OUR CHRISTIAN MINISTRY, JANUARY 17 through 23. BIBLE READING FOR THIS WEEK: JUDGES 20 through 21



Quotation: Judges 20:1 through 21:25 Consequently, all the Israelites came out from Dan down to Beer-sheba and from the land of Gilead, and the entire assembly gathered unitedly before Jehovah at Mizpah. 2 So the chiefs of the people and all the tribes of Israel took their places in the congregation of God’s people—400,000 foot soldiers armed with swords. 3 The Benjaminites heard that the men of Israel had gone up to Mizpah. Then the men of Israel said: “Tell us, how did this terrible thing happen?” 4 At this the Levite man, the husband of the murdered woman, said in answer: “I came to Gibeah of Benjamin with my concubine to stay overnight. 5 And the inhabitants of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house by night. They meant to kill me, but they raped my concubine instead, and she died. 6 So I took my concubine’s body and cut it up and sent the pieces into every part of Israel’s inheritance, because they had committed a shameful and disgraceful act in Israel. 7 Now all you people of Israel, give your advice and counsel here.” 8 Then all the people rose up in unison and said: “Not one of us will go to his tent or return to his house. 9 Now this is what we will do to Gibeah: We will go up against it by lot. 10 We will take 10 men out of 100 from all the tribes of Israel, and 100 out of 1,000 and 1,000 out of 10,000 to collect provisions for the army, so that they may take action against Gibeah of Benjamin, in view of the disgraceful act that they committed in Israel.” 11 Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city united as allies. 12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men to all the tribesmen of Benjamin, saying: “What is this terrible thing that has happened among you? 13 Now hand over the worthless men from Gibeah, so that we may put them to death and clear out what is bad from Israel.” But the Benjaminites refused to listen to their Israelite brothers. 14 Then the Benjaminites gathered together out of the cities to Gibeah to go out to battle against the men of Israel. 15 That day the Benjaminites mustered from their cities 26,000 men armed with swords, apart from the 700 chosen men of Gibeah. 16 In this army were 700 chosen men who were left-handed. Every one of these men could sling a stone to within a hairbreadth and would not miss. 17 The men of Israel apart from Benjamin mustered 400,000 men armed with swords, and each one was an experienced warrior. 18 They rose up and went up to Bethel to inquire of God. Then the people of Israel said: “Who of us should go up in the lead to the battle against the Benjaminites?” Jehovah replied: “Judah is to take the lead.” 19 After that the Israelites rose up in the morning and camped against Gibeah. 20 The men of Israel now went out to battle against Benjamin; they drew up in battle formation against them at Gibeah. 21 So the Benjaminites came out from Gibeah and struck down 22,000 men of Israel on that day. 22 However, the army of the men of Israel showed themselves courageous and again drew up in battle formation in the same place as on the first day. 23 Then the Israelites went up and wept before Jehovah until the evening and inquired of Jehovah: “Should we again go into battle against our brothers, the people of Benjamin?” To this Jehovah said: “Go up against them.” 24 So the Israelites drew near to the Benjaminites on the second day. 25 In turn Benjamin came out from Gibeah to meet them on the second day and struck down another 18,000 Israelites, all of them armed with swords. 26 At that all the men of Israel went up to Bethel. They wept and sat there before Jehovah, and they fasted on that day until the evening and offered up burnt offerings and communion offerings before Jehovah. 27 After that the men of Israel inquired of Jehovah, for the ark of the covenant of the true God was there in those days. 28 Now Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was ministering before it in those days. They asked: “Should we go out yet again to battle against our brothers, the men of Benjamin, or should we stop?” Jehovah replied: “Go up, because tomorrow I will give them into your hand.” 29 Then Israel set men in ambush all around Gibeah. 30 The Israelites went up against the Benjaminites on the third day, and they drew up in formation against Gibeah the same as at the other times. 31 When the Benjaminites went out to meet the army, they were drawn away from the city. Then, as at the other times, they started to attack and kill some of the men on the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, leaving about 30 men of Israel dead in the open field. 32 So the Benjaminites said: “They are suffering defeat before us the same as before.” But the Israelites said: “We will retreat and draw them away from the city onto the highways.” 33 So all the men of Israel rose up from their places and drew up in formation at Baal-tamar while the Israelite ambush charged out of their places in the vicinity of Gibeah. 34 Thus 10,000 chosen men out of all Israel came in front of Gibeah, and the fighting was heavy. But the Benjaminites did not know that disaster was near at hand. 35 Jehovah defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israelites struck down 25,100 men in Benjamin, all of them armed with swords. 36 However, the Benjaminites imagined that the men of Israel would be defeated when they retreated from Benjamin, but they retreated because they trusted in the ambush that was set against Gibeah. 37 The ambush acted quickly and charged toward Gibeah. Then the ambush spread out and struck down the whole city with the sword. 38 Now the men of Israel had arranged that the men who ambushed the city would make a smoke signal go up from there. 39 When the Israelites turned around in the battle, the men of Benjamin started by attacking and killing about 30 men of Israel, and they said: “They are clearly suffering another defeat before us, just as in the previous battle.” 40 But the signal started to go up from the city as a pillar of smoke. When the men of Benjamin turned to look, they saw the whole city going up in flames to the sky. 41 Then the men of Israel made an about-face, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed, for they saw that disaster had overtaken them. 42 So they retreated from the men of Israel toward the wilderness, but the battle followed them; the men coming out of the cities joined in striking them down. 43 They surrounded the Benjaminites and pursued them relentlessly. They trampled them down directly in front of Gibeah toward the east. 44 Finally 18,000 men of Benjamin fell, all mighty warriors. 45 The men of Benjamin turned and fled into the wilderness to the crag of Rimmon, and the Israelites killed 5,000 of them on the highways, and they kept pursuing them as far as Gidom; so they struck down 2,000 more men. 46 All those of Benjamin who fell on that day amounted to 25,000 men armed with swords, all mighty warriors. 47 But 600 retreated into the wilderness to the crag of Rimmon, and they stayed on the crag of Rimmon for four months. 48 And the men of Israel turned back against the Benjaminites and struck those of the city with the sword, from men to livestock, all that remained. Also, they set all the cities in their path on fire.

21 Now the men of Israel had sworn this oath in Mizpah: “Not one of us will give his daughter to a man from Benjamin as a wife.” 2 Consequently, the people came to Bethel and sat there before the true God until evening, crying out and weeping bitterly. 3 And they were saying: “Why, O Jehovah the God of Israel, has this happened in Israel? Why should one tribe be missing today from Israel?” 4 And the next day the people got up early and built an altar there to offer up burnt offerings and communion offerings. 5 Then the people of Israel said: “Who of all the tribes of Israel did not come up to assemble before Jehovah?” for they had taken a great oath that anyone who did not come up to Jehovah at Mizpah would be put to death without fail. 6 So the people of Israel felt sorrow over what had happened to Benjamin their brother. They said: “Today one tribe has been chopped off from Israel. 7 What should we do to provide wives for those who are left, now that we have sworn by Jehovah not to give them any of our daughters as wives?” 8 They asked: “Who among the tribes of Israel did not come up to Jehovah at Mizpah?” It so happened that no one had come from Jabesh-gilead into the camp where the congregation was. 9 When the people were counted, they saw that none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead were there. 10 So the assembly sent there 12,000 of the mightiest men. They commanded them: “Go and strike down the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the sword, even the women and the children. 11 This is what you should do: Every male, as well as every woman who has had sexual relations with a male, you should devote to destruction.” 12 Among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead, they found 400 girls who were virgins, who had never had sexual relations with a man. So they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. 13 Then all the assembly sent a message to the Benjaminites on the crag of Rimmon and offered them peace. 14 So Benjamin came back at that time. They gave them the women whom they had kept alive from the women of Jabesh-gilead, but they did not find enough for them. 15 And the people felt sorrow over what had happened to Benjamin because Jehovah had made a division among the tribes of Israel. 16 The elders of the assembly said: “What should we do to provide wives for the remaining men, since all the women were annihilated out of Benjamin?” 17 They replied: “There should be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, so that a tribe may not be wiped out of Israel. 18 But we are not allowed to give them wives from our daughters, because the people of Israel have sworn: ‘Cursed is the one who gives a wife to Benjaminutes’” 19 Then they said: “Look! There is a festival of Jehovah from year to year in Shiloh, which is north of Bethel and east of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem and south of Lebonah.” 20 So they commanded the men of Benjamin: “Go and set an ambush in the vineyards. 21 And when you see the young women of Shiloh come out to join in their circle dances, each of you should come out from the vineyards and seize a wife from the young women of Shiloh, and you should return to the land of Benjaminutes 22 And should their fathers or their brothers come to make a complaint against us, we will then tell them, ‘Show us favor for their sakes, because we could not provide each one a wife by war and you could not give a wife to them without becoming guilty.’” 23 So the men of Benjamin did just that, and they each carried off a wife from the women who were dancing. After that they went back to their inheritance and rebuilt their cities and settled in them. 24 And the Israelites dispersed from there at that time, each one to his tribe and his family, and they departed from there, each one to his inheritance. 25 In those days there was no king in Israel. Each one was doing what was right in his own eyes. End quotation.


SONG 47, PRAY TO JEHOVAH EACH DAY, BASED ON 1 THESSALONIANS 5:17


1. Pray to Jehovah, the Hearer of prayer.

This is our priv’lege, for his name we bear.

Open your heart as you would to a friend,

Trust that on Him you can always depend.

Pray to Jehovah each day.

2. Pray to Jehovah, give thanks that we live,

Asking forgiveness as we do forgive.

May we confess to our God whom we trust.

He is our Maker and knows we are dust.

Pray to Jehovah each day.

3. Pray to Jehovah when troubles appear.

He is our Father and ever so near.

Seek his protection, and look for his aid;

He is our confidence; don’t be afraid.

Pray to Jehovah each day.

Opening Comments 1 minutes


TREASURES FROM GOD’S WORD


“Keep Inquiring of Jehovah”: 10 minutes


Treasure 1:

The Israelites repeatedly asked Jehovah for direction
Quotation: Judges 20:17, 18 The men of Israel apart from Benjamin mustered 400,000 men armed with swords, and each one was an experienced warrior. 18 They rose up and went up to Bethel to inquire of God. Then the people of Israel said: “Who of us should go up in the lead to the battle against the Benjaminites?” Jehovah replied: “Judah is to take the lead.” End quotation.

Quotation: Judges 20:23 Then the Israelites went up and wept before Jehovah until the evening and inquired of Jehovah: “Should we again go into battle against our brothers, the people of Benjamin?” To this Jehovah said: “Go up against them.” End quotation.
Watchtower 2011 9/15 32 paragraph 2

Following the tragic rape and murder of a Levite’s concubine by the men of Gibeah, of the tribe of Benjamin, the other tribes set out to wage war against the Benjamites.
Quotation: Judges 20:1 through 11 Consequently, all the Israelites came out from Dan down to Beer-sheba and from the land of Gilead, and the entire assembly gathered unitedly before Jehovah at Mizpah. 2 So the chiefs of the people and all the tribes of Israel took their places in the congregation of God’s people—400,000 foot soldiers armed with swords. 3 The Benjaminites heard that the men of Israel had gone up to Mizpah. Then the men of Israel said: “Tell us, how did this terrible thing happen?” 4 At this the Levite man, the husband of the murdered woman, said in answer: “I came to Gibeah of Benjamin with my concubine to stay overnight. 5 And the inhabitants of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house by night. They meant to kill me, but they raped my concubine instead, and she died. 6 So I took my concubine’s body and cut it up and sent the pieces into every part of Israel’s inheritance, because they had committed a shameful and disgraceful act in Israel. 7 Now all you people of Israel, give your advice and counsel here.” 8 Then all the people rose up in unison and said: “Not one of us will go to his tent or return to his house. 9 Now this is what we will do to Gibeah: We will go up against it by lot. 10 We will take 10 men out of 100 from all the tribes of Israel, and 100 out of 1,000 and 1,000 out of 10,000 to collect provisions for the army, so that they may take action against Gibeah of Benjamin, in view of the disgraceful act that they committed in Israel.” 11 Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city united as allies. End quotation.
They prayed for Jehovah’s help before fighting, but they were defeated twice, with significant losses.
Quotation: Judges 20:14 through 25 Then the Benjaminites gathered together out of the cities to Gibeah to go out to battle against the men of Israel. 15 That day the Benjaminites mustered from their cities 26,000 men armed with swords, apart from the 700 chosen men of Gibeah. 16 In this army were 700 chosen men who were left-handed. Every one of these men could sling a stone to within a hairbreadth and would not miss. 17 The men of Israel apart from Benjamin mustered 400,000 men armed with swords, and each one was an experienced warrior. 18 They rose up and went up to Bethel to inquire of God. Then the people of Israel said: “Who of us should go up in the lead to the battle against the Benjaminites?” Jehovah replied: “Judah is to take the lead.” 19 After that the Israelites rose up in the morning and camped against Gibeah. 20 The men of Israel now went out to battle against Benjamin; they drew up in battle formation against them at Gibeah. 21 So the Benjaminites came out from Gibeah and struck down 22,000 men of Israel on that day. 22 However, the army of the men of Israel showed themselves courageous and again drew up in battle formation in the same place as on the first day. 23 Then the Israelites went up and wept before Jehovah until the evening and inquired of Jehovah: “Should we again go into battle against our brothers, the people of Benjamin?” To this Jehovah said: “Go up against them.” 24 So the Israelites drew near to the Benjaminites on the second day. 25 In turn Benjamin came out from Gibeah to meet them on the second day and struck down another 18,000 Israelites, all of them armed with swords. End quotation.
Would they conclude that their prayers were ineffective? Was Jehovah truly interested in seeing them respond to the wrong that had been done?


Treasure 2:

The Israelites finally relied fully on Jehovah to help them clear his name of reproach
Quotation: Judges 20:26 through 28 At that all the men of Israel went up to Bethel. They wept and sat there before Jehovah, and they fasted on that day until the evening and offered up burnt offerings and communion offerings before Jehovah. 27 After that the men of Israel inquired of Jehovah, for the ark of the covenant of the true God was there in those days. 28 Now Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was ministering before it in those days. They asked: “Should we go out yet again to battle against our brothers, the men of Benjamin, or should we stop?” Jehovah replied: “Go up, because tomorrow I will give them into your hand.” End quotation.


Treasure 3:

We must continue to seek Jehovah’s guidance and rely on him completely
Quotation: Judges 20:35 Jehovah defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israelites struck down 25,100 men in Benjamin, all of them armed with swords. End quotation.

Quotation: Luke 11:9 So I say to you, keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you. End quotation.
Watchtower 2011 9/15 32 paragraph 4

What lesson might we learn from this? Some problems faced in the congregation persist despite the elders’ diligent efforts and prayers for God’s help. If this occurs, elders do well to remember Jesus’ words: “Keep on asking [or praying], and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you.”
Quotation: Luke 11:9 So I say to you, keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you. End quotation.
Even if an answer to prayer seems delayed, overseers can be assured that Jehovah will respond in his own due time.

Collage: 1. A brother consults the Bible and Bible-based publications. 2. The brother talks with his doctor and shows him a medical directive card.

ASK YOURSELF: ‘When facing a trial, do I immediately turn to Jehovah? Do I repeatedly look to him for wisdom and guidance?’


SPIRITUAL GEMS: 10 MINUTES



Quotation: Judges 20:16 In this army were 700 chosen men who were left-handed. Every one of these men could sling a stone to within a hairbreadth and would not miss. End quotation.
​—How were slings used in ancient warfare? . Watchtower 2014 5/1 11 paragraph 4 through 6

How were slings used in ancient warfare?

The sling was the weapon that David used to slay the giant Goliath. David apparently learned to use this weapon during his years as a shepherd boy.​—
Quotation: 1 Samuel 17:40 through 50 He then took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the streambed and placed them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag, and his sling was in his hand. And he began approaching the Philistine. 41 The Philistine came closer and closer to David, and his shield-bearer was ahead of him. 42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he sneered at him in contempt because he was just a ruddy and handsome boy. 43 So the Philistine said to David: “Am I a dog, so that you are coming against me with sticks?” With that the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David: “Just come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the heavens and to the beasts of the field.” 45 David replied to the Philistine: “You are coming against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I am coming against you in the name of Jehovah of armies, the God of the battle line of Israel, whom you have taunted. 46 This very day Jehovah will surrender you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head; and on this day I will give the corpses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the heavens and to the wild beasts of the earth; and people of all the earth will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 And all those gathered here will know that it is not with the sword or the spear that Jehovah saves, for the battle belongs to Jehovah, and he will give all of you into our hand.” 48 Then the Philistine rose and drew steadily closer to meet David, but David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 David thrust his hand into his bag and took a stone from there and slung it. He struck the Philistine in the forehead, and the stone sank into his forehead and he fell facedown on the ground. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; he struck down the Philistine and put him to death, though there was no sword in David’s hand. End quotation.

The sling is depicted in both the Egyptian and the Assyrian art from Bible times. The weapon consisted of an open pocket of leather or cloth attached to two straps or cords. The slinger would place in this pouch a smooth or rounded stone measuring two to three inches 5 to 7.5 cm in diameter and weighing perhaps nine ounces 250 g. He would then whirl the sling above his head and release one of the cords, causing the stone to fly out with great force and accuracy.

Excavations in the Middle East have yielded great numbers of slingstones from wars in ancient times. Skilled warriors may have slung stones at speeds of 100 to 150 miles an hour 160 to 240 km/​h. Scholars disagree on whether the sling had the range of a bow, but a sling could certainly prove just as lethal.​—
Quotation: Judges 20:16 In this army were 700 chosen men who were left-handed. Every one of these men could sling a stone to within a hairbreadth and would not miss. End quotation.

What spiritual gems from this week’s Bible reading would you like to share regarding Jehovah, the field ministry, or something else?

BIBLE READING: 4 MINUTES .WORKING ON THEOCRATIC MINISTRY POINT 10, MODULATION.



Quotation: Judges 20:1 through 13 Consequently, all the Israelites came out from Dan down to Beer-sheba and from the land of Gilead, and the entire assembly gathered unitedly before Jehovah at Mizpah. 2 So the chiefs of the people and all the tribes of Israel took their places in the congregation of God’s people—400,000 foot soldiers armed with swords. 3 The Benjaminites heard that the men of Israel had gone up to Mizpah. Then the men of Israel said: “Tell us, how did this terrible thing happen?” 4 At this the Levite man, the husband of the murdered woman, said in answer: “I came to Gibeah of Benjamin with my concubine to stay overnight. 5 And the inhabitants of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house by night. They meant to kill me, but they raped my concubine instead, and she died. 6 So I took my concubine’s body and cut it up and sent the pieces into every part of Israel’s inheritance, because they had committed a shameful and disgraceful act in Israel. 7 Now all you people of Israel, give your advice and counsel here.” 8 Then all the people rose up in unison and said: “Not one of us will go to his tent or return to his house. 9 Now this is what we will do to Gibeah: We will go up against it by lot. 10 We will take 10 men out of 100 from all the tribes of Israel, and 100 out of 1,000 and 1,000 out of 10,000 to collect provisions for the army, so that they may take action against Gibeah of Benjamin, in view of the disgraceful act that they committed in Israel.” 11 Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city united as allies. 12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men to all the tribesmen of Benjamin, saying: “What is this terrible thing that has happened among you? 13 Now hand over the worthless men from Gibeah, so that we may put them to death and clear out what is bad from Israel.” But the Benjaminites refused to listen to their Israelite brothers. End quotation.

THEOCRATIC MINISTRY POINT 10, MODULATION


Quotation: Proverbs 8:4 “To you, O people, I am calling; I raise my voice to everyone. End quotation.

Quotation: Proverbs 8:7 For my mouth softly utters truth, And my lips detest what is wicked. End quotation.

SUMMARY: Convey ideas clearly and stir emotion by varying your volume, pitch, and pace.

HOW TO DO IT:

Vary your volume. Increase your volume to highlight main points and to motivate your listeners. Do the same when reading Scriptural judgments. Decrease your volume to build anticipation or to convey fear or anxiety.

Do not increase your volume so often that your listeners feel scolded. Avoid drawing attention to yourself by being overly dramatic.

Vary your pitch. If appropriate in your language, raise your pitch to express enthusiasm or to indicate size or distance. Lower your pitch to express sorrow or anxiety.

Vary your pace. Speak more rapidly to convey excitement. Speak more slowly when stating important points.

To avoid startling your listeners, do not change pace abruptly. Do not speak so rapidly that your diction suffers.


APPLY YOURSELF TO THE FIELD MINISTRY


ASSIGNMENT 1. INITIAL CALL: 3 MINUTES .WORKING ON THEOCRATIC MINISTRY POINT 5, ACCURATE READING.


Use the sample conversation. Overcome a common objection.

Initial Call: You may adjust the question and link according to local circumstances.

Question: How do we know that God cares about us as individuals?

Scripture:
Quotation: Matthew 10:29 to 31 Two sparrows sell for a coin of small value, do they not? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So have no fear; you are worth more than many sparrows.- End quotation.

Link: How does God help us to cope with present problems?

FIND THIS SCRIPTURE IN THE TEACHING TOOLBOX:

wp18.3 4

End Sample Presentation


THEOCRATIC MINISTRY POINT 5, ACCURATE READING


Quotation: 1 Timothy 4:13 Until I come, continue applying yourself to public reading, to exhortation, to teaching. End quotation.

SUMMARY: Read aloud exactly what is on the page.

HOW TO DO IT:

Prepare well. Determine why the passage was written. Practice reading word groupings, not just individual words. Beware of inserting, skipping over, or substituting words. Observe all punctuation marks.

Ask a friend to monitor your reading and to point out any words that you read inaccurately.

Pronounce each word correctly. If you do not know how to pronounce a word, look it up in a dictionary, listen to an audio recording of the publication, or ask a good reader for help.

Speak clearly. Enunciate carefully, holding your head high and opening your mouth wide. Make an effort to pronounce each syllable.

Do not enunciate so precisely that your reading becomes unnatural.

ASSIGNMENT 2. RETURN VISIT: 4 MINUTES .WORKING ON THEOCRATIC MINISTRY POINT 17, UNDERSTANDABLE TO OTHERS.


Begin with the sample conversation. Introduce but do not play the video Jehovah’s Witnesses​—Who Are We?

Return Visit: You may adjust the question and link according to local circumstances.

Question: How does God help us to cope with present problems?

Scripture:
Quotation: Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I well know the thoughts that I am thinking toward you,’ declares Jehovah, ‘thoughts of peace, and not of calamity, to give you a future and a hope.- End quotation.

Link: How can the Bible guide us?

FIND THIS SCRIPTURE IN THE TEACHING TOOLBOX:

Enjoy Life Forever lesson 02 point 1

End Sample Presentation


THEOCRATIC MINISTRY POINT 17, UNDERSTANDABLE TO OTHERS


Quotation: 1 Corinthians 14:9 In the same way, unless you with the tongue use speech that is easily understood, how will anyone know what is being said? You will, in fact, be speaking into the air. End quotation.

SUMMARY: Help your listeners to grasp the meaning of your message.

HOW TO DO IT:

Study your material thoroughly. Understand the topic clearly so that you can explain it simply and in your own words.

Use short sentences and simple phrases. Although longer sentences are acceptable, convey key points using concise phrases and sentences.

Eliminate unnecessary details that may confuse and overwhelm your listeners. Favor plain language over complicated speech.

Explain unfamiliar terms. Minimize the use of expressions that are unfamiliar to your listeners. If you must refer to an unfamiliar term, Bible character, or ancient measurement or custom, provide an explanation.

ASSIGNMENT 3. BIBLE STUDY: 5 MINUTES .WORKING ON THEOCRATIC MINISTRY POINT 4, SCRIPTURES PROPERLY INTRODUCED.


Enjoy Life Forever lesson 03 intro and points 1 through 3

The Bible makes many promises and offers much advice. Likely you are curious about what it teaches, but perhaps you are also cautious. Should you trust promises and advice from such an old book? Can you really believe what the Bible says about enjoying life now and in the future? Millions of people do. Let us see whether you can too.

1. Is the Bible a book of fact or fiction?

The Bible claims to be a record of “accurate words of truth.”
Quotation: Ecclesiastes 12:10 The congregator sought to find delightful words and to record accurate words of truth. End quotation.
It relates real events that involved real people. Read
Quotation: Luke 1:3 I resolved also, because I have traced all things from the start with accuracy, to write them to you in logical order, most excellent Theophilus, End quotation.

Quotation: Luke 3:1, 2 In the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was district ruler of Galilee, Philip his brother was district ruler of the country of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was district ruler of Abilene, 2 in the days of chief priest Annas and of Caiaphas, God’s declaration came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. End quotation.
Many historians and archaeologists have confirmed the accuracy of important dates, people, places, and events described in the Bible.

2. Why can we say that the Bible is not out-of-date?

In many ways, the Bible has proved to be ahead of its time. For example, it touches on scientific subjects. Much of what it says on those subjects was controversial when it was written. However, modern science confirms that what the Bible says is accurate. It is “always reliable, now and forever.”​—
Quotation: Psalm 111:8 They are always reliable, now and forever; They are made in truth and righteousness. End quotation.

3. Why can we trust what the Bible says about the future?

The Bible contains prophecies
Footnote reads: Prophecies include messages from God about future events. End Footnote.
that foretell “the things that have not yet been done.”
Quotation: Isaiah 46:10 From the beginning I foretell the outcome, And from long ago the things that have not yet been done. I say, ‘My decision will stand, And I will do whatever I please.’ End quotation.
It accurately foretold numerous historical events long before they occurred. It also described today’s world conditions in striking detail. In this lesson, we will examine some of the Bible’s prophecies. Their accuracy is amazing!

THEOCRATIC MINISTRY POINT 4, SCRIPTURES PROPERLY INTRODUCED


Quotation: Matthew 22:41 through 45 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them: 42 “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him: “David’s.” 43 He asked them: “How is it, then, that David under inspiration calls him Lord, saying, 44 ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet”’? 45 If, then, David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” End quotation.

SUMMARY: Prepare the minds of your listeners before you read a scripture.

HOW TO DO IT:

Determine why you are reading the scripture. Introduce each scripture in a way that draws your listeners’ attention to the key point you are making with the verse.

Take the context into account. Attribute quotations to the correct speaker and Bible books to the correct writer.

Cite the Bible as an authority. When you are speaking to people who believe in God, draw attention to the Bible as God’s Word, thus crediting it as the highest source of wisdom.

Arouse interest in the scripture. Ask a question that the scripture will answer, pose a problem that the scripture will help solve, or state a principle that the Scriptural account will illustrate.

Take into account what your listeners already know about the subject and the scripture. Introduce even a familiar text in an appealing way, and help your listeners to take a fresh look at it.


SONG 5, GOD’S WONDROUS WORKS, BASED ON PSALM 139


1. O God, you know my rest and waking,

When I lie down and when I rise anew.

You search my thoughts, my inmost inclination,

The words I speak, the ways I walk,

you know them too.

You saw when I was made in secret,

My very bones not hidden from your sight.

You saw my form; its parts were down in writing.

I love the wonder of your ways

and praise your might.

Your knowledge, God, is wondrous, awe-inspiring;

Of this my soul is very well-aware.

If I should fear that darkness might enfold me,

Your spirit, God, would find me, even there.

Where could I hide from you, Jehovah,

Or be concealed, be hidden from your face?

Not in the Grave nor in the highest heaven,

Not in the dark nor in the sea;

there is no place.


LIVING AS CHRISTIANS. PART 1


“Creation Strengthens Our Trust in Jehovah’s Wisdom”: 15 minutes Discussion. Play the videos Was It Designed? How Do Ants Avoid Traffic Jams? and Was It Designed? The Bumblebee’s Flight Control. Encourage the audience to review the “Was It Designed?” series on jw.org during family worship.

Collage: 1. A line of ants carries pieces of leaves. 2. A bee flies near a flower.

Creation Strengthens Our Trust in Jehovah’s Wisdom

Does Jehovah always know what is best for us? Absolutely! Believing this, we show wisdom when we follow his direction.
Quotation: Proverbs 16:3 Commit to Jehovah whatever you do, And your plans will succeed. End quotation.

Quotation: Proverbs 16:9 A man may plot out his course in his heart, But it is Jehovah who directs his steps. End quotation.
However, our trust in his guidance may be tested when it differs from our own thinking. We can strengthen our trust in Jehovah’s wisdom by meditating on his creative works.​—
Quotation: Proverbs 30:24, 25 Four things on earth are among the smallest, But they are instinctively wise: 25 The ants are not strong creatures, Yet they prepare their food in the summer. End quotation.

Quotation: Romans 1:20 For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable. End quotation.

WATCH THE VIDEO WAS IT DESIGNED? HOW DO ANTS AVOID TRAFFIC JAMS? AND THEN ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

What is the daily routine of most ants?

How do ants prevent traffic jams?

What principles of their traffic flow would humans do well to imitate?

WATCH THE VIDEO WAS IT DESIGNED? THE BUMBLEBEE’S FLIGHT CONTROL, AND THEN ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

What challenges do humans have when flying small aircraft?

How does the bumblebee maintain flight stability?

How may humans someday benefit from the instinctive wisdom of the bumblebee?

What evidence of Jehovah’s wisdom have you seen in creation where you live?


PART 2. CONGREGATION BIBLE STUDY: 30 MINUTES RR SECTION 5, CHAPTER 19 PARAGRAPH 1 through 6, INTRO VIDEO, BOX 19A


A man with a copper appearance, showing Ezekiel the land when true worship is restored. There is lush green vegetation, abundant fruit, and a flowing river.

SECTION FIVE

“I Will Dwell Among the People”​—Pure Worship of Jehovah Restored

EZEKIEL 43:7

FOCUS: Features of the temple vision and what they teach us about pure worship

Jehovah gave the prophet Ezekiel and the apostle John visions that have striking similarities. Features of those visions teach us valuable lessons that help us worship Jehovah acceptably now and provide a window into life in Paradise under God’s Kingdom.

Ezekiel walking through a flowing river as a man with a copper appearance watches him from the riverbank.

CHAPTER 19, “Everything Will Live Wherever the Stream Goes".
EZEKIEL 47:9
FOCUS: How the vision of a river flowing from the temple finds fulfillment in ancient times, at present, and in the future


1, 2. ACCORDING TO EZEKIEL 47:1 through 12, WHAT DOES EZEKIEL SEE AND LEARN? SEE OPENING PICTURE.


EZEKIEL sees yet another marvel in his temple vision: There is a stream flowing from the sacred structure! Just picture him tracing the course of that crystal-clear water. Read
Quotation: Ezekiel 47:1 through 12 Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and there I saw water flowing eastward from under the threshold of the temple, for the front of the temple was facing east. The water was flowing down from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then led me out by way of the north gate and took me outside and around to the outer gate that is facing east, and I saw water trickling from the right side. 3 When the man went out toward the east with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off 1,000 cubits and had me pass through the water; the water was ankle deep. 4 Then he measured off another 1,000 and had me pass through the water, and it was up to the knees. He measured off another 1,000 and had me pass through, and the water was up to the hips. 5 When he measured off another 1,000, it was a torrent that I was unable to walk across, for the water was so deep that one had to swim, a torrent of water that could not be crossed on foot. 6 He asked me: “Have you seen this, son of man?” Then he had me walk and return to the bank of the stream. 7 When I returned, I saw that on the bank of the stream were very many trees on both sides. 8 Then he said to me: “This water flows toward the eastern region and continues down through the Arabah and enters the sea. When it enters the sea, the water there will be healed. 9 Swarms of living creatures will be able to live wherever the waters flow. There will be an abundance of fish, because this water will flow there. The seawater will be healed, and everything will live wherever the stream goes. 10 “Fishermen will stand beside it from En-gedi clear to En-eglaim, where there will be a drying yard for dragnets. There will be an abundance of many kinds of fish, like the fish of the Great Sea. 11 “It will have swampy places and marshy places, and these will not be healed. They will be abandoned to salt. 12 “All sorts of trees for food will grow on both banks of the stream. Their leaves will not wither; nor will their fruitage fail. Each month they will bear new fruit, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruitage will serve as food and their leaves for healing.” End quotation.
It trickles out from the threshold of the sanctuary; then it emerges from the temple complex near the eastern gate. Ezekiel’s angelic guide leads him away from the temple, measuring the distance as they go. The angel repeatedly has Ezekiel pass through the water, and the prophet finds that it deepens rapidly, soon becoming a torrent that he could cross only if he were to plunge in and swim!

2 Ezekiel learns that the river flows into the Dead Sea and heals its salty, lifeless waters wherever the water of the river comes in contact with them, making the waters teem with fish. And along the riverbanks, he sees many trees of all sorts growing. Each month, they produce a new crop of nourishing fruit, and they sprout leaves that provide healing. Seeing all of this must have filled Ezekiel’s heart with peace and hope. But what did this part of the temple vision mean for him and his fellow exiles? And what does it mean for us today?

What Did the Visionary River Mean for the Exiles?


3. WHY DID THE JEWS OF ANCIENT TIMES NOT UNDERSTAND EZEKIEL’S VISION OF A RIVER TO BE LITERAL?


3 The Jews of ancient times surely did not understand the visionary river to be literal. Rather, this passage of Scripture likely reminded them of another inspired restoration prophecy, one recorded perhaps more than two centuries earlier by the prophet Joel. Read
Quotation: Joel 3:18 In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, The hills will flow with milk, And the streams of Judah will all flow with water. Out of the house of Jehovah a spring will flow, And it will irrigate the Valley of the Acacia Trees. End quotation.
When the Jewish exiles read Joel’s inspired words, they did not expect the mountains literally to “drip with sweet wine” or the hills to “flow with milk”; nor did they expect a spring to flow “out of the house of Jehovah.” Similarly, fellow Jews likely understood that the message of the prophet Ezekiel’s vision was not about a literal river.
Footnote reads: Additionally, those exiled Jews who remembered the topography of their homeland likely knew that this river could not be a literal one, for it began flowing from the temple on a very high mountain that did not even exist in the location described. Further, the vision may imply that the river flowed in a direct and unobstructed course to the Dead Sea, another geographic impossibility. End Footnote.
So, what message was Jehovah conveying? The Scriptures offer strong indications about the meaning of some parts of this picture. In general, though, we will consider three clear, loving assurances that may be drawn from this prophetic passage.


4. - PART "A" - THE RIVER IN EZEKIEL’S VISION WOULD HAVE LED THE JEWS TO EXPECT WHAT BLESSINGS FROM JEHOVAH? - PART B - HOW DOES THE BIBLE’S USE OF THE TERMS “RIVER” AND “WATER” ASSURE US THAT JEHOVAH WILL BLESS HIS PEOPLE? SEE THE BOX “RIVERS OF BLESSINGS FROM JEHOVAH.”


4 A river of blessings. In the Bible, rivers and water are often used to picture the flow of Jehovah’s life-giving blessings. Ezekiel saw such a river flowing from the temple, so the vision would have led God’s people to expect that Jehovah’s life-giving spiritual blessings would flow to them as long as they adhered to pure worship. What blessings? They would again receive spiritual instruction from the priests. And with sacrifices being offered at the temple, they could once more rest assured that atonement would be made for their sins.
Quotation: Ezekiel 44:15 “‘As for the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who took care of the responsibilities of my sanctuary when the Israelites strayed from me, they will approach me to minister to me, and they will stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. End quotation.

Quotation: Ezekiel 44:23 “‘They should instruct my people about the difference between what is holy and what is common; and they will teach them the difference between what is unclean and what is clean. End quotation.

Quotation: Ezekiel 45:17 But the chieftain will be responsible for the whole burnt offerings, the grain offering, and the drink offering during the festivals, the new moons, the Sabbaths, and all the designated festivals of the house of Israel. He will be the one to provide the sin offering, the grain offering, the whole burnt offering, and the communion sacrifices, in order to make atonement in behalf of the house of Israel.’ End quotation.
Thus, they would be clean again, as if washed in the pure water emanating from the temple.


5. HOW DID THE VISIONARY RIVER SOOTHE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT WHETHER THERE WOULD ALWAYS BE ENOUGH BLESSINGS FOR ALL?


5 Would there always be enough blessings for all? The vision soothes any such concerns by showing the miraculous expansion of the waters​—increasing from a trickle to a torrent in just over a mile!
Quotation: Ezekiel 47:3 through 5 When the man went out toward the east with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off 1,000 cubits and had me pass through the water; the water was ankle deep. 4 Then he measured off another 1,000 and had me pass through the water, and it was up to the knees. He measured off another 1,000 and had me pass through, and the water was up to the hips. 5 When he measured off another 1,000, it was a torrent that I was unable to walk across, for the water was so deep that one had to swim, a torrent of water that could not be crossed on foot. End quotation.
The population in the Jews’ restored homeland might grow in number; yet, Jehovah’s blessings would expand to meet their needs. The river was a picture of abundance and plenty!


6. - PART "A" - THE PROPHETIC PICTURE CONVEYED WHAT REASSURING PROMISE? - PART B - WHAT WARNING NOTE DID THE VISION ALSO SOUND? SEE FOOTNOTE.


6 Life-giving water. In Ezekiel’s vision, the river flowed into the Dead Sea, reviving much of it. Notice that the waters gave life to such swarms of fish that the variety was comparable to that found in the Great Sea, or the Mediterranean Sea. There was even a fishing industry thriving along the shore of the Dead Sea between two towns that evidently lay a considerable distance apart. The angel stated: “Everything will live wherever the stream goes.” Does that mean, though, that the water from Jehovah’s house reached every part of the Dead Sea? Number The angel explained that some marshy regions remained beyond the reach of the life-giving waters. Those places were “abandoned to salt.”
Footnote reads: Some commentators view this as a positive expression, noting that harvesting salt for use as a preservative has long been a profitable industry in the Dead Sea region. Note, though, that the account pointedly says that those marshy waters “will not be healed.” They remain lifeless, unhealed, because the life-giving water from Jehovah’s house does not reach them. So it seems that, in this instance, the saltiness of those marshes is meant in a negative sense.​—
Quotation: Psalm 107:33, 34 He turns rivers into a desert And springs of water into parched ground, 34 Fruitful land into salty wasteland, Because of the wickedness of those dwelling in it. End quotation.

Quotation: Jeremiah 17:6 He will become like a solitary tree in the desert. He will not see when good comes, But he will reside in parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land where no one can live. End quotation.
End Footnote.

Quotation: Ezekiel 47:8 through 11 Then he said to me: “This water flows toward the eastern region and continues down through the Arabah and enters the sea. When it enters the sea, the water there will be healed. 9 Swarms of living creatures will be able to live wherever the waters flow. There will be an abundance of fish, because this water will flow there. The seawater will be healed, and everything will live wherever the stream goes. 10 “Fishermen will stand beside it from En-gedi clear to En-eglaim, where there will be a drying yard for dragnets. There will be an abundance of many kinds of fish, like the fish of the Great Sea. 11 “It will have swampy places and marshy places, and these will not be healed. They will be abandoned to salt.End quotation.
So the prophetic picture conveyed a reassuring promise that pure worship would revive the people, causing them to thrive. But a warning note was also sounded: Not all would accept Jehovah’s blessings; nor would all be healed.


TEACHING BOX 19A


A river.

Rivers of Blessings From Jehovah

Consider some different Bible passages that use the terms “river” and “water” to picture blessings that flow from Jehovah. Taken together, they say something very encouraging about the means by which Jehovah blesses us. How so?


Quotation: Joel 3:18 In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, The hills will flow with milk, And the streams of Judah will all flow with water. Out of the house of Jehovah a spring will flow, And it will irrigate the Valley of the Acacia Trees. End quotation.
This prophecy shows a spring emanating from the temple sanctuary. It flows out to irrigate the dry “Valley of the Acacia Trees.” So both Joel and Ezekiel see a river bringing life to a barren place. In both cases, the river comes from Jehovah’s house, or temple.


Quotation: Zechariah 14:8 In that day living waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea. It will happen in summer and in winter. End quotation.
The prophet Zechariah sees “living waters” flowing from the city of Jerusalem. Half of the water runs to the eastern sea, or Dead Sea, and half, to the western sea, or Mediterranean Sea. Jerusalem was “the city of the great King,” Jehovah God.
Quotation: Matthew 5:35 nor by earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. End quotation.
Zechariah’s mention of that city thus reminds us of Jehovah’s rulership over the whole earth in times to come. We have long understood that the waters in this prophecy suggest that Jehovah will bless two groups of faithful humans in Paradise, those who live through the great tribulation and those who are resurrected afterward.


Quotation: Revelation 22:1, 2 And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of its main street. On both sides of the river were trees of life producing 12 crops of fruit, yielding their fruit each month. And the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations. End quotation.
The apostle John sees a symbolic river much like the one that Ezekiel saw. However, it emanates, not from a temple, but from Jehovah’s throne. So this vision, like that of Zechariah, seems to stress the blessings of divine rulership during the Millennium.

Of course, there is only a subtle distinction between the blessings that come from Jehovah’s rulership and those that are represented by the river that Ezekiel saw in vision. All such blessings come from Jehovah and flow to all faithful people.


Quotation: Psalm 46:4 There is a river the streams of which make the city of God rejoice, The holy grand tabernacle of the Most High. End quotation.
Note how this one verse seems to embrace both aspects​—worship and rulership. Here we see a river that brings rejoicing to “the city of God,” suggesting the Kingdom and rulership, as well as to “the holy grand tabernacle of the Most High,” suggesting pure worship.

Taken as a whole, these passages assure us that Jehovah will bless faithful mankind in two ways. We will benefit eternally, first, from his rulership and, second, from his arrangement for pure worship. So let us be determined now to keep seeking from Jehovah God and his Son “living water”​—their loving provisions for everlasting life!​—
Quotation: Jeremiah 2:13 ‘Because my people have done two bad things: They have abandoned me, the source of living water, And dug for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns, that cannot hold water.’ End quotation.

Quotation: John 4:10 In answer Jesus said to her: “If you had known of the free gift of God and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” End quotation.

Return to chapter 19, paragraph 4


CONCLUDING COMMENTS 3 MINUTES



SONG 87, COME! BE REFRESHED, BASED ON HEBREWS 10:24, 25


1. We live in a world that is wayward and lost;

The way of our God is not known.

We need sure direction to safeguard our steps;

We cannot succeed on our own.

Our meetings refresh us and brighten our hope;

They help us build faith in our God.

They move us with words that incite to fine deeds,

They give us the strength to go on.

We’ll never forsake what Jehovah commands;

His will is what we want to do.

Our meetings instruct us in ways that are right;

Our love for the truth they renew.

2. Jehovah is keenly aware of our needs;

His counsel by us should be heard.

To buy out the time for occasions to meet

Shows wisdom and trust in his Word.

By wholesome instruction from God-fearing men,

We learn how our faith can be shown.

With loving support from our fam’ly of faith,

We know that we’re never alone.

So as we look forward to much better times,

We’ll meet with the ones whom we love.

And here at these meetings we’ll learn how to live

With wisdom that comes from above.


PRAYER. END OUR CHRISTIAN MINISTRY