Congregation Bible Study ‒ Week starting may 18

Study information for the book: Draw Close to Jehovah

cl chap. 24 ¶18-21, box on p. 249 (30 min.)

CHAPTER 24

NOTHING CAN “SEPARATE US FROM GOD’S LOVE”


18, 19. (a) What is the most intimate way in which Jehovah demonstrates his love for us, and what shows that he cares for this personally? (b) How does God’s Word assure us that Jehovah is an empathetic listener?

18 Perhaps it is through the privilege of prayer that we experience Jehovah’s love in the most intimate way. The Bible invites each of us to “pray incessantly” to God. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) He listens. He is even called the “Hearer of prayer.” (Psalm 65:2) He has not delegated this office to anyone else, not even to his own Son. Just think: The Creator of the universe urges us to approach him in prayer, with freeness of speech. And what kind of listener is he? Cold, impassive, uncaring? Not at all.
par. 18 (1 Thess. 5:17) Pray constantly.
par. 18 (Ps. 65:2) O Hearer of prayer, to you people of all sorts will come.

19 Jehovah is empathetic. What is empathy? One faithful elderly Christian said: “Empathy is your pain in myheart.” Is Jehovah really affected by our pain? We read regarding the sufferings of his people Israel: “During all their distress it was distressing to him.” (Isaiah 63:9) Not only did Jehovah see their troubles; he felt for the people. Just how intensely he feels is illustrated by Jehovah’s own words to his servants: “He that is touching you is touching my eyeball.”* (Zechariah 2:8) How painful that would be! Yes, Jehovah feels for us. When we hurt, he hurts.
par. 19 (Isa. 63:9) During all their distress it was distressing to him. And his own personal messenger saved them. In his love and compassion he repurchased them, And he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
par. 19 (Zech. 2:8) For this is what Jehovah of armies says, who after being glorified has sent me to the nations that were plundering you: ‘Whoever touches you touches the pupil of my eye.

par. 19 Some translations here imply that the one touching God’s people is touching his own eye or Israel’s eye, not God’s eye. This error was introduced by some scribes who viewed this passage as irreverent and therefore emended it. Their misguided effort obscured the intensity of Jehovah’s personal empathy.

20. What unbalanced thinking must we avoid if we are to obey the counsel found at Romans 12:3?
(Rom. 12:3) For through the undeserved kindness given to me, I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think, but to think so as to have a sound mind, each one as God has given to him a measure of faith.
20 No balanced Christian would use such evidence of God’s love and esteem as an excuse for pride or egotism. The apostle Paul wrote: “Through the undeserved kindness given to me I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think; but to think so as to have a sound mind, each one as God has distributed to him a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3) Another translation says here: “I would say to every one of you not to estimate himself above his real value, but to make a sober rating of himself.” (A Translation in theLanguage of the People, by Charles B. Williams) So while we bask in the warmth of our heavenly Father’s love, let us be sound in mind and remember that we neither earn nor deserve God’s love.—Luke 17:10.
par. 20 (Rom. 12:3) For through the undeserved kindness given to me, I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think, but to think so as to have a sound mind, each one as God has given to him a measure of faith.
par. 20 (Luke 17:10) Likewise, when you have done all the things assigned to you, say: ‘We are good-for-nothing slaves. What we have done is what we ought to have done.’”

21. What satanic lies must we continually resist, and with what divine truth may we continue to assure our hearts?

21 Let each of us do everything in our power to reject all of Satan’s lies, including the lie that we are worthless or unlovable. If your experiences in life have taught you to see yourself as an obstacle too daunting even for God’s immense love to surmount, or your good works as too insignificant even for his all-seeing eyes to notice, or your sins as too vast even for the death of his precious Son to cover, you have been taught a lie. Reject such lies with all your heart! Let us continue to assure our hearts with the truth expressed in Paul’s inspired words: “I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Romans 8:38, 39.
par. 21 (Rom. 8:38, 39) For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers 39 nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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