“Jehovah is merciful and compassionate,
Slow to anger and abundant in loyal love.”
Have you ever become so angry at someone that you became obsessed with their flaws and that, in turn, affected your joy in the congregation?
We do well to imitate Jehovah in being slow to anger.
One way to improve on this is by meditating on the example of Christ Jesus.
Jesus had a mild temper (Matt. 11:29).
He did not allow others to provoke him.
Rather, he entrusted himself to the Highest Judge (1 Pet. 2:23).
How can we, too, be slow in anger?
We want to be able to discern right from wrong, and a big part of that is knowing when to keep our mouth shut.
Otherwise, if we feel contempt toward others, we might end up slandering them (Prov. 11:12,13).
The way to a calm spirit is constant and straight (Prov. 15:21).
Although we feel forces trying to knock us off our path, having a mild temper implies steadfastness.
Jesus remained calm even when his disciples did the exact opposite of what he had asked (Mark 14:34-38).
Likewise, in the congregation, there may be someone who constantly does the opposite of what he is instructed, and yet he has a certain level of authority.
Jehovah does not expect people to be perfect, so it should not surprise us when they err.
True- it is extremely grieving to be targeted by someone’s rudeness on a personal level, or worse yet, to see your loved one bullied by a brother in the faith.
But Jehovah can use others’ shortcomings to develop endurance, faith and a positive attitude in our own personalities.
Another way to look at it is to remember that Jehovah isn’t asking more of us than he himself is willing to give.
“[…] You keep counting my every step; You watch only for my sin.”
When Job suffered depression, he thought God would focus on his past mistakes, like humans erroneously do.
While it is true that God does not deceive Himself and ignore our sins entirely, he does not dwell on the past when we are willing to repent (Ps. 130:3; 139:3).
Therefore, we should not assume Jehovah is drawing away from us because of mistakes we have asked him to forgive (Jas. 4:8).
Sometimes people close to us make us feel unwanted, useless and that we are in their way.
They might take advantage of our affection and take out their frustration on us.
People who are depressed are more likely to be victims of this, as they are more vulnerable and less likely to defend themselves.
Job apparently thought Jehovah would victimize him in this way.
He accused Jehovah of holding on to his transgressions, as if He had ‘sealed them up in a bag’ or ‘with glue,’ (Job 14:17).
How wonderful it is to understand that God is not really like that, but his kindness surpasses that we could expect of any human (Ps. 103:8,14; Isa. 55:6-9).
In effect, Jehovah focuses on us to find what is good, appreciating what we have to offer (2 Cor. 8:12).
“Let the day perish on which I was born, […]
Let that day be darkness.”
After losing his life’s work, his livelihood, his family and his health, Job had more than plenty reasons to be depressed (Job 1:13-19; 2:7,9).
His false friend, Eliphaz, wrongfully attributed Job’s depression to a lack of faith.
“Does your reverence for God not give you confidence?” he asked accusingly (Job 4:6).
But Job’s depression did not stem from an unfulfilled spiritual need (Job 2:3,6,9,10).
His trials were beyond what any man can emotionally bear while still holding on to a certain sense of sanity.
This is why he sat mourning on ashes, unrecognizable (Job 2:8,12).
It is normal for serious problems to affect our emotional health and attitude, whatever their nature may be.
When a friend confides in us that they are depressed, it is important not to make it an issue of faith, because we may end up sounding like Eliphaz giving wrong counsel to Job.
If we are not careful with our choice of words and assumptions, we may make a bad situation much, much worse.
It is important, therefore, to imitate Jehovah’s kindness and really take the time to listen and observe before applying any type of counsel to those who are brokenhearted (Ps.34:18; Jas.1:19).
No unauthorized person may eat anything holy. No foreign guest of a priest or hired worker may eat anything holy. But if a priest should purchase someone with his own money, that person may share in eating it. Slaves born in his house may also share in eating his food.
This text implies that circumcised foreigners who had been bought as laborers were thereafter considered to make up part of the priest’s household.
The priest’s immediate family members could also partake in holy meals.
Daughters were considered a part of the household if they were single, divorced or widowed and did not have children who could care for their needs (Lev. 22:13).
Jehovah truly extends his kindness toward every person regardless of their origin (Matt. 5:45).
From these verses we can gather at least a couple lessons:
1. God has his own arrangements as to who can enjoy things that he considers to be His own and how those things are enjoyed.
When we respect those arrangements, we are demonstrating godly devotion, especially if that implies making certain personal sacrifices (1 Tim. 6:6).
2. God is not partial toward any “but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him,” (Acts 10:34,35).
Therefor we should make a genuine effort to eradicate racist or prejudice notions that may have been engrained in us as children and that keep us from extending our hospitality toward members of our own faith who come from different roots.