Congregation Bible Study - Week Starting february 23

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Study information for the book: Draw Close to Jehovah

cl chap. 20 ¶16-21, box on p. 207 (30 min.)

CHAPTER 20

“Wise in Heart”—Yet Humble

How Jehovah Displays Reasonableness

16. How did Jehovah show reasonableness in dealing with Lot prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?

16 Consider again the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot and his family received explicit instructions from Jehovah’s angel: “Escape to the mountainous region.” However, this did not appeal to Lot. “Not that, please, Jehovah!” he begged. Convinced that he would die if he had to flee to the mountains, Lot pleaded that he and his family be allowed to flee to a nearby city named Zoar. Now, Jehovah had intended to destroy that city. Furthermore, Lot’s fears had no real basis. Surely Jehovah could preserve Lot alive in the mountains! Nonetheless, Jehovah yielded to Lot’s pleas and spared Zoar. “Here I do show you consideration to this extent also,” the angel told Lot. (Genesis 19:17-22) Was that not reasonable on Jehovah’s part?
Genesis 19:17-22 soon as they had brought them to the outskirts, he said: “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you and do not stand still in any part of the district! Escape to the mountainous region so that you may not be swept away!” 18 Then Lot said to them: “Not there, please, Jehovah! 19 Please, now, your servant has found favor in your eyes and you are showing great kindness to me by preserving me alive, but I am not able to flee to the mountainous region because I am afraid that disaster may overtake me and I will die. 20 Please, now, this town is nearby and I can flee there; it is only a small place. May I, please, escape there? It is only a small place. Then I will survive.” 21 So he said to him: “Very well, I will also show you consideration by not overthrowing the town you speak of. 22 Hurry! Escape there, because I cannot do anything until you arrive there!” That is why he named the town Zo′ar.

17, 18. In dealing with the Ninevites, how did Jehovah show that he is reasonable?

17 Jehovah also responds to heartfelt repentance, always doing what is merciful and right. Consider what occurred when the prophet Jonah was sent to the wicked, violent city of Nineveh. When Jonah marched through the streets of Nineveh, the inspired message he proclaimed was quite simple: The mighty city would be destroyed in 40 days. However, circumstances changed dramatically. The Ninevites repented!—Jonah, chapter 3.
Jonah 3:1-10 Then the word of Jehovah came to Jo′nah a second time, saying: 2 “Get up, go to Nin′e•veh the great city, and proclaim to her the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jo′nah got up and went to Nin′e•veh in obedience to the word of Jehovah. Now Nin′e•veh was a very large city—a walking distance of three days. 4 Then Jo′nah entered the city, and walking a day’s journey, he was proclaiming: “In just 40 days more, Nin′e•veh will be overthrown.” 5 And the men of Nin′e•veh put faith in God, and they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. 6 When the message reached the king of Nin′e•veh, he rose up from his throne and took off his royal garment and covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the ashes. 7 Furthermore, he issued a proclamation throughout Nin′e•veh,“By the decree of the king and his nobles: No man or beast, herd or flock, should eat anything at all. They should not take food, nor should they drink any water. 8 Let them be covered with sackcloth, both man and beast; and let them call out earnestly to God and turn from their evil ways and from the violence they practice. 9 Who knows whether the true God may reconsider what he intends to do and turn from his burning anger, so that we may not perish?” 10 When the true God saw what they did, how they had turned back from their evil ways, he reconsidered the calamity that he said he would bring on them, and he did not bring it.

18 It is instructive to compare how Jehovah reacted with how Jonah reacted to this turn of events. In this instance, Jehovah adapted, causing himself to become a Forgiver of sins instead of “a manly person of war.” (Exodus 15:3) Jonah, on the other hand, was inflexible and far less merciful. Rather than reflecting Jehovah’s reasonableness, he responded more like the freight train or the supertanker mentioned earlier. He had proclaimed doom, so doom it must be! Patiently, though, Jehovah taught his impatient prophet a memorable lesson in reasonableness and mercy.—Jonah, chapter 4.
Exodus 15:3 is a powerful warrior. Jehovah is his name.
Jonah 4:1-11 But this was highly displeasing to Jo′nah, and he became hot with anger. 2 So he prayed to Jehovah: “Ah, now, Jehovah, was this not my concern when I was in my own land? That is why I tried to flee to Tar′shish in the first place; for I knew that you are a compassionate and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loyal love, one who feels grieved over calamity. 3 Now, O Jehovah, please take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 Jehovah asked: “Is it right for you to be so angry?” 5 Jo′nah then went out of the city and sat down east of the city. He made a shelter for himself there and sat in its shade to see what would happen to the city. 6 Jehovah God then provided a bottle-gourd plant to grow up over Jo′nah, to give him shade for his head and to relieve his misery. And Jo′nah was very pleased with the bottle-gourd plant. 7 But the true God sent a worm at the break of dawn on the next day, and it attacked the bottle-gourd plant, and it withered. 8 When the sun began to shine, God also sent a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jo′nah’s head, and he grew faint. He kept asking to die, and he kept saying, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 God asked Jo′nah: “Is it right for you to be so angry over the bottle-gourd plant?” At that he said: “I have a right to be angry, so angry that I want to die.” 10 But Jehovah said: “You felt sorry for the bottle-gourd plant, which you did not work for, nor did you make it grow; it grew in one night and perished in one night. 11 Should I not also feel sorry for Nin′e•veh the great city, in which there are more than 120,000 men who do not even know right from wrong, as well as their many animals?”

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