“Praise Jah! . . . How pleasant and fitting it is to praise him!”
OFTEN we praise someone when we are impressed by what he has said or done. How much more we are moved to praise Jehovah God! We praise him for his great power, which we see in his wonderful creation, and we praise him for his deep love for us, which we see in the ransom sacrifice of his own Son.
3 We do not know who wrote Psalm 147. But the writer probably lived during the time when the Israelites returned to Jerusalem after Jehovah freed them from Babylon. (Psalm 147:2) The psalmist praised Jehovah because once again His people could worship in their own land. Then the psalmist gave even more reasons to praise Jehovah. What were they? And what reasons to call out “Hallelujah!,” or “Praise Jah!,” do you have?
JEHOVAH HEALS THE BROKENHEARTED
4. When King Cyrus freed the Israelites, how must they have felt, and why?
4 Imagine how the Israelites must have felt when they were in exile in Babylon. Those who brought them there made fun of them and said: “Sing for us one of the songs of Zion.” But the Jews did not feel like singing. Jerusalem, their greatest reason for joy, had been destroyed. (Psalm 137:1-3, 6) Their hearts were broken, and they needed comfort. But just as God’s word foretold, Jehovah helped his people. How? King Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon and said about Jehovah: “He has commissioned me to build him a house in Jerusalem.” Cyrus also told the Israelites: “Whoever there is among you of all his people, may Jehovah his God be with him, and let him go up.” (2 Chronicles 36:23) How this must have comforted the Israelites in Babylon!
5. What did the psalmist say about Jehovah’s power to heal us?
5 Jehovah gave comfort not only to the nation of Israel but also to each Israelite. Jehovah does the same for us today. The psalmist wrote that God “heals the brokenhearted; he binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3) When we are sick or depressed, we can be sure that Jehovah cares for us. Jehovah is eager to comfort us and to heal our emotional wounds. (Psalm 34:18; Isaiah 57:15) He gives us wisdom and strength so that we can cope with any problems we may have.
Jehovah is eager to comfort us and to help us feel better
6. How can we benefit from the psalmist’s words at Psalm 147:4? (See opening picture.)
6 Next the psalmist looked at the sky and said that Jehovah “counts the number of the stars” and “calls all of them by name.” (Psalm 147:4) The psalmist could see the stars, but he had no idea of how many there really are. Today, scientists know that there are billions of stars in our galaxy. And there may be trillions of galaxies in the universe! Humans cannot count all the stars, but the Creator can. In fact, he knows each star so well that he has given each one a name. (1 Corinthians 15:41) The God who knows where each star is also knows you. He always knows exactly where you are, how you feel, and what you need!
7, 8. (a) What does Jehovah understand about us? (b) Give an example that shows Jehovah’s compassion.
7 Jehovah understands what you are going through, and he has the power to help you with your problems. (Read Psalm 147:5.) You may feel that your situation is too difficult and that you cannot cope with it. God understands our limitations, “remembering that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14) We are imperfect, so we make the same mistakes again and again, and we may feel discouraged. How we regret certain things we have said, wrong desires we have felt, or jealous feelings we have had! Jehovah does not have any weaknesses, but he fully understands how we feel.
8 Have you personally felt Jehovah’s mighty hand helping you recover from trials? (Isaiah 41:10, 13) This happened to a pioneer named Kyoko. After she moved to a new assignment, she was very discouraged. But how did Kyoko know that Jehovah understood her problems? In her new congregation, there were many people who could understand her feelings. She felt that Jehovah was saying: “I love you, not just because you are a pioneer, but because you are my daughter and dedicated to me. I want you to enjoy your life as one of my Witnesses!” How has Jehovah shown you that “his understanding is beyond measure”?
JEHOVAH PROVIDES WHAT WE NEED
9, 10. What is the most important way Jehovah will help us? Give an example.
9 We all need things such as food, clothing, and shelter. Perhaps you may worry that you will not have enough food to eat. But Jehovah made the earth to produce enough food for all, even for “the young ravens that call out for it.” (Read Psalm 147:8, 9.) If Jehovah feeds the ravens, we can be sure that he will provide for our material needs.
10 Most important, Jehovah provides what we need to keep our faith strong, and he gives us “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4:6, 7) A brother named Mutsuo and his wife saw how Jehovah helped them. When a tsunami hit Japan in 2011, they barely escaped death by climbing onto the roof of their house. On that day, they lost almost everything they owned. They spent the night in a dark, cold room on the second floor of their home. In the morning, they looked for something that would encourage them. The only thing they could find was the 2006 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses. As Mutsuo turned the pages, he saw the title “The Deadliest Tsunamis Ever Recorded.” That section was about an earthquake in Sumatra in 2004 that caused the most destructive tsunamis ever recorded. Mutsuo and his wife wept as they read the experiences of their brothers and sisters. They felt that Jehovah was giving them exactly the encouragement they needed. Jehovah also took care of them in other ways. Their brothers in other parts of Japan provided food and clothing for them. But what strengthened them most were the visits to the congregation by brothers who were sent by God’s organization. Mutsuo says: “I felt that Jehovah was right next to each one of us and caring for us. What comfort!” God first provides what we need to keep our faith strong, and then he takes care of our material needs.
BENEFIT FROM GOD’S HELP
11. What do we need to do to benefit from God’s help?
11 Jehovah “raises up the meek.” He loves us and is always ready to help us. (Psalm 147:6a) How can we benefit from his help? We need to have a strong relationship with him. To have that, we need to be meek. (Zephaniah 2:3) Meek ones rely on Jehovah to correct any injustice and end their suffering. Jehovah approves of them.
12, 13. (a) To benefit from God’s help, what should we avoid? (b) With whom is Jehovah pleased?
12 On the other hand, God “hurls the wicked to the ground.” (Psalm 147:6b) We do not want this to happen to us! We want God to show us his loyal love. So we must hate what he hates. (Psalm 97:10) For example, we must hate sexual immorality. This means that we must avoid anything that could lead us into it, including pornography. (Psalm 119:37; Matthew 5:28) This may be a hard fight, but it is worth the effort because we will receive Jehovah’s blessing.
13 We cannot fight this battle on our own. We must rely on Jehovah. Will he be pleased if we rely on things humans turn to for help? No, Jehovah “does not delight in the power of the horse.” Should we rely on our own strength or on other people? Jehovah is not “impressed by the strong legs of a man.” (Psalm 147:10) Instead, we need to continue to pray to Jehovah for help and beg him to save us from our weaknesses. Jehovah will never get tired of hearing these prayers. “Jehovah finds pleasure in those who fear him, in those waiting for his loyal love.” (Psalm 147:11) Because he is loyal and he loves us, we know that he will keep helping us conquer our wrong desires.
14. What was the psalmist sure of?
14 Jehovah reassures us that he will help us when we have problems. When the Israelites returned to Jerusalem, the psalmist thought about how Jehovah was helping them. The psalmist sang: “He makes the bars of your city gates strong; he blesses your sons within you. He brings peace to your territory.” (Psalm 147:13, 14) The fact that Jehovah would strengthen the city gates made the psalmist feel safe. It reassured him that Jehovah would protect his people.
15-17. (a) How might we at times feel about our trials, but how does Jehovah use his Word to help us? (b) Give an example that shows how God’s word “runs swiftly” to help us.
15 You may feel anxious because of your problems, but Jehovah can give you the wisdom to cope. The psalmist said that God “sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.” Then the psalmist mentioned snow, frost, and hailstones and asked: “Who can withstand his cold?” He then said that Jehovah “sends out his word, and they melt.” (Psalm 147:15-18) Our God, who knows everything and can do anything, who controls the hail and the snow, can surely help you conquer any problem.
Have you seen in your own life that Jehovah is swift to guide you?
16 Today, Jehovah guides us with his Word, the Bible. The psalmist said that Jehovah’s word “runs swiftly” to help us. God guides us in the right way and at the right time. Think about how you benefit from the Bible, the publications of “the faithful and discreet slave,” JW Broadcasting, jw.org, the elders, and your brothers and sisters. (Matthew 24:45) Have you seen in your own life that Jehovah is swift to guide you?
17 A sister named Simone experienced how God’s Word helped her. She felt worthless, and she thought that Jehovah was not pleased with her. However, when she was discouraged, she kept praying to Jehovah, begging him for help. She also continued studying the Bible. Simone said: “I have never been in a situation where I have not felt Jehovah’s strength and his guidance.” This has helped her to have a more positive attitude.
18. Why do you feel that Jehovah is close to you, and what reasons to “Praise Jah!” do you have?
18 The psalmist knew that Jehovah had selected the ancient nation of Israel to be his people out of all the nations of the earth. They were the only nation that had received God’s “word” and “his regulations.” (Read Psalm 147:19, 20.) Today, we have the great honor of being called by God’s name. We are grateful that we know him, that we have his Word to guide us, and that we can have a close relationship with him. Like the writer of Psalm 147, you have many reasons to “Praise Jah!” and to encourage others to do the same.