Thursday, July 17, 2014

Who Are You?!

A number of translations render a portion of Isaiah 51:12 as Jehovah asking his people, “Who are you?” Reading the context, we soon realize that the tone was more of “Have you forgotten who you are?” It was God’s way of getting his people to remember and reflect that they are considered a special property of his. He cares for them very deeply.

One problem that nation faced back then (and throughout Bible history) was their tendency to trust in their own military might and the military alliances they formed with other nations. Repeatedly, it was these alliances that roused God’s jealousy and anger, disappointment and disgust. It was no wonder that Jehovah would ask “Who are you?” as if he were puzzled. They looked nothing like the (figurative) wife that was supposed to be his.

Can you sympathize with that sentiment? Have you ever had a child you loved and brought up that turned out so unexpectedly different from the way you raised them that you asked (either in your head or actually out loud), “Who are you?” and then perhaps continued, “I don’t even know you anymore.” Maybe you didn’t even state that in anger but rather in shock. It may have even been a pleading, “Where is the son (or daughter) I used to know that loved life, that loved me, that was such a caring person?”

That is exactly the tone that God took with his wayward nation in Isaiah’s account. God was honestly flabbergasted that after all he had done for his nation, his wife, they could actually put on the face of a harlot (in trusting in the military might of pagan nations).

Maybe with this account as a backdrop, those who do not understand Jehovah’s Witnesses’ stand on political neutrality can finally begin to grasp the concept. It really is an enduring idea in scriptures that those serving God trust in him, not in the military might of whichever nation they live in.  We are not seditionists, a common (but very false) charge against us. We are a law-abiding people individually and as a group. We are an international brotherhood whose only political loyalty is to God’s Kingdom. There are other scriptural principles involved, but in order to keep this article clear and concise, I won’t cover those here.

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