“I have taken your reminders as a possession to time indefinite.”
1. (a) In what ways do humans react to reminders, and why? (b) How might pride affect one’s view of counsel?
HUMANS respond to direction in a variety of ways. A reminder from someone in authority may be accepted graciously, while counsel from a peer or a subordinate may be rejected outright. Emotional responses to discipline and admonition also vary greatly. Reactions may range from sorrow, sadness, or shame to feeling motivated, challenged, and involved. Why the difference? One factor is pride. Indeed, a haughty spirit can dull a person’s judgment, causing him to dismiss counsel and miss out on valuable instruction.
2. Why do true Christians appreciate advice from God’s Word?
2 True Christians, on the other hand, appreciate helpful advice, especially when it is based on God’s Word. Jehovah’s reminders give valuable insight, teaching us and helping us to avoid such pitfalls as materialism, sexual immorality, and drug or alcohol abuse. (Prov. 20:1; 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Thess. 4:3-5; 1 Tim. 6:6-11) Moreover, we rejoice over “the good condition of the heart” that results from obeying God’s reminders.
3. What attitude of the psalmist would it be good for us to imitate?
3 To preserve our precious relationship with our heavenly Father, we must continue to apply Jehovah’s wise instruction in our life. How fine it is if our attitude reflects that of the psalmist who wrote: “I have taken your reminders as a possession to time indefinite, for they are the exultation of my heart”! (Ps. 119:111) Do we similarly take delight in Jehovah’s commandments, or do we sometimes view them as burdensome? Even if we occasionally chafe at some counsel we receive, we need not despair. We can cultivate unshakable trust in God’s superior wisdom! Let us consider three ways.
BUILD TRUST THROUGH PRAYER
4. What is one thing that remained constant in David’s life?
4 King David had many ups and downs in his life, but one thing remained constant
5, 6. God’s Word tells us what about the relationship that David had with Jehovah?
5 Many people pray to God only when they are in sore straits. What if the only time you heard from a friend or a relative was when he needed money or a personal favor? In time, you might begin to question his motive for seeking you out. David, however, was not like that. His relationship with Jehovah reflected his faith in and love for his God throughout his life
6 Notice David’s words of praise and thanksgiving to Jehovah: “O Jehovah our Lord, how majestic your name is in all the earth, you whose dignity is recounted above the heavens!” (Ps. 8:1) Do you not sense the intimate relationship that David had with his heavenly Father? David’s appreciation for God’s magnificence and splendor inspired him to exalt Jehovah “all day long.”
7. How do we benefit by drawing close to God in prayer?
7 Like David, we need to communicate with Jehovah regularly in order to build trust in him. The Bible says: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (Jas. 4:8) Drawing close to God in prayer is also an important way that we obtain holy spirit.
8. Why should we avoid offering repetitious prayers?
8 When you pray, do you tend to repeat phrases or use the same expressions time and again? If so, before offering your prayer, spend a few moments thinking about what you want to say. If we repeated the same words to some friend or relative every time we spoke to him, would he find that pleasant? He might start to turn a deaf ear to us. Of course, Jehovah would never reject a sincere prayer of one of his loyal servants. But we do well to avoid getting into a rut when communicating with him.
9, 10. (a) What might we include in our prayers? (b) What can help us to offer heartfelt prayers?
9 Obviously, our prayers cannot be superficial if we wish to draw close to God. The more we pour out our heart to Jehovah, the closer we will be to him and the more we will trust in him. What, though, should we include in our prayers? God’s Word answers: “In everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God.” (Phil. 4:6) The fact is, anything that affects our relationship with God or our life as one of his servants is a proper subject of prayer.
10 It is instructive to consider the words of faithful men and women whose prayers have been recorded in the Bible. (1 Sam. 1:10, 11; Acts 4:24-31) The Psalms contain a collection of heartfelt prayers and songs to Jehovah. Every human emotion from agony to pure joy is revealed in these prayers and songs. Analyzing such expressions made by loyal ones can help us to offer up meaningful prayers to Jehovah.
MEDITATE ON GOD’S REMINDERS
11. Why do we need to meditate on admonition from God?
11 David declared: “The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy, making the inexperienced one wise.” (Ps. 19:7) Yes, even if we are inexperienced, we can become wise by obeying God’s commandments. Some Scriptural admonition, though, requires meditation if we are to benefit fully. That might be said about keeping our integrity when under pressure at school or on our job, upholding God’s standard on blood, maintaining Christian neutrality, and applying Bible principles regarding dress and grooming. Getting God’s mind on such matters will help us to anticipate problems. Then we can resolve in our heart what to do should the situation arise. Such forethought and advance preparation can save us much heartache.
12. Thinking on what can help us to keep God’s reminders?
12 As we await the realization of what God has promised, does our life course show that we are remaining spiritually awake? For example, do we truly believe that Babylon the Great will soon be destroyed? Are future blessings, such as everlasting life on a paradise earth, as real to us now as when we first learned of them? Have we maintained our zeal for the ministry rather than letting personal affairs take precedence in our life? What about the resurrection hope, the sanctification of Jehovah’s name, and the vindication of his sovereignty? Are those still vital issues for us? Meditating on such questions may help us to do as the psalmist said, keep God’s “reminders as a possession to time indefinite.”
13. Why did first-century Christians find some things difficult to understand? Give an example.
13 Some things mentioned in the Bible may not be fully understood now because it is not yet Jehovah’s due time for making them clear. Jesus again and again told his apostles that it would be necessary for him to suffer and be put to death. (Read Matthew 12:40; 16:21.) But the apostles did not understand what he meant. They got the sense after his death and resurrection when he materialized a human body, appeared to a number of disciples, and “opened up their minds fully to grasp the meaning of the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:44-46; Acts 1:3) Likewise, until holy spirit was poured out on them at Pentecost 33 C.E., Christ’s followers did not comprehend that God’s Kingdom was to be established in heaven.
14. At the beginning of the 20th century, what good example did many brothers set despite having misunderstandings regarding the last days?
14 In a similar way, at the beginning of the 20th century, there were a number of wrong expectations among true Christians regarding “the last days.” (2 Tim. 3:1) For instance, in the year 1914, some thought that their being taken to heaven was imminent. When their hopes were not immediately realized, an earnest reexamination of the Scriptures brought into focus that a great preaching campaign lay ahead. (Mark 13:10) Hence, in 1922, J. F. Rutherford, who then took the lead in the preaching work, told those assembled at the international convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A.: “Behold, the King reigns! You are his publicity agents. Therefore advertise, advertise, advertise, the King and his kingdom.” From that time onward, proclaiming “the good news of the kingdom” has been a hallmark of Jehovah’s modern-day servants.
15. How do we benefit from meditating on the way God has dealt with his people?
15 By our meditating on the marvelous way that Jehovah has dealt with his people, both past and present, we gain greater confidence in his ability to carry out his will and purpose in the future. At the same time, God’s reminders help us to keep fresh in our minds and hearts his prophecies that are awaiting fulfillment. We can be sure that doing so will help us to build trust in his promises.
BUILD TRUST THROUGH ACTS OF WORSHIP
16. What blessings come from remaining active in the ministry?
16 Our God, Jehovah, is a dynamic God, a God of action. “Who is vigorous like you, O Jah?” asked the psalmist. He added: “Your hand is strong, your right hand is exalted.” (Ps. 89:8, 13) Consistent with that, Jehovah appreciates and blesses the effort that we put forth to promote Kingdom interests. He sees that his servants
17, 18. Why can we say that acts of faith help us to build trust in Jehovah’s counsel? Give an example.
17 In what way do acts of faith help us to build trust in Jehovah? Consider the Scriptural account of Israel’s entry into the Promised Land. Jehovah had instructed the priests carrying the ark of the covenant to march right into the Jordan River. However, as the people made their approach, they could see that the spring rains had caused the river to swell to flood stage. What would the Israelites do? Set up camp on the river bank and wait weeks or longer for the floodwaters to recede? No, they put full trust in Jehovah and followed his directions. The result? The account reads: “As soon as the feet of the priests touched the water, the river stopped flowing, . . . and the priests stood in the middle of the dry riverbed near Jericho while everyone else crossed over.” (Josh. 3:12-17, Contemporary English Version) Imagine how heartening it must have been to see those raging waters stopped up! Indeed, the Israelites’ faith in Jehovah was strengthened because they trusted in his directions.
18 True, Jehovah does not perform such miracles in behalf of his people today, but he does bless their acts of faith. God’s active force empowers them to carry out the assigned work of preaching the Kingdom message worldwide. And Jehovah’s foremost Witness, the resurrected Christ Jesus, assured his disciples that he would back them up in this important work: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations . . . I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) Many Witnesses who may have had a tendency to be shy or timid can personally attest that God’s holy spirit has given them the courage to speak to strangers in the field ministry.
19. Despite our limitations, what assurance do we have?
19 Some brothers and sisters have significant physical limitations because of sickness or advanced age. Yet, they can be sure that “the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort” understands the circumstances of each true Christian. (2 Cor. 1:3) He appreciates all that we do to promote Kingdom interests. All of us need to bear in mind that it is primarily our faith in Christ’s ransom provision that preserves alive our soul while we do all that our circumstances permit.
20, 21. What are some ways that we demonstrate trust in Jehovah?
20 Our worship involves expending our time, energy, and material resources to the fullest extent possible. Yes, we want with all our heart to “do the work of an evangelizer.” (2 Tim. 4:5) The fact is, we are happy to do so, as it helps others to “come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) Clearly, honoring and praising Jehovah makes us rich spiritually. (Prov. 10:22) And it helps us to build an unbreakable bond of trust with our Creator.
21 As we have discussed, trusting in Jehovah for wise direction does not come about automatically; we need to work at having that trust. So by all means, rely on Jehovah through prayer. Meditate on how Jehovah has worked out his will in the past and how he will do so in the future. And continue to build trust in Jehovah through acts of worship. Indeed, Jehovah’s reminders will last to time indefinite. So can you!