Saturday, June 25

The eyes of Jehovah are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.2 Chron. 16:9.

God wants us to “search for what is good,” “love what is good,” and “do what is good” so that he may “show favor” to us. Think, for example, of the Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah. When Israel was under the yoke of slavery in Egypt, these two women feared God more than they feared Pharaoh, who had ordered them to kill all the male Hebrew children at birth. Evidently, their godly conscience moved them to preserve the lives of the babies. Shiphrah and Puah were later given families of their own.  Their good deeds did not escape Jehovah’s roving eyes. Occasionally, we may feel that no one cares about the good we do. But Jehovah cares. He takes note of every good deed we have done, and he will repay us.

COMMENTARY

King Asa was the third king of Judah after the split of the 12 tribes – he being the great grandson of Solomon. He was considered a righteous ruler, having spearheaded the removal of idols and high places throughout the realm. You might say he re-established true worship in the land —so much so, that many Israelites from the 10 tribe kingdom began to gravitate to Jerusalem because they had heard that Jehovah was with King Asa. That was especially demonstrated when Judah was faced with a million-man Ethiopian army intent on plundering the kingdom. Asa led his much smaller army out into battle formation, but pleaded with Jehovah for victory, which God provided. Instead of being plundered, Judah took a great amount of spoil from the Ethiopians.

Asa also engaged in a great building program, constructing cities with walls and gates and towers. After the victory over the Ethiopians there was a twenty year period of peace and prosperity.

However, as more and more Israelites came to Asa the the King of Israel blocked them from doing so. This time, though, instead of relying on God Asa took some of the treasures of the house of Jehovah and used them to hire the king of Syria to attack Israel in the north so that he would withdraw from Judah. The scheme worked. However, that is when God sent his prophet, Hanani,  to King Asa. Here is what he said: “Because you relied on the king of Syria and did not rely on Jehovah your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a very great army with many chariots and horsemen? But because you relied on Jehovah, he gave them into your hand. For the eyes of Jehovah are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.You have acted foolishly in this matter; from now on there will be wars against you.”

Although he had done much good during his 41-year reign, obviously Asa’s heart was not complete towards Jehovah. Perhaps he gave into fear of man. We don’t know. We do know, though, that he did not take the reproof very well. The next verse states: “However, Asa became offended at the seer and put him in prison because he was enraged at him over this. And Asa began to mistreat others among the people at that same time.”

Although the Watchtower Society is an organization composed of many individuals, the course it has taken is very similar to that of King Asa.

The Watchtower has engaged in a program to clear the worldly idols out of the “land,” such as Christendom’s bloody crucifix and nationalism, for example. It has exalted the worship of Jehovah and drawn people to the cause of the Kingdom. God has obviously acted in behalf of Jehovah’s Witnesses in securing legal victories against the organization’s many opponents. The Watchtower has undertaken a massive building program —now crowning the campaign with a brand new headquarters complex in Warwick, New York. And since the tumult of World War Two Jehovah’s Witnesses have enjoyed a prolonged period of peace, at least in the Western world.

But like Asa the leadership of the organization has also made compromises and acted foolishly. The most egregious to date —their secret, 10 year partnership with the United Nations and their lying denial of the true nature of the relationship.

And their response to the rebuke published by e-watchman in a massive mailing campaign, the first of an ongoing series of Kingdom Bulletins, was the same as Asa’s —persecute the messenger. And just as the cited verse states that Asa went on to mistreat others among the people at the same time, through local elders the Governing Body has persecuted any and all who dare to question their honesty. 

As a result of Asa’s foolishness wars sprang up against the kingdom. In a similar manner, since the Watchtower’s NGO partnership was exposed in 2001 Bethel has been embroiled in one legal battle after the other, fending off lawsuits, paying out-of-court settlements to abuse victims and appealing adverse judgments against it. Now Russia is consider liquidating the organization completely in all of the nation, which would mean the Watchtower’s branch facility would be confiscated. Given their tendency to compromise, I would not be surprised if they try to bribe their way out of it. In any case, the “wars” are going to keep on coming, culminating ultimately in complete desolation. Such is the price to be paid for acting foolishly.

King Asa was given an honorable burial in Jerusalem and was still considered a righteous king in spite of his end. And no doubt individuals from the organization will be approved too. However, at some point they will have to stand before God and answer the question:   “Whom did you dread and fear so that you started to lie? You did not remember me. You took nothing to heart. Have I not kept silent and withdrawn? So you showed no fear of me.” —Isaiah 57:11

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