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Spiritual Gems Isaiah 43-46

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Digging for Spiritual Gems: (8 min.)

Spiritual Gems Isaiah 43-46

Isa 43:10-12—In what way were the Israelites to be a nation of witnesses for Jehovah? (w14 11/15 21-22 _14-16)

14 The Israelites worshipped their God, Jehovah, whereas the other nations worshipped their own deities. At the time of the prophet Isaiah, Jehovah compared the world situation to that of a court trial. He challenged the gods of the nations to produce witnesses to confirm their divinity, declaring: “Let all the nations assemble in one place, and let the peoples be gathered together. Who [of their gods] among them can tell this? Or can they cause us to hear the first things? Let them present their witnesses to prove themselves right, or let them hear and say, ‘It is the truth!’”—Isa. 43:9.

15 The gods of the nations were unable to produce any evidence of their godship. They were mere idols that were speechless and that needed to be carried around. (Isa. 46:5-7) On the other hand, Jehovah told his people Israel: “You are my witnesses, . . . . . . . and I am God.”—Isa. 43:10-12.

Isa 43:25—What is the main reason why Jehovah wipes out transgressions? (ip-2 60 _24)

24 Notice, though, that the resulting divine mercy will not simply be because of Israel’s contrition; it will be for Jehovah’s own sake. Yes, his name is involved. Were he to abandon Israel to permanent exile, his own name would be reproached by onlookers. (Psalm 79:9; Ezekiel 20:8-10) Likewise today, the salvation of humans is secondary to the sanctification of Jehovah’s name and the vindication of his sovereignty. Nonetheless, Jehovah loves those who accept his discipline without reservation and who worship him with spirit and truth. He demonstrates his love for these ones—whether anointed or other sheep—by wiping out their transgressions on the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.—John 3:16; 4:23, 24.



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 I can see that Jehovah is providing us with abunances of spiritual food thank you for your help.   :-)


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      By Guest Nicole
      er 29:4, 7—Why were Jewish exiles commanded to “seek the peace” of Babylon, and how can we apply the principle? (w96 5/1 11 _5)
      5 Centuries later the faithful prophet Jeremiah was inspired by Jehovah to tell Jewish exiles to submit to the rulers when in exile in Babylon and even to pray for the peace of that city. In his letter to them, he wrote: “This is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said to all the exiled people, . . . ‘Seek the peace of the city to which I have caused you to go into exile, ……’” (Jeremiah 29:4, 7) At all times Jehovah’s people have reason to “seek peace” for themselves and the nation where they live, in order to have freedom to worship Jehovah.—1 Peter 3:11.
      Jer 29:10—How does this verse demonstrate the accuracy of Bible prophecy? (g 6/12 14 _1-2)
      Fulfillment: After 70 years of exile, from 607 to 537 B.C.E., King Cyrus of Persia released the Jewish captives and allowed them to return to their homeland to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.—Ezra 1:2-4.
      What history reveals:
      ● Did the Israelites remain captive in Babylon for 70 years as the Bible foretold? Note the comments of a leading Israeli archaeologist, Ephraim Stern. “From 604 B.C.E. to 538 B.C.E.—there is a complete gap in evidence suggesting occupation. In all that time, not a single town destroyed by the Babylonians was resettled.” The so-called gap in which there was no occupation or resettling of conquered territory corresponds closely to Israel’s exile in Babylon from 607 to 537 B.C.E.—2 Chronicles 36:20, 21.
      Jeremiah 29-31.pdf
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Jer 27:2, 3—Why might messengers from various nations have been in Jerusalem, and why did Jeremiah make yoke bars for them? (jr 27 _21)
      21 Evidently early in the reign of Zedekiah, messengers arrived in Jerusalem from the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon. Perhaps their aim was to get Zedekiah to join a coalition against Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah, however, urged Zedekiah to submit to Babylon. In line with that, Jeremiah presented the messengers with yoke bars to picture that their nations too should serve the Babylonians. (Jer. 27:1-3, 14)
      Jer 28:11—How did Jeremiah show common sense when Hananiah opposed him, and what can we learn from his example? (jr 187-188 _11-12)
      11 It is good to bear in mind that Jeremiah was not a fanatic. He used common sense when facing opposers. He knew when to withdraw. For instance, consider his experience with Hananiah. After that false prophet contradicted Jehovah’s prophetic word in public, Jeremiah corrected him and explained how to recognize a true prophet. Jeremiah had been carrying a wooden yoke to signify coming under the yoke of Babylon; Hananiah got violent and broke the yoke. Who could know what Hananiah would do next? So, what did Jeremiah do? We read: “The prophet proceeded to go his way.” Yes, Jeremiah left the scene. Later, at Jehovah’s direction, he returned and told Hananiah what God would bring about—bondage to the king of Babylon for the Jews and death for Hananiah.—Jer. 28:1-17.
      12 It is clear from this inspired account that in preaching, we do well to couple our boldness with sound judgment. If at one home someone refuses to accept Scriptural reasoning and becomes angry, even threatening violence, we can excuse ourselves courteously and move on to another house. There is no need to have a heated argument with anyone regarding the good news of the Kingdom. By keeping ourselves “restrained under evil,” we leave the way open to help the householder at a more favorable time.—Read 2 Timothy 2:23-25; Prov. 17:14.
      Jeremiah 25-28.pdf
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Digging for Spiritual Gems: (8 min.)
      Spiritual Gems Jeremiah 22-24
      Jer 22:30—Why did this decree not annul Jesus’ right to ascend the throne of David? (w07 3/15 10 _9)
      22:30—Did this decree annul Jesus Christ’s right to ascend the throne of David? (Matthew 1:1, 11) No, it did not. The decree barred any descendant of Jehoiachin from “sitting upon the throne of David . . . in Judah.” Jesus was to rule from the heavens, not from a throne in Judah.
      Jer 23:33—What is “the burden of Jehovah”? (w07 3/15 11 _1)
      23:33—What is “the burden of Jehovah”? In Jeremiah’s day, the weighty pronouncements uttered by the prophet regarding Jerusalem’s destruction were a burden to his fellow countrymen. In turn, the unresponsive people were such a burden to Jehovah that he would cast them off. Similarly, the Scriptural message regarding the coming destruction of Christendom is a burden to Christendom, and the people who give no heed are wearisome to God.
      What has this week’s Bible reading taught you about Jehovah?
      *** w14 12/15 p. 28 par. 6 Do You Appreciate What You Have Received? ***
      Then his brother Jehoiakim ruled for 11 years. He too lacked appreciation for what he had received from his father. Because of Jehoiakim’s bad course, Jeremiah prophesied about him: “With the burial of a donkey he will be buried.” (Jer. 22:17-19)
      What other spiritual gems have you discovered in this week’s Bible reading?
      *** wp16 No. 3 p. 16 What Does the Bible Say? ***
      Is it wrong to pronounce God’s name?
      It depends
      “You must not take up the name of Jehovah your God in a worthless way.” (Exodus 20:7) The only time it is wrong to use God’s name is if this is done disrespectfully.—Jeremiah 29:9.
      Jesus knew and used God’s name.—John 17:25, 26.
      God invites us to address him by name.—Psalm 105:1.
      God’s enemies try to make people forget his name.—Jeremiah 23:27.
      *** w12 6/15 p. 22 par. 7 Why Put Jehovah’s Service First? ***
      7 Another man who put Jehovah’s service first was the prophet Jeremiah. Jehovah commissioned Jeremiah as his prophet to preach a message of judgment on apostate Jerusalem and Judah. In a sense, Jeremiah lived “in the final part of the days.” (Jer. 23:19, 20) He knew perfectly well that the system in which he lived would not continue as it was.
      Jeremiah 22-24.pdf
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Digging for Spiritual Gems: (8 min.)
      Spiritual Gems Jeremiah 17-21
      Jer 17:9—How may the heart’s treachery become manifest? (w01 10/15 25 _13)
      13 “The heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate,” warned Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 17:9) This treachery of the heart may manifest itself when we make excuses for our errors, minimize shortcomings, rationalize away serious personality flaws, or exaggerate accomplishments. A desperate heart is also capable of taking on a two-sided posture—smooth lips saying one thing, actions saying another. (Psalm 12:2; Proverbs 23:7) How vital that we be honest as we examine what comes out of the heart!
      Jer 20:7—In what way did Jehovah use his strength against Jeremiah and fool him? (w07 3/15 9 _6)
      20:7—In what way did Jehovah ‘use his strength’ against Jeremiah and fool him? Because of facing indifference, rejection, and persecution when declaring Jehovah’s judgments, Jeremiah might have felt that he did not have the strength to continue. However, Jehovah used his strength against such inclinations, empowering Jeremiah to continue. Jehovah thus fooled Jeremiah by using him to accomplish what the prophet himself thought he could not do.
      What has this week’s Bible reading taught you about Jehovah?
      *** w16 March p. 27 Imitate the Spirit of the Prophets ***
      We exert ourselves vigorously with the help of Jehovah’s spirit; still, we may at times be discouraged because of the way people react to our message. We do well to recall the example of the prophet Jeremiah. He experienced ridicule, insults, and jeering because he proclaimed God’s message to the Israelites. At one point, Jeremiah even said: “I am not going to make mention of him, and I will speak no more in his name.” Jeremiah was a man with feelings like ours. Nonetheless, he kept delivering God’s message. Why? The prophet added: “But in my heart it became like a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was tired of holding it in; I could no longer endure it.”—Jer. 20:7-9…….
      Jeremiah 17-21.pdf
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Digging for Spiritual Gems: (8 min.)
      Spiritual Gems Jeremiah 5-7
      Jer 6:16—What was Jehovah urging his people to do? (w05 11/1 23 _11)
      11 Are we really allowing God’s Word to guide us that closely? It is worthwhile to pause at times and examine ourselves honestly. Consider a verse that will help us to do so: “This is what Jehovah has said: ‘Stand still in the ways, you people, and see, and ask for the roadways of long ago, where, now, the good way is; and walk in it, and find ease for your souls.’” (Jeremiah 6:16) These words might remind us of a traveler who pauses at a crossroads to ask for directions. In a spiritual sense, Jehovah’s rebellious people in Israel needed to do something similar.
      They needed to find their way back to “the roadways of long ago.” That “good way” was the way in which their faithful forefathers had walked, the way from which the nation had foolishly strayed. Sadly, Israel responded stubbornly to this loving reminder from Jehovah. The same verse continues: “But they kept saying: ‘We are not going to walk.’” In modern times, though, God’s people have responded differently to such counsel.
      Jer 6:22, 23—Why could it be said that a people would be “coming from the land of the north”? (w88 4/1 13 _15)
      15 By about 632 B.C.E., Assyria had fallen to the Chaldeans and the Medes, and Egypt was reduced to a minor power to the south of Judah. The real threat to Judah would come through the invasion route to the north. Thus, Jeremiah had to give his fellow Jews some bad news! “Look! A people is coming from the land of the north . . . It is a cruel one, and they will have no pity. . . . It is drawn up in battle order like a man of war against you, O daughter of Zion.” The ascendant world power at that time was Babylon. This would be God’s instrument for punishing faithless Judah.—Jeremiah 6:22, 23; 25:8, 9.
      Jeremiah 5-7.pdf
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Digging for Spiritual Gems: (8 min.)
      Spiritual Gems Isaiah 58-62
      Isa 60:17—What are some ways that Jehovah has fulfilled this promise in the last days? (w15 7/15 9-10 _14-17)
      14 Over the years, the older ones in our midst have personally experienced some of the organizational adjustments that have increased the beauty of the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization. They remember when congregations had a congregation servant rather than a body of elders, when countries had a branch servant rather than a Branch Committee, and when direction was given by the president of the Watch Tower Society rather than by a clearly established Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although all these devoted brothers were supported by faithful assistants, one person was basically responsible for making decisions in the congregations, at the branch offices, and at world headquarters. During the 1970’s, adjustments were made to put the responsibility for oversight on groups of elders rather than on individuals.
      15 Have these adjustments proved beneficial? Yes, and logically so. Why? Because the adjustments were based on increased knowledge about the pattern set in the Scriptures. Instead of having the influence of one individual dominate, the composite good qualities of all the “gifts in men” whom Jehovah has provided benefit the organization.—Eph. 4:8; Prov. 24:6.
      16 Think, too, of more recent adjustments, such as the changes in appearance, contents, and methods of distribution of our publications. What a pleasure it is to offer practical, appealing, and attractive literature in the ministry! And when we use the latest technology to spread the truth, such as by means of the jw.org website, we reflect Jehovah’s interest in providing people everywhere with the guidance most of them lack but so desperately need.
      17 Not to be overlooked is the wisdom behind the adjustment that allowed us to have a Family Worship evening or more time for personal study. …….
      Isa 61:8, 9—What is the “everlasting covenant,” and who are the “offspring”? (w07 1/15 11 _5)
      61:8, 9—What is the “indefinitely lasting covenant,” and who are the “offspring”? This is the new covenant that Jehovah has concluded with anointed Christians. The “offspring” are the “other sheep”—the millions who respond to their message.—John 10:16.
    • By JW Insider
      I discovered something today that surprised me greatly, even though it should not have surprised me at all.
      This post could have gone in the Jewish section or a Controversial Post section, but I chose to put it here because, for me, it concerns my beliefs as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and our recent reading of Isaiah. I base this discussion on a principle found in Paul's letter to the Thessalonians, although Paul at the time was specifically concerned with a different subject:
      (2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2) . . .we ask you not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be alarmed either by an inspired statement or by a spoken message or by a letter appearing to be from us. . .
      When I left Bethel, I had an opportunity to go to college. My work at Bethel had included picking up some valuable skills for study and research at libraries at Bethel and around NYC. Also, I was starting to pick up some Hebrew and wanted to learn more. I took a part-time job as an assistant editor and illustrator for a University publisher. This was the perfect job that became a kind of continuation of Bethel, and also allowed me to pioneer and to be on campus so that there would not be any push-back if I decided to attend college full-time. I took Computer Science as a major, but also took 8 semesters of Hebrew for 4 years. One of my reasons was because I had a strong interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls. I thoroughly enjoyed learning Hebrew, because much of the text used as a basis for learning was the Hebrew Bible itself. But after graduation in 1985 I got more heavily involved in congregation responsibilities, my first son was about to be born (1986) and the only jobs I could get in computer science were full time jobs. (Bureau of Labor Statistics,  then A D Little, Cambridge [NYC account for NYC property owners]). 
      However, during the time I was studying the "Dead Sea Scrolls" I became suspicious that so many of them matched the LXX (Septuagint), but that some (Isaiah scrolls in particular) were touted to be so much closer to the MT (Masoretic Text). I was suspicious of quite a few more things, too. This made me wonder if some of these scrolls had not been all buried prior to 70 C.E. What if some of them were written or "edited" from, say 400 or 500 C.E, a time closer to when the MT became finalized [900 C.E.].? 
      But no one else seemed to talk about these issues and anomalies. Every time I saw one mentioned, no one ever dealt with more than one single issue, with a potential explanation for it, and this gives the impression that the overall set of anomalies is not so serious. 
      However, this morning I got up at 3am and decided to start taking these questions seriously, after dropping them for 30 years. I'm talking about dozens of research resources. I'm not done yet, of course, but I did find one simple overview that only touches on some of the issues lightly. This will give about the quickest idea of what most of those issues and anomalies are.
      It's here:

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. The issues mentioned here are quoted from the article linked above, written by Neil Altman.
      a series of marginal scroll markings that have now been identified as being Chinese symbols, probably from a period corresponding to the West's Middle Ages. About 800 A.D., writes Charles Pfeifer in his book, "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible," "the Nestorian Patriarch Timotheus I wrote a letter to Sergius, the Metropolitan of Elam, in which he described the discovery of a large number of Hebrew manuscripts in a cave near Jericho," a discovery also cited by John Allegro in his account of the scrolls. The eventual disposition of these manuscripts is not known. Many scrolls were discovered not by archeologists, but by Bedouins, and passed through the hands of numerous people -- shady antiquities dealers and local priests as well the Bedouins -- before scholars were able to purchase them. This is the case with both the Order of the Community and the Isaiah scrolls. The discovery of codices in one of the caves; codices are manuscripts with pages written on both sides, and came into use in the 2nd Century A.D. The presence in the caves of lamps from the 3rd Century A.D.; while this does not directly affect the scrolls, it opens the caves to later entry. The use in the scrolls of consonants to replace vowels to assist pronunciation, as Solomon Zeitlin pointed out years ago, along with the use of final forms of Hebrew letters, suggests a late date. The discovery at Qumran of Arabic and Byzantine coins, which raises questions about the use of the site after its apparent abandonment in 68 A.D. A reference in one of the scrolls to the koshering of fish; though Jews supposedly wrote this document, Jews have never ritually prepared fish. The apparent use on the so-called "Copper Scroll" of both upper- and lower-case Greek letters suggests a late date for this curious finding, as does what I believe to be the presence of anachronistic script. The possible presence of Arabic and Roman numerals raises further doubts about the history of this very unusual metal document.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Digging for Spiritual Gems: (8 min.)
      Spiritual Gems Isaiah 52-57
      Isa 54:1—Who is the “barren woman” mentioned in this prophecy, and who are her “sons”? (w063/15 11 _2)
      Whom, then, did “the free woman” Sarah and her son, Isaac, represent? Paul indicated that Sarah, the “barren woman,” symbolized God’s wife, the heavenly part of his organization. This heavenly woman was barren in that before Jesus came she had no spirit-anointed “children” on the earth. (Galatians 4:27; Isaiah 54:1-6) However, at Pentecost 33 C.E., holy spirit was poured out on a group of men and women who were thus born again as children of this heavenly woman. The children produced by this organization were adopted as sons of God and became joint heirs with Jesus Christ under a new covenant relationship. (Romans 8:15-17) One of these children, the apostle Paul, could write: “The Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.”—Galatians 4:26.
      Isa 57:15—In what sense does Jehovah “reside” with those who are “crushed” and “lowly”? (w0510/15 26 _3)
      3 Jehovah is unsearchably great and lofty, yet “his eyes are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) And what does Jehovah do when he finds lowly worshippers who are crushed in spirit as a result of various trials? In a sense, he “is residing” with such ones by means of his holy spirit “to revive the spirit of the lowly ones and to revive the heart of the ones being crushed.” (Isaiah 57:15) Thus, his revived worshippers are better able to resume serving him with rejoicing. What humility on God’s part!
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Digging for Spiritual Gems: (8 min.)
      Spiritual Gems Isaiah 47-51
      Isa 49:6—How is the Messiah “a light of nations,” even though his earthly ministry was limited to the Israelites? (w07 1/15 9 _8)
      49:6—How is the Messiah “a light of the nations,” even though his earthly ministry was limited to the sons of Israel? This is so because of what happened after Jesus’ death. The Bible applies Isaiah 49:6 to his disciples. (Acts 13:46, 47) Today, anointed Christians, aided by a great crowd of worshippers, serve as “a light of the nations,” enlightening peoples “to the extremity of the earth.”—Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20.
      Spiritual Gems Isaiah 47-51
      Isa 50:1—Why did Jehovah ask the Israelites: “Where is the divorce certificate of your mother?”(it-1 643 _4-5)
      Figurative Divorce. The marriage relationship is used symbolically in the Scriptures. (Isa 54:1, 5, 6; 62:1-6) Reference is also made to symbolic divorcing, or the sending away of a wife.—Jer 3:8.
      The kingdom of Judah was overthrown and Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E., the inhabitants of the land being taken into Babylonian exile. Years earlier Jehovah had said prophetically to Jews who would then be in exile: “Where, then, is the divorce certificate of the mother of you people, whom I sent away?” (Isa 50:1) Their “mother,” or national organization, had been put away with just cause, not because Jehovah broke his covenant and started divorce proceedings, but because of her wrongdoing against the Law covenant. But a remnant of Israelites repented and prayed for a renewal of Jehovah’s husbandly relationship with them in their homeland. Jehovah, for his own name’s sake, restored his people to their homeland as promised, in 537 B.C.E., at the end of the 70-year desolation.—Ps 137:1-9; see MARRIAGE.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Digging for Spiritual Gems: (8 min.)
      Spiritual Gems Isaiah 38-42
      Isa 38:17—In what sense does Jehovah throw our sins behind his back? (w03 7/1 17 _17)
      17 In a moving song of gratitude that Hezekiah composed after he was spared from a deadly sickness, he said to Jehovah: “You have thrown behind your back all my sins.” (Isaiah 38:17) Jehovah is here portrayed as taking the sins of a repentant wrongdoer and throwing them behind Him where He neither sees them nor takes notice of them anymore. According to one reference work, the idea conveyed may be expressed: “You have made [my sins] as if they had not happened.” Is that not comforting?
      Isa 42:3—How was this prophecy fulfilled in Jesus? (w15 2/15 8 _13)
      13 His tender words. Jesus’ tender heart moved him to speak tenderly to others, especially to the downtrodden. The apostle Matthew applied to Jesus these words of Isaiah: “No crushed reed will he break, and no smoldering wick will he extinguish.” (Isa. 42:3; Matt. 12:20) Jesus spoke in a way that lifted the spirits of those who were figuratively like a bruised reed or the wick of an oil lamp about to go out. He preached a message of hope “to bind up the brokenhearted.” (Isa. 61:1) He invited those who were “toiling and loaded down” to come to him, reassuring them that they would “find refreshment” for themselves. (Matt. 11:28-30) He assured his followers that God had tender concern for each of His worshippers, including the “little ones”—those who may seem unimportant from the standpoint of the world.—Matt. 18:12-14; Luke 12:6, 7.
      What does this week’s Bible reading teach me about Jehovah?
      *** w16 May p. 20 par. 11 Is the Bible Still Changing Your Life? ***
      11 When we contemplate the physical universe, we realize that Jehovah has great power. For example, the sun changes five million tons of its matter into energy every second. Although only a small amount passes through our globe’s atmosphere, it is enough to provide adequate heat and light to sustain life on earth. (Ps. 74:16; Isa. 40:26) Jehovah is pleased to give an appropriate measure of power to his human servants when needed. (Isa. 40:29) Yes, God could even give us the strength to conquer every weakness without having to struggle with or learn from our mistakes.
      What points from this week’s Bible reading can I use in the field ministry?
      *** w15 1/1 pp. 4-5 God’s Kingdom—A Government With No Corruption ***
      THE PROBLEM: Human governments are funded by their citizens, most often through taxes and duties. This flow of money tempts some officials to steal, while others accept bribes from individuals who want them to reduce their taxes or other payments due the government. A vicious circle may result—the government raises taxes to make up for such losses, and this in turn fosters more corruption. In an environment like that, people who are honest may suffer the most.
      THE SOLUTION: God’s Kingdom receives its power from the almighty God, Jehovah. (Revelation 11:15) It does not need to collect taxes to pay for its operation. Instead, God’s “awe-inspiring power” and his unselfish generosity ensure that the Kingdom will abundantly provide for the needs of all its subjects.—Isaiah 40:26; Psalm 145:16.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Digging for Spiritual Gems: (8 min.)
      Spiritual Gems Isaiah 34-37
      Isa 35:8—What was “the Way of Holiness,” and who qualified to walk on it? (w08 5/15 26 _4; 27 _1)
      Jehovah foretold that his people who were in Babylonian exile would be restored to their homeland. The prophecy of restoration contained this guarantee: “There will certainly come to be a highway there, even a way; and the Way of Holiness it will be called.” (Isa. 35:8a) These words show that Jehovah not only opened the way for the Jews to get home but assured them of his protection along the way.
      In 537 B.C.E., the returning Jews had to meet an important requirement. Regarding those qualified to walk on “the Way of Holiness,” Isaiah 35:8b states: “The unclean one will not pass over it. And it will be for the one walking on the way, and no foolish ones will wander about on it.” Since the purpose of the Jews’ return to Jerusalem was to reestablish pure worship, there would be no place for those who had selfish motives, lacked respect for sacred things, or were spiritually unclean. The returnees needed to maintain Jehovah’s high moral standards. Those desiring God’s favor today need to meet the same requirement. They must pursue “holiness in God’s fear.” (2 Cor. 7:1) What unclean practices, then, ought we to shun?
      Isa 36:2, 3, 22—How did Shebna set a good example of one who accepted discipline? (w07 1/15 8 _6)
      36:2, 3, 22. Though dismissed from serving as a steward, Shebna was allowed to continue in the king’s service as a secretary to his replacement. (Isaiah 22:15, 19) If we are removed from a position of responsibility in Jehovah’s organization for some reason, should we not continue to serve God in whatever capacity he permits?
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Digging for Spiritual Gems: (8 min.)
      Spiritual Gems Isaiah 29-33
      Isa 30:21—In what ways does Jehovah communicate with his servants? (w14 8/15 21 _2)
      2 Today, Jehovah guides his people by means of the Bible, his holy spirit, and the congregation. (Acts 9:31; 15:28; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17) The guidance that we receive from him is so clear that it is as if ‘our own ears hear a word behind us saying: “This is the way. Walk in it.”’ (Isa. 30:21) In effect, Jesus also conveys Jehovah’s voice to us as he directs the congregation through “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45) We need to take this guidance and direction seriously, for our everlasting life depends on our obedience.—Heb. 5:9.
      Isa 33:22—When and how did Jehovah become Judge, Lawgiver, and King for the nation of Israel? (w14 10/15 14 _4)
      4 The Law covenant went into effect at Mount Sinai in 1513 B.C.E. By means of that covenant, the ancient nation of Israel was set apart as God’s chosen nation. Jehovah now became ‘their Judge, their Lawgiver, and their King.’ (Isa. 33:22) The history of Israel provides a record of what happens when God’s righteous standards are either observed or ignored. Since the Law forbade intermarrying with pagans and participation in false worship, it was designed to prevent Abraham’s line of descent from being contaminated.—Ex. 20:4-6; 34:12-16.
      What does this week’s Bible reading teach me about Jehovah?
      *** w16 January p. 13 par. 6 Be Compelled by God’s “Indescribable Free Gift” ***
      6 Jehovah’s gift includes the curing of all our sicknesses, the transformation of our earth into a paradise, and the resurrection of the dead. (Isa. 33:24; 35:5, 6; John 5:28, 29) We surely love Jehovah and his dear Son for giving us what is an “indescribable free gift.” Yet, the question remains, What will God’s love move us to do? Let us consider how God’s love moves us (1) to follow the steps of Christ Jesus closely, (2) to express love for our brothers, and (3) to forgive others from the heart.
      What points from this week’s Bible reading can I use in the field ministry?
      *** w16 April p. 21 par. 13 Why Should We Meet Together for Worship? ***
      13 Our meeting attendance shows Jehovah that we want to draw close to him and his Son. At our meetings, our Grand Instructor directs us through the pages of his Word, the Bible. (Isa. 30:20, 21) Even unbelievers who attend our meetings may conclude: “God is really among you.” (1 Cor. 14:23-25) Jehovah blesses meetings with his holy spirit and actively directs the Scriptural teaching program. At our meetings, then, we are listening to Jehovah’s voice and sensing his loving care. Consequently, we draw close to him.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Digging for Spiritual Gems: (8 min.)
      Spiritual Gems Isaiah 17-23
      Isa 21:1—What region was called “the wilderness of the sea,” and why? (w06 12/1 11 _2)
      21:1—What region is called “the wilderness of the sea”? Even though Babylon was nowhere near the actual sea, it is referred to this way. This is because the overflowing waters of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers flooded the region annually, creating a marshy “sea.”
      Spiritual Gems Isaiah 17-23
      Isa 23:17, 18—How did Tyre’s material profit become “holy to Jehovah”? (ip-1 253-254 _22-24)
      22 Isaiah continues: “At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre as in the song of a prostitute: ‘Take a harp, go around the city, O forgotten prostitute. Do your best at playing on the strings; make your songs many, in order that you may be remembered.’ And it must occur at the end of seventy years that Jehovah will turn his attention to Tyre, and she must return to her hire and commit prostitution with all the kingdoms of the earth upon the surface of the ground.”—Isaiah 23:15b-17.
      23 Following the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C.E., Phoenicia becomes a satrapy of the Medo-Persian Empire. The Persian monarch, Cyrus the Great, is a tolerant ruler. Under this new rulership, Tyre will resume her former activity and try hard to regain recognition as a world commercial center—just as a prostitute who has been forgotten and has lost her clientele seeks to attract new clients by going around the city, playing her harp and singing her songs. Will Tyre succeed? Yes, Jehovah will grant her success. In time, the island-city will become so prosperous that toward the end of the sixth century B.C.E., the prophet Zechariah will say: “Tyre proceeded to build a rampart for herself, and to pile up silver like dust and gold like the mire of the streets.”—Zechariah 9:3.
      ‘Her Profit Must Become Something Holy’
      24 How remarkable are the following prophetic words! “Her profit and her hire must become something holy to Jehovah. It will not be stored up, nor be laid up, because her hire will come to be for those dwelling before Jehovah, for eating to satisfaction and for elegant covering.” (Isaiah 23:18) How does Tyre’s material profit become something holy? Jehovah maneuvers matters so that it is used according to his will—for the eating to satisfaction of his people and for their covering. This comes about following the Israelites’ return from Babylonian exile. The people of Tyre assist them by supplying cedar timbers for rebuilding the temple. They also resume trade with the city of Jerusalem.—Ezra 3:7; Nehemiah 13:16.
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