Theocratic Ministry School Review | week starting october 26, 2015

Study information for Theocratic Ministry School Review

The following questions will be considered at the Theocratic Ministry School during the week beginning October 26, 2015.

1. How does the account at 2 Kings 13:18, 19 illustrate the importance of being zealous and wholehearted in serving God? [Sept. 7, w10 4/15 p. 26 par. 11]

2 Kings 13:18, 19

18 He continued: “Take the arrows,” and he took them. Then he said to the king of Israel: “Strike the ground.” So he struck the ground three times and stopped. 19 At that the man of the true God grew indignant at him and said: “You should have struck the ground five or six times! Then you would have struck down Syria until you finished it off, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.”+

Are You Fully Following the Christ?

11. What Bible account illustrates the importance of being zealous and wholehearted in serving God?
11 To illustrate the importance of being zealous in God’s service, note an event that took place in the life of King Jehoash of Israel. Concerned over the apparent fate of Israel at the hands of Syria, Jehoash came weeping to Elisha. The prophet instructed him to shoot an arrow out the window toward Syria, indicating victory by Jehovah’s hand against that nation. This certainly should have invigorated the king. Elisha next told Jehoash to take his arrows and strike the earth with them. Jehoash struck the earth three times. Elisha was incensed at this, for striking the earth five or six times would have indicated “striking down Syria to the finishing point.” Now Jehoash would enjoy only three partial victories. Because he acted with a lack of zeal, Jehoash experienced limited success. (2 Kings 13:14-19) What lesson can we learn from that account? Jehovah will abundantly bless us only if we do his work wholeheartedly and with zeal.

2. Who was reigning in Israel when Jonah served as a prophet, and what can we appreciate about Jonah’s ministry in view of what is recorded at 2 Kings 14:23-25? [Sept. 7, w09 1/1 p. 25 par. 4]

2 Kings 14:23-25

23 In the 15th year of Am•a•ziʹah the son of Je•hoʹash the king of Judah, Jer•o•boʹam+ the son of King Je•hoʹash of Israel became king in Sa•marʹi•a, and he reigned for 41 years. 24 He continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes. He did not depart from all the sins that Jer•o•boʹam the son of Neʹbat had caused Israel to commit.+ 25 He restored the boundary of Israel from Leʹbo-haʹmath*+ clear to the Sea of the Arʹa•bah,*+ according to the word that Jehovah the God of Israel spoke through his servant Joʹnah+ the son of A•mitʹtai, the prophet from Gath-heʹpher.+

He Learned From His Mistakes

At 2 Kings 14:25, we learn a little about Jonah’s background. He was from Gath-hepher, just two and a half miles [4 km] from Nazareth, the town where Jesus Christ would grow up some eight centuries later.* Jonah served as a prophet during the reign of King Jeroboam II of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. The time of Elijah was long past; his successor, Elisha, had died during the reign of Jeroboam’s father. Although Jehovah had used those men to wipe out Baal worship, Israel was willfully going astray again. The land was now under the influence of a king who “continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes.” (2 Kings 14:24) So Jonah’s service could not have been easy or pleasant. Yet, he carried it out faithfully.

3. How did Ahaz demonstrate his lack of trust in God’s word spoken through the prophet Isaiah, and what question might we ask ourselves when making important decisions? (2 Ki. 16:7) [Sept. 14, w13 11/15 p. 17 par. 5]

2 Kings 16:7

7 So Aʹhaz sent messengers to King Tigʹlath-pil•eʹser+ of As•syrʹi•a, saying: “I am your servant and your son. Come up and save me from the hand of the king of Syria and the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.”

Seven Shepherds, Eight Dukes—What They Mean for Us Today

5. What foolish decision did King Ahaz make?
5 While Israel and Syria were focusing on Judah, another nation, a militaristic one, had ambitions toward the region. It was the rising world power of Assyria. According to Isaiah 8:3, 4, Assyria would carry off “the resources of Damascus” and “the spoil of Samaria” before attacking the southern kingdom of Judah. Instead of trusting in God’s word through Isaiah, faithless Ahaz entered into a disastrous pact with the Assyrians, which ultimately led to Judah’s being oppressed by them. (2 Ki. 16:7-10) What a disappointment Ahaz was as a shepherd of Judah! We might ask ourselves, ‘When I have important decisions to make, do I put my trust in God or in men?’—Prov. 3:5, 6.

4. What tactic used by the Rabshakeh is being used by opposers of God’s people today, and what quality can help us to reject the false reasoning of opposers? (2 Ki. 18:22, 25) [Sept. 14, w10 7/15 p. 13 pars. 3-4]

2 Kings 18:22

22 And if you should say to me, ‘We trust in Jehovah our God,’+ is he not the one whose high places and altars Hez•e•kiʹah has removed,+ while he says to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You should bow down before this altar in Jerusalem’?”’+

2 Kings 18:25

25 Now is it without authorization from Jehovah that I have come up against this place to destroy it? Jehovah himself said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it.’”

“Do Not Be Afraid. I Myself Will Help You”

Rabshakeh used cunning reasoning in an effort to plant doubts. He said: “Is [Jehovah] not the one whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has removed? . . . Jehovah himself said to me, ‘Go up against this land, and you must bring it to ruin.’” (2 Ki. 18:22, 25) Thus Rabshakeh argued that Jehovah would not fight for His people because He was displeased with them. But the opposite was true. Jehovah was pleased with Hezekiah and the Jews who had returned to true worship.—2 Ki. 18:3-7.
Today, scheming persecutors may share bits of truthful information with which they aim to establish common ground, but they subtly intersperse that truth with lies, hoping to plant doubts. For example, imprisoned brothers and sisters have at times been told that a brother taking the lead in their country compromised and it would therefore also be all right for them to do so and to give up their convictions. However, such reasoning fails to raise doubts in Christians who are discerning.

5. How can Josiah’s example of humility help us to benefit more fully from our Bible reading and study? (2 Ki. 22:19, 20, ftn.) [Sept. 21, w00 3/1 p. 30 par. 2]

2 Kings 22:19, 20

19 because your heart was responsive* and you humbled yourself+ before Jehovah on hearing what I have spoken against this place and its inhabitants—that they would become an object of horror and a curse—and you ripped your garments apart+ and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares Jehovah. 20 That is why I will gather you to your ancestors,* and you will be laid in your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the calamity that I will bring on this place.’”’” Then they brought the reply to the king.

Searching for Jehovah With a Prepared Heart

Humility is a vital factor in having a prepared heart because it makes us teachable and helps us to accept more readily loving counsel and correction. Consider the fine example of King Josiah. During his reign a document containing God’s Law given through Moses was found. When Josiah heard the words of the Law and realized how far his forefathers had strayed from pure worship, he ripped his garments apart and wept before Jehovah. Why did God’s Word so deeply touch the king’s heart? The account says that his heart was “soft,” so that he humbled himself upon hearing Jehovah’s words. Jehovah noted Josiah’s humble, receptive heart and blessed him accordingly.—2 Kings 22:11, 18-20.

6. How has archaeology confirmed the existence of the two kings mentioned at 2 Kings 25:27-30? [Sept. 28, w12 6/1 p. 5 pars. 2-3]

2 Kings 25:27-30

27 And in the 37th year of the exile of King Je•hoiʹa•chin+ of Judah, in the 12th month, on the 27th day of the month, King Eʹvil-merʹo•dach of Babylon, in the year he became king, released* King Je•hoiʹa•chin of Judah from prison.+ 28 He spoke kindly with him and put his throne higher than the thrones of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Je•hoiʹa•chin took off his prison garments, and he regularly ate before him all the days of his life. 30 A regular allowance of food was given him from the king, day after day, all the days of his life.

History, Not Myth

AN EXAMPLE: The Bible reports that “Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon . . . took [Judean King] Jehoiachin into exile to Babylon.” Later, “Evil-merodach the king of Babylon, in the year of his becoming king, raised up the head of Jehoiachin the king of Judah out of the house of detention.” Furthermore, “an allowance was constantly given him [Jehoiachin] from the king, daily as due, all the days of his life.”—2 Kings 24:11, 15; 25:27-30.
WHAT ARCHAEOLOGISTS HAVE DISCOVERED: Among the ruins of ancient Babylon, archaeologists uncovered administrative documents dated to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II. They list rations given to prisoners and others dependent on the royal household. The lists include “Yaukin [Jehoiachin],” who was the “king of the land of Yahud (Judah),” and his household. What about the existence of Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, Evil-merodach? An inscription on a vase found near the city of Susa reads: “Palace of Amil-Marduk [Evil-merodach], King of Babylon, son of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.”

7. What three requests did Jabez make of Jehovah, and what does this teach us about prayer? (1 Chron. 4:9, 10) [Oct. 5, w10 10/1 p. 23]

1 Chronicles 4:9, 10

9 Jaʹbez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother named him Jaʹbez,* saying: “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jaʹbez called on the God of Israel, saying: “O that you would bless me and enlarge my territory and let your hand be with me and preserve me from calamity, so that it may bring no harm to me!” So God brought about what he had asked for.

A “Hearer of Prayer”

Draw Close to God
A “Hearer of Prayer”
1 CHRONICLES 4:9, 10
DOES Jehovah God really answer the sincere prayers of devoted worshippers? The Bible account about a little-known man named Jabez shows that Jehovah is indeed the “Hearer of prayer.” (Psalm 65:2) This brief account is found in what might seem an unlikely place—in the midst of the genealogical lists that open the book of First Chronicles. Let us examine 1 Chronicles 4:9, 10.
All that we know about Jabez is found in these two verses. According to verse 9, his mother “called his name Jabez, saying: ‘I have given him birth in pain.’”* Why did she choose such a name? Did she bring forth this son with more than the usual birth pangs? Was she perhaps a widow, lamenting the fact that her husband was not there to welcome their baby into the world? The Bible does not say. But this mother would someday have reason to be especially proud of this son. Jabez’ siblings may have been upright men, but “Jabez came to be more honorable than his brothers.”
Jabez was a man of prayer. He began his prayer by pleading for God’s blessing. He then made three requests that reflect a heart full of faith.
First, Jabez implored God, saying: “Enlarge my territory.” (Verse 10) This honorable man was no land-grabber, coveting what belonged to his fellow man. His earnest request may have had more to do with people than land. He may have been asking for the peaceful enlargement of his territory so that it could hold more worshippers of the true God.*
Second, Jabez pleaded for God’s “hand” to be with him. God’s symbolic hand is his applied power, which he uses to help his worshippers. (1 Chronicles 29:12) To receive the requests of his heart, Jabez looked to the God whose hand is not short toward those who show faith in him.—Isaiah 59:1.
Third, Jabez prayed: “Preserve me from calamity, that it may not hurt me.” The expression “that it may not hurt me” may suggest that Jabez prayed, not to escape calamity, but to be kept from being grieved or overcome by the effects of evil.
Jabez’ prayer revealed his concern for true worship and his faith and trust in the Hearer of prayer. How did Jehovah respond? This brief account concludes with the words: “Accordingly God brought to pass what he had asked.”
The Hearer of prayer has not changed. He delights in the prayers of worshippers. Those who place their faith and trust in him may have this confidence: “No matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us.”—1 John 5:14.

8. How can the outcome of the war described at 1 Chronicles 5:18-22 strengthen us to carry on our spiritual warfare courageously? [Oct. 12, w05 10/1 p. 9 par. 7]

1 Chronicles 5:18-22

18 The Reuʹben•ites, the Gadʹites, and the half tribe of Ma•nasʹseh had 44,760 mighty warriors in their army who carried shields and swords and were armed with bows,* and they were trained in war. 19 They waged war against the Hagʹrites,+ Jeʹtur, Naʹphish,+ and Noʹdab. 20 And they were helped in fighting them, so that the Hagʹrites and all who were with them were given into their hand, for they called to God for help in the war, and he responded to their entreaty because they trusted in him.+ 21 They captured their livestock—50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep, and 2,000 donkeys—as well as 100,000 people.* 22 Many had fallen slain, because the war was waged by the true God.+ And they lived in their place until the time of the exile.+

Highlights From the Book of First Chronicles

5:10, 18-22. In the days of King Saul, the tribes east of the Jordan defeated the Hagrites even though these tribes were outnumbered more than 2 to 1. This was because the valiant men of these tribes trusted in Jehovah and looked to him for help. Let us have complete confidence in Jehovah as we carry on our spiritual warfare against formidable odds.—Ephesians 6:10-17.

9. Why was David able to understand and respect the spirit of Jehovah’s law on the sanctity of blood, and what should David’s example move us to do? (1 Chron. 11:17-19) [Oct. 19, w12 11/15 pp. 6-7 pars. 12-14]

1 Chronicles 11:17-19

17 Then David expressed his longing: “If only I could have a drink of the water from the cistern by the gate of Bethʹle•hem!”+ 18 At that the three forced their way into the camp of the Phi•lisʹtines and drew water from the cistern by the gate of Bethʹle•hem and brought it to David; but David refused to drink it and poured it out to Jehovah. 19 He said: “It is unthinkable on my part from the standpoint of my God to do this! Should I drink the blood of these men who risked their lives?*+ For it was at the risk of their lives* that they brought it.” So he refused to drink it. These are the things that his three mighty warriors did.

“Teach Me to Do Your Will”

12, 13. Why did David pour out the water that three of his men brought to him?
12 David’s appreciation for the principles reflected in the Law and his desire to live by them are also worthy of imitation. Consider what happened when David expressed his craving for “a drink of the water from the cistern of Bethlehem.” Three of David’s men forced their way into the city—then occupied by the Philistines—and brought back the water. However, “David did not consent to drink it, but poured it out to Jehovah.” Why? David explained: “It is unthinkable on my part, as regards my God, to do this! Is it the blood of these men that I should drink at the risk of their souls? For it was at the risk of their souls that they brought it.”—1 Chron. 11:15-19.
13 David knew from the Law that blood should be poured out to Jehovah and not eaten. He also understood why this should be done. David knew that “the soul of the flesh is in the blood.” However, this was water, not blood. Why did David refuse to drink it? He appreciated the principle behind the legal requirement. To David, the water was as precious as the blood of the three men. Therefore, it was unthinkable for him to drink the water. Instead of drinking it, he concluded that he should pour it out on the ground.—Lev. 17:11; Deut. 12:23, 24.
14. What helped David to have Jehovah’s view on matters?
14 David tried to be completely absorbed in God’s law. He sang: “To do your will, O my God, I have delighted, and your law is within my inward parts.” (Ps. 40:8) David studied God’s law and meditated deeply on it. He trusted in the wisdom of Jehovah’s commandments. As a result, David was anxious to observe not only the letter but also the spirit of the Mosaic Law. When we study the Bible, we are wise to meditate on what we read and store it in our heart so that we can determine what pleases Jehovah in a particular case.

10. What did David neglect to do when he attempted to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, and what vital lesson can we learn from this account? (1 Chron. 15:13) [Oct. 26, w03 5/1 pp. 10-11 pars. 11-13]

1 Chronicles 15:13

13 Since you did not carry it the first time,+ the anger of Jehovah our God broke out against us,+ because we did not search out the proper procedure.”+

Do You Ask, “Where Is Jehovah?”

11. Why do we need to apply Ephesians 5:10?
11 True worship involves more than symbolizing our dedication by water immersion, attending congregation meetings, and sharing in the public ministry. Our entire way of life is involved. Daily we are subjected to pressures—some subtle, some more obvious—that could turn us away from the path that is in accord with godly devotion. How will we react to these? When writing to faithful Christians in Ephesus, the apostle Paul urged them: “Keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:10) The wisdom of doing that is illustrated by many situations reported in the Scriptures.
12. Why was Jehovah displeased when David had the ark of the covenant moved to Jerusalem?
12 After the ark of the covenant had been returned to Israel and had been kept for many years at Kiriath-jearim, King David desired to transfer it to Jerusalem. He consulted with chiefs of the people and said that the Ark would be moved ‘if it seemed good to them and it was acceptable with Jehovah.’ But he neglected to search adequately to ascertain Jehovah’s will on the matter. If he had done so, the Ark would never have been loaded onto a wagon. It would have been carried by Kohathite Levites on their shoulders, as God had clearly instructed. Though David frequently inquired of Jehovah, he failed to do so in a proper way on this occasion. The result was disastrous. David later acknowledged: “Jehovah our God broke through against us, for we did not search after him according to the custom.”—1 Chronicles 13:1-3; 15:11-13; Numbers 4:4-6, 15; 7:1-9.
13. In a song sung when the Ark was successfully moved, what reminder was included?
13 When the Ark was finally transported by the Levites from the house of Obed-edom to Jerusalem, a song composed by David was sung. It included the heartfelt reminder: “Search after Jehovah and his strength, seek his face constantly. Remember his wonderful acts that he has performed, his miracles and the judicial decisions of his mouth.”—1 Chronicles 16:11, 12.

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