“‘As surely as I am alive,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘I will not respond to your inquiry.’”
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)
Michal took the teraphim statue and placed it on the bed, and she put a net of goat hair at the place of [David’s] head, and she covered it with a garment.
~1 Samuel 19:13
Why did David’s wife, Michal, have a teraphim idol if God had forbidden their use (Exo. 20:4,5)?
The Watchtower gives a possible explanation in that her heart may not have been complete toward Jehovah and it is possible that certain superstitions still influenced Israeli culture.
Perhaps David did not know about the idol, but it is also possible that he let her keep it because she was the king’s daughter (Watchtower 06-01-04, p.29, “Questions from Readers”).
With that the king said to the guards stationed around him: “Turn and kill the priests of Jehovah, because they have sided with David! They knew that he was a runaway, and they did not inform me!” But the king’s servants did not want to lift their hands to assault the priests of Jehovah.
~1 Samuel 22:17
The guards in this story are a fine example of fearing God instead of man (Matt. 10:28).
When human authorities come in direct conflict with God’s will, the right thing to do is to carry out God’s will (Acts 5:29).
This principle alone would avoid modern cases of genocide.
After that the Danites set up the carved image for themselves, and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons became priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day that the inhabitants of the land went into exile.
Moses’s grandson, Jonathan, descended from the most famous Levite, but Jehovah had installed Aaron’s descendants as those primarily responsible for carrying out the priesthood (Nu. 3:3,6,9,10).
On top of this, Jehovah had forbidden the use of idols in connection with his worship time and again (Ex. 20:4; De. 4:16; 5:8).
It was selfish of Jonathan to allow the man from Ephraim to install him as priest, leading his family in idol worship in exchange for money (Jud. 17:10).
His selfishness is magnified by his later betrayal of that family to go serve as priest before the tribe of Dan, collaborating with the Danites in their theft of various expensive idols (Jud. 18:18-20).
What can I learn from Jonathan’s attitude?
Even if I were to come from a family with a rich spiritual heritage or certain level of prominence, I should not assume my family’s reputation automatically makes me a spiritual person.
No one is exempt from following God’s explicit laws or practicing his principles, regardless of what their last name may be.
Each person is ultimately responsible for upholding strong Biblical values wholeheartedly on an individual basis (Ez. 18:30).
“But now if you are willing, pardon their sin; if not, please wipe me out from your book that you have written.”
Moses is making reference to the “book of life,” a figurative book representing God’s memory of those who have passed away and whom he will one day resurrect (Rev. 3:5).
Shortly after Israel solemnly vowed to obey God, Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving instructions on how to institute pure worship (Exo. 24:3, 12).
Meanwhile, back at the camp, the people were growing restless.
They concluded something must have happened to Moses and asked his brother, Aaron, to make them a god- a tangible one that they could worship then and there (Exo. 32:1).
Aaron succumbed to the pressure and figured the gold idol he made was just as well a representation of Jehovah (Exo. 32:2-5).
Jehovah was furious and he explored the option of exterminating the nation in order to form a new nation stemming from Moses (Exo. 32:10).
Moses humbly appealed to God on behalf of his people, begging him to take other factors into account (Exo. 32:11-13).
Of course, Jehovah already knew he was going to give Israel the opportunity to repent time and again, but by planting the option of extermination, we can appreciate Moses’s self-sacrificing attitude and the great love he felt for those whom he led.
Moses was willing to be wiped out from existence because the extermination of his people would have signified he had failed them as a leader.
This leads me to ask myself: do I show similar concern for the welfare of those who have been commended to my spiritual tutelage?