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Congregation Bible Study ‒ Week starting may 11

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Study information for the book: Draw Close to Jehovah

cl chap. 24 ¶11-17 (30 min.)

CHAPTER 24

NOTHING CAN “SEPARATE US FROM GOD’S LOVE”

Jehovah Sifts the Good From the Bad

11. What may we learn about Jehovah from the way he handled the case of Abijah?

11 Third, as Jehovah searches through us, he carefully sifts, looking for the good. For instance, when Jehovah decreed that the entire apostate dynasty of King Jeroboam was to be executed, He ordered that one of the king’s sons, Abijah, be given a decent burial. Why? “Something good toward Jehovah the God of Israel has been found in him.” (1 Kings 14:1, 10-13) Jehovah, in effect, sifted through the heart of that young man and found “something good” there. However small or insignificant that bit of good may have been, Jehovah found it worth noting in his Word. He even rewarded it, showing an appropriate degree of mercy to that one member of an apostate household.
par. 11 (1 Ki. 14:1) At that time A•bi′jah the son of Jer•o•bo′am fell sick.
par. 11 (1 Ki. 14:10-13) For that reason I am bringing calamity on the house of Jer•o•bo′am, and I will annihilate from Jer•o•bo′am every male, including the helpless and weak in Israel, and I will make a clean sweep of the house of Jer•o•bo′am, just as one clears away the dung until it is all gone! 11 Anyone belonging to Jer•o•bo′am who dies in the city, the dogs will eat; and anyone who dies in the field, the birds of the heavens will eat, for Jehovah has spoken it.”’ 12 “Now rise up; go to your house. When you set foot in the city, the child will die. 13 All Israel will mourn him and bury him, for he alone of Jer•o•bo′am’s family will be laid in a grave, because he is the only one of the house of Jer•o•bo′am in whom Jehovah the God of Israel has found something good.

12, 13. (a) How does the case of King Jehoshaphat show that Jehovah looks for the good in us even when we sin? (b) When it comes to our good works and qualities, how does Jehovah act as a fond Parent?

12 An even more positive example may be found in good King Jehoshaphat. When the king committed a foolish act, Jehovah’s prophet told him: “For this there is indignation against you from the person of Jehovah.” What a sobering thought! But Jehovah’s message did not end there. It went on: “Nevertheless, there are good things that have been found with you.” (2 Chronicles 19:1-3) So Jehovah’s righteous anger did not blind him to the good in Jehoshaphat. How unlike imperfect humans! When upset with others, we may tend to become blind to the good in them. And when we sin, the disappointment, shame, and guilt that we feel may blind us to the good in ourselves. Remember, though, that if we repent of our sins and strive hard not to repeat them, Jehovah forgives us.
par. 12 (2 Chron. 19:1-3) Then King Je•hosh′a•phat of Judah returned safely to his own house in Jerusalem.2 Je′hu the son of Ha•na′ni the visionary went out to meet him and said to King Je•hosh′a•phat: “Is it the wicked you should be helping, and is it those who hate Jehovah you should love? Because of this the indignation of Jehovah is against you. 3 Nevertheless, there are good things that have been found in you, because you cleared out the sacred poles from the land and you have prepared your heart to search for the true God.”

13 As Jehovah sifts through you, he discards such sins, much the way a prospector panning for gold discards worthless gravel. What about your good qualities and works? Ah, these are the “nuggets” he keeps! Have you ever noticed the way fond parents treasure their children’s drawings or school projects, sometimes for decades after the children have forgotten them? Jehovah is the fondest Parent. As long as we remain faithful to him, he neverforgets our good works and qualities. In fact, he would view it as unrighteous to forget these, and he is never unrighteous. (Hebrews 6:10) He also sifts us in another way.
par. 13 (Heb. 6:10) For God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name by ministering and continuing to minister to the holy ones.

14, 15. (a) Why do our imperfections never blind Jehovah to the good in us? Illustrate. (b) What will Jehovah do with the good things he finds in us, and how does he view his faithful people?

14 Jehovah looks beyond our imperfections and sees our potential. To illustrate: People who love works of art will go to great lengths to restore badly damaged paintings or other works. When, for example, in the National Gallery in London, England, someone with a shotgun damaged a Leonardo da Vinci drawing worth some $30 million, no one suggested that since the drawing was now damaged, it should be discarded. Work to restore the nearly 500-year-old masterpiece began immediately. Why? Because it was precious in the eyes of art lovers. Are you not worth more than a chalk and charcoal drawing? In God’s eyes you certainly are—however damaged you may be by inherited imperfection. (Psalm 72:12-14) Jehovah God, the skilled Creator of the human family, will do what is necessary to restore to perfection all of those who respond to his loving care.—Acts 3:21; Romans 8:20-22.
par. 14 (Ps. 72:12-14) For he will rescue the poor who cry for help, Also the lowly one and whoever has no helper. 13 He will have pity on the lowly and the poor, And the lives of the poor he will save. 14 From oppression and from violence he will rescue them, And their blood will be precious in his eyes.
par. 14 (Acts 3:21) Heaven must hold this one within itself until the times of restoration of all things of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets of old.
par. 14 (Rom. 8:20-22) For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but through the one who subjected it, on the basis of hope 21 that the creation itself will also be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 For we know that all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now.

15 Yes, Jehovah sees the good in us that we may not see in ourselves. And as we serve him, he will make the good grow until we are eventually perfect. No matter how Satan’s world has treated us, Jehovah values his faithful servants as desirable, or precious.—Haggai 2:7; footnote.
par. 15 (Hag. 2:7) “‘And I will shake all the nations, and the precious things of all the nations will come in; and I will fill this house with glory,’ says Jehovah of armies.

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