|We can learn something about God when we are concerned with people like Jacob, who saw “God face to face.” (Gen. 32:30) True, “Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the older men of Israel proceeded to go up, and they got to see the God of Israel.” – Ex. 24:9, 10.
||Someone who has seen God face to face surely would be able to teach us many things about him. But “no man has seen God at any time.” (John 1:18) Paul clearly wrote that “not one of men has seen or can see” him. (1. Tim. 6:16) Jehovah himself said: “No man may see me and yet live.” – Ex. 33:20.|
|It is obvious that Jehovah wants to be seen by men. The apostle Paul wrote that he “dwells in … light.” (1. Tim. 6:16) John also stated that God “himself is in the light” and “there is no darkness at all in union with him.” (1. John 1:6, 7) Jesus made clear that Jehovah is always approachable:: “Everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking it will be opened.” (Luke 11:10) Jehovah himself said: “Those looking for me are the ones that find me.” (Pr. 8:17) It is not difficult to get to know something about God.
||It is obvious that Jehovah does not want to be seen by men. David wrote that Jehovah “made darkness his concealment place, all around him as his booth, dark waters, thick clouds.” (Ps. 18:11) His son Solomon said: “Jehovah himself said he was to reside in the thick gloom.” (1. Ki. 8:12) He made clear that there will come a day where he will not be approachable: “At that time they will keep calling me, but I shall not answer; they will keep looking for me, but they will not find me.” (Pr. 1:28) It is not easy to get to know something about God.|
|All people have equal chances, “for there is no partiality with God.” (Rom. 2:11) In another letter, the apostle Paul wrote “that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34, 35) So, we can be absolutely sure that we can approach God and get to know him.
||Not all people have equal chances. When Jacob and Esau “had not yet been born nor had practiced anything good or vile, in order that the purpose of God respecting the choosing might continue dependent, not upon works, but upon the One who calls, it was said …: ‘The older will be the slave of the younger.’ Just as it is written.” (Rom. 11:9-13) Likewise, Canaan had been “cursed” even before his birth. (Gen. 9:25) So, we cannot be sure at all if we can approach God and get to know him.|
|Mankind really has the most favorable circumstances for a good relationship with God. “Everything he had made” – including mankind – “was very good.” (Gen. 1:31) And he “is not … a son of mankind that he should feel regret.” (Num. 23:19) Samuel said to Saul: “He will not feel regrets, for He is not an earthling man so as to feel regrets.” – 1. Sam. 15:29.
||Mankind really has no favorable circumstances for a good relationship with God. Even shortly after completing creation, “Jehovah saw that the badness of man was abundant in the earth. … And Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth.” – Gen. 6:5, 6.|
|Early in human history, he gave a perfect law to the nation of Israel through which they could gain life. David wrote: “The law of Jehovah is perfect, bringing back the soul.” And “Moses writes that the man that has done the righteousness of the Law will live by it.” – Rom. 10:5.
||Early in human history, he gave an imperfect law to the nation of Israel. Later, he said: “I myself also gave them regulations that were not good and judicial decisions by which they could not keep living.” (Eze. 20:25, footnote) “Therefore by works of law no flesh will be declared righteous before him.” – Rom. 3:20.|
|We can get to know Jehovah through the Bible, for “all Scripture is inspired of God.” (2. Ti. 3:16) Its writers “spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.” (2. Pet. 1:21) Hence, it is important to adhere closely to the Bible in all questions.
||We can get to know Jehovah through the Bible, but not all of its content is inspired by God. For example, the apostle Paul acknowledged “I say, yes, I, not the Lord …” (1. Cor. 7:12) Jesus also implied that some commands from the Mosaic Law had not come from God. – Mark 10:3-6.|
|So, what should we do if the Bible’s advice does not conform to our personal opinion? Wise Solomon advises us: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding.” (Pr. 3:5) So, instead of listening to our own mind and our treacherous heart, we should fully trust in the Bible’s advice. To rely on our own understanding may lead to ruin.
||So, what should we do if the Bible’s advice does not conform to our personal opinion? Jehovah tells us through Jeremiah: “Behave with understanding.” (Jer. 9:17) And the apostle Paul advises us: “Let your reasonableness become known to all men.” (Phil. 4:5) Indeed, it can be unreasonable to take the Bible’s rules literally – they were written thousands of years ago for a totally different cultural sphere. We should rely to our heart and our own understanding to make a good decision.|
|What does the Bible tell us about Jehovah? The apostle Paul mentions one of his outstanding qualities when he calls him “the God who gives peace.” (Rom. 15:33) True, “God is a God, not of disorder, but of peace.” (1. Cor. 14:33) Since we should “become imitators of God,” we also must work towards peace. Isaiah foretold about God’s servants: “Neither will they learn war anymore.” – Is. 2:4.
||What does the Bible tell us about Jehovah? Moses mentions one of his outstanding qualities: “Jehovah is a manly person of war (‘a warrior’, NIV).” (Ex. 15:3) He said regarding his enemies: “I will dash them one against another. … I shall show no compassion, nor feel any sorrow, and I shall not have the mercy to keep from bringing them to ruin.” (Jer. 13:14) Since we should “become imitators of God,” we must not refrain from fighting against his enemies. We could consider a military career to “put on the complete suit of armor” and be prepared for God’s war. – Eph. 6:11.|
|Jehovah does not become provoked easily. He is “slow to anger … pardoning error and transgression and sin.” (Ex. 34:6, 7) James wrote “that Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.” (James 5:11) “He is good, for to time indefinite is his loving-kindness.” (1. Chr. 16:34) He declared: “I do not take any delight in the death of someone.” (Eze. 18:32) True, “Jehovah is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness.” (Ps. 103:8) Let us imitate him by being merciful to our fellow men. Let us help them to survive God’s day of judgment instead of rejoicing at their annihilation.
||Jehovah does become provoked easily. The psalmist wrote: “His anger flares up easily.” (Ps. 2:12) When the Philistines brought back the Ark of the Covenant and the men of Beth-Shemesh looked upon it, “he struck down among the people seventy men” and then “fifty thousand men,” he “struck down the people with a great slaughter.” (1. Sam. 6:19) Many hundred years after the Amalekites showed a hostile attitude towards Israel, Jehovah commanded Saul: “Go, and you must strike down Amalek and devote him to destruction with all that he has, and you must not have compassion upon him, and you must put them to death, man as well as woman, child as well as suckling.” (1. Sam. 15:3) Let us imitate Jehovah by not having compassion upon our fellow men. Rather, let us rejoice that he will execute judgment against all worldlings.|
|It is surely comforting for us to know that God does never bring temptations upon his servants. The apostle James wrote: “When under trial, let no one say: ‘I am being tried by God.’ For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.” (James 1:13) The “tempter” is Satan the Devil. (Mat. 4:1-3) It was him who incited David to number Israel; the count revealed that there were 1,570,000 men and led to a three-year famine where 70,000 Israelites died. (1. Chr. 21:1, 5, 14) So, we should be on the guard against Satan.
||It is surely daunting for us to know that God does bring temptations upon his servants. Jesus taught his disciples to ask Jehovah on every occasion: “Do not bring us into temptation.” (Mat. 6:13) Even Moses explained to the nation of Israel: “Jehovah your God is testing you.” (Deut. 13:3) Hundreds of years before, “the true God put Abraham to the test.” (Gen. 22:1) It was him who incited David to number Israel; the count revealed that there were 1,300,000 men and led to a seven-year famine where 70,000 Israelites died. (2. Sam. 24:1, 9, 13, Footnote) So, we should be on the guard against Jehovah.|
|Jehovah said with regard to other nations‘ customs: “Everything detestable to Jehovah that he does hate they have done to their gods, for even their sons and their daughters they regularly burn in the fire.” (Deut. 12:30, 31) True, human sacrifices are an abomination for Jehovah. He clearly said that “to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire” was “a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart.” (Jer. 7:31) Under no circumstances, he would accept or even require a human sacrifice. In ancient times, he wanted animals as sacrifice, and today it is the “sacrifice of praise” that makes him rejoice. – Heb. 13:15.
||Jehovah’s command to Abraham was clearly defined: “Take, please, your son, your only son whom you so love, Isaac, and make a trip to the land of Moriah and there offer him up as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall designate to you.” (Gen. 22:2) Jehovah required Abraham to burn his son in the fire and offer him as a sacrifice. On this occasion, he intervened at the last minute and prevented the offering. (Gen. 22:12) But later, Jehovah accepted a human sacrifice. “There came to be a famine in the days of David for three years.” Jehovah told David: “Upon Saul and upon his house there is bloodguilt, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” (2. Sam. 21:1) David accepted the Gibeonites’ suggestion to take “seven men of his sons,” and “he gave them into the hand of the Gibeonites and they proceeded to expose them on the mountain before Jehovah, so that the seven of them fell together; and they themselves were put to death. … So God let himself be entreated for the land after this.” (2. Sam. 21:7, 9, 14) Likewise, Christian parents of our day can offer their apostate children as a burnt offering to Jehovah. That may be contrary to worldly law, but “we must obey God as ruler rather than men.” – Acts 5:29.|
|Jehovah is not in need of putting people to the test or tempting them, as the apostles prayed: “You, O Jehovah, who know the hearts of all.” (Acts 1:24) And David said to God: “You have considered my thought from far off. … You have become familiar even with all my ways.” (Ps. 139:2, 3) The creator does not need to go anywhere in order to see something. “The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, keeping watch upon the bad ones and the good ones.” (Pr. 15:3) “There is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight.” – Heb. 4:13.
||Jehovah had to put Abraham to the test in order to get to know his state of heart. Only when he applied the knife to put his son to death, Jehovah said to him: “Now I do know that you are God-fearing.” (Gen. 22:12) He could also not see from heaven what actually happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. Hence, he said to Abraham: “I am quite determined to go down that I may see whether they act altogether according to the outcry over it that has come to me, and, if not, I can get to know it.” (Gen. 18:21) Even before, shortly after the flood, “Jehovah proceeded to go down to see the city and the tower that the sons of men had built.” – Gen. 11:5.|
|Jehovah “does not dwell in houses made with hands.” (Acts 7:48) The apostle Paul confirmed this fact to the inhabitants of Athens (Acts 17:24) “Jehovah – in the heavens is his throne.” (Ps. 11:4) Should not the fact that he can watch us always and everywhere fill us with awe? At the same time, we can be sure that he can hear our prayers, regardless of where we are.
||Jehovah said about the temple in Jerusalem: “My eyes and my heart will certainly prove to be there always.” (2. Chr. 7:16) Jehovah’s eyes are in Israel up to now. Hence, he cannot see what happens elsewhere on earth. We can feel unobserved when we live outside Israel. However, we should offer our prayers in or at least near Jerusalem. When Jerusalem was devastated and Daniel lived at Cyrus’ court, he prayed with “the windows in his roof chamber being open for him toward Jerusalem.” – Dan. 6:10.|
|The apostle Paul wrote that “it is impossible for God to lie”; he called Jehovah the God “who cannot lie.” (Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2) Indeed, “God is not a man that he should tell lies.” (Nu. 23:19) Therefore, we too “wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things.” (Heb. 13:18) “All the liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur.” – Rev. 21:8.
||God makes use of lies to reach his accomplish his goals. Paul wrote about his contemporaries: “God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie.” (2. Th. 2:11) Hundreds of years before, the prophet Micaiah said to King Ahab: “Jehovah has put a deceptive spirit into the mouth of all these prophets.” (1. Kings 22:23) Like the prophet Elisha, we too can lie if it boots. – 2. Kings 6:19.|
|Are we not grateful that God’s word provides clear and distinct answers to many important questions?
||Are we not grateful that God’s word provides clear and distinct answers to many important questions?|