Draw Close to Jehovah | Bible Study: June 15

Study information for the book: Draw Close to Jehovah



1-3. (a) What heavy burden did the psalmist David carry, and how did he find comfort for his troubled heart? (b) When we sin, what burden may we carry as a result, but of what does Jehovah assure us?

“MY OWN errors have passed over my head,” wrote the psalmist David. “Like a heavy load they are too heavy for me. I have grown numb and become crushed to an extreme degree.” (Psalm 38:4, 8) David knew how heavy the burden of a guilty conscience could be. But he found comfort for his troubled heart. He understood that while Jehovah hates sin, He does not hate the sinner if that one is truly repentant and rejects his sinful course. With full faith in Jehovah’s willingness to extend mercy to repentant ones, David said: “You, O Jehovah, are . . . ready to forgive.”—Psalm 86:5.
Psalm 38:4 4 For my errors loom over my head;Like a heavy burden, they are too much for me to bear.
Psalm 38:8 8 I have grown numb and become completely crushed;My anguished heart makes me groan aloud.
Psalm 86:5 5 For you, O Jehovah, are good and ready to forgive;You abound in loyal love for all those who call on you.

2 When we sin, we too may carry the crushing burden of a pained conscience. This feeling of remorse is healthy. It can move us to take positive steps to correct our mistakes. There is, however, a danger of becoming overwhelmed by guilt. Our self-condemning heart might insist that Jehovah will not forgive us, no matter how repentant we are. If we become “swallowed up” by guilt, Satan may try to get us to give up, to feel that Jehovah views us as worthless, unfit to serve him.—2 Corinthians 2:5-11.
2 Corinthians 2:5-11 Now if anyone has caused sadness, he has saddened, not me, but all of you to an extent—not to be too harsh in what I say. 6 This rebuke given by the majority is sufficient for such a man; 7 now you should instead kindly forgive and comfort him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by excessive sadness. 8 I therefore exhort you to confirm your love for him. 9 For this is also why I wrote to you: to determine whether you would give proof of your obedience in all things. 10 If you forgive anyone for anything, I do also. In fact, whatever I have forgiven (if I have forgiven anything) has been for your sake in Christ’s sight, 11 so that we may not be overreached by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his designs.

3 Is that how Jehovah views matters? Not at all! Forgiveness is a facet of Jehovah’s great love. In his Word, he assures us that when we manifest genuine, heartfelt repentance, he is willing to forgive. (Proverbs 28:13) Lest Jehovah’s forgiveness ever seem unattainable to us, let us examine why and how he forgives.
Proverbs 28:13 The one covering over his transgressions will not succeed,But whoever confesses and abandons them will be shown mercy.

Why Jehovah Is “Ready to Forgive”

4. What does Jehovah remember about our nature, and how does this affect the way he treats us?

4 Jehovah is aware of our limitations. “He himself well knows the formation of us, remembering that we are dust,” says Psalm 103:14. He does not forget that we are creatures of dust, having frailties, or weaknesses, as a result of imperfection. The expression that he knows “the formation of us” reminds us that the Bible likens Jehovah to a potter and us to the clay vessels he forms. (Jeremiah 18:2-6) The Great Potter tempers his dealings with us according to the frailty of our sinful nature and the way we respond or fail to respond to his guidance.
Psalm 103:14 For he well knows how we are formed,Remembering that we are dust.
Jeremiah 18:2-6 “Rise up and go down to the house of the potter, and there I will cause you to hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the house of the potter, and he was working on the potter’s wheels. 4 But the vessel that the potter was making with the clay was spoiled in his hand. So the potter reworked it into another vessel, just as he saw fit. 5 Then the word of Jehovah came to me, saying: 6 “‘Can I not do to you just as this potter did, O house of Israel?’ declares Jehovah. ‘Look! As the clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

5. How does the book of Romans describe sin’s powerful grip?

5 Jehovah understands how powerful sin is. His Word describes sin as a potent force that has man in its deadly grip. Just how strong is sin’s hold? In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul explains: We are “under sin,” as soldiers are under their commander (Romans 3:9); sin has “ruled” over mankind like a king (Romans 5:21); it “resides,” or is “dwelling,” within us (Romans 7:17, 20); its “law” is continually at work in us, in effect trying to control our course. (Romans 7:23, 25) What a powerful hold sin has on our fallen flesh!—Romans 7:21, 24.
Romans 3:9 What then? Are we in a better position? Not at all! For above we have made the charge that Jews as well as Greeks are all under sin;
Romans 5:21 To what end? So that just as sin ruled as king with death, so also undeserved kindness might rule as king through righteousness leading to everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 7:17 But now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that resides in me.
Romans 7:20 If, then, I do what I do not wish, I am no longer the one carrying it out, but it is the sin dwelling in me.
Romans 7:23 but I see in my body another law warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive to sin’s law that is in my body.
Romans 7:25 Thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So, then, with my mind I myself am a slave to God’s law, but with my flesh to sin’s law.
Romans 7:21 I find, then, this law in my case: When I wish to do what is right, what is bad is present with me.
Romans 7:24 Miserable man that I am! Who will rescue me from the body undergoing this death?

6, 7. (a) How does Jehovah view those who seek his mercy with a contrite heart? (b) Why should we not presume on God’s mercy?

6 Hence, Jehovah knows that perfect obedience is not possible for us, no matter how earnestly we may yearn to give it to him. He lovingly assures us that when we seek his mercy with a contrite heart, he will extend forgiveness. Psalm 51:17 says: “The sacrifices to God are a broken spirit; a heart broken and crushed, O God, you will not despise.” Jehovah will never reject, or turn away, a heart that is “broken and crushed” by the burden of guilt.
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices pleasing to God are a broken spirit;A heart broken and crushed, O God, you will not reject.

7 Does this mean, though, that we can presume on God’s mercy, using our sinful nature as an excuse to sin? Certainly not! Jehovah is not guided by mere sentiment. His mercy has limits. He will by no means forgive those who hardheartedly practice willful sin, not showing any repentance. (Hebrews 10:26) On the other hand, when he sees a contrite heart, he is ready to forgive. Let us now consider some of the expressive language used in the Bible to describe this marvelous facet of Jehovah’s love.
Hebrews 10:26 For if we practice sin willfully after having received the accurate knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left,

How Completely Does Jehovah Forgive?

8. What does Jehovah, in effect, do when he pardons our sins, and what confidence does this give us?

8 A repentant David said: “My sin I finally confessed to you, and my error I did not cover. . . . And you yourself pardoned the error of my sins.” (Psalm 32:5) The term “pardoned” translates a Hebrew word that basically means “lift up” or “carry.” Its use here signifies to take away “guilt, iniquity, transgression.” So Jehovah, in effect, lifted up David’s sins and carried them away. This no doubt eased the feelings of guilt that David had been carrying. (Psalm 32:3) We too can have full confidence in the God who carries away the sins of those who seek his forgiveness on the basis of their faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice.—Matthew 20:28.
Psalm 32:5 5 Finally I confessed my sin to you;I did not cover my error. I said: “I will confess my transgressions to Jehovah.” And you pardoned the error of my sins. (Selah)
Psalm 32:3 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away because of my groaning all day long.
Matthew 20:28 Just as the Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his life as a ransom in exchange for many.”

9. How far away from us does Jehovah put our sins?

9 David used another vivid expression to describe Jehovah’s forgiveness: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Italics ours; Psalm 103:12, The Amplified Bible) How far is east from west? In a sense, east is always at the utmost distance imaginable from west; the two points can never meet. One scholar notes that this expression means “as far as possible; as far as we can imagine.” David’s inspired words tell us that when Jehovah forgives, he puts our sins as far away from us as we can imagine.
Psalm 103:12 As far off as the sunrise is from the sunset,So far off from us he has put our transgressions.

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