Jeremiah, chapters 39-43

“[…] You should know for a certainty that I have warned you today that your error will cost you your lives.”
~Jeremiah 42:19,20

After the Chaldeans took most of the Jews captive, the army chiefs along with the remaining people in the vicinity of Jerusalem asked the prophet to pray on their behalf and find out what God’s will for them was. (Jer. 42:1-3)
Ten days later, Jehovah gave his reply, asking them to remain there and not fear the king of Babylon. (Jer. 42:7,10,11)
But the people had allowed their fear to overcome them and were headstrong about fleeing to Egypt (Jer. 43:4-7)
Eventually, the Chaldeans extended their battles into Egypt, and that remnant did not survive (Jer. 43:10,11)
They were not necessarily evil people.
They mostly consisted of the poorest sector of the population. (Jer. 40:7)
The fact that they first sought out God’s guidance indicates that at least at one point they had the right intention. (Jer. 42:5,6)
But their subsequent decision to ignore Jehovah’s commandment and head on into Egypt without his blessing ended up having tragic consequences.
Today, God warns us that a time is coming in which he will judge all of humanity. (Mark 13:32,33; Acts 17:30,31)
If we were in the habit of praying for his guidance and then ignoring Biblical counsel, we, too, would be falling in an error that will cost us our lives.

Proverbs, chapters 17-21

“The breath of a man is the lamp of Jehovah, Searching through his innermost being.”

~Proverbs 20:27

God has given us life, free will and the opportunity to prove what kind of persons we are (De. 30:19).

Like the loving father that He is, he assumes the best in us and sees our potential (1 Chron. 28:9; 1 Ki. 14:13).


There is nothing we can hide from him, and he can dissect even our subconscious thoughts and motivations
(Heb. 4:13).
When we pray about the decisions we take and consider his guiding principles found in the Scriptures, we invite him into our life.

Then we can fully reflect the light he is trying to shine through us (2 Cor. 3:18).

1 Kings, chapters 18-20

“Now you are saying, ‘Go and tell your lord: “Elijah is here.”’ […] When I tell Ahab and he does not find you, he will surely kill me. Yet, your servant has feared Jehovah from his youth.”
~1 Kings, 18:11,12

The man saying these words, Obadiah, was a servant to the apostate king of Northern Israel, Ahab.
While Ahab and his pagan wife, Jezebel, were determined to execute every one of Jehovah’s prophets in the land, Obadiah bravely hid the prophets in caves (1 Ki. 18:3,4).
The prophet Elijah’s soul was much sought after in royal excursions, for Elijah had caused a severe three-year drought to plague the land, on account of the people’s unfaithfulness to their God (1 Ki. 17:1).
That is why when Elijah asked Obadiah to tell Ahab that he would meet with him to relay a divine message, Obadiah hesitated.
He thought Elijah would immediately be sent elsewhere by God, thereby eluding King Ahab once more.
Then surely Ahab would take his wrath out on Obadiah himself.

“However, Elijah said: ‘As surely as Jehovah of armies whom I serve is living, today I will present myself to him.’
“So Obadiah went off to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah.” (1 Ki. 18:15,16).

What impresses me about Obadiah is his ability to have kept his zeal for true worship alive even under extremely dangerous circumstances.
His loyalty to Jehovah came first, even at the risk of his own life.
He collaborated with Elijah and put faith in him as God’s messenger.
As for us, do we let our bosses or professors order us around into a frame of mind in which God is no longer a priority for us?
Do we let work or school dictate our priorities, constantly leaving out spiritual activities because we are afraid of what our superiors will think?
Like Obadiah, we need to know where to draw the line when someone influential tells us to go against God’s principles.

1 Kings, chapters 12-14

“It is the man of the true God who rebelled against the order of Jehovah; so Jehovah gave him over to the lion, to maul and to kill him, according to the word of Jehovah that he spoke to him.”

~1 Kings 13:26

The prophet whom Jehovah had sent to warn the newly formed northern nation of Israel of its future destruction, faced a simple test of faith while he traveled back home (1 Ki. 13:1,2).
He was to not eat or drink with any of the inhabitants of that land (1 Ki. 13:9).
When a false prophet deceived him, telling him God changed his mind about the orders given, the first prophet did not inquire of God.
He simply went along with the false prophet, perhaps because he said the words he wanted to hear:
“An angel told me by the word of Jehovah, ‘Have him come back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water,'” (1 Ki. 13:18, 19).
When we suddenly come under pressure to do what we thought was wrong, do we take the time to pray and investigate God’s will?
Or do we simply succumb to the pressure because it’s an easier way out of our immediate problems?
The shallowness of the first prophet’s decision cost him his life (1 Ki. 13:21,22).

Deuteronomy, chapters 1-3

“‘And you saw in the wilderness how Jehovah your God carried you just as a man carries his son, everywhere you went until you came to this place.’ […] Who was going ahead of you on the way, to spy out a place for you to camp. He appeared by fire at night and by a cloud in the daytime to show you the way you should walk.”
~Deuteronomy 1:31,33

During trying times, the future may appear to us like a dark, unknown wilderness.

It becomes much more difficult to discern what direction our life should take.

We need strong faith to trust that God will somehow provide us with all we need to sustain ourselves and our families (Ps. 37:25; Matt. 6:31).

A step in the wrong direction may set us back years financially or psychologically, or may even ruin our most intimate relationships.

Faith helps keep us cool-headed so that we do not rush toward the first available option or needlessly argue with our family, only to later regret it.

During their 40-year wandering, the Israelites lacked nothing (De. 2:7; 8:4).

Jehovah God visibly advised them of when to set up camp or when to move and in what direction.

Their leaders knew that they would some day arrive to the Promised Land if they kept following God’s guidance.

Nowadays, instead of fire or a cloud, we have God’s visible organization funneling spiritual food at the proper time’ to his people all over the earth (Matt. 24:45).

This spiritual food that nurtures our faith now comes in a new video and audio platform: Tv.jw.org.

There, we can find sound entertainment to help develop our ‘power to distinguish right and wrong’ (Heb. 5:14).

A mature faith will help us recognize what direction God wants us to head next and act accordingly.

Thus we will not wander around so much and the time it takes to arrive at the “Promised Land” will seem shorter (Rev. 21:4).

Exodus, chapters 27-29

“You will put the U′rim and the Thum′mim into the breastpiece of judgment, and they must be over Aaron’s heart when he comes in before Jehovah, and Aaron must carry the means for making judgments of the Israelites over his heart before Jehovah constantly.”
~Exodus 28:30

What were the Urim and the Thummim?
This is a question I have struggled with on a personal level throughout half my life, so I decided to once again review the articles explaining it.
According to the glossary in the Revised New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, they were “objects used by the high priest in a manner similar to the use of lots to determine the divine will when questions of national importance needed an answer from Jehovah. The Urim and Thummim were put inside the high priest’s breastpiece when he entered the tabernacle.”
The reason I struggle with their use in Biblical times is that the Bible clearly condemns the practice of divination, that is, the practice of gaining secret knowledge of events through supernatural occult powers (Deut. 18:10).
What was the difference, then, between the Urim and Thummim and the practice of divination?
While divination was a practice originating in ancient Babylon and which relied upon the guidance of spirits other than God, the Urim and Thummim were only used by the High Priest when he entered the Most Holy (Insight on the Scriptures, vol. i).
The Most Holy was the section of the Tabernacle the High Priest had to enter in order to ask Jehovah about matters of national relevance.
Before the Bible was completed, Jehovah had several means of communicating his will to humans.
These means included angelic messengers and prophecies revealed through dreams or visions to specific prophets.
Another form of interpreting God’s will was by basing decisions on principles stated by God in the past, which is the way we make decisions today.
Yet another form of interpreting God’s will back then was by casting lots, as was the case when the Promised Land was divided among the 12 tribes of Israel. (Nu. 26:55,56)
The Urim and the Thummim appear to have been sacred lots used under prayer that provided a “Yes”, “No,” or “No Answer,” reply to questions. (1 Sam. 28:6)
They were not used as a means of gambling or for trivial matters.
Since the High Priest was in charge of these sacred objects, the Kings who later came about in Israel and Judah would need to rely on consulting the High Priest before making important decisions.
This kept the king from having too much power (Insight on the Scriptures, vol. ii).
Nowadays, God’s People use the Bible to guide their steps, studying it under the prayerful direction of his Holy Spirit in order to better understand its message.
For “all Scripture is […] beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16,17)