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Congregation Bible Study ‒ Week Starting April 27

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Study information for the book: Draw Close to Jehovah

cl chap. 23 ¶19-23, box on p. 239 (30 min.

CHAPTER 23

“He First Loved Us”


Jehovah Took the Initiative

19. Why might it be said that love played a key role in Jehovah’s creative work?

19 Love is not new. After all, what moved Jehovah to begin creating? It was not that he was lonely and needed companionship. Jehovah is complete and self-contained, lacking nothing that someone else might supply. But his love, an active quality, naturally moved him to want to share the joys of life with intelligent creatures who could appreciate such a gift. “The beginning of the creation by God” was his only-begotten Son. (Revelation 3:14) Then Jehovah used this Master Worker to bring all other things into existence, starting with the angels. (Job 38:4, 7; Colossians 1:16) Blessed with freedom, intelligence, and feelings, these mighty spirits had the opportunity to form loving attachments of their own—with one another and, above all, with Jehovah God. (2 Corinthians 3:17) Thus, they loved because they were loved first.
Revelation 3:14 the angel of the congregation in La•o•di•ceʹa write: These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God:
Job 38:4 were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you think you understand.
Job 38:7 the morning stars joyfully cried out together,And all the sons of God began shouting in applause?
Colossians 1:16 by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Jehovah is the Spirit, and where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.

20, 21. Adam and Eve were exposed to what evidence that Jehovah loved them, yet how did they respond?

20 So it was with mankind as well. From the start, Adam and Eve were virtually bathed in love. Everywhere they looked in their Paradise home in Eden, they could see evidence of the Father’s love for them. Note what the Bible says: “Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.” (Genesis 2:8) Have you ever been in a truly beautiful garden or park? What pleased you most? The light filtering through the leaves in a shady alcove? The stunning array of colors in a bed of flowers? The background music of a gurgling brook, singing birds, and humming insects? What about the scents of trees, fruits, and blossoms? In any case, no park today could compare with the one in Eden. Why?
Genesis 2:8 Jehovah God planted a garden in Eʹden, toward the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
21 That garden was planted by Jehovah himself! It must have been indescribably lovely. Every tree delightful for beauty or for delicious fruit was there. The garden was well watered, spacious, and alive with a fascinating variety of animals. Adam and Eve had everything to make their lives happy and full, including rewarding work and perfect companionship. Jehovah first loved them, and they had every reason to respond in kind. Yet, they failed to do so. Instead of lovingly obeying their heavenly Father, they selfishly rebelled against him.—Genesis, chapter 2.
Genesis 2:1-25 Thus the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed. 2 And by the seventh day, God had completed the work that he had been doing, and he began to rest on the seventh day from all his work that he had been doing. 3 And God went on to bless the seventh day and to declare it sacred, for on it God has been resting from all the work that he has created, all that he purposed to make. 4 This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven. 5 No bush of the field was yet on the earth and no vegetation of the field had begun sprouting, because Jehovah God had not made it rain on the earth and there was no man to cultivate the ground. 6 But a mist would go up from the earth, and it watered the entire surface of the ground. 7 And Jehovah God went on to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living person. 8 Further, Jehovah God planted a garden in Eʹden, toward the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 Thus Jehovah God made to grow out of the ground every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food and also the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. 10 Now there was a river flowing out of Eʹden to water the garden, and from there it divided into four rivers. 11 The name of the first is Piʹshon; it is the one encircling the entire land of Havʹi•lah, where there is gold. 12 The gold of that land is good. Bdellium gum and onyx stone are also there. 13 The name of the second river is Giʹhon; it is the one encircling the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Hidʹde•kel; it is the one going to the east of As•syrʹi•a. And the fourth river is the Eu•phraʹtes. 15 Jehovah God took the man and settled him in the garden of Eʹden to cultivate it and to take care of it. 16 Jehovah God also gave this command to the man: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. 17 But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will certainly die.” 18 Then Jehovah God said: “It is not good for the man to continue to be alone. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him.” 19 Now Jehovah God had been forming from the ground every wild animal of the field and every flying creature of the heavens, and he began bringing them to the man to see what he would call each one; and whatever the man would call each living creature, that became its name. 20 So the man named all the domestic animals and the flying creatures of the heavens and every wild animal of the field, but for man there was no helper as a complement of him. 21 So Jehovah God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took one of his ribs and then closed up the flesh over its place. 22 And Jehovah God built the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman, and he brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said: “This is at last bone of my bonesAnd flesh of my flesh. This one will be called Woman,Because from man she was taken.” 24 That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 And both of them continued to be naked, the man and his wife; yet they were not ashamed.

22. How did Jehovah’s response to the rebellion in Eden prove that his love is loyal?

22 How painful that must have been for Jehovah! But did this rebellion embitter his loving heart? No! “His loving-kindness [or, “loyal love,” footnote] is to time indefinite.” (Psalm 136:1) Thus, he immediately purposed to make loving provisions to redeem any rightly disposed offspring of Adam and Eve. As we have seen, those provisions included the ransom sacrifice of his beloved Son, which cost the Father so dearly.—1 John 4:10.
Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to Jehovah, for he is good;His loyal love endures forever.
1 John 4:10 love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.

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