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Climactic week for Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia


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A Russian judge on Friday imposed an eight-year suspended prison sentence for a 24-year-old Jehovah’s Witness and a seven-year suspended sentence for his 27-year-old wife, capping a week that marked some relief amid continued persecution for the faith in Russia.

An international spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses expressed gratitude that “this young couple will not need to be separated by prison bars” after the judge’s decision in Kostroma, 200 miles northeast of Moscow. The conviction comes a day after another judge in Ulyanovsk, on the Volga River, convicted six members of the persecuted faith. Those sentences were also suspended.

“We are pleased that they were not imprisoned. Yet it remains a gross injustice for them to be convicted simply for their peaceful Christian worship,” said Jarrod Lopes, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses, in a statement.

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A Russian judge on Friday imposed an eight-year suspended prison sentence for a 24-year-old Jehovah’s Witness and a seven-year suspended sentence for his 27-year-old wife, capping a week that marked some relief amid continued persecution for the faith in Russia. An international spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses expressed gratitude that “this young couple will not need to be separated by prison bars” after the judge’s decision in Kostroma, 200 miles northeast of Moscow. The conviction comes

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      (RNS) — A day after a Jehovah’s Witness became the first to be acquitted in Russia since a 2017 ruling declared his faith group “extremist,” six Russian members received suspended sentences for gathering for worship.
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      “We are pleased that they were not imprisoned, yet it remains a gross injustice for them to be convicted simply for their peaceful Christian worship,” said Jarrod Lopes, spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, in a Thursday (Oct. 😎 statement.

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    • By Isabella
      When the knock came at the door at six in the morning, Sergei and Maria Silaev feared the worst.
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      lobby verb [ I or T ]  UK  /ˈlɒb.i/ US  /ˈlɑː.bi/
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    • By Isabella
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    • By Isabella
      As part of the case, ten people are suspected of running a local religious organization affiliated with Jehovah’s Witnesses
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    • By Isabella
      Russian authorities armed with assault rifles raided 110 homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Voronezh Region on July 13, 2020, according to an official press release by the Voronezh Region Investigative Committee. This is the largest series of raids conducted in one day on Jehovah’s Witnesses in modern Russia. Preliminary reports from my colleagues indicates that at least two Witnesses were beaten.
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      Jarrod Lopes, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses, states: “This month, the total number of Witnesses’ homes raided has surged to over 1,000 since 2017. For reasons passing understanding, heavily armed officers—as if being deployed for combat—are storming into the homes of peaceful Christians, many of whom are elderly. Human rights advocates and international judicial bodies continue to publicly condemn Russia for targetting Jehovah’s Witnesses. We hope Russian leaders will halt the persecution and uphold the freedom of religion and belief that is enshrined in its Constitution.”
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    • By Isabella
      Article 6 of the Russian Constitution states that individuals cannot be stripped of their citizenship. Kim (and, more recently, two jailed Jehovah's Witnesses), however, was deprived of his Russian citizenship on the basis of an amendment to Article 22 of the 2002 Citizenship Law which entered legal force on 1 September 2017.
       
      Article 22 states that citizenship can be annulled if it was awarded on the basis of forged documents or "false information". The 2017 amendment added that conviction under particular articles of the Criminal Code, including Article 282.2 ("Organising" or "Participating in the activities of a banned extremist organisation", with which Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslim readers of Nursi's works are most commonly charged) and Article 282.3 ("Financing extremist activity", with which many Jehovah's Witnesses have also been charged), is taken as equivalent to knowingly presenting false information in a citizenship application.

      As a result, therefore, authorities may annul the citizenship of a person who has been found guilty of one of these offences, and who acquired Russian citizenship by naturalisation (rather than by birth).

      "This law on the annulment of citizenship is vicious," Alexander Verkhovsky, Director of the SOVA Centre for Information and Analysis, commented to Forum 18 from Moscow on 8 July. "It assumes that the person, when applying for citizenship, was already going to undermine the constitutional order, and in this sense gave false information about themselves, and therefore the decision to grant citizenship is invalid."

      Verkhovsky pointed out that a person then could change their views over time. "They might not even have imagined that their views imply a change to the constitutional order," he added.
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    • By Isabella
      In the third jailing in Russian-occupied Crimea on "extremism" charges to punish the exercise of freedom of religion and belief, Jehovah's Witness Artyom Gerasimov was jailed for six years after a prosecutor appealed against an earlier fine. Jailed earlier were Muslim Renat Suleimanov for four years and Jehovah's Witness Sergei Filatov for six years. Like Suleimanov and Filatov, Gerasimov expects to be sent to a prison in Russia.
      For the third time, a court in Russian-occupied Crimea has jailed an individual on "extremism" charges to punish the exercise of freedom of religion or belief. After an appeal by the prosecutor, on 4 June Crimea's Supreme Court changed the punishment imposed on 35-year-old Artyom Gerasimov from a fine of two years' average wages to a six-year jail term. He was arrested in the courtroom. He was the second Crimean Jehovah's Witness to be jailed.
       
      The decision to make prisoner of conscience Gerasimov's punishment harsher without sending the case for a retrial is the first such instance in any Jehovah's Witness case in Crimea, or in Russia within its internationally recognised borders.

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    • By Isabella
      Today the Crimean Supreme Court sentenced Artem Gerasimov to six years in prison for his peaceful Christian worship as one of Jehovah's Witnesses.
      He was seeking acquittal from his original sentence by the Yalta City Court, which was a fine for 400,000 rubles.
      Today's ruling immediately came into force and Artem was taken into custody.
      Jarrod Lopes, spokesman for Jehovah's Witnesses, states: "Today's ruling by the Crimean Supreme Court brings religious persecution to a new level of cruelty.
      Since the 2017 Russian Supreme Court's ruling that effectively banned Jehovah's Witnesses, this is the first time an appeal has resulted in a more severe punishment.
      This bleak development in Crimea is the latest example of Russia exporting its patently extreme religious intolerance.
      Human rights advocates across the globe have publicly criticized Russia for its baseless attack on Jehovah's Witnesses, internationally recognized as peaceful, societally responsible Christians.
      We hope that senior officials in Russia will soon correct the injustice being doled out in their local courts and that judges in Crimea will follow suit.
      " Artem is the second one of Jehovah's Witnesses to be imprisoned in Crimea under Russian law.
      Artem's new sentence now matches the sentence of Sergey Filatov, who was likewise convicted on March 5, 2020, but by the Dzhankoysky District Court.

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    • By Isabella
      A Russian-controlled ‘court’ in occupied Crimea has rejected the appeal brought by Serhiy Filatov, a 47-year-old Jehovah’s Witness from Dzhankoy, against his six-year prison sentence for practising his faith.  Russia has now not only reinstated Soviet persecution of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but is breaching international law by applying such repressive measures on illegally occupied territory.
      The hearing before ‘judge’ Edward Belousov, of the Crimean High Court, was held on 26 May behind closed doors.  This was due to restrictions over the pandemic but did mean that Filatov, who took part by video link from the SIZO [remand prison] was deprived of the chance to see his family and all those who would have wished to show their support.  
      The closed hearing also makes it unclear whether Belousov made any pretence of examining the appeal.  This seems unlikely since he upheld the manifestly wrongful six-year sentence in a medium security prison colony handed down on 5 March 2020 by ‘judge’ Maria Yermakova, from the Dzhankoy District Court.  The sentence also includes a five-year ban on engaging in educational work involving public addresses or publications in the media or posting information in the media or Internet, as well as a one-year term of restricted liberty after the prison term.  
      Filatov was found to have prayed, together with others, in his own home, which the Russian-controlled prosecutor and court chose to view as “undermining constitutional order and state security”.  He was charged under Article 282.2 § 1 of Russia’s criminal code which punishes for something termed ‘organization of the activities of an extremist organization.”   Russia treats the presumption of innocence with the same contempt it shows religious freedom, and Filatov was swiftly added to Russia’s notorious ‘list of extremists and terrorists’, with this bringing serious economic restrictions.  He was not, however, held in detention, and was taken into custody after the sentence was announced on 5 March.  He has been held at the Simferopol SIZO [remand prison], where the overcrowding, filth and unsanitary conditions are a danger to life and health.  Now that the appeal has failed, he may be moved, in violation this time also of the European Court of Human Rights, to Russia.

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    • By Isabella
      On May 6, 2020, the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention prepared a decision concerning 18 believers in Russia. The Group considers the cases brought against them to be unlawful, urges authorities to immediately release those arrested, in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, and to “take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of their rights.”
      The authoritative UN body considered the complaint of eighteen Russian believers from Volgograd, Kemerovo, Smolensk, Penza, Perm and Novozybkov. Ten of them were arrested and detained in the pre-trial detention center: Andrey Magliv, Igor Yegozaryan, Ruslan Korolev, Vladimir Kulyasov, Valery Rogozin, Valery Shalev, Tatiana Shamsheva, Olga Silayeva, Alexander Solovyov and Denis Timoshin.
      According to 15-page decision No. 10/2020, none of the cases examined had a basis for criminal prosecution and they should all be closed immediately. The cases were brought "only because [the accused] peacefully practised their religious beliefs, including carrying religious texts and the Bible, gathered together in worship services with fellow believers" (para. 67).
      Paragraph 71 of the document states: "All 18 people ... were accused of various forms of 'extremist activity. However, in the Working Group's opinion, none of the activities described can be interpreted as such. Furthermore, no information has been submitted to the Working Group and the Working Group itself cannot establish any reasons that might justify restricting the rights of the 18 individuals concerned under article 18 of the [International] Covenant [on Civil and Political Rights]. The Working Group considers that all the activities in which they participated were a peaceful way of exercising the right to freedom of religion in accordance with article 18 of the Covenant. Such activities were the only basis for the detention and trial of all 18 individuals".
      Paragraph 80 stresses that "the actions of the 18 named individuals were peaceful, and there is no evidence that any of them, or any of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia at all, have ever resorted to violence or called others to violence".
      The decision repeats that there is a "systematic and institutionalized persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses" in Russia (clause 78). The same wording was used in the decision of 1 October 2019 concerning Vladimir Alushkin of Penza and in the decision of 3 May 2019 concerning Dmitry Mikhailov of Shuia (Ivanovo Region). Thus, this is the third opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in relation to Russian Jehovah's Witnesses. In all cases the UN representatives rejected the connection of Jehovah's Witnesses with extremism.
      The Working Group also calls for the release from detention of those detained in pretrial detention facilities, as there is a high risk of COVID-19 contamination with limited medical assistance (para. 84).
      In paragraph 85, the Working Group calls for "a full and independent investigation into the circumstances of the arbitrary deprivation of liberty" of believers and "to take appropriate action against those responsible".
      The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is the body designed to investigate cases of detention that are not in conformity with the international standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments. The Working Group is entitled to receive information from the authorities and non-governmental organizations and to meet with detainees and their families in order to establish the facts. The Working Group presents its findings and recommendations to Governments as well as to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Although the decisions of the Working Group are not binding on States, they may contribute to weakening the position of the authorities in a context of wide international publicity.
      According to the legal position of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation as expressed in Decision No. 1276-O of 9 June 2015, the Russian Federation, as a State governed by the rule of law, cannot ignore, without avoiding the legal consequences, the decision of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention containing conclusions on the arbitrary detention and criminal prosecution of citizens.

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    • By Isabella
      Of the 87 Jehovah's Witnesses on trial in 39 cases for "continuing the activities of a banned extremist organisation" for exercising freedom of religion or belief, 85-year-old Yelena Zayshchuk is the oldest. Five fellow defendants in her case are in their sixties or seventies. All face up to six years' imprisonment if convicted. Two defendants in their sixties died in April before trials began.
      At least 18 of the 87 Jehovah's Witnesses on trial on charges of "continuing the activities of a banned extremist organisation" for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief are in their sixties, seventies or eighties. Another defendant died in Kirov in April shortly before the first full hearing was due in his trial. Another man died in Smolensk in April after investigators submitted the case against him to prosecutors and before it reached court. Both those who died were in their sixties.
       
       
      The oldest defendant is 85-year-old Yelena Zayshchuk, whom the FSB security service took in for questioning after raiding her home in Vladivostok in April 2018. Her family "do not understand why they are persecuting an elderly and sick person who has done nothing wrong to anyone", Jehovah's Witnesses commented (see below).

      Among the other six on trial with Zayshchuk is Nina Purge, who is due to be 80 on 19 June. Four of the other defendants are women in their sixties or seventies. The Judge has sent the case back to prosecutors (see below).

      Yury Geraskov, who died in Kirov at the age of 64, had not spent any time in detention, but "stress connected with persecution for his faith had negatively affected Yury's health", Jehovah's Witnesses noted (see below).

      Viktor Malkov, who died in Smolensk at the age of 61, had spent eight months in detention and nearly four months under house arrest. He had suffered from coronary heart disease and kidney problems. "Viktor's health was largely influenced by poor conditions in pre-trial detention centres and the stress associated with criminal prosecution", Jehovah's Witnesses noted (see below).

      Sergey Mysin is on trial in Ulyanovsk despite serious health concerns. Jehovah's Witnesses say he was discharged early from intensive care in October 2019 after FSB security service officers went to the hospital to insist on his treatment being stopped. The Ulyanovsk Region FSB refused to answer any questions from Forum 18 on the incident (see below).

      Two of the other defendants are men who have already been convicted in another, overlapping trial (see below).

      Despite the coronavirus pandemic, there is no sign of early release, however, for those Jehovah's Witnesses currently in pre-trial detention. Several are worried about the danger of contracting the disease (see below).

      The Moscow-based Public Verdict human rights group warns of poor conditions in Russian prisons, such as "overcrowding, poor ventilation, lack of medical staff, poor medical care, and serious health problems, including chronic conditions and lowered immunity among inmates and staff alike" (see below).

      Nina Purge
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    • By Isabella
      Aleksandr is married, has two daughters and eight grandchildren. He has two accreditations. He mastered the trades of lathe worker, forging and manufacturing; worked as a lumberjack and as an engineer. Having become a Christian, Aleksandr Ivshin refused to participate in military training. Now he is under persecution as an ”extremist.”

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    • By Isabella
      More than 4,000 prisoners of concentration camps wore purple triangles on their chests. Because of their faith, they refused to salute Hitler, pick up weapons and fight. On the 75th anniversary of the liberation, the peace-loving Jehovah’s Witnesses are again in prison, this time in Russia. How did the liberating country become an oppressor?

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    • By Isabella
      According to data on May 4, 2020, Feliks Makhammadiyev, who had a damaged lung, is recovering in the prison hospital; the threat to life has passed. Believers Budenchuk, Miretskiy, Gridasov and German also report feeling better. They are forced to work ten hours a day.

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    • By Isabella
      According to tabulations April 20, 2020, three years after the liquidation of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ communities, 332 people became victims of criminal prosecution, 166 of these undergoing imprisonment. These are honest, non-drinking workers: teachers, builders, firefighters, accountants, lawyers. Authorities ruin their career, paralyze their life.

      From left to right, top to bottom: Galina Dergacheva, Sergey Loginov, Igor Trifonov, Galina Parkova, Vitaliy Popov, Elena Nikulina, Dmitriy Vinogradov, Maksim Amosov

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    • By Isabella
      In the morning of April 29, 2020, groups of armed security forces invaded at least seven homes of residents of Pavlovskaya and Kholmskaya villages for searches and interrogations, exposing believers to the risk of infection during the pandemic. A 62-year-old believer was taken to Krasnodar for interrogation, and a written recognizance not to leave the place was taken.

      Illustrative photo

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    • By Isabella
      The April 1st verdict to the believer — a husband and father of two children — provides a list of material evidence by which one can judge the nature of his ‘crime’: “Religious cards; religious games; envelope with religious pictures; Bible domino; folder with Bible comics; box with postcards.”

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    • By Isabella
      The Prosecutor General’s Office of Belarus has refused to extradite a Jehovah’s Witnesses follower, Nikolai Makhalichev, to Russia. He was released from custody, human rights organization Human Constanta said on Facebook.
      A Russian national and member of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious group, Makhalichev has spent 40 days in custody in Belarus. Human rights activists hope that the Belarusian authorities will give the Russian a refugee status or asylum, after which he will be able to live in safety.
      Nikolai Makhalichev, 36, was detained on February 21 in the town of Haradok, Viciebsk region. He was told that Russia had put him on an interstate wanted list because he belonged to a banned religious community.

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    • By Isabella
      PRISONS ARE fecund incubators for coronavirus — people in tight proximity, surfaces easily contaminated, closed internal spaces, poor hygiene and lack of medicines. For those around the world who have been thrown into jails for their beliefs, the pandemic could become a death sentence. Prisoners everywhere must be protected from the virus on humanitarian grounds, and political prisoners ought to be freed now so they do not die for their words and convictions.
      In Kyrgyzstan, journalist Azimjon Askarov is ill. Let him go. Iran must release Iranian American businessman Siamak Namazi, held for more than four years in Evin prison. In Russia, the political prisoners include 26 Jehovah’s Witnesses in pretrial detention and eight in penal colonies. They should not face a covid-19 death sentence for their religious beliefs. In Venezuela, the “Citgo 6” have been recently moved from house arrest to prison. They are six oil company executives — five U.S. citizens and one permanent resident — arrested and detained in 2017. They must be released.

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    • By Isabella
      On March 20, 2020, the investigator D. Melnikov opened another criminal case under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation against local resident Tatyana Kulakova. Criminal investigations are under way against her husband and eldest son, Dmitriy. The youngest of the Kulakov family, Yevgeniy, for reasons of conscience, asks to replace his military service with alternative civilian service (ACS). However, the authorized bodies unreasonably deny his request, threatening criminal prosecution for “evading military service.”

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    • By Isabella
      67-year-old Yuriy Krutyakov was arrested on March 4, 2020, on suspicion of extremism. Now he is placed in the Moscow pre-trial Detention Center No. 4, a special unit for particularly dangerous criminals. Yuriy suffers from a number of serious diseases, having undergone several operations. Meanwhile, Yuriy was deprived of the Bible. His copy of the Holy Scriptures was withdrawn for verification; until now, the book has not been returned.

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    • Eric Ouellet

      Que vos prières soit préparées comme une encens apaisante pour Jéhovah

      Chez les Israélites, l’offrande d’encens était un symbole approprié pour désigner les prières que Dieu entend. C’est pourquoi le psalmiste David a chanté à Jéhovah : 

      “ Que ma prière soit préparée comme l’encens devant toi. ”
      — Psaume 141 : 2
      JÉHOVAH DIEU a chargé son prophète Moïse de préparer un encens sacré à l’usage du culte qui lui était rendu dans le tabernacle d’Israël. Il a donné lui-même la formule de ce mélange composé de quatre ingrédients aromatiques qui dégageaient une bonne odeur. — Exode 30:34-38.
      L’alliance de la Loi dans laquelle la nation d’Israël avait été admise prévoyait de faire brûler quotidiennement de l’encens (Exode 30:7, 8). Ce geste avait-il une signification particulière ? Oui. En témoignent ces paroles du psalmiste : “ Que ma prière soit préparée comme l’encens devant toi [Jéhovah Dieu], l’élévation de mes paumes comme l’offrande de grain du soir. ” (Psaume 141:2). De plus, dans le livre de la Révélation, l’apôtre Jean dit de ceux qui se tiennent autour du trône céleste de Dieu qu’ils ont des bols d’or pleins d’encens. “ Et, précise le récit inspiré, l’encens représente les prières des saints. ” (Révélation 5:8). Il apparaît donc que la combustion d’encens odorant symbolise les prières agréées que les serviteurs de Jéhovah offrent jour et nuit. — 1 Thessaloniciens 3:10 ; Hébreux 5:7
      Pour que Dieu agrée nos prières, nous devons le prier au nom de Jésus Christ (Jean 16:23, 24). Au demeurant, comment pouvons-nous améliorer la qualité de nos prières ? L’examen de quelques exemples pris dans les Écritures devrait nous aider à préparer nos prières comme l’encens devant Jéhovah. — Proverbes 15:8.
      Prions avec foi
      Si nous voulons que nos prières montent vers Dieu comme un encens de bonne odeur, il nous faut les lui offrir avec foi (Hébreux 11:6). Lorsque des anciens ont affaire à une personne spirituellement malade qui réagit bien à leurs conseils bibliques, ‘ leur prière de foi rétablit celui qui est souffrant ’. (Jacques 5:15.) Notre Père céleste prend plaisir à voir quelqu’un le prier avec foi et étudier consciencieusement sa Parole. Un psalmiste qui manifestait cet excellent état d’esprit a écrit : “ Je lèverai mes paumes vers tes commandements que j’ai aimés, et je veux m’intéresser à tes prescriptions. Enseigne-moi la bonté, le bon sens et la connaissance, car j’ai exercé la foi en tes commandements. ” (Psaume 119:48, 66). ‘ Étendons nos paumes ’ en priant avec humilité et exerçons la foi en observant les commandements de Dieu.
      La prière un lien véritable à la sagesse divine
      Supposons que nous manquions de sagesse pour surmonter une épreuve ; par exemple, nous pourrions ne pas être convaincus qu’une certaine prophétie soit déjà en train de se réaliser. Plutôt que de laisser cette incertitude nous déstabiliser spirituellement, prions pour recevoir de la sagesse (Galates 5:7, 8 ; Jacques 1:5-8). N’escomptons pas cependant que Dieu nous réponde d’une manière spectaculaire, mais démontrons la sincérité de nos prières en faisant ce qu’il attend de tous ses serviteurs : qu’ils bâtissent leur foi en étudiant les Écritures à l’aide des publications fournies par l’intermédiaire de “ l’esclave fidèle et avisé ”. (Matthieu 24:45-47 ; Josué 1:7, 8.) Nous avons besoin également d’augmenter notre connaissance en prenant part régulièrement aux réunions du peuple de Dieu. — Hébreux 10:24, 25.
      Certains chrétiens semblent avoir perdu de vue que nous sommes à un stade avancé du “ temps de la fin ”. (Daniel 12:4.) C’est ce que révèlent l’orientation qu’ils donnent à leur vie et leurs centres d’intérêt. Il convient de prier pour que ces chrétiens ravivent ou affermissent leur foi dans les preuves que fournit la Bible que la présence du Christ a commencé en 1914 et que, ayant été intronisé au ciel par Jéhovah cette année-là, il règne depuis lors au milieu de ses ennemis (Psaume 110:1, 2 ; Matthieu 24:3). Nous devrions tous être bien conscients du fait que des événements annoncés, tels que la destruction de la fausse religion (“ Babylone la Grande ”), l’attaque satanique de Gog de Magog contre les serviteurs de Jéhovah et l’intervention salvatrice de Dieu le Tout-Puissant lors de la guerre d’Har-Maguédôn, peuvent survenir avec une rapidité saisissante et s’enchaîner sur une période relativement courte (Révélation 16:14, 16 ; 18:1-5 ; Ézékiel 38:18-23). Aussi, prions Dieu de nous aider à rester spirituellement éveillés. Puissions-nous tous prier avec conviction pour que le nom de Jéhovah soit sanctifié, pour que son Royaume vienne et pour que sa volonté se fasse sur la terre comme elle est faite au ciel ! Puissions-nous aussi continuer à exercer la foi et à démontrer par des actes la sincérité de nos prières (Matthieu 6:9, 10) ! Que tous ceux qui aiment Jéhovah puissent vraiment chercher d’abord le Royaume et Sa justice, et participer le plus possible à la prédication de la bonne nouvelle avant que vienne la fin ! — Matthieu 6:33 ; 24:14.
      Louons et remercions Jéhovah
      Une manière importante de ‘ préparer nos prières comme l’encens ’ consiste à louer et à remercier Dieu du fond de notre cœur. Le roi David a prononcé une prière de ce genre quand lui et le peuple d’Israël ont fait des contributions pour la construction du temple de Jéhovah. Il s’est exprimé ainsi : “ Béni sois-tu, ô Jéhovah le Dieu d’Israël notre père, depuis des temps indéfinis et pour des temps indéfinis. À toi, ô Jéhovah, sont la grandeur, la puissance, la beauté, la supériorité et la dignité ; car tout, dans les cieux et sur la terre, est à toi. À toi est le royaume, ô Jéhovah, Celui qui t’élève aussi en chef au-dessus de tout. La richesse et la gloire sont grâce à toi, et tu domines tout ; dans ta main il y a force et puissance, et dans ta main est le pouvoir de rendre grand et de donner de la vigueur à tous. Et maintenant, ô notre Dieu, nous te remercions et nous louons ton nom magnifique. ” — 1 Chroniques 29:10-13.
      Quelles splendides expressions de louange et de reconnaissance ! Même si nos prières ne sont pas aussi éloquentes, elles peuvent témoigner de la même sincérité. Les actions de grâces et les louanges abondent dans le livre des Psaumes. Les Psaumes 148, 149 et 150, en particulier, louent Dieu en des termes particulièrement choisis. La gratitude envers Dieu imprègne également de nombreux psaumes. “ J’ai demandé une chose à Jéhovah, a chanté David, — c’est ce que je chercherai : Que j’habite dans la maison de Jéhovah tous les jours de ma vie, pour contempler le charme de Jéhovah et pour regarder avec admiration son temple. ” (Psaume 27:4). Agissons en harmonie avec de telles prières en participant avec zèle à toutes les activités des “ foules rassemblées ” par Jéhovah (Psaume 26:12). Ajoutons à cela la méditation quotidienne de sa Parole, et nous aurons quantité de raisons de louer et de remercier sincèrement Jéhovah.
      Recherchons humblement l’aide de Jéhovah
      Nous avons l’assurance que Jéhovah entend les appels à l’aide de ses Témoins qui le servent d’un cœur entier (Isaïe 43:10-12). C’est ce qu’illustre un épisode de la vie d’Asa, qui a été roi de Juda pendant 41 ans (977-937 av. n. è.). Après dix premières années de règne marquées par la paix, le pays a été envahi par une armée de un million d’hommes conduite par Zérah l’Éthiopien. Bien qu’infiniment moins nombreux, Asa et ses hommes sont sortis à la rencontre de l’ennemi. Cependant, avant de livrer bataille, Asa a prononcé une prière fervente, dans laquelle il a exprimé sa confiance dans le pouvoir salvateur de Jéhovah. Implorant son aide, il a dit : “ Sur toi nous nous appuyons et c’est en ton nom que nous sommes venus contre cette foule. Ô Jéhovah, tu es notre Dieu. Que le mortel ne conserve pas de vigueur contre toi. ” En conséquence, Jéhovah a sauvé Juda à cause de son grand nom ; il a donné aux Israélites une victoire totale (2 Chroniques 14:1-15). Qu’il nous délivre de l’épreuve ou qu’il nous donne la force de l’endurer, il est hors de doute que Dieu entend nos appels à l’aide.
      Soyons certains que Jéhovah entend tout autant nos requêtes lorsque nous ne savons pas comment agir dans une certaine situation critique. C’est ce qu’a pu vérifier le roi de Juda Yehoshaphat, dont les 25 ans de règne ont commencé en 936 avant notre ère. Quand Juda s’est trouvé menacé par les armées coalisées de Moab, d’Ammôn et de la région montagneuse de Séïr, Yehoshaphat a fait cette supplication : “ Ô notre Dieu, n’exécuteras-tu pas le jugement sur eux ? Car en nous il n’y a pas de force devant cette foule nombreuse qui vient contre nous ; et nous, nous ne savons que faire, mais nos yeux sont tournés vers toi. ” Jéhovah a répondu à cette prière humble : il a combattu en faveur de Juda en semant la confusion dans les rangs des ennemis de sorte que ceux-ci se sont entretués. À la suite de cela, la crainte a saisi les nations d’alentour, et Juda a connu la paix (2 Chroniques 20:1-30). Lorsque nous manquons de la sagesse nécessaire pour résoudre une grave difficulté, reconnaissons, comme Yehoshaphat : ‘ Nous ne savons que faire, mais nos yeux sont tournés vers toi, Jéhovah. ’ L’esprit saint peut nous rappeler alors à la mémoire des pensées bibliques qui nous donneront la solution, à moins que l’aide divine ne revête une forme qui dépasse l’entendement humain. — Romains 8:26, 27.
       Avant de recevoir l’aide de Dieu, peut-être nous faudra-t-il persévérer dans la prière. Nehémia a mené deuil, a pleuré, jeûné et prié pendant des jours à propos de la muraille en ruine de Jérusalem et de la situation pitoyable des habitants de Juda (Nehémia 1:1-11). Ses prières sont manifestement montées vers Dieu comme un encens de bonne odeur. Devant la mine abattue de Nehémia, le roi perse Artaxerxès lui a un jour demandé : “ Que cherches-tu donc à obtenir ? ” “ Aussitôt, raconte Nehémia, je priai le Dieu des cieux. ” Cette requête courte et silencieuse a été exaucée : Nehémia a reçu l’autorisation d’accomplir ce qui lui tenait à cœur : se rendre à Jérusalem pour y rebâtir la muraille. — Nehémia 2:1-8.
      Jésus nous apprend à prier
      De toutes les prières qui ont été conservées dans les Écritures, il en est une particulièrement instructive ; c’est la prière modèle, que Jésus Christ a présentée comme un encens de bonne odeur. Voici ce que nous lisons dans l’Évangile de Luc : “ Un [des] disciples [de Jésus] lui dit : ‘ Seigneur, apprends-nous à prier, comme Jean aussi l’a appris à ses disciples. ’ Alors il leur dit : ‘ Quand vous priez, dites : “ Père, que ton nom soit sanctifié. Que ton royaume vienne. Donne-nous notre pain pour le jour selon les besoins du jour. Et pardonne-nous nos péchés, car nous-mêmes aussi nous pardonnons à tous ceux qui nous doivent ; et ne nous fais pas entrer en tentation. ” ’ ” (Luc 11:1-4 ; Matthieu 6:9-13). Cette prière n’était pas destinée à être récitée, mais plutôt à donner une indication de ce pour quoi il faut prier. 
       “ Père, que ton nom soit sanctifié. ” Jéhovah accorde à ceux qui le servent et lui sont voués le privilège spécial de l’appeler Père. Comme des enfants qui confient tout à un père qu’ils savent miséricordieux, nous devrions prendre régulièrement le temps d’adresser à Dieu des prières empreintes de dignité et de vénération (Psaume 103:13, 14). Nos prières devraient traduire l’intérêt que nous portons à la sanctification de son nom, que nous aspirons à voir lavé de tout l’opprobre dont il a été couvert. Oui, nous voulons que le nom de Jéhovah soit mis à part et tenu pour saint, ou sacré. — Psaumes 5:11 ; 63:3, 4 ; 148:12, 13 ; Ézékiel 38:23.
      “ Que ton royaume vienne. ”
      “ Que ton royaume vienne. ” Le Royaume représente la domination que Jéhovah exerce par l’intermédiaire du gouvernement céleste messianique qu’il a confié à son Fils, Jésus, et aux “ saints ” qui lui sont associés (Daniel 7:13, 14, 18, 27 ; Révélation 20:6). Bientôt, ce Royaume ‘ viendra ’ contre tous ceux sur la terre qui s’opposent à la souveraineté divine et il les fera disparaître (Daniel 2:44). Après cela, la volonté de Jéhovah sera faite sur la terre, comme elle l’est au ciel (Matthieu 6:10). Quelle joie ce sera pour toutes les créatures qui servent fidèlement le Souverain de l’univers !
       “ Donne-nous notre pain pour le jour selon les besoins du jour. ” En demandant à Jéhovah la nourriture “ pour le jour ”, nous montrons que nous ne cherchons pas à avoir abondance de biens, mais seulement de quoi satisfaire nos besoins quotidiens. Tout en comptant sur Dieu, nous travaillons et mettons à profit les moyens à notre disposition pour nous procurer la nourriture et les autres choses nécessaires à la vie (2 Thessaloniciens 3:7-10). Nous devrions évidemment remercier notre Bienfaiteur céleste, car c’est grâce à son amour, à sa sagesse et à sa puissance que nous avons tout cela. — Actes 14:15-17
       “ Pardonne-nous nos péchés, car nous-mêmes aussi nous pardonnons à tous ceux qui nous doivent. ” Étant donné que nous sommes imparfaits et pécheurs, il nous est impossible de nous conformer absolument aux normes parfaites de Jéhovah. Nous avons donc besoin de le prier de nous accorder son pardon en vertu du sacrifice rédempteur de Jésus. Mais pour que ‘ Celui qui entend la prière ’ applique le mérite de ce sacrifice à nos péchés, il nous faut également nous repentir et accepter toute discipline qu’il juge bon de nous administrer (Psaume 65:2 ; Romains 5:8 ; 6:23 ; Hébreux 12:4-11). Enfin, nous ne pouvons nous attendre à ce que Dieu nous pardonne que si nous “ avons remis à nos débiteurs ”, c’est-à-dire à ceux qui ont péché contre nous. — Matthieu 6:12, 14, 15.
       “ Ne nous fais pas entrer en tentation. ” Quand la Bible dit que Jéhovah fait telle ou telle chose, c’est parfois simplement pour dire qu’il permet qu’elle se produise (Ruth 1:20, 21). Ce n’est pas lui qui nous tente pour nous faire pécher (Jacques 1:13). Les tentations de commettre le mal viennent du Diable, de notre chair imparfaite et du monde. Satan est le Tentateur qui essaie par ses manœuvres de nous faire pécher contre Dieu (Matthieu 4:3 ; 1 Thessaloniciens 3:5). Lorsque nous prions Dieu de ‘ ne pas nous faire entrer en tentation ’, nous lui demandons en fait de ne pas permettre que nous cédions si nous sommes tentés de lui désobéir. Il peut nous indiquer la voie à suivre pour ne pas succomber ni nous laisser vaincre par Satan, le “ méchant ”. — Matthieu 6:13 ; 1 Corinthiens 10:13.
      Agissons en harmonie avec nos prières
      Comment pouvons-nous agir en harmonie avec les prières dans lesquelles nous demandons à être heureux en mariage et dans notre vie de famille?
      La prière modèle de Jésus aborde les points principaux, mais il y a toutes sortes de choses qui peuvent faire l’objet de nos prières. Ce peut être, par exemple, le désir d’être heureux en mariage ; ou bien celui de rester pur jusqu’au jour des noces. Dans ce cas, prions pour avoir de la maîtrise de soi. Mais soyons également conséquents avec nos prières en rejetant les lectures et les divertissements impurs. Soyons déterminés aussi à ‘ nous marier seulement dans le Seigneur ’. (1 Corinthiens 7:39 ; Deutéronome 7:3, 4.) Une fois mariés, ne nous contentons pas de prier pour être heureux : appliquons les conseils venant de Dieu. Si nous avons des enfants, aspirons-nous à les voir devenir de fidèles serviteurs de Jéhovah ? Alors, tout en priant dans ce sens, faisons tout notre possible pour leur inculquer les vérités divines en étudiant la Bible avec eux et en les emmenant régulièrement aux réunions chrétiennes. — Deutéronome 6:5-9 ; 31:12 ; Proverbes 22:6.
      Prions-nous pour que Dieu bénisse notre ministère ? Agissons en harmonie avec ces prières en participant de façon significative à la prédication du Royaume. Si nous prions pour avoir des occasions d’aider les autres à emprunter le chemin de la vie éternelle, ayons soin de bien prendre note des personnes qui manifestent de l’intérêt et soyons prêts à adapter notre programme pour y inclure des études bibliques. Enfin, si nous poursuivons l’objectif de devenir pionniers afin de prendre part à l’œuvre d’évangélisation à plein temps, allons dans le sens de nos prières en augmentant notre participation au ministère et en prêchant avec des pionniers. Nous montrerons ainsi que nous agissons en harmonie avec nos prières.
      Si nous servons Jéhovah fidèlement, nous pouvons être certains qu’il répondra aux prières conformes à sa volonté que nous lui adresserons (1 Jean 5:14, 15).. Faisant une comparaison avec l’odeur agréable de l’encens que les prêtres offraient dans le temple, la Parole de Dieu nous donne cette assurance : “ La prière des hommes droits est pour lui un plaisir. ” — Proverbes 15:8.
       

      · 0 replies
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Hello Eric, as tu déjà préparé le sujet des joyaux du 10 novembre concernant le but des sacrifices et offrandes, sachant que nous devons d'abord présenter le livre du Lévitique. Comment être concis?
      Le but des sacrifices et des offrandes.dot la Mer Morte.pps
      · 1 reply
    • Emma Rose

      Would a kind soul please help me with how to reply using the quote more than once.
      · 5 replies
    • Dee Gordon  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      HI TWYLA...DEE GORDON HERE.  WOULD LIKE  TO CHANGE MY EMAIL ADDRESS YOU SEND MY MEETING WORKBOOK TO.  I DON'T USE FACEBOOK BUT WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THE WORKBOOK INFO AND WATCHTOWER NOTES PLEASE . THIS ONE STILL RUNNING YOU HAVE ME SIGNED UP FOR...JUST THAT IT WOULD BE MORE CONVENIENT AT THIS TIME.
      · 3 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Apprenons à craindre Jéhovah
      “ La crainte de Jéhovah est le début de la sagesse. ” — PROVERBES 9:10.

      IL FUT un temps où dire de quelqu’un craignait Dieu était un compliment. Beaucoup jugent aujourd’hui désuète et illogique l’idée de craindre Dieu. " Pourquoi craindre Dieu s’il est amour?" s’étonnent-ils. C’est que la crainte est à leurs yeux un sentiment forcément négatif, voire paralysant. Or, la crainte de Dieu, la vraie, est bien autre chose que de la peur et, comme nous allons le voir, elle ne se résume pas à un sentiment.
       La Bible présente la crainte de Dieu sous un jour positif (Isaïe 11:3). Craindre Dieu, c’est éprouver envers lui un profond respect et désirer vivement ne pas lui déplaire (Psaume 115:11). C’est aussi accepter ses normes morales et s’y conformer strictement, appliquer dans notre vie ses critères du bien et du mal. Un ouvrage de référence indique que cette crainte salutaire exprime “ un rapport à Dieu, une disposition d’esprit dominante, qui incite à se conduire avec sagesse et à rejeter le mal sous toutes ses formes ”. La Bible dit d’ailleurs que “ la crainte de Jéhovah est le début de la sagesse ”. — Proverbes 9:10.
      La crainte de Dieu influe sur de nombreux domaines de l’existence. Outre la sagesse, elle favorise la joie, la paix, la prospérité, la longévité, l’espoir, la confiance (Psaume 2:11 ; Proverbes 1:7 ; 10:27 ; 14:26 ; 22:4 ; 23:17, 18 ; Actes 9:31). Elle est étroitement liée à la foi et à l’amour. Pour tout dire, elle touche tous les aspects de nos relations avec Dieu et avec les humains (Deutéronome 10:12 ; Job 6:14 ; Hébreux 11:7). Craindre Dieu, enfin, c’est avoir la ferme conviction que notre Père céleste se soucie de nous personnellement et qu’il est disposé à pardonner nos transgressions (Psaume 130:4). Il n’y a donc qu’aux pécheurs non repentants que Dieu devrait inspirer de la terreur. — Hébreux 10:26-31.
      APPRENONS À CRAINDRE DIEU
      Puisqu’il est indispensable de le craindre pour prendre de sages décisions et recevoir ses bénédictions, comment "apprendre à craindre Jéhovah"
      dans le bon sens du terme (Deutéronome 17:19) ? De nombreux exemples d’hommes et de femmes qui craignaient Dieu ont été consignés dans les Écritures “ pour notre instruction ”. (Romains 15:4.) Intéressons-nous à la vie de l’un de ces personnages, le roi David.
      Saül, le premier roi d’Israël, avait la crainte du peuple, mais pas la crainte de Dieu. Cela lui a valu d’être rejeté par Jéhovah (1 Samuel 15:24-26). David, lui, était un homme qui craignait vraiment Dieu ; sa vie et son intimité avec Jéhovah en témoignent. Les nombreuses nuits à la belle étoile qu’il avait passées dans sa jeunesse à faire paître les moutons de son père l’avaient certainement aidé à comprendre ce qu’est la crainte de Jéhovah (1 Samuel 16:11). De l’immense univers, il n’avait contemplé qu’une infime partie, mais cela lui avait suffi pour saisir l’essentiel : Dieu mérite respect et adoration. “ Quand je vois tes cieux, les œuvres de tes doigts, la lune et les étoiles que tu as préparées, écrira-t-il plus tard, qu’est-ce que le mortel pour que tu penses à lui, et le fils de l’homme tiré du sol pour que tu t’occupes de lui ? ” — Psaume 8:3, 4.
      Il était normal que David soit impressionné quand il comparait sa petitesse à l’immensité des cieux étoilés. Mais, loin de l’effrayer, cette connaissance le portait à louer Jéhovah. “ Les cieux proclament la gloire de Dieu, a-t-il écrit ; et l’œuvre de ses mains, l’étendue l’annonce. ” (Psaume 19:1). Ce profond respect le rapprochait de Jéhovah ; il lui donnait envie d’apprendre ses voies parfaites et de les suivre. Percevez-vous les sentiments qui l’habitaient quand il chantait ce psaume : “ Tu es grand et tu fais des choses prodigieuses ; tu es Dieu, toi seul. Instruis-moi de ta voie, ô Jéhovah ! Je marcherai dans ta vérité. Unifie mon cœur pour craindre ton nom. ” — Psaume 86:10, 11.
      Quand les Philistins ont envahi le pays d’Israël, leur champion, Goliath, a provoqué les Israélites du haut de ses trois mètres. " Envoyez donc quelqu’un m’affronter en combat singulier ! les narguait-il. S’il me bat, nous serons vos serviteurs. " (1 Samuel 17:4-10). Saül et toute son armée étaient terrifiés. Mais pas David. S’il devait craindre quelqu’un, c’était Jéhovah, et non un homme, si fort soit-il. “ Je viens vers toi avec le nom de Jéhovah des armées, a-t-il lancé à Goliath. [...] Et toute cette assemblée saura que ce n’est ni par l’épée ni par la lance que Jéhovah sauve réellement, car à Jéhovah appartient la bataille. ” Grâce à Jéhovah, une fronde et une pierre ont suffi à David pour abattre le géant. — 1 Samuel 17:45-47.
      Il peut arriver que nous nous trouvions devant des obstacles ou des ennemis aussi intimidants que ceux qu’a dû affronter David. Que faire alors ? Imiter David et d’autres fidèles du passé en s’armant de la crainte de Dieu. La crainte de Dieu l’emporte sur la crainte de l’homme. À ses compatriotes en butte à l’opposition, le fidèle Nehémia a adressé cette exhortation : “ N’ayez pas peur à cause d’eux. Souvenez-vous de Jéhovah le Grand et le Redoutable. ” (Nehémia 4:14). C’est parce qu’ils avaient son soutien que David, Nehémia et d’autres ont réussi à faire ce que Jéhovah attendait d’eux. Nous le pourrons également si nous craignons Dieu.
      Après celle sur Goliath, Jéhovah a accordé d’autres victoires à David. Jaloux, Saül a tenté de tuer le jeune homme, d’abord dans un geste de colère, puis par des moyens détournés, enfin en mobilisant toute une armée contre lui. Même si David avait reçu l’assurance qu’il serait roi, pendant des années il a dû fuir, se battre, et attendre le moment fixé par Jéhovah. Dans toutes ces situations, il ne s’est jamais départi de sa crainte du vrai Dieu. — 1 Samuel 18:9, 11, 17 ; 24:2.
      À un moment donné, David s’est réfugié auprès d’Akish, le roi de Gath, ville philistine d’où était originaire Goliath (1 Samuel 21:10-15). Les serviteurs d’Akish l’ont dénoncé comme ennemi. Comment a-t-il réagi à cette situation périlleuse ? Il s’est confié à Jéhovah de tout son cœur (Psaume 56:1-4, 11-13). Il s’est finalement sorti du guêpier en simulant la démence, mais il était bien conscient de devoir son salut à Jéhovah, qui avait béni son stratagème. David a prouvé qu’il craignait vraiment Dieu en plaçant toute sa confiance en lui. — Psaume 34:4-6, 9-11.
      À l’exemple de David, nous montrerons que nous craignons Dieu en ayant confiance en sa promesse de nous aider dans les épreuves. “ Roule ta voie sur Jéhovah, compte sur lui, et c’est lui qui agira ”, a affirmé David (Psaume 37:5). Cela ne veut pas dire qu’il faut mettre nos problèmes entre les mains de Jéhovah sans rien faire d’autre qu’attendre son intervention. David ne s’est pas contenté de prier et de voir venir. Il a cherché une solution à son problème en utilisant les capacités physiques et intellectuelles dont Jéhovah l’avait doté. Pour autant, il ne pensait pas que ses efforts d’humain suffiraient. Cette façon de voir devrait aussi être la nôtre. Faisons tout ce qui est en notre pouvoir, puis laissons Jéhovah se charger du reste. Cela étant, il est fréquent que nous ne puissions rien faire d’autre que compter sur Jéhovah. C’est là que la crainte de Dieu revêt un caractère très personnel. Combien est réconfortante cette réflexion de David : “ L’intimité avec Jéhovah appartient à ceux qui le craignent. ” — Psaume 25:14.
      Il s’agit donc de ne pas banaliser nos prières et nos relations avec Dieu. Lorsque nous nous ‘ avançons ’ vers Jéhovah, nous devons “ croire qu’il est, et qu’il devient celui qui récompense ceux qui le cherchent réellement ”. (Hébreux 11:6 ; Jacques 1:5-8.) Et quand il vient à notre aide, il nous faut, conformément au conseil de l’apôtre Paul, ‘ nous montrer reconnaissants ’. (Colossiens 3:15, 17.) Ne ressemblons jamais à ceux dont un chrétien oint expérimenté a dit : “ Ils prennent Dieu pour une sorte de garçon de café. Ils aimeraient qu’il réponde à un claquement de doigts dès qu’ils ont besoin de quelque chose, et qu’il disparaisse dès qu’ils ont eu ce qu’ils voulaient. ” Où est leur crainte de Dieu ?
      Le fait que Jéhovah l’ait secouru a augmenté la confiance et la crainte que David éprouvait envers lui (Psaume 31:22-24). Trois fois, cependant, David a mis notablement sa crainte de Dieu entre parenthèses, ce qui a eu des conséquences tragiques. La première fois, c’est quand il a décidé de faire transporter l’arche de l’alliance à Jérusalem sur un chariot, et non sur les épaules des Lévites comme le prescrivait la Loi. Ouzza, qui conduisait le chariot, a saisi l’Arche pour l’empêcher de tomber. Dieu l’a fait mourir sur le champ pour cet “ acte d’irrévérence ”. Certes, Ouzza avait commis un péché grave, mais c’est bien David qui, pour n’avoir pas respecté la Loi divine, était responsable de ce drame. Craindre Dieu suppose que l’on fasse les choses comme lui l’entend. — 2 Samuel 6:2-9 ; Nombres 4:15 ; 7:9.
      Une autre fois, sous l’impulsion de Satan, David a procédé au dénombrement des hommes de guerre en Israël (1 Chroniques 21:1). Là encore, il a cessé momentanément de craindre Dieu, ce qui a coûté la vie à 70 000 de ses compatriotes. Bien qu’il se soit repenti devant Jéhovah, lui et le peuple ont beaucoup souffert en la circonstance. — 2 Samuel 24:1-16
      C’est aussi parce qu’il avait oublié sa crainte de Dieu que David a couché avec Bath-Shéba, la femme d’Ouriya. David savait qu’il était mal, non seulement de commettre l’adultère, mais aussi de désirer la femme d’un autre (Exode 20:14, 17). Tout a commencé quand il a aperçu Bath-Shéba qui se baignait. La crainte de Dieu lui commandait de détourner son regard immédiatement et de maîtriser ses pensées. Mais il a manifestement ‘ continué à regarder ’, si bien que la passion l’a emporté sur sa crainte de Dieu (Matthieu 5:28 ; 2 Samuel 11:1-4). David a oublié que Jéhovah devait être présent dans tous les domaines de sa vie. — Psaume 139:1-7.
      De son adultère avec Bath-Shéba est né un fils. Peu après, Jéhovah a envoyé le prophète Nathân dénoncer le péché de David. Retrouvant la crainte de Dieu en même temps que la raison, celui-ci s’est repenti. Il a supplié Jéhovah de ne pas le rejeter et de ne pas lui retirer son esprit saint (Psaume 51:7, 11). Jéhovah lui a pardonné et a atténué le châtiment, mais il ne lui a pas épargné toutes les conséquences de ses actes. Le fils de David est mort ; les malheurs se sont succédé dans sa famille. Quel prix à payer pour avoir momentanément fait abstraction de la crainte de Dieu ! — 2 Samuel 12:10-14 ; 13:10-14 ; 15:14.
      Aujourd’hui de même, ne pas craindre Dieu dans le domaine de la moralité peut avoir des conséquences graves et durables. Imaginez la douleur de cette jeune femme qui découvre que son mari chrétien l’a trompée lors d’un déplacement professionnel à l’étranger. Choquée, anéantie par le chagrin, elle enfouit son visage dans ses mains et pleure toutes les larmes de son corps. Combien de temps faudra-t-il au mari infidèle pour regagner la confiance et le respect de sa femme ? Des situations aussi pénibles peuvent être évitées grâce à la crainte de Dieu. — 1 Corinthiens 6:18.
      Satan détruit les valeurs morales de la société humaine les unes après les autres, et il cherche particulièrement à corrompre les vrais chrétiens. Pour ce faire, il exploite le chemin le plus direct vers le cœur et l’esprit : nos sens, avec une prédilection pour l’ouïe et la vue (Éphésiens 4:17-19). Comment réagissez-vous quand, involontairement, vous vous trouvez exposé à des images ou à des paroles obscènes, ou encore en présence d’individus immoraux ?
      Voyez le cas d’André. Cet ancien et père de famille est médecin dans un pays d’Europe. Quand il était de garde de nuit à l’hôpital, des collègues féminines avaient pris l’habitude d’épingler sur son oreiller des mots doux ornés de petits cœurs pour l’inviter à coucher avec elles. André s’interdisait résolument d’accorder la moindre pensée à ces avances. Mieux, pour se soustraire à cet environnement malsain, il a changé d’établissement. Sa crainte de Dieu s’est révélée sage et lui a valu des bénédictions, puisqu’il effectue aujourd’hui une partie de ses activités au siège des Témoins de Jéhovah de son pays.
      Troquer nos précieuses relations avec Jéhovah contre quelque chose auquel nous n’avons pas droit : voilà où nous risquons d’en arriver en cultivant de mauvaises pensées (Jacques 1:14, 15). Si nous craignons Jéhovah, en revanche, nous nous tiendrons éloignés — et même nous nous écarterons délibérément — des gens, des lieux, des activités ou des divertissements qui pourraient nous faire baisser notre garde (Proverbes 22:3). Quel que soit l’inconvénient ou le sacrifice que cela implique, il n’est rien à côté de la perte de la faveur divine (Matthieu 5:29, 30). La crainte de Dieu nous commande de ne jamais nous exposer intentionnellement à quoi que ce soit d’immoral — à commencer par la pornographie sous toutes ses formes —, mais aussi de faire en sorte que nos yeux “ passent sans s’arrêter à la vue de ce qui n’est que néant ”. Soyons convaincus que Jéhovah, alors, nous ‘ gardera en vie ’ et nous donnera tout ce dont nous avons réellement besoin. — Psaume 84:11 ; 119:37.
       Assurément, c’est toujours faire preuve de sagesse que de laisser la crainte de Dieu dicter nos actions. C’est aussi la source du vrai bonheur (Psaume 34:9)

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