Comments You Will Not Hear at the 01-01-2012 WT Study (NOVEMBER 15, 2011, pages 6-10)(OWN UNDERSTANDING)
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“DO NOT LEAN UPON YOUR
“Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean
upon your own understanding.”—PROV. 3:5
How did God convey his ideas to Moses, Joshua, Hezekiah, Hannah?
START OF ARTICLE
1, 2. (a) What situations may confront us?
(b) When dealing with distress, making a decision,
or resisting a temptation, whom should we lean
upon, and why?
CYNTHIA’S* employer has already shut
down portions of his company and has
laid off several employees. Cynthia feels that
she will be the next to be let go. What will she
do if she loses her job? How will she pay her
bills? A Christian sister named Pamela wants
to move where the need for Kingdom proclaimers
is greater, but should she? A young
man named Samuel has a concern of another
sort. He was exposed to pornography at an
early age. Now in his 20’s, Samuel has a
strong temptation to go back to that habit.
How can he resist the pull?
*Names have been changed.
So Cynthia does not have unemployment insurance available…all 50 US states have such a program, what about other countries? Where I have lived, the federal and state governments have programs to train and place people in jobs teaching them how to upgrade their resume and be assigned a job counselor. Is the congregation going to pay her way…hardly…the elders are told to point such jws to government programs…where is God? Will elders point their members to food banks, used clothing stores, offer them a job? In the end it is human governments that help them not God or the congregation.
I suggest Pamela visit the area on vacation…how many on JWN found that things did not add up as advertised, including Bethel?
So was Samuel forced to look at this or was it his choice; was he a 5 year old and then this is called sexual abuse?
2 Whom do you lean upon when facing
distressing situations, making important decisions,
or resisting temptations? Do you rely
solely on yourself, or do you “throw your
burden upon Jehovah”? (Ps. 55:22) “The
eyes of Jehovah are toward the righteous
ones,” states the Bible, “and his ears are toward
their cry for help.” (Ps. 34:15) How important
it is, then, that we trust in Jehovah
with all our heart and that we do not lean
upon our own understanding!—Prov. 3:5.
Trust in God = trusting those who call themselves representatives of God…is their source of “wisdom” anything more than is available to any jw, Bible, WT publications? Can you depend on someone’s experience or age (see later in article)?
Trust in humans = the end is in 1914, 1925, 1940’s, 1975…….Did God tell men this?
What if jws had trusted in these statements in 1969 and 1974?
"If you are a young person, you also need to face the fact that you will never grow old in this present system of things. Why not? Because all the evidence in fulfillment of Bible prophecy indicates that this corrupt system is due to end in a few years. Of the generation that observed the beginning of the "last days" in 1914, Jesus foretold: "This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur."-Matt. 24:34. Therefore, as a young person, you will never fulfill any career that this system offers. If you are in highschool and thinking about a college education, it means at least four, perhaps even six or eight more years to graduate into a specialized career. But where will this system of things be by that time? It will be well on the way toward its finish, if not actually gone!" Awake!1969 May 22 p.15
"Today there is a great crowd of people who are confident that a destruction of even greater magnitude is now imminent. The evidence is that Jesus' prophecy will shortly have a major fulfilment, upon this entire system of things. This has been a major factor in influencing many couples to decide not to have children at this time." Awake! 1974 Nov 8 p.11
"Yes, since the summer of 1973 there have been new peaks in pioneers every month. Now there are 20,394 regular and special pioneers in the United States, an all-time peak. That is 5,190 more than there were in February 1973! A 34-percent increase! Does that not warm our hearts? Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world's end." Kingdom Ministry May 1974 p.3 How Are You Using Your Life?
3. (a) What does trusting in Jehovah involve?
(b) Why may some be inclined to lean upon their
3 Trusting in Jehovah with a complete
heart involves doing things his way, according
to his will. Central to doing so is our
continually approaching him in prayer and
making heartfelt requests for his guidance.
However, leaning completely upon Jehovah
presents a challenge for many. For example, a
Christian sister named Lynn admits, “Learning
to put my complete confidence in Jehovah
has been an ongoing struggle for me.”
Why? “I have no relationship with my father,”
she says, “and I have a mother who did
not care for me emotionally or physically. So
I very quickly learned to look after myself.”
Lynn’s background made it difficult for her
to trust anyone fully. Personal ability and
success can also cause a person to be self reliant.
Relying on his experience, an elder
may begin to care for matters involving the
congregation without first approaching God
I wonder what kind of relationship Lynn has with the males in the congregation? Can Lynn be confident that the congregation will fill her emotional and physical needs? Did they yours?
First praying or reading the NWT, WT pubs, and finally going to an elder who opens up his elder’s manual later to find the answer? Several elders (now ex) told me they were told that this manual was the guide, not scriptures. The WTS interprets what the Bible means even to the elders.
The elder’s manual reminds me of the Reasoning from the Scriptures book, which you can use and never open your bible because the WTS has included the scriptures that matter plus their explanation. No need to think.
4. What will be discussed in this article?
4 Jehovah expects us to make a sincere effort
to live up to our prayers and to act in harmony
with his will. How, then, can we
balance throwing our cares on him with putting
forth personal effort to resolve difficult
problems? When it comes to making decisions,
what caution must we exercise? Why is
prayer important when we are trying to resist
temptations? We will consider these questions
by reflecting on Scriptural examples.
His will = as explained by the WTS (remember 1914, 1925, 1975)
Do we succeed because of prayer or because of our “personal effort”?
“when…making decisions, what caution” making sure we never “stumble” any individual jw on the planet
When in Distress
5, 6. How did Hezekiah respond when he was
threatened by the king of Assyria?
5 Concerning King Hezekiah of Judah, the
Bible says: “He kept sticking to Jehovah. He
did not turn aside from following him, but
he continued keeping his commandments
that Jehovah had commanded Moses.” Yes,
“in Jehovah the God of Israel he trusted.”
(2 Ki. 18:5, 6) How did Hezekiah respond
when King Sennacherib of Assyria
sent his representatives—including Rabshakeh—
to Jerusalem along with a heavy military
force? The powerful Assyrian army had
already seized a number of fortified cities of
Judah, and Sennacherib had now set his eyes
on Jerusalem. Hezekiah went to the house of
Jehovah and began praying: “O Jehovah our
God, save us, please, out of his hand, that
all the kingdoms of the earth may know
that you, O Jehovah, are God alone.”—2 Ki.
Did Hezekiah obey or disobey his idolatrous father Ahaz? Did he follow the ones that claimed to be God’s anointed (Ahaz)? Or did he stick to what the Torah said? Didn’t he have to weigh what he was told about worship based on that?
*** it-1p.1102 Hezekiah***
When Hezekiah came to the throne the kingdom of Judah was under God’s disfavor, for Hezekiah’s father Ahaz had committed many detestable acts before Jehovah and had let the worship of false gods run unrestrained in Judah.
6 Hezekiah acted in harmony with his
prayer. Even before going up to the temple to
pray, he instructed the people not to respond
to Rabshakeh’s taunts. Hezekiah also
sent a delegation to Isaiah the prophet, seeking
his advice. (2 Ki.18:36; 19:1, 2) Hezekiah
took steps that he could rightly take. On this
occasion, he did not try to work out a solution that was
out of harmony with Jehovah’s
will by seeking support from Egypt or from
neighboring nations. Rather than lean upon
his own understanding, Hezekiah trusted in
Jehovah. After Jehovah’s angel struck down
185,000 of Sennacherib’s men, Sennacherib
“pulled away” and returned to Nineveh.
—2 Ki.19:35, 36.
It is important to note that Isaiah’s words were not popular with those who claimed to be God’s representatives. Eventually, they executed him.
So does God promise personal protection to jws today per the WTS?
7. What comfort can we derive from the prayers of
Hannah and Jonah?
7 Hannah, the wife of the Levite Elkanah,
also leaned upon Jehovah when she was in
distress over not being able to bear a child.
(1 Sam. 1:9-11, 18) The prophet Jonah was
delivered from the belly of a great fish after
he prayed: “Out of my distress I called out to
Jehovah, and he proceeded to answer me.
Out of the belly of Sheol I cried for help. You
heard my voice.” (Jonah 2:1, 2, 10) How
comforting it is to know that no matter how
dire our situation is, we can call out to Jehovah with
a “request for favor”!—Read Psalm
Elkanah was not worried being without child because of Hannah’s being barren, he had another wife who had children. Barren women were seen without worth, perhaps being made so by God.
Why didn’t God just give these individuals the power to endure like many jws are told by the elders; not to expect any change in the problem?
What if Hannah had not had children, would God’s “purpose” have been affected; if Jonah had died, God could have sent someone else to warn the Ninevites.
8, 9. What concerns were expressed in the prayers
of Hezekiah, Hannah, and Jonah, and what do we
learn from this?
8 The examples of Hezekiah, Hannah, and
Jonah also teach us a vital lesson about what
we should not fail to remember as we pray
while under duress. All three felt emotional
pain when they were in sore straits. Yet,
their prayers show that they were not concerned
about just themselves and getting relief
from their problems. God’s name, his
worship, and the doing of his will were matters
of utmost importance to them. Hezekiah
was pained that reproach was being
heaped upon Jehovah’s name. Hannah
promised to give in service at the tabernacle
in Shiloh the very son she had so desired.
And Jonah said: “What I have vowed, I will
“not concerned about themselves and getting relief from their problems. God’s name, his worship…utmost importance”
Have you or were you told by the elders and others that your problem was not important unless God’s purpose would be affected?
Perhaps they had this attitude:
(James 2:16) . . .If a brother or a sister is in a naked state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, yet a certain one of YOU says to them: “Go in peace, keep warm and well fed,” but YOU do not give them the necessities for [their] body, of what benefit is it?
9 When we pray for deliverance from a
troublesome situation, it is wise to examine
our motives. Are we concerned exclusively
with getting relief from the problem, or do
we keep Jehovah and his purpose in mind?
Personal suffering can easily cause us to get
so caught up in our own situation that concern
over spiritual matters fades into the
background. When praying to God for help,
let us keep our mind focused on Jehovah,
the sanctification of his name, and the vindication
of his sovereignty. Doing so can
help us to maintain a positive outlook even
if the solution that we hope for fails to materialize.
The answer to our prayers may be
that we need to endure the situation with
God’s help.—Read Isaiah 40:29; Philippians
Examine our motives? Want relief from our problem! Would God’s purpose fail if pain and illness were relieved? Caught up in our own situation….should we instead TELL people to be warm and well fed but not help them, and if humans should help how much more should God.
As you lay in agony with needles hooked up, should you feel guilty that you can’t get to the meetings that Sunday?
THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS MAY BE THAT WE NEED TO ENDURE THE SITUATION WITH GOD’S HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!
When Making Decisions
10, 11. What did Jehoshaphat do when confronted
with a situation that he did not know how to handle?
10 How do you make weighty decisions in
life? Do you perhaps decide first and then
pray to Jehovah to bless the decision you
have made? Consider what Jehoshaphat,
king of Judah, did when the combined
forces of the Moabites and the Ammonites
came up against him to wage war. Judah was
in no position to take a stand against them.
What action was Jehoshaphat to take?
Decide first then pray…negotiate with God like Abraham and Moses did?
Do we exhaust all human solutions before praying like he did?
Should jws expect miraculous deliverances? As a group—maybe; as individuals, no.
11 “Jehoshaphat became afraid and set his
face to search for Jehovah,” says the Bible.
He declared a fast for all Judah and collected
the people together “to inquire of Jehovah.”
Then he stood up in the congregation of Judah
and of Jerusalem and prayed. In part, he
pleaded: “O our God, will you not execute
judgment upon them? For in us there is no
power before this large crowd that is coming
against us; and we ourselves do not know
what we ought to do, but our eyes are toward
you.” The true God heard Jehoshaphat’s
prayer and provided a miraculous
deliverance. (2 Chron. 20:3-12, 17) When
making decisions, especially those that may
affect our spirituality, should we not rely on
Jehovah rather than lean upon our own understanding?
Where does it show that Jehoshaphat consulted God’s Word…fast and pray…how come jws don’t fast in their worship?
12, 13. What example did King David set in making
12 What should we do when confronted
with situations that may seem easier to resolve—
perhaps because past experience allows
us to think of a solution quickly? An
account involving King David provides insight
in this regard. When the Amalekites
raided the city of Ziklag, they carried off David’s
wives and children as well as those of
his men. David inquired of Jehovah, saying:
“Shall I chase after this marauder band?”
Jehovah replied: “Go in chase, for you will
without fail overtake them, and you will
without fail make a deliverance.” David
complied, and he “got to deliver all that
the Amalekites had taken.”—1 Sam. 30:7-9,
So we can’t rely on past experience, our own or others………….
***Jeremiah’s Day (2010) jrchap. 10pp.115-116 par.5***
A third way those Jews could have sought Jehovah was by learning through their personal experiences and those of others . Not that they had to learn everything through trial and error, but they could have benefited from considering what they themselves had done in the past and how Jehovah viewed the way they had acted. If they had been observant, they could have understood how God viewed their conduct.—Prov. 17:10.
I can see why jws have to research every time they consider a medical procedure because the “new light” comes along so often.
How did God talk directly to David…through the ephod (Urim and Thummim). What is the ephod then and today (per WTS)?
(1 Samuel 30:7-8) Hence David said to A·bi′a·thar the priest, the son of A·him′e·lech: “Do, please, bring the eph′od near to me.” And A·bi′a·thar came bringing the eph′od near to David. And David began to inquire of Jehovah, saying: “Shall I chase after this marauder band? Shall I overtake them?” At this he said to him: “Go in chase, for you will without fail overtake them, and you will without fail make a deliverance.”
*** w09 6/1 p.27***
It appears that the Urim and the Thummim were used in ancient Israel to discern Jehovah’s will in matters that concerned the nation or its leaders. These objects were entrusted to the high priest and were kept in the pouch of the “breastpiece of judgment.” (Exodus 28:15, 16, 30) Although the Scriptures never describe these objects or their exact method of use, different passages seem to imply that they were employed as lots that would result in either a “yes” answer, a “no” answer, or no answer at all from God.
I wonder if the GB sit around tossing dice to decide doctrine and prophecy?
Since in bible times only the high priest used this, and Jesus is the high priest, the GB do not qualify; Jewish tradition says it disappeared after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
13 Sometime after the Amalekite raid, the
Philistines came up against Israel. David
again inquired of Jehovah and received a
clear answer. God said: “Go up, for I shall
without fail give the Philistines into your
hands.” (2 Sam. 5:18, 19) Shortly thereafter,
the Philistines once more came up against
David. What would he do this time? He
could have reasoned: ‘I have faced a similar
situation twice before. Let me go up against
God’s enemies, as I did then.’ Or would David
seek Jehovah’s direction? David did not
rely on his past experience. He again went to
Jehovah in prayer. How glad he must have
been that he did! The instructions he received
this time were different. (2 Sam. 5:22,
23) When faced with a familiar situation or
problem, we must exercise caution that we
do not rely solely on past experience.—Read
David evidently thought that adultery and murder were okay; perhaps he should have realized that sometimes the instructions stay the same.
Yes, as a jw, be very careful, because the WTS is “adjusting” and “clarifying” God’s word every year.
Till 1929 – secular governments
1929-1962-God and Jesus
1967-1980—not okay, df’ing
Sodom and Gomorrah —have been in and out of Gehenna (eternal death) at least 7 times
14. What lesson can we draw from the way that
Joshua and the older men of Israel dealt with the
14 Being imperfect, all of us—even experienced
elders—need to be on guard against
failing to look to Jehovah for direction
when making decisions. Consider how Moses’
successor, Joshua, and the older men
of Israel responded when approached by
shrewd Gibeonites who disguised themselves
and pretended to have come from a
distant land. Without inquiring of Jehovah,
Joshua and others went ahead and made
peace with the Gibeonites, concluding a
covenant with them. Even though Jehovah
ultimately supported the agreement, he
made sure that this failure to seek his direction
was recorded in the Scriptures for our
Yes, elders, remember to consult that elder’s manual, then the CO and DO, and then call the “service desk.” You can pray but how will you know God’s answer without the Urim and Thummim?
The Israelites were told by God to destroy all the Canaanites, men, women, children, and sometimes even the livestock. By special dispensation, Rahab and her family survived, and the Israelites failed to carry out completely God’s command.
When Struggling to Resist Temptations
15. Explain why prayer is important in resisting
15 Having “sin’s law” within our members,
we need to put up a strong fight against
sinful inclinations. (Rom. 7:21-25) This is a
fight that can be won. How? Jesus told
his followers that prayer is vital in resisting
temptation. (Read Luke 22:40.) Even if
wrong desires or thoughts persist after we
have prayed to God, we need to “keep on
asking God” for wisdom to cope with this
trial. We are assured that “he gives generously
to all and without reproaching.” (Jas. 1:5)
James also writes: “Is there anyone [spiritually]
sick among you? Let him call the older
men of the congregation to him, and let
them pray over him, greasing him with oil in
the name of Jehovah. And the prayer of faith
will make the indisposed one well.”—Jas. 5:
Pray…resist temptation…asking GOD for wisdom, not humans…after all, all elders are imperfect right?
What kind of prayers do elders give when “helping” others? Does “spiritually sick” indicate moral sins or depression, sadness, discouragement?
16, 17. When seeking help to resist temptation,
when is the best time to pray?
16 Prayer is essential in resisting temptation,
but we must be cognizant of the need
to pray at the right time. Consider the case
of a certain young man mentioned at Proverbs
7:6-23. During the twilight hours, he is
walking down a street where an immoral
woman is known to live. Misled by her persuasiveness
and seduced by the smoothness
of her lips, he goes after her, like a bull that
comes to the slaughter. Why had this young
man gone there? Since he was “in want of
heart,” that is, inexperienced, he was likely
struggling with wrong desires. (Prov. 7:7)
When would prayer have benefited him the
most? Of course, praying to resist temptation
at any time during his encounter would
have been valuable. But the best time for
him to pray would have been when he first
had the idea of walking down that street.
Pray at the right time….I remember from AA, to call some for help before you drink, not after.
Did David pray the first time he saw Bathsheba bathing….? Does it have to be an immoral woman? Why doesn’t the WTS use this experience?
17 Today, a man may be trying hard to resist
viewing pornography. However, suppose
he were to visit Internet sites where he
knows there are provocative pictures or videos.
Would not his case be similar to that of
the young man referred to in Proverbs chapter 7?
What a dangerous path to begin walking
down! To resist temptation to view pornography,
a person needs to seek Jehovah’s
help in prayer before starting to go down that
route on the Internet.
Have you noticed that the WTS feels only men have a problem with pornography? Probably too many accidental visits to internet sites. Is it possible to block out these sites?
*** g03 7/22 p.3***
JOHN never intended to become addicted to ‘Internet sex.’ Like many other people who are accidentally exposed to pornography and sex chat rooms, he was using the Internet one day when he stumbled upon a site offering such chat rooms. Soon, he was completely absorbed in cybersex.
In resisting temptation, when is prayer most beneficial?
18, 19. (a) Why can resisting temptation be challenging,
but how can you meet the challenge successfully?
(b) What is your determination?
18 It is not easy to resist temptation or
overcome bad habits. “The flesh is against
the spirit in its desire,” wrote the apostle
Paul, “and the spirit against the flesh.”
Therefore, “the very things that [we] would
like to do [we] do not do.” (Gal. 5:17) To
meet this challenge, we need to pray fervently when wrong
thoughts or temptations first
come to mind and then act in harmony with
our prayers. “No temptation has taken you
except what is common to men,” and with
Jehovah’s help, we can remain faithful to
him.—1 Cor. 10:13.
Be sure to run to the elders and get yourself in a whole heap of trouble
You can bet that some of the elders are “accidentally” finding porn sites onlin.
19 Whether we are dealing with a difficult
situation, making a weighty decision, or
trying to resist temptation, Jehovah has given
us a wonderful gift—the precious provision
of prayer. By means of it, we demonstrate
our reliance on him. We should also
keep on asking God for his holy spirit, which
guides and strengthens us. (Luke 11:9-13)
And by all means, let us trust in Jehovah and
not lean upon our own understanding.
Praying to God is demonstrating reliance on him; running to the elders or other jws is relying on humans.
Be like the Bereans:
(Acts 17:11) . . .Now the latter were more noble-minded than those in Thes·sa·lo·ni′ca, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.
Do You Recall?
What did you learn from Hezekiah,
Hannah, and Jonah about trusting
How do the examples of David and
Joshua emphasize the need for caution
when making decisions?
When especially should we pray
It is no wonder jws know more about the OT than many people. They are guided to imitate Israelites, not Christians of the first century.
(1 Thessalonians 5:21) . . .Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine.