“O Jehovah, you yourself have proved to be a real dwelling for us during generation after generation.”
1, 2. How have God’s servants felt about this world? What home do they have?
2 Christ’s anointed followers have their “citizenship” in the heavens. They too feel like “aliens and temporary residents” in this world. (Philippians 3:20; 1 Peter 2:11) Christ’s “other sheep” are also “no part of the world,” just as Jesus was “no part of the world.” (John 10:16; 17:16) However, God’s people do have a home. It is not a home we can see with our eyes, but it is the safest and most loving home we could ever have. What is this home? Moses wrote: “O Jehovah, you yourself have proved to be a real dwelling for us during generation after generation.” * (See footnote.) (Psalm 90:1) Jehovah is “a real dwelling,” or a home, for his loyal servants. Do you know how Jehovah was a home for his servants in the past? How is he a home for his people today? And how will he be the only secure home for his servants in the future?
JEHOVAH WAS “A REAL DWELLING” FOR HIS SERVANTS IN THE PAST
3. To what is Jehovah compared at Psalm 90:1, and why?
3 The Bible sometimes compares Jehovah to things we can see so that we can better understand his personality. For example, Psalm 90:1 compares Jehovah to a “dwelling,” or a home. When we think of a home, we think of a place where there is love, peace, and protection. Why is Jehovah compared to a home? The Bible says that Jehovah is love. (1 John 4:8) It also says that he is the God of peace and that he protects his servants. (Psalm 4:8) As an example, let us consider how Jehovah was like a home for his faithful servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
4, 5. How did God bless and protect Abraham?
4 Abraham may have wondered why Jehovah told him: “Go your way out of your country and from your relatives and from the house of your father to the country that I shall show you.” But Jehovah’s next words must have given him much comfort: “I shall make a great nation out of you and I shall bless you and I will make your name great.” Jehovah added: “I will bless those who bless you, and him that calls down evil upon you I shall curse.”
5 Jehovah promised that he would bless and protect Abraham and his descendants, and that is exactly what he did. (Genesis 26:1-6) For example, he stopped Pharaoh of Egypt and King Abimelech of Gerar from killing Abraham and taking his wife, Sarah. He protected Isaac and Rebekah in a similar way. (Genesis 12:14-20; 20:1-14; 26:6-11) The Bible says that Jehovah “did not allow any human to defraud them, but on their account he reproved kings, saying: ‘Do not you men touch my anointed ones, and to my prophets do nothing bad.’”
6. What did Isaac tell Jacob to do? How may Jacob have felt?
6 Jehovah also took good care of Abraham’s grandson Jacob. When it was time for Jacob to marry, his father, Isaac, told him: “You must not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Get up, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel the father of your mother and from there take yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban.” (Genesis 28:1, 2) Jacob did exactly what his father told him. He left his family in Canaan and traveled hundreds of kilometers to the area of Haran, probably alone. (Genesis 28:10) He may have thought: ‘How long will I be away? Will my uncle be happy to see me? Will I find a wife who loves Jehovah?’ But something happened in Luz, 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Beer-sheba, that helped Jacob to stop worrying. What was it?
7. What comfort did God give Jacob?
7 At Luz, Jehovah appeared to Jacob in a dream and said: “Here I am with you and I will keep you in all the way you are going and I will return you to this ground, because I am not going to leave you until I have actually done what I have spoken to you.” (Genesis 28:15) Those kind words must have given Jacob so much comfort! After that, Jacob must have been eager to see how Jehovah’s promise would come true. If you have left home, perhaps to serve in another country, you may have worried as Jacob did. But you have certainly felt how Jehovah has cared for you in many ways.
8, 9. How was Jehovah “a real dwelling” for Jacob? What does the example of Jacob teach us about Jehovah?
8 When Jacob arrived in Haran, his uncle Laban warmly welcomed him and later gave him Leah and Rachel as wives. After some time, though, Laban started to be unfair to Jacob and changed his wages ten times! (Genesis 31:41, 42) But Jacob endured all of this because he trusted that Jehovah would care for him. As a result, Jehovah blessed Jacob. By the time God told him to return to Canaan, Jacob owned “great flocks and maidservants and menservants and camels and asses.” (Genesis 30:43) Jacob was deeply grateful to Jehovah and prayed: “I am unworthy of all the loving-kindnesses and of all the faithfulness that you have exercised toward your servant, for with but my staff I crossed this Jordan and now I have become two camps.”
Like Jacob, you have certainly felt Jehovah’s care in many ways
9 These examples show how true Moses’ words were: “O Jehovah, you yourself have proved to be a real dwelling for us during generation after generation”! (Psalm 90:1) Jehovah has not changed. He still loves, protects, and cares for his loyal servants. (James 1:17) Let us consider how.
JEHOVAH IS OUR “REAL DWELLING” TODAY
10. Why can we be sure that Jehovah continues to be “a real dwelling” for his servants?
10 Imagine this situation: You are in court serving as a witness against a very intelligent and powerful man. He is a cruel liar and a murderer, and he has people all over the world working for him. How would you feel when you left the courtroom at the end of the day? Would you feel safe? Not at all! You would have good reason to ask for protection. In a similar way, as Jehovah’s servants we are witnesses against Jehovah’s evil enemy, Satan. (Read Revelation 12:17.) Satan has tried to stop God’s people. But has he been able to do that? No! In fact, we continue to preach to more and more people all over the world. How is this possible? There can only be one explanation: Jehovah is “a real dwelling” for us. He is protecting and blessing his people more than ever during these last days. (Read Isaiah 54:14, 17.) But Jehovah can continue to be “a real dwelling” for us only if we do not allow Satan to deceive us.
We can continue with the preaching work only because of God’s blessing and protection
11. What other lesson can we learn from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
11 Let us learn another lesson from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Although they lived in the land of Canaan, they stayed separate from the people of the land and hated the bad things those people did. (Genesis 27:46) They did not need a long list of rules to know what was right or what was wrong. They knew what Jehovah loves and what he hates. So they did all they could not to become part of the world. What a fine example they are for us! Do you try hard to imitate those loyal servants of Jehovah? Do you show that you do not want to be part of the world by carefully choosing your friends and entertainment? Sadly, some in the Christian congregation, at least in some ways, feel at home in Satan’s world. If you feel that way even a little, pray for Jehovah’s help. Remember, this world belongs to Satan, and he is selfish and does not care about us.
12. (a) How does Jehovah help his servants? (b) How do you feel about the help Jehovah gives us?
12 If we do not want Satan to deceive us, we must benefit from all the help Jehovah gives his servants. For example, he gives us help through Christian meetings, family worship, and elders who give us comfort and support so that we can endure problems in life. (Ephesians 4:8-12) Brother George Gangas, who was a member of the Governing Body for many years, wrote about how he felt among God’s people: “When I am among them I feel at home with my family.” Do you feel the same way?
Are you determined to show that you are different from people in the world?
13. What important lesson can we learn from Hebrews 11:13?
13 Another important lesson we learn from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is that we should not be afraid of being different from the people around us. As we read in paragraph 1, those faithful men “publicly declared that they were strangers and temporary residents in the land.” (Hebrews 11:13) Do you show that you are different from people in the world? This can sometimes be difficult. But you can do this with help from God and from your brothers and sisters. Remember, you are not alone. All who want to serve Jehovah have a fight against Satan and this world! (Ephesians 6:12) But we can win this fight if we trust in Jehovah and make him our secure dwelling.
14. What “city” did Abraham wait for?
14 We should imitate Abraham and keep the reward in mind. (2 Corinthians 4:18) The apostle Paul wrote that Abraham “was awaiting the city having real foundations, the builder and maker of which city is God.” (Hebrews 11:10) That “city” is God’s Kingdom. Abraham had to wait for that “city” to come. In a way, we do not. The Kingdom is now ruling in heaven. And Bible prophecy clearly shows that soon it will rule the whole earth. Does the way you live your life show that you really believe in that Kingdom? Do you put the Kingdom first in your life and stay separate from this world?
JEHOVAH WILL CONTINUE TO BE OUR “REAL DWELLING”
15. What will be the future of those who trust in this world?
15 Problems in this world will continue to get worse before the end. (Matthew 24:7, 8) And during the great tribulation, life will definitely become even harder. All over the world, there will be destruction and confusion, and people will be terrified. (Habakkuk 3:16, 17) The Bible says that they will be so desperate that they will look for protection “in the caves and in the rock-masses of the mountains.” (Revelation 6:15-17) But no cave will protect them, nor will any big business or political organization.
16. How should we view the congregation? Why?
16 Jehovah will keep us safe during the great tribulation. Like the prophet Habakkuk, we will be joyful in the God of salvation. (Habakkuk 3:18) In what ways will Jehovah protect us during that difficult time? We will have to wait and see. But we can be sure that Jehovah’s people will stay organized and receive instructions from him, like the Israelites who left Egypt during the Exodus. (Read Exodus 13:18; Revelation 7:9) How will Jehovah give us these instructions? Jehovah will probably use the congregation to tell us what to do. Isaiah 26:20 mentions “interior rooms” that will give protection to God’s people. These may refer to the congregations around the world. (Read Isaiah 26:20.) Do you value the congregation meetings? Do you always do what Jehovah tells you through the congregation?
17. How is Jehovah “a real dwelling” even for his loyal servants who have died?
17 Jehovah is “a real dwelling” even for faithful ones who might die before the great tribulation. How? He will resurrect them. A long time after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, Jehovah told Moses that he was still their God. (Exodus 3:6) Jesus repeated those words and added: “He is a God, not of the dead, but of the living, for they are all living to him.” (Luke 20:38) The resurrection of loyal servants of Jehovah is so sure to happen that to Jehovah, it is as if they are already alive.
The resurrection of loyal servants of Jehovah is so sure to happen that to Jehovah, it is as if they are alive
18. How will Jehovah become “a real dwelling” for his people in the new world?
18 In the new world, Jehovah will become “a real dwelling” for his people in a special way. Revelation 21:3 says: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them.” Jehovah will use Jesus Christ to rule over the earth for the first thousand years. At the end of the thousand years, Jesus will have completed his Father’s purpose for the earth, and he will give the Kingdom back to Jehovah. (1 Corinthians 15:28) Then Jehovah will rule perfect humans directly. What a wonderful future we have ahead of us! Let us imitate faithful servants of the past by making Jehovah our “real dwelling” now.