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References of Theocratic Ministry School Review March - April 2014
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Theocratic Ministry School Review March - April 2014
The following questions will be considered at the Theocratic Ministry School during the week beginning April 28, 2014.
1.- What enabled Joseph to flee from committing immorality with Potiphar’s wife? (Gen. 39:7-12) [Mar. 3, w13 2/15 p. 4 par. 6; w0710/15 p. 23 par. 16]^ (Gen. 39:7-12) Now after these things, the wife of his master began to cast her eyes on Joseph and say: “Lie down with me.” 8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife: “Here my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has entrusted everything he has into my care. 9 There is no one greater in this house than I am, and he has not withheld from me anything at all except you, because you are his wife. So how could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?”10 So day after day she spoke to Joseph, but he never consented to lie with her or to remain with her. 11 But on one of the days when he went into the house to do his work, none of the household servants were in the house. 12 Then she grabbed hold of him by his garment and said: “Lie down with me!” But he left his garment in her hand and fled outside.
^ ***w07 10/15 pp. 23-24 Hear the Voice From Within***
16 The account about Joseph in Potiphar’s house shows that. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph. Though he lived at a time when no Bible book had yet been written and the Ten Commandments had not been given, Joseph reacted by saying: “How could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9) He was not responding that way simply to please his family; they lived far away. He principally wanted to please God. Joseph knew God’s standard for marriage—one man for one woman, the two being “one flesh.” And he had likely heard of how Abimelech felt on learning that Rebekah was married—that to take her would be wrong, bringing guilt on his people. And, yes, Jehovah blessed the outcome in that case, showing his view of adultery. Joseph’s knowing all of that likely reinforced the proddings of his inherited conscience, moving him to reject sexual immorality.—Genesis 2:24; 12:17-19; 20:1-18; 26:7-14.
2.- How is Joseph a good example for those who face injustice and adversities? (Gen. 41:14, 39, 40) [Mar. 10, w04 1/15 p. 29 par. 6;w04 6/1 p. 20 par. 4]^ (Gen. 41:14) So Phar′aoh sent for Joseph, and they brought him quickly from the prison. He shaved and changed his clothes and went in to Phar′aoh.
^ (Gen. 41:39, 40) Phar′aoh then said to Joseph: “Since God has caused you to know all of this, there is no one as discreet and wise as you.40 You will personally be over my house, and all my people will obey you implicitly. Only in my role as king will I be greater than you.”
^ ***w04 1/15 p. 29 par. 6 Highlights From the Book of Genesis—II***
41:14-16, 39, 40. Jehovah can bring about a reversal of circumstances for those who fear him. When adversities strike, we are wise to put our trust in Jehovah and remain faithful to him.
^ ***w04 6/1 p. 20 Do Your Circumstances Control Your Life?***
While a slave in Egypt, Joseph had to resist the immoral advances of his master’s wife. Angry at being rejected, she falsely accused Joseph of trying to rape her. He was given “over to the prison house,” where “with fetters they afflicted his feet, into irons his soul came.” (Genesis 39:7-20; Psalm 105:17, 18) How trying this must have been! For about 13 years, Joseph was either a slave or a prisoner because of injustices brought on him by others, including members of his own family.—Genesis 37:2; 41:46.
3.- What basis was there for Joseph to extend mercy to his brothers? [Mar. 17, w99 1/1 p. 30 pars. 6-7]^ ***w99 1/1 p. 30 An Act of Forgiveness Opens the Way for Salvation***
Joseph’s mercy was not extended without a basis. He had already observed evidence of their repentance. For example, when Joseph accused his half brothers of being spies, he overheard them say among themselves: “Unquestionably we are guilty with regard to our brother . . . That is why this distress has come upon us.” (Genesis 42:21) Also, Judah had offered to become a slave in Benjamin’s place in order that the young man could be returned to his father.—Genesis 44:33, 34.
Hence, Joseph was justified in extending mercy. Indeed, he realized that doing so could result in the salvation of his entire family. Therefore, Joseph told his half brothers to return to their father, Jacob, and say to him: “This is what your son Joseph has said: ‘God has appointed me lord for all Egypt. Come down to me. Do not delay. And you must dwell in the land of Goshen, and you must continue near me, you and your sons and the sons of your sons and your flocks and your herds and everything you have. And I will supply you with food there.’”—Genesis 45:9-11.
4.- How did the tribe of Benjamin eventually fulfill the prophecy atGenesis 49:27? [Mar. 24, w12 1/1 p. 29, box]^ (Gen. 49:27) “Benjamin will keep on tearing like a wolf. In the morning he will eat the prey, and in the evening he will divide spoil.”
^ ***w12 1/1 p. 29 She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly***
A Prophecy Fulfilled
In fighting for God’s people, Esther and Mordecai fulfilled another Bible prophecy. Over a dozen centuries earlier, Jehovah inspired the patriarch Jacob to foretell regarding one of his sons: “Benjamin will keep on tearing like a wolf. In the morning he will eat the animal seized and at evening he will divide spoil.” (Genesis 49:27) In the “morning” of Israel’s kingly history, Benjamin’s descendants included King Saul and other mighty warriors for Jehovah’s people. In the “evening” of that royal history, after the sun had set on Israel’s kingly line, Esther and Mordecai, both of the tribe of Benjamin, warred effectively against Jehovah’s enemies. In a sense, they also divided spoil, in that Haman’s vast estate went to them.
5.- What does Exodus 3:7-10 teach us about Jehovah? [Mar. 31,w09 3/1 p. 15 pars. 3-6]^ (Ex. 3:7-10) Jehovah added: “I have certainly seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their outcry because of those who force them to work; I well know the pains they suffer. 8 I will go down to rescue them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a land good and spacious, a land flowing with milk and honey, the territory of the Ca′naan•ites, the Hit′tites, the Am′or•ites, the Per′iz•zites, the Hi′vites, and the Jeb′u•sites. 9 Now look! The outcry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen also the harsh way that the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 Now come, I will send you to Phar′aoh, and you will bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
^ ***w09 3/1 p. 15 “I Well Know the Pains They Suffer”***
The holy God had a reason for drawing Moses into conversation. God said: “Unquestionably I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their outcry as a result of those who drive them to work; because I well know the pains they suffer.” (Verse 7) God was not blind to the misery of his people; nor was he deaf to the voice of their pleadings. Rather, their anguish became his own. Notice that God said: “I well know the pains they suffer.” Regarding the words “I well know,” one reference work notes: “The expression implies personal feeling, tenderness, and compassion.” Jehovah’s words to Moses reveal a deeply concerned and caring God.
What would God do? He did not merely look with pity or hear with compassion. He was moved to act. He purposed to deliver his people out of Egypt and to bring them “to a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Verse 8) To that end, Jehovah commissioned Moses, saying: “Bring my people . . . out of Egypt.” (Verse 10) Faithful to that commission, Moses led Israel out of Egypt in 1513 B.C.E.
Jehovah has not changed. His worshippers today can be sure that he sees their adversities and hears their cries for help. He well knows the pains they suffer. But Jehovah does not just feel compassion for his devoted servants. The tender God is moved to act in their behalf “because he cares” for them.—1 Peter 5:7.
God’s compassion gives us reason for hope. With his help, we imperfect humans can attain a measure of holiness and become acceptable to him. (1 Peter 1:15, 16) One Christian woman who has struggled with depression and discouragement found comfort in the account about Moses’ experience at the thornbush. She says: “If Jehovah can make even the dirt holy, then maybe there is a little hope for me. This thought has helped me profoundly.”
6.- How did Jehovah live up to one aspect of the meaning of his name in the days of Moses? (Ex. 3:14, 15) [Mar. 31, w13 3/15 pp. 25-26 pars. 5-6]^ (Ex. 3:14, 15) So God said to Moses: “I Will Become What I Choose to Become.” And he added: “This is what you are to say to the Israelites, ‘I Will Become has sent me to you.’” 15 Then God said once more to Moses: “This is what you are to say to the Israelites, ‘Jehovah the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and this is how I am to be remembered from generation to generation.
^ ***w13 3/15 pp. 25-26 Honor Jehovah’s Great Name***
5 How did Jehovah reply to Moses’ question? In part, he said: “This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, ‘I SHALL PROVE TO BE has sent me to you.’” Then he added: “Jehovah the God of your forefathers . . . has sent me to you.” God revealed that he will become whatever he chooses to become so as to accomplish his purpose, that he will always prove true to his word. Hence, in verse 15 we read that Jehovah himself said: “This is my name to time indefinite, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation.” How that revelation must have strengthened Moses’ faith and filled him with awe!
JEHOVAH LIVED UP TO HIS NAME
6 Shortly after commissioning Moses, Jehovah fully lived up to his name by ‘proving to be’ Israel’s Deliverer. He humiliated Egypt with ten devastating plagues, at the same time exposing the Egyptian gods—including Pharaoh—as impotent. (Ex. 12:12) Then Jehovah opened up the Red Sea, led Israel through it, and drowned Pharaoh and his military force. (Ps. 136:13-15) In the “great and fear-inspiring wilderness,” Jehovah proved to be a Preserver of life as he provided food and water for his people, perhaps numbering from two to three million or more! He even caused their garments and their sandals not to wear out. (Deut. 1:19; 29:5) Yes, nothing can stop Jehovah from proving true to his incomparable name. He later stated to Isaiah: “I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.”—Isa. 43:11.
7.- According to Exodus 7:1, how was Moses made “like God to Pharaoh”? [Apr. 7, w04 3/15 p. 25 par. 7]^ (Ex. 7:1) Jehovah then said to Moses: “See, I have made you like God to Phar′aoh, and Aaron your own brother will become your prophet.
^ ***w04 3/15 p. 25 par. 7 Highlights From the Book of Exodus***
7:1—How was Moses made “God to Pharaoh”?Moses was given divine power and authority over Pharaoh. Hence, there was no need to be afraid of that king.
8.- Despite witnessing Jehovah’s saving power that delivered them from Egypt, what attitude did the Israelites later display, and what lesson can we learn? (Ex. 14:30, 31) [Apr. 14, w12 3/15 pp. 26-27 pars. 8-10]^ (Ex. 14:30, 31) Thus Jehovah saved Israel on that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.31 Israel also saw the great power that Jehovah wielded against the Egyptians, and the people began to fear Jehovah and to put faith in Jehovah and in his servant Moses.
^ ***w12 3/15 pp. 26-27 Do Not Look at “the Things Behind”***
8 Can you imagine the joy the Israelites felt as they marched out of the land of their slavery as free people? In a spectacular way, they had witnessed Jehovah’s power when he brought the Ten Plagues upon haughty Pharaoh and his people. (Read Exodus 6:1, 6, 7.) In fact, not only did the Egyptians finally allow the Israelites to go free but the Egyptians urged them to go, giving them so much gold and silver that it could be said that God’s people “stripped the Egyptians.” (Ex. 12:33-36) The Israelites further rejoiced when they saw the destruction of Pharaoh and his military forces in the Red Sea. (Ex. 14:30, 31) How faith-strengthening it should have been to witness such exciting events!
9 Unbelievably, though, within a short time of their miraculous deliverance, these same people began to grumble and murmur. About what? Food! They became dissatisfied with what Jehovah supplied and complained: “How we remember the fish that we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers and the watermelons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic! But now our soul is dried away. Our eyes are on nothing at all except the manna.” (Num. 11:5, 6) Yes, their viewpoint had become distorted—so much so that they even wanted to return to the land of their slavery! (Num. 14:2-4) The Israelites looked at the things behind and lost Jehovah’s favor.—Num. 11:10.
10 What is the lesson for us today? When faced with difficulties and problems, let us not fixate on what may appear to have been positive things in the past—perhaps even before we came to a knowledge of the truth. Although it is not wrong to meditate on the lessons we have learned from past experiences or to savor cherished memories, we need to maintain a balanced, realistic view of the past. Otherwise, we could accentuate our dissatisfaction with our present circumstances and be tempted to return to our former way of life.—Read 2 Peter 2:20-22.
9.- Why does the expression “carry you on wings of eagles” appropriately express how Jehovah lovingly dealt with the young nation of Israel? (Ex. 19:4) [Apr. 28, w96 6/15 p. 10 par. 5–p. 11 par. 2]^ (Ex. 19:4) ‘You have seen for yourselves what I did to the Egyptians, in order to carry you on wings of eagles and bring you to myself.
^ ***w96 6/15 pp. 10-11 Mounting Up With Wings Like Eagles***
In the Shadow of an Eagle’s Wings
One of the most dangerous periods of an eagle’s life is when it learns to fly. Not a few eagles die in the attempt. The fledgling Israelite nation was also in danger when it departed from Egypt. Thus the words of Jehovah to the Israelites were most fitting: “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, that I might carry you on wings of eagles and bring you to myself.” (Exodus 19:4) There are reports of eagles briefly carrying a young bird on its back so that the young one would not crash in its initial attempts to fly. G. R. Driver, commenting in thePalestine Exploration Quarterly on such reports, said: “The [Biblical] picture then is not a mere flight of fancy but is based on actual fact.”
Eagles are exemplary parents in other ways too. Not only do they provide the nestling with regular meals but the mother bird also carefully chops up the meat the male eagle brings to the nest so that the eaglet can swallow it. As their nests are usually built on cliffs or in tall trees, the young birds are exposed to the elements. (Job 39:27, 28) The scorching sun, common to Bible lands, could cause the death of the young bird were it not for the care of its parents. The adult eagle spreads out its wings, sometimes for hours at a time, in order to shade its tender nestling.
Thus it is very appropriate that the wings of an eagle are used in the Scriptures as a symbol of divine protection. Deuteronomy 32:9-12 describes how Jehovah protected the Israelites during their wilderness trek: “For Jehovah’s share is his people; Jacob is the allotment that he inherits. He came to find him in a wilderness land, and in an empty, howling desert. He began to encircle him, to take care of him, to safeguard him as the pupil of his eye. Just as an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its fledglings, spreads out its wings, takes them, carries them on its pinions, Jehovah alone kept leading him.” Jehovah will give us the same loving protection if we trust in him.
10.- How is it that Jehovah brings “punishment for the error of fathers” upon future generations? (Ex. 20:5) [Apr. 28, w04 3/15 p. 27 par. 1]^ (Ex. 20:5) You must not bow down to them nor be enticed to serve them, for I, Jehovah your God, am a God who requires exclusive devotion, bringing punishment for the error of fathers upon sons, upon the third generation and upon the fourth generation of those who hate me,
^ ***w04 3/15 p. 27 par. 1 Highlights From the Book of Exodus***
Scriptural Questions Answered:
20:5—How is it that Jehovah brings “punishment for the error of fathers” upon future generations?After reaching an age of responsibility, each individual is judged on the basis of his own conduct and attitude. But when the nation of Israel turned to idolatry, it suffered the consequences of this for generations thereafter. Even the faithful Israelites felt its effects in that the nation’s religious delinquency made staying on a course of integrity difficult for them.