejoicing in our hope, in good or bad times, while
patiently waiting for Jehovah to fulfill his promises. (John
13:34,35) Jesus shows that he is not only aware of, but will
also bless any faithful disciple of his who has kept his integrity in
the midst of a congregation that, as a whole, has come under his
adverse judgment. (Rev.
Do you feel compelled that we should follow Jesus' example when it comes to righteous indignation, and be moved to take action in exposing those we consider to be at fault? Do we have all the facts? Jesus is the one who has been appointed as judge, we haven't. Many stumbled at times over what Jesus said or did. (Matthew 15:12; John 6:60,61,64; 9:1-7,13-16) Is it alright for us to stumble others by what we say or do? (Matthew 18:6) How many of his disciples took a whip and drove out the money changers from the temple, in imitation of Jesus? How many of his disciples confronted the religious leaders? Was it not rather the other way around? Rather than jumping to conclusions with our own judgments concerning the errors of our brothers, and be moved to do something about it, why not share Paul's attitude and wait for the one Jehovah has appointed to do the judging:
"I'm not aware of anything that
would disqualify me from being a good guide for you, but that
doesn't mean much. The Master makes that judgment.
So don't get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of--inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will any one of us get to hear the 'Well done!' of God." ―1 Corinthians 4:4,5, The Message Bible.
The Scriptures tell us that, as a whole, Jehovah’s people have always been rebellious, lacking in faith, testing his patience to the limit. For that reason Jehovah got to despise his people very much. (Psalms 78:59) We can learn from their bad examples by not imitating their lack of faith and their disobedience. Don’t let anyone beguile you with their many empty words as to why it is wrong to wait on Jehovah in your time of trouble and distress.
"Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my [sad] countenance, and my God." ―Psalm 43:5, AMP.
Jehovah will fulfill all his promises just as he has foretold, and that without any intervention or meddling on our part. He has not explained why he has not commissioned any of us to take action against the shepherds who have become guilty of scattering his sheep. Perhaps it is because none of us are blameless and without sin. (Psalms 90:6) Waiting on Jehovah to act in his own due time is certainly a test of our faith and obedience. We cannot please him if we are not obedient:
"Does the LORD really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn't want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him. Rebelling against God or disobeying him because you are proud is just as bad as worshiping idols or asking them for advice." ―1 Samuel 15:22,23, CEV
Obedience to Jehovah has always been the main issue since the time of Adam, who rebelled against God. We can be assured that Jehovah himself will lay bare the sins and errors of his people, because "nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable." (Heb. 4:13, NLT) Our God promises that "just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more." Could the wicked, mentioned in Psalms chapter 37, refer especially to the wicked among God's own people rather than those in the world? (Psalms 37:10; compare Jer. 5:26; Matt. 13:41) Concerning them we have this encouraging promise:
"1 Don't be annoyed by anyone
who does wrong,
and don't envy them.
2 They will soon disappear
like grass without rain.
3 Trust the LORD and live right!
The land will be yours,
and you will be safe.
4 Do what the LORD wants,
and he will give you
your heart's desire.
5 Let the LORD lead you
and trust him to help.
6 Then it will be as clear
as the noonday sun
that you were right.
7 Be patient and trust the LORD.
Don't let it bother you
when all goes well for those
who do sinful things."
―Psalms 37:1-7, Contemporary English Version
Yes, "be patient and trust" Jehovah! "Don't let it bother you when all goes well for those who do sinful things." The time will soon be here when "it will be as clear as the noonday sun that you were right." Then you will hear the Well done! from God for your faith and obedience. "The legal case is before [God], and so you should wait anxiously for him."―Job 35:14.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We all know what great love Jehovah has for his people. He did not provide the ransom at such great cost to himself by sending his son to die for us, just to leave us to ourselves when we meet up with immense problems and crisis in our lives that would prevent us from continuing on the narrow road to life. Jehovah cares for each one of us and is very tender in his affection. (Matt. 7:13,14; James 5:11; 1 Peter 5:7)
Have you ever considered that what you have learned in the way of “new understanding” was provided for your own benefit and personal encouragement from Jehovah? Likely you learned these things at a critical time in your life and needed to know and understand that all the problems we are having in our personal lives, or within the congregations, is not due to doing things Jehovah’s way. Neither is it because we are not his people.
One sister, who was besieged with problems within her congregation, wrote: “In prayer I had told Jehovah how I was falling away from his organization and I was feeling so alone and begged Jehovah to not let go of me.” It was then that she came to understand the reasons behind the present conditions within the organization, and it gave her a new zeal. She continued to say, “Jehovah, once again answered my prayer... he didn't let go of me.” (Luke 12:45,46; 2 Thess. 2:3-12)
If you have found a renewed joy in worshiping Jehovah because of the new understanding you have acquired, thank Jehovah for it. It is his way of caring for you! But it is meant for your own personal encouragement, for you not to give up. As Jehovah continues to expose the waywardness of his people there will be many others in the days to come who will likewise need this encouragement, and Jehovah will help them too. (Isaiah 32:5-7; 33:1,2) Perhaps he may even use you to assist such ones. But those who are content with the way things are in serving Jehovah under present conditions, they are not going to benefit from this. It is medicine they don’t need, at least not yet. As Jesus said, “Persons in health do not need a physician, but the ailing do.” (Matt. 9:12)
There are many who still find joy in attending the meetings and sharing in the preaching work. Don't you remember the happiness you had in participating in those things? Joy is a fruitage of the spirit and Jehovah has build joy into our doing his will. We can lose some of that joy because of personal problems that may plague us at present, making us perhaps feel useless, but that doesn’t mean we no longer have God’s spirit. Jehovah may not remove our problems immediately, but we can be certain that he will help us to endure, even with joy. Even if we can no longer do all the things we once did, he blesses us now with a calmness, and the joy of having a preview of what everyone else is also bound to learn soon. Then, at that time, we will be able to assist and comfort those who will likewise need help, just as we needed it. (Ezek. 14:23) Can you imagine the joy you will experience when you will be able to talk about these things freely, with Jehovah's blessing, and bring the same joy and hope to others?
Please keep in mind that the present troubles that we are experiencing within God's household, including the testing of our faith, must occur for Jehovah foretold it. Otherwise, "how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must take place this way?" (Matt. 26:54; Luke 21:22) "You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested." May Jehovah therefore help you all to endure as you continue to be patient and trust in him, not growing weary, but with full confidence that you will receive all that he has promised. (James 1:3, CEV; Rev. 2:2,3)
"People do not hope for something they already have. But we are hoping for something we do not have yet, and we are waiting for it patiently." (Rom. 8:24,25; New Century Version)