“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.”
1, 2. How can we benefit when we learn what God’s will is? How will we benefit from King David’s example?
WHEN traveling, have you ever used a map or a computerized mapping program? It can give you a better view, or show you what the land looks like from above, so that you can figure out the best way to get from one place to another. In a similar way, when we are making important decisions, we benefit when we get a better view of the matter, or learn what God thinks about it. This helps us to know what his will is. Then we can do his will, or walk in “the way” that Jehovah approves.
2 During most of his life, King David of ancient Israel tried to view situations the way God did. By doing this, David made sure that he did God’s will. He was a man whose heart was complete with Jehovah God. This article will help us to learn from what David did when he was in difficult situations.
DAVID RESPECTED JEHOVAH’S NAME
3, 4. (a) Why did David think that he could fight against Goliath? (b) How did David feel about God’s name?
3 When David was young, he went to fight against the Philistine Goliath. Why did David think that he could fight against a giant who was about 2.9 meters (9.5 feet) tall and who had powerful weapons? (1 Samuel 17:4, footnote) Was it simply because David was courageous? Or was it because he had faith in God? Both courage and faith were important, but the main reason that David fought Goliath was that David respected Jehovah and His great name. David was angry that Goliath spoke disrespectfully of God’s people. David said: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he has to taunt the battle lines of the living God?”
4 Young David said to Goliath: “You are coming to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I am coming to you with the name of Jehovah of armies, the God of the battle lines of Israel, whom you have taunted.” (1 Samuel 17:45) David relied on the true God to help him. He killed Goliath by throwing one stone with his sling. Throughout the rest of his life, David trusted in Jehovah and respected His holy name. And David told his fellow Israelites to “boast in” Jehovah’s name.
5. What should you do when people today show disrespect for Jehovah as Goliath did?
5 Are you proud to have Jehovah as your God? (Jeremiah 9:24) What do you do when your neighbors, workmates, classmates, or relatives speak disrespectfully of Jehovah or make fun of his Witnesses? When people show disrespect for God as Goliath did, do you speak up to defend Jehovah’s name and do you trust that He will help you? It is true that sometimes we should “keep quiet,” but we should not be ashamed to be Jehovah’s Witnesses and followers of Jesus. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7; Mark 8:38) We should be tactful and polite when we are talking to people who do not respect Jehovah or his message. But we should not be like those Israelites who “became terrified and were greatly afraid” when they heard what Goliath was saying. (1 Samuel 17:11) Instead, we should quickly speak up to defend Jehovah’s holy name. We want to help people to know what kind of God Jehovah really is. For this reason, we use the Bible to help people see why they should want to know God.
We should quickly speak up to defend Jehovah’s holy name!
6. What was the most important reason that David fought Goliath? What should be most important to us?
6 We learn another lesson from the story of David and Goliath. When David came running to the battle line, he asked: “What will be done to the man that strikes down that Philistine over there and actually turns away reproach from upon Israel?” In reply, the people said about the one who would kill Goliath: “The king will enrich him with great riches, and his own daughter he will give him.” (1 Samuel 17:25-27) But David did not simply want a reward. There was something that was more important to him. He wanted to honor the true God. (Read 1 Samuel 17:46, 47.) What is most important to us? Are we interested only in our own name, or reputation? Do we think only of getting a lot of money and becoming important in the world? Surely we want to be like David, who sang: “O magnify Jehovah with me, you people, and let us exalt his name together.” (Psalm 34:3) We should trust in God and be more interested in God’s name, or reputation, than in our own.
We should be more interested in God’s name, or reputation, than in our own
7. How can we build the strong faith we need so that we can continue in the ministry even when people do not want to listen to our message?
7 Young David needed strong faith and confidence in Jehovah so that he could have the courage to fight against Goliath. As a shepherd, David had learned to rely on Jehovah each day. This gave him the faith he needed. (1 Samuel 17:34-37) We too need strong faith so that we can continue in the ministry, especially when people do not want to listen to our message. We can build our faith by relying on God in everything we do each day. For example, we can try to start a conversation about the Bible with people who sit next to us when we are riding on public transportation. And we should also talk to the people we meet on the street when we are preaching from house to house.
GOD’S WILL WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO DAVID
8, 9. When Saul was threatening David, how did David show that he thought Jehovah’s will was the most important thing to him?
8 Another way David showed that he was willing to trust in Jehovah was by viewing Israel’s first king, Saul, the same way Jehovah did. Saul was jealous of David. Three times he tried to kill David by throwing a spear at him. But David moved out of the way each time, and he did not fight back against the king. He later had to run away from Saul. (1 Samuel 18:7-11; 19:10) Then Saul chose 3,000 men out of all Israel and went looking for David in the wilderness. (1 Samuel 24:2) One day, Saul went into a cave where David and his men were hiding. Because God had already said that David would be the new king, David could have viewed this as his chance to kill Saul. (1 Samuel 16:1, 13) David’s men even encouraged him to kill Saul. But David said: “It is unthinkable, on my part, from Jehovah’s standpoint, that I should do this thing to my lord, the anointed of Jehovah.” (Read 1 Samuel 24:4-7.) Saul was still God’s anointed king. Jehovah had not yet removed Saul as king, so David did not want to remove him. Instead, David only cut off the skirt of Saul’s sleeveless coat. This proved that David did not plan on harming Saul, even though David could have killed him.
9 The last time David saw Saul, he again showed respect for him because he was still “the anointed of Jehovah.” David and Abishai arrived at a place where Saul was camping and found him asleep. Abishai thought that God had brought Saul to this place so that David could kill him. Abishai even offered to kill Saul with a spear. But David did not allow this to happen. (1 Samuel 26:8-11) Because David kept waiting on Jehovah, or seeking God’s guidance, David did not want to harm Jehovah’s appointed king despite what Abishai said.
10. What difficult situation might we be in? What will help us to do Jehovah’s will?
10 We too might be in a situation where others want us to do what they think is best instead of supporting us in doing Jehovah’s will. Or they might want us to make a choice before we think about how Jehovah views the situation. That is what Abishai did to David. To make sure that we do not let people influence us this way, we need to keep clearly in mind how Jehovah views the situation and to be determined to do what he wants us to do.
11. How did David keep showing that God’s will was the most important thing in his life? How can we imitate David?
11 David prayed to Jehovah God: “Teach me to do your will.” (Read Psalm 143:5, 8, 10.) David did not rely on his own ideas, and he did not simply do what other people told him to do. Instead, he was eager to be taught by God. He said: “I have meditated on all your activity; I willingly kept myself concerned with the work of your own hands.” Like David, we can find out what God’s will is by studying the Scriptures carefully and by meditating on how Jehovah guided humans in the past.
DAVID UNDERSTOOD HOW TO USE PRINCIPLES
12, 13. Why did David pour out the water that three of his men brought to him?
12 There is something else we can learn from the way David acted. David understood how to use principles and wanted to live by them. A principle is a basic truth that helps us to make good decisions and helps us to understand how Jehovah thinks about a matter. Just as David did, we can often learn a principle from one of Jehovah’s laws. For example, one day David said that he wanted “a drink of the water from the cistern of Bethlehem.” But Bethlehem was under the control of the Philistines. Three of David’s men risked their lives by going to that city to get the water. But David refused to drink it. He “poured it out to Jehovah.” Why? David said: “It is unthinkable on my part, as regards my God, to do this! Is it the blood of these men that I should drink at the risk of their souls? For it was at the risk of their souls that they brought it.”
13 David knew that the Law said that blood should be poured out to Jehovah and not eaten. He also understood why this was in the Law. David knew that “the soul of the flesh is in the blood.” However, this was water, not blood. Why did David refuse to drink it? He did this because he had learned a principle from the law about blood. He learned that Jehovah views blood as precious. Since these men could have died when they tried to get this water, David felt that drinking the water would show disrespect for their precious blood. Instead of drinking the water, he decided that he should pour it out on the ground.
14. What helped David to make decisions that pleased Jehovah?
14 God’s law was an important part of David’s everyday life. He sang: “To do your will, O my God, I have delighted, and your law is within my inward parts.” (Psalm 40:8) David studied God’s law and meditated on what he learned. He trusted that he would benefit if he followed Jehovah’s commandments. David wanted to follow not just the rules in the Law of Moses but also the principles that he could learn from those rules. When we study the Bible, we should meditate on what we read. That way we can make the principles we learn part of our everyday life and make decisions that please Jehovah.
15. In what way did Solomon stop obeying God’s Law?
15 Jehovah gave David’s son Solomon many blessings. But later Solomon stopped obeying God’s Law. He did not obey Jehovah’s command that an Israelite king should not have many wives. (Deuteronomy 17:17) Solomon married many foreign women. When he became old, his wives influenced him “to follow other gods.” No matter what excuses he may have used to disobey God’s Law, “Solomon began to do what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah, and he did not follow Jehovah fully like David his father.” (1 Kings 11:1-6) We must obey the laws and principles that we learn from God’s Word! For example, this is very important when we are thinking about getting married.
16. What can we learn from Jehovah’s law to marry “only in the Lord”?
16 If unbelievers show that they are romantically interested in us, how do we react? Are we like David, who tried to view situations the way God does? Or do we ignore Jehovah’s commands, as Solomon did? True worshippers are told to marry “only in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:39) This means that if a Christian chooses to get married, he or she should marry another Christian. And from this law, we can understand that Jehovah does not want us to have romantic relationships with unbelievers. So not only will we refuse to marry an unbeliever but we will not allow an unbeliever to continue to show romantic interest in us.
17. What can help us to avoid pornography?
17 David’s example of trying to view situations the way God does can also help us to fight against the temptation to view pornography. Read the following scriptures, think about the principles they contain, and try to understand how Jehovah feels about pornography. (Read Psalm 119:37; Matthew 5:28, 29; Colossians 3:5.) We must meditate on Jehovah’s high standards so that we can avoid pornography.
ALWAYS TRY TO VIEW SITUATIONS THE WAY GOD DOES
18, 19. (a) Even though David was imperfect, how could he continue to have God’s favor? (b) What are you determined to do?
18 Although David was a good example, he committed several serious sins. (2 Samuel 11:2-4, 14, 15, 22-27; 1 Chronicles 21:1, 7) But David always repented when he sinned. He had “integrity of heart,” or was complete in his service to God. (1 Kings 9:4) Why can we say that? Because David tried to view situations as Jehovah did and to do what pleased Him.
19 Even though we are imperfect, we can still have Jehovah’s favor. We should continue to study God’s Word, meditate on what we learn from it, and act quickly to use what we learn. If we do this, we will be like the psalmist who humbly asked Jehovah in prayer: “Teach me to do your will.”