Ezekiel, chapters 18-20

“‘As surely as I am alive,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘I will not respond to your inquiry.’”
~Ezekiel 20:31

Some people pray to God: “God, if you exist, please do [such and such]…”
But in the past, Jehovah has refused to answer the prayers of his own people because their form of worship has been offensive to him.
The Jews were prostrating themselves before stone and wooden idols and offering sacrifices to other gods. (Ez. 20:28-30)
By their actions, they were rejecting the laws that Jehovah had given them for their own benefit. (Ez. 20:13)
Jehovah refused to go along with their charade form of worship and his silence was the only answer their prayers received.
Today, God continues to try to teach us right from wrong for our own benefit. (Is. 48:17,18)
If we listen to his Word and act accordingly, praying in accordance with his will, we will be able to perceive how and when he answers our prayers. (Jas. 2:26; 1 John 5:14)

Ezekiel, chapters 6-10

“[…] Do not let your eye feel sorry, and do not feel any compassion.”
~Ezekiel 9:5

Is it cruel on God’s part to destroy the wicked?
Jesus said God executes justice “speedily.” (Luke 18:7,8)
But when Ezekiel prophesied about Jerusalem’s destruction, five years had yet to pass before its fulfillment.
Since the days of Moses, Jehovah had sent one prophet after another to warn his people of what would happen should they stray from true worship. (Jer. 7:25)
Still, the people as a whole were not destroyed.
Jehovah examined them individually and figuratively marked those who would survive Babylon’s invasion.
Furthermore, the religious leaders most responsible for corrupting Jehovah’s worship would be the first to be executed. (Eze. 9:6)
This teaches us that being a nominal Christian or getting baptized is not enough to receive the “mark” of salvation.
Jehovah and Jesus will closely examine who among us truly has faith by our acts of worship. (Jas. 2:24)

Lamentations, chapters 1-5

“Let us lift up our hearts along with our hands to God in the heavens […]”
~Lamentations 3:41

Is God your best friend?
Jehovah God wants us to reach out to him in heartfelt prayer. (Ps. 65:2)
But it might be difficult to open up to someone we cannot see or physically listen to.
Even if we cannot find the right words, if we continuously try to reach out to God in prayer, he understands what we are trying to say. (Rom. 8:26,27)
God is not just looking for routine acts of worship or words.
He wants us to “lift up our hearts along with our hands.”
This indicates sincere motivation coupled with good deeds.
Perhaps in the past we have been guilty of loving God half-heartedly, afraid of giving more than we were already giving to his service. (Re. 3:16)
Or perhaps we have even been guilty of being double-hearted, verbally committing to something while we secretly resolved not to carry it through. (Matt. 15:7,8)
How comforting it is to know that if we repent, reexamine our lives, and seek God again with all our heart, he will forgive us and be our friend. (Jer. 29:12,13)
In the prophet Jeremiah’s day, most became obstinate in their behavior while others just pretended to repent, and this hurt Jehovah. (Jer. 3:10; 8:6)
Let us make sure every day that what we are doing in God’s service is motivated by whole-hearted love for him and we can trust that he will do his part. (Ps. 10:17; Ps. 119:145)

1 Kings, chapters 7 & 8

King Solomon described Jehovah’s kindness in the context of a deep prayer:

“Whatever prayer, whatever request for favor may be […] (for each one knows the plague of his own heart) […], then may you hear from the heavens, your dwelling place, and may you forgive and take action; and reward each one according to all his ways, for you know his heart (you alone truly know every human heart), so that they may fear you […]” (1 Ki. 8:38-40).

Fearing God in our hearts does not mean we dread God or that we flee from him.

Fear of God implies fear of letting him down, fear of disrespecting him.

Whether or not a person is sincere in their service toward God can only be judged by God himself.

One is assured, however, that regardless of what we do, God pays to each his own.

Imagine someone in a dire situation.

He calls out to God, but God sees that he is insincere.

God does not forgive him.

Not even Jehovah God, the God of all love, kindness and forgiveness, forgives him, because that person is insincere and God can see through his facade.

That would be truly dreadful.

It is different, though, when one serves God.

If you sincerely strive to do what is good because you fear displeasing God, or if you sincerely repent, you can rest assured that Jehovah will listen to your prayer and bless you according to your ways, sooner or later (Ps. 145:16; Rev. 21:3-5).

“O Jehovah the God of Israel, there is no God like you in the heavens above or on the earth beneath, keeping the covenant and showing loyal love to your servants who are walking before you with all their heart,” (1 Ki. 8:23).