“I have taken your reminders as a possession to time indefinite.”
1. (a) In what ways do people react to reminders, and why? (b) How does a proud person react to counsel?
PEOPLE react to direction in different ways. For example, some may accept a reminder from a person who has authority but may reject it from someone their own age or from someone who has less authority. When some receive discipline or counsel, they may feel sad, depressed, or embarrassed. But others might feel motivated and confident and want to do better. Why do people react so differently? One reason is pride. When a proud person receives counsel, he thinks that it does not apply to him, so he rejects it and does not benefit from the instruction he could have received.
2. Why do true Christians value advice from God’s Word?
2 True Christians react differently. We value helpful advice, especially when it comes from God’s Word. Jehovah’s reminders help us to see the danger of wrong conduct. For example, they help us to avoid things that will harm us, such as materialism, sexual immorality, and the wrong use of drugs and alcohol. (Proverbs 20:1; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; 1 Timothy 6:6-11) Also, we have “the good condition of the heart” that results from obeying God’s commands.
3. What attitude of the psalmist should we imitate?
3 To keep our precious friendship with our heavenly Father, we must continue to use Jehovah’s wise instruction in our life. We should imitate the attitude of the psalmist who wrote: “I have taken your reminders as a possession to time indefinite, for they are the exultation of my heart.” (Psalm 119:111) Like the psalmist, are you happy to obey Jehovah’s commands? Or do you sometimes feel that they are too difficult to obey? Even if at times you find it hard to accept counsel, do not be discouraged. You can strengthen your trust that obeying God’s wise commands is always best for you. Let us discuss three ways to do this.
STRENGTHEN YOUR TRUST THROUGH PRAYER
4. What is the one thing that never changed in David’s life?
4 King David had good times and bad times in his life, but one thing never changed. He always had complete trust in his Creator. He said: “To you, O Jehovah, I raise my very soul. O my God, in you have I put my trust.” (Psalm 25:1, 2) How did David learn to have such strong trust in his heavenly Father?
5, 6. What do David’s prayers show about his friendship with Jehovah?
5 Many people pray to God only when they are having serious problems. They are like a friend who talks to you only when he needs money or wants you to do something for him. After a while, you may begin to wonder whether this friend really loves you. But David’s friendship with Jehovah was not like that. Throughout David’s life, both in good times and bad, his prayers showed that he truly loved Jehovah and trusted in him.
Throughout David’s life, his prayers showed that he truly loved Jehovah and trusted in him
6 Notice how David gave praise and thanks to Jehovah: “O Jehovah our Lord, how majestic your name is in all the earth, you whose dignity is recounted above the heavens!” (Psalm 8:1) Can you tell from David’s words how close his friendship with his heavenly Father was? David was so impressed by Jehovah’s greatness and glory that he was inspired to praise Jehovah “all day long.”
7. How does regularly communicating with Jehovah help us?
7 Like David, we need to communicate with Jehovah regularly so that we can strengthen our trust in him. The Bible says: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (James 4:8) Praying to Jehovah draws us closer to him and is also an important way that we receive holy spirit.
8. Why should we avoid using the same words or expressions every time we pray?
8 When you pray, do you use the same words or expressions every time? If you do, try to take a little time before you pray to think about what you want to say. To illustrate: If you said the same things over and over again to a friend each time you saw him, how would he feel? He might not want to listen to you anymore. Of course, Jehovah would never ignore a sincere prayer of one of his loyal servants. But we should try to avoid saying the same things over and over again every time we pray.
Avoid saying the same things over and over again every time you pray
9, 10. (a) What should we include in our prayers? (b) What can help us to make our prayers more meaningful?
9 Clearly, if we want to get closer to God, we cannot pray only about general things. The more we tell Jehovah our deepest thoughts and feelings, the stronger our trust in him will be. What 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.” (Philippians 4:6) Really, anything that affects our life or our friendship with God can be included in our prayers.
10 We can learn a lot from the prayers of faithful men and women of the past. (1 Samuel 1:10, 11; Acts 4:24-31) In the Psalms, for example, there are many sincere prayers and songs to Jehovah that include every emotion from agony to great joy. Studying these prayers can help us to make our own prayers more meaningful.
MEDITATE ON GOD’S REMINDERS
11. Why do we need to meditate on Bible counsel?
11 David said: “The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy, making the inexperienced one wise.” (Psalm 19:7) So even if we are inexperienced, we can become wise by obeying God’s commands. But there is some counsel in the Bible that we must meditate on if we want to stay faithful in all situations in life. For example, meditating on Bible principles can help you to stay loyal when tempted to do something wrong at school or at work. It can also help you to obey God’s laws regarding blood and Christian neutrality and to apply Bible principles when choosing clothing. Meditating on God’s counsel will help us to prepare for situations like these. Then we can decide what we will do before the situation ever happens. This kind of preparation can help us to avoid painful mistakes.
12. Thinking about what questions can help us to keep God’s reminders?
12 While we wait for God’s promises to come true, are we showing that our faith in them is still strong and that God’s will is still the most important thing in our life? 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 and the resurrection, as real to us now as when we first learned about them? Have we kept our zeal for the ministry strong, or are we putting our own desires first in our life? Are the sanctification of Jehovah’s name and the vindication of his sovereignty still very important to us? Thinking deeply about questions like these can help us to keep God’s “reminders as a possession to time indefinite.”
Is your zeal for the ministry still strong, or are you putting your own desires first?
13. Why did Christians in the first century find some things difficult to understand? Give an example.
13 There are some things in the Bible that we do not completely understand because Jehovah has chosen not to explain them yet. Jesus again and again told his apostles that he would have to suffer and be killed. (Read Matthew 12:40; 16:21.) But the apostles did not understand what he meant. They understood his words only after Jesus had been resurrected, had appeared to his disciples, and had helped them to understand the prophecies about the Christ. (Luke 24:44-46; Acts 1:3) And it was only after Christ’s followers had received holy spirit at Pentecost of the year 33 that they understood that God’s Kingdom would rule from heaven.
14. What good example did our brothers at the beginning of the 20th century set for us?
14 In a similar way, at the beginning of the 20th century, true Christians had wrong expectations about what would happen during “the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1) For example, in the year 1914, some thought that they would soon be taken up to heaven, but that did not happen. Those Christians continued to study the Scriptures and realized that a great preaching work needed to be done first. (Mark 13:10) So in 1922, J. F. Rutherford, who took the lead in the preaching work at that time, told those gathered 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 on, Jehovah’s servants have been known for preaching “the good news of the kingdom.”
15. Why is it good for us to meditate on what Jehovah has done for his people?
15 It is good to meditate on the wonderful way Jehovah has made his promises come true for his people, both past and present. This helps us to have greater trust that Jehovah is able to fulfill his purpose in the future. Meditating on God’s promises keeps us excited about them and strengthens our trust that they will come true.
STRENGTHEN YOUR TRUST THROUGH ACTS OF WORSHIP
16. What blessings come from working hard in God’s service?
16 Jehovah is a dynamic God, that is, a God of action. The psalmist said: “Who is vigorous like you, O Jah?” He added: “Your hand is strong, your right hand is exalted.” (Psalm 89:8, 13) Because he is a God of action, Jehovah is pleased when we do our best in his service, and he blesses us for it. He sees that all of his servants, men and women, young and old, are not eating “the bread of laziness.” They are working hard. (Proverbs 31:27) When we keep busy in his service, we imitate our Creator. Doing our best in God’s service also makes us happy and pleases Jehovah.
17, 18. How is our trust in Jehovah strengthened when we follow his directions? Give an example.
17 How is our trust in Jehovah strengthened by our acts of faith? Think about what happened when it was time for Israel to enter the Promised Land. Jehovah had instructed the priests who were carrying the ark of the covenant to march right into the Jordan River. But as the people got closer to the river, they saw that the waters were high and moving very fast because of the spring rains. What would the Israelites do? Would they set up camp on the side of the river and wait several weeks or longer for the waters to go down? No, they trusted completely in Jehovah and followed his directions. What was the result? The Bible says: “As soon as the feet of the priests touched the water, the river stopped flowing.” After that, “the priests stood in the middle of the dry riverbed near Jericho while everyone else crossed over.” (Joshua 3:12-17, Contemporary English Version) Imagine how happy the Israelites must have been to see those fast-moving waters stop flowing! Their faith in Jehovah was strengthened because they followed his directions.
18 True, Jehovah does not perform miracles like this for his people today. But he does bless us when we show faith and follow his directions. God’s holy spirit gives us the courage we need to preach the Kingdom message all over the world. And Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s main Witness, promised his disciples that he would support them in this important work. He told them: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations.” Then he promised: “I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) Many Witnesses who may be shy or nervous about speaking to others say that God’s holy spirit gives them the courage to speak to strangers in the ministry.
Jehovah blesses us when we show faith and follow his directions
19. Even if we cannot do as much as we would like to in God’s service, of what can we be sure?
19 Some brothers and sisters cannot do as much as they would like to in God’s service because of sickness or old age. But they can be sure that “the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort” understands their circumstances. (2 Corinthians 1:3) He values all that we are able to do in his service. And all of us need to remember that our salvation depends mainly on our faith in Christ’s ransom sacrifice.
20, 21. What are some ways that we show trust in Jehovah?
20 Our worship involves using our time, energy, and material things as much as we can in God’s service. We want to do our very best in the preaching work. (2 Timothy 4:5) We are happy to help others to have “accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) Clearly, honoring and praising Jehovah makes us rich spiritually. (Proverbs 10:22) And it helps us to have complete trust in our Creator, no matter what may happen.
21 As we have discussed, trusting in Jehovah for wise direction requires effort. So, strengthen your trust through prayer. Meditate on how Jehovah has fulfilled his promises in the past and how he will do the same in the future. And continue to strengthen your trust in Jehovah through acts of worship. Remember, Jehovah’s reminders will last to time indefinite. And if you pay attention to those reminders, you can live forever!