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Congregation Bible Study | Study information for the book: Draw Close to Jehovah
cl chap. 28 ¶1-9 (30 min.)
“You Alone Are Loyal”
1, 2. Why can it be said that King David was no stranger to disloyalty?
KING DAVID was no stranger to disloyalty. At one point his tumultuous reign was beset by intrigue, with members of his own nation plotting against him. Furthermore, David was betrayed by some of those whom we would expect to have been his closest companions. Consider Michal, David’s first wife. Initially, she “was in love with David,” no doubt supporting him in his kingly endeavors. Later, however, she “began to despise him in her heart,” even considering David to be “just as one of the empty-headed men.”—1 Samuel 18:20; 2 Samuel 6:16, 20.
1 Samuel 18:20 Now Saul’s daughter Miʹchal was in love with David, and it was reported to Saul, and this pleased him.
2 Samuel 6:16 But when the Ark of Jehovah came into the City of David, Saul’s daughter Miʹchal looked down through the window and saw King David leaping and dancing around before Jehovah; and she began to despise him in her heart.
2 Samuel 6:20 When David returned to bless his own household, Saul’s daughter Miʹchal came out to meet him. She said: “How glorious the king of Israel made himself when he uncovered himself today before the eyes of the slave girls of his servants, just as an empty-headed man openly uncovers himself!”
2 Then there was David’s personal adviser, Ahithophel. His counsel was esteemed as if it were the direct word of Jehovah. (2 Samuel 16:23) But, in time, this trusted confidant turned traitor and joined in an organized rebellion against David. And who was the instigator of the conspiracy? Absalom, David’s own son! That scheming opportunist “kept stealing the hearts of the men of Israel,” setting himself up as a rival king. Absalom’s revolt gained so much momentum that King David was forced to flee for his life.—2 Samuel 15:1-6, 12-17.
2 Samuel 16:23 In those days the advice that A•hithʹo•phel gave was considered as the word of the true God. That was how all the advice of A•hithʹo•phel was esteemed, both by David and by Abʹsa•lom.
2 Samuel 15:1-6 After all these things, Abʹsa•lom acquired for himself a chariot and horses and 50 men to run before him. 2 Abʹsa•lom would rise up early and stand at the side of the road to the city gate. Whenever any man had a legal case that was to come to the king for judgment, Abʹsa•lom would call him and say: “From what city are you?” and he would say: “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” 3 Abʹsa•lom would say to him: “See, your claims are right and proper, but there is no one from the king to hear your case.” 4 Abʹsa•lom would say: “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then every man who has a legal case or judgment could come to me, and I would see that he receives justice.” 5 And when a man came near to bow down to him, Abʹsa•lom would extend his hand and grab hold of him and kiss him. 6 Abʹsa•lom would do this to all the Israelites who would come in to the king for judgment; so Abʹsa•lom kept stealing the hearts of the men of Israel.
2 Samuel 15:12-17 Further, when he offered the sacrifices, Abʹsa•lom sent for A•hithʹo•phel the Giʹlon•ite, David’s adviser, from his city Giʹloh. The conspiracy kept gaining momentum, and the people who supported Abʹsa•lom were growing in number. 13 In time an informer came to David, saying: “The heart of the men of Israel has turned to Abʹsa•lom.” 14 At once David said to all his servants with him in Jerusalem: “Get up, and let us run away, for none of us will escape from Abʹsa•lom! Hurry, for fear he may quickly overtake us and bring disaster on us and strike the city with the sword!” 15 The king’s servants replied to the king: “Whatever my lord the king decides, your servants are ready to do.” 16 So the king went out with all his household following him, but the king left ten concubines to take care of the house. 17 And the king continued on his way out with all the people following, and they stopped at Beth-merʹhak.
3. What confidence did David have?
3 Was there no one who remained loyal to David? Throughout all his adversity, David knew that indeed there was. Who? None other than Jehovah God. “With someone loyal you will act in loyalty,” David said of Jehovah. (2 Samuel 22:26) What is loyalty, and how does Jehovah provide the loftiest example of this quality?
2 Samuel 22:26 With someone loyal you act in loyalty;With the blameless, mighty man, you deal blamelessly;
What Is Loyalty?
4, 5. (a) What is “loyalty”? (b) How does loyalty differ from faithfulness?
4 “Loyalty” as used in the Hebrew Scriptures is kindness that lovingly attaches itself to an object and does not let go until its purpose in connection with that object is realized. More is involved than faithfulness. After all, a person might be faithful merely out of a sense of duty. In contrast, loyalty is rooted in love. Then, too, the word “faithful” can be applied to inanimate things. For example, the psalmist called the moon “a faithful witness in the skies” because of its regular nightly appearance. (Psalm 89:37) But the moon cannot be described as being loyal. Why? Because loyalty is an expression of love—something that inanimate things cannot display.
Psalm 89:37 Like the moon, it will be firmly established foreverAs a faithful witness in the skies.” (Selah)
The moon is called a faithful witness, but only intelligent living creatures can truly reflect Jehovah’s loyalty
5 In its Scriptural sense, loyalty is warm. Its very manifestation indicates that a relationship exists between the person who displays the quality and the one toward whom it is shown. Such loyalty is not fickle. It is not like waves of the sea blown about by changing winds. On the contrary, loyalty, or loyal love, has the stability and strength to overcome the most daunting of obstacles.
6. (a) How rare is loyalty among humans, and how is this indicated in the Bible? (b) What is the best way to learn what loyalty entails, and why?
6 Granted, such loyalty is rare today. All too often, close companions are “disposed to break one another to pieces.” Increasingly, we hear of spouses who abandon their mates. (Proverbs 18:24; Malachi 2:14-16) Treacherous acts are so common that we might find ourselves echoing the words of the prophet Micah: “The loyal one has perished from the earth.” (Micah 7:2) Although humans often fail to show loving-kindness, loyalty outstandingly characterizes Jehovah. In fact, the best way to learn just what loyalty entails is to examine how Jehovah displays this grand facet of his love.
Proverbs 18:24 There are companions ready to crush one another,But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Malachi 2:14-16 And you say, ‘For what reason?’ It is because Jehovah has acted as a witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously, although she is your partner and your wife by covenant. 15 But there was one who did not do it, for he had what remained of the spirit. And what was that one seeking? The offspring of God. So guard yourselves respecting your spirit, and do not deal treacherously with the wife of your youth. 16 For I hate divorce,” says Jehovah the God of Israel, “and the one who covers his garment with violence,” says Jehovah of armies. “And guard yourselves respecting your spirit, and you must not deal treacherously.
Micah 7:2 2 The loyal one has perished from the earth;Among men there is no one upright. All of them lie in ambush for bloodshed. Each hunts his own brother with a dragnet.
Jehovah’s Matchless Loyalty
7, 8. How can it be said that Jehovah alone is loyal?
7 The Bible says of Jehovah: “You alone are loyal.” (Revelation 15:4) How can that be? Have not both humans and angels at times displayed remarkable loyalty? (Job 1:1; Revelation 4:8) And what of Jesus Christ? Is he not God’s chief “loyal one”? (Psalm 16:10) How, then, can it be said that Jehovah alone is loyal?
Revelation 15:4 Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name, for you alone are loyal? For all the nations will come and worship before you, because your righteous decrees have been revealed.”
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. He was an upright man of integrity; he feared God and shunned what was bad.
Revelation 4:8 As for the four living creatures, each one of them had six wings; they were full of eyes all around and underneath. And continuously, day and night, they say: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is coming.”
Psalm 16:10 For you will not leave me in the Grave. You will not allow your loyal one to see the pit.
8 First of all, remember that loyalty is a facet of love. Since “God is love”—he being the very personification of this quality—who could display loyalty more completely than Jehovah? (1 John 4:8) Really, angels and humans may reflect God’s attributes, but only Jehovah is loyal to the superlative degree. As “the Ancient of Days,” he has been displaying loving-kindness longer than any creature, earthly or heavenly. (Daniel 7:9) Hence, Jehovah is the very epitome of loyalty. He displays this quality in a manner that no creature can match. Consider some examples.
1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.
Daniel 7:9 “I kept watching until thrones were set in place and the Ancient of Days sat down. His clothing was white like snow, and the hair of his head was like clean wool. His throne was flames of fire; its wheels were a burning fire.
9. How is Jehovah “loyal in all his works”?
9 Jehovah is “loyal in all his works.” (Psalm 145:17) In what way? Psalm 136 provides an answer. There a number of Jehovah’s saving acts are cited, including the dramatic deliverance of the Israelites through the Red Sea. Significantly, each verse of this psalm is punctuated with the phrase: “For his loving-kindness [or, loyalty] is to time indefinite.” This psalm is included in the Questions for Meditation on page 289. As you read those verses, you cannot help but be struck by the many ways in which Jehovah demonstrated loving-kindness toward his people. Yes, Jehovah displays loyalty to his faithful servants by hearing their cries for help and by taking action at the appointed time. (Psalm 34:6) Jehovah’s loyal love for his servants does not waver as long as they remain loyal to him.
Psalm 145:17 Jehovah is righteous in all his waysAnd loyal in all that he does.
Psalm 136:1-26 Give thanks to Jehovah, for he is good;His loyal love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods,For his loyal love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,For his loyal love endures forever. 4 He alone does great wonders,For his loyal love endures forever. 5 He skillfully made the heavens,For his loyal love endures forever. 6 He spread out the earth over the waters,For his loyal love endures forever. 7 He made the great lights,For his loyal love endures forever, 8 The sun to rule over the day,For his loyal love endures forever, 9 The moon and the stars to rule over the night,For his loyal love endures forever. 10 He struck down Egypt’s firstborn,For his loyal love endures forever. 11 He brought Israel out from their midst,For his loyal love endures forever,12 With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm,For his loyal love endures forever. 13 He split the Red Sea in two,For his loyal love endures forever. 14 He caused Israel to pass through the middle of it,For his loyal love endures forever. 15 He shook off Pharʹaoh and his army into the Red Sea,For his loyal love endures forever. 16 He led his people through the wilderness,For his loyal love endures forever. 17 He struck down great kings,For his loyal love endures forever. 18 He killed mighty kings,For his loyal love endures forever,19 Siʹhon the king of the Amʹor•ites,For his loyal love endures forever,20 And Og the king of Baʹshan,For his loyal love endures forever. 21 He gave their land as an inheritance,For his loyal love endures forever,22 An inheritance to Israel his servant,For his loyal love endures forever. 23 He remembered us when we were low,For his loyal love endures forever. 24 He kept rescuing us from our adversaries,For his loyal love endures forever. 25 He gives food to every living thing,For his loyal love endures forever. 26 Give thanks to the God of the heavens,For his loyal love endures forever.
Psalm 34:6 6 This lowly one called, and Jehovah heard. He saved him from all his distresses.
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