They lacked nothing. Their very garments did not wear out, and their feet themselves did not become swollen.
Today, Jehovah provides us with everything we need to serve him faithfully. May we never be like the thousands of Israelites who died in the wilderness because of their disobedience and lack of faith. In fact, those things “were written for a warning to us upon whom the ends of the systems of things have arrived.” Sadly, after inheriting the Promised Land, the Israelites adopted the sensuous, murderous worship of Canaanite gods. So Jehovah allowed neighboring nations to oppress his chosen nation. When they repented, Jehovah mercifully forgave them and saved them from their enemies. “Time and again” this happened. “You . . . kept bearing witness against them by your spirit by means of your prophets, and they did not give ear. Finally you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.”
Jehovah loyally provided the basics for his people when they trekked through the barren and hostile wilderness after their departure from Egypt. But he also provided more abundantly when they became settled in the land described as flowing with milk and honey. And it was their abundance that eventually caused them to trust in themselves and to leave Jehovah.
In time the Israelites demanded to have a king, like all the nations surrounding them. And Jehovah relented. But God warned them that their kings would make extravagant demands upon them due to their desire to live in royal opulence. Over the course of time Jehovah caused them to suffer scarcity to try to bring them back to him. But it was futile. Ultimately it became necessary for God take away everything that he had given them.
Through the prophet Amos Jehovah spoke of his coming judgment upon Israel, saying: “I will also call for an accounting against the altars of Bethel; the horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the earth. I will strike down the winter house along with the summer house. The houses of ivory will perish, and the great houses will come to their end,’ declares Jehovah.”
The Watchtower Society in our modern era has followed a similar same pattern. Jehovah has unquestionably, faithfully supported those who have looked to him for help. He has undoubtedly provided in times of hardship, war and persecution, and he has also been open-handed in providing much during times of peace. But like the self-trusting Israelites the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses have come to trust in the permanence and power of their institution. In some respects they have become like royalty – like kings living in their Bethel palace.
The Watchtower functions much like any other corporation of this world, with their lawyers and public relations men, their financial advisors and their board of directors. Bethel has even come to have what might be compared to “the winter house along with the summer house” and numerous “houses of ivory” in the form of the Patterson complex and the opulent Stanley theater in New Jersey and many fine assemebly halls and branch facilities all over the world.
And most recently the Watchtower has embarked on a great building project using the volunteer labors of thousands of willing Jehovah’s Witnesses to build a luxurious new headquarters in the beautiful New York countryside, a world away from all the crime and grime of the city. So, the presumption is that because God has provided an abundance in the past he always will, no matter what.
Too bad for them that they have not inquired of the mouth of Jehovah. Or, as Jesus said in regards to the Jews who trusted in the permanence of their temple: “Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification of pointed stakes and will encircle you and besiege you from every side. They will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected.”
KINGDOM BULLETIN #8 – Why the Warwick Building Project Will Fail