Young People, Praise Jehovah!
YOUNG people are often keenly aware of what they are not yet allowed to do. Many of them can readily tell you how old they will have to be before they are allowed to cross a street alone or stay up until a certain hour of the evening or drive a car. At times, a youth may feel that too many of his or her eager requests meet with the same answer, “Wait until you are older.”
2 You young people know that your parents feel that it is wise to make such restrictions, perhaps for your own protection. You surely know, too, that Jehovah is pleased when you obey your parents. (Colossians 3:20) Do you ever feel, though, as if you were waiting for your life to start? Are all the important things off limits until you are older? Nothing could be further from the truth! There is a work going on today that is far more important than any other privilege you might be waiting for. Are you young people allowed to join in this work? Better than that—you are actually invited to do so by the Most High God himself!
3 What work are we talking about? Note the words of our theme text for this article: “Praise Jehovah from the earth, . . . you young men and also you virgins, you old men together with boys.” (Psalm 148:7, 12) There is your great privilege: You can praise Jehovah. As a young person, are you thrilled to take part in that work? Many are. To see why it is worth feeling that way, let us consider three questions. First, why should you praise Jehovah? Second, how can you praise him effectively? Third, when is it a good time to start praising Jehovah?
Why Praise Jehovah?
4 An outstanding reason for praising Jehovah is that he is the Creator. The 148th Psalm helps us to focus on this truth. Just imagine: If you approached a large group of people who in unison were singing a beautiful, moving song, how would you feel? What if the song’s lyrics were words that you knew to be true, expressing thoughts that you knew to be important, joyful, and uplifting? Would you feel a desire to learn the words and join in? Most of us would. Well, the 148th Psalm shows that you are in a situation that is similar but far more wonderful. That psalm describes an immense crowd, all praising Jehovah in unison. As you read the psalm, though, you may notice something unusual. What is that?
5 Many of the praisers described in Psalm 148 can neither speak nor reason. For example, we read of the sun, moon, stars, snow, wind, mountains, and hills praising Jehovah. How can these inanimate creations do such a thing? (Ps 148 Verses 3, 8, 9) Really, in the same way that the trees, sea creatures, and animals do. (Ps 148 Verses 7, 9, 10) Have you ever watched a beautiful sunset or looked up at a full moon sailing across a sea of stars or laughed in delight at animals playing or gasped in awe at a gorgeous landscape? Then you have “heard” the song of praise coming from creation. All that Jehovah has made reminds us that he is the almighty Creator, that there is no one in all the universe so powerful, so wise, or so loving.—Romans 1:20; Revelation 4:11.
6 The 148th Psalm also describes intelligent creation as praising Jehovah. In Ps 148 verse 2, we find Jehovah’s celestial “army,” the angels, praising God. In Ps 148 verse 11, powerful and influential humans, such as kings and judges, are invited to join in the praise. If the mighty angels find delight in praising Jehovah, what mere human could rightly say that he is too important to do so? Then, in Ps 148 verses 12 and 13, you young people are invited to join in and praise Jehovah as well. Are you moved to want to do that?
7 Consider an illustration. If you had a close friend with an amazing skill—perhaps in sports, art, or music—would you talk about him to your family and other friends? No doubt. Well, learning about all that Jehovah has done can have a similar effect on us. For example, Psalm 19:1, 2 says that the starry heavens cause “speech to bubble forth.” As for us, when we think about the amazing things that Jehovah has accomplished, we can hardly hold back from talking to others about our God.
8 Another outstanding reason for praising Jehovah is that he wants us to do so. Why? Is it because he needs praise from humans? No. We humans may need praise at times, but Jehovah is far higher than we are. (Isaiah 55:8) He has no uncertainties about himself or his qualities. (Isaiah 45:5) Yet, he wants us to praise him and is pleased when we do. Why? Consider two reasons. First, he knows that we need to praise him. He designed us with a spiritual need, a need to worship. (Matthew 5:3) To see us filling that need pleases Jehovah, much the way it pleases your parents to see you eating food that they know is good for you.—John 4:34.
9 Second, Jehovah knows that other people need to hear us praising him. The apostle Paul wrote these words to the younger man Timothy: “Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching. Stay by these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” (1 Timothy 4:16) Yes, when you teach others about Jehovah God, praising him, they may come to know Jehovah too. Such knowledge can lead to their everlasting salvation!—John 17:3.
10 There is yet another reason for praising Jehovah. Remember the illustration about your remarkable friend. If you heard others telling lies about him, slandering his good name, would you not be even more determined to praise him? Well, Jehovah is widely slandered in this world. (John 8:44; Revelation 12:9) Those who love him thus feel impelled to tell the truth about him, setting the record straight. Would you too like to express your love and appreciation to Jehovah and show that you want him as your Ruler instead of his chief enemy, Satan? You can do all of that by praising Jehovah. The next question, then, is how.
How Some Young Ones Praised Jehovah
11 The Bible shows that young people are often very effective in praising Jehovah. For example, there was an Israelite girl who was taken captive by the Syrians. She boldly witnessed to her mistress about Jehovah’s prophet Elisha. Her words led to a miracle, and a powerful witness was given. (2 Kings 5:1-17) Jesus too witnessed boldly as a child. Of all the events of his youth that could have been recorded in the Scriptures, Jehovah chose one, the occasion when 12-year-old Jesus courageously questioned the religious teachers at the temple in Jerusalem and left them astounded at his understanding of Jehovah’s ways.—Luke 2:46-49.
12 As a grown man, Jesus also inspired children to praise Jehovah. For example, just a few days before his death, Jesus spent time at the temple in Jerusalem. He did “marvelous things” there, the Bible says. He threw out those who were making that sacred place a den of thieves. He also cured blind and lame people. Everyone there, especially the religious leaders, should have been moved to praise Jehovah and his Son, the Messiah. Sadly, though, many in those days uttered no such praises. They knew that Jesus was sent by God, but they were afraid of the religious leaders. One group of people, however, did speak up boldly. Do you know who they were? The Bible says: “When the chief priests and the scribes saw the marvelous things [Jesus] did and the boys that were crying out in the temple and saying: ‘Save, we pray, the Son of David!’ they became indignant and said to [Jesus]: ‘Do you hear what these are saying?’”—Matthew 21:15, 16; John 12:42.
13 Those priests were hoping that Jesus would silence the boys who were praising him. Did he? Far from it! Jesus answered the priests: “Yes. Did you never read this, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have furnished praise’?” Clearly, Jesus and his Father were pleased with the praise of the young boys. Those children were doing what all the adults there should have been doing. In their youthful minds, it all must have seemed so clear. They saw this man do marvelous things, speak with courage and faith, and show intense love for God and his people. He was who he claimed to be—the promised “Son of David,” the Messiah. Blessed for their faith, the boys even had the privilege of fulfilling prophecy.—Psalm 8:2.
14 What can we learn from such examples? That young ones can be very effective praisers of Jehovah. They often have the gift of seeing the truth clearly and simply, expressing their faith with earnestness and zeal. They also have the gift mentioned at Proverbs 20:29: “The beauty of young men is their power.” Yes, you young ones are blessed with strength and energy—real assets in praising Jehovah. How, specifically, can you put such gifts to work?
How Can You Praise Jehovah?
15 Being effective starts in the heart. You cannot praise Jehovah effectively if you are doing it only because others want you to. Remember, the greatest of all the commandments is this: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.” (Matthew 22:37) Have you come to know Jehovah personally through your own study of his Word? The proper result of such learning is a feeling of love for Jehovah. The natural way to express that love is by praising him. Once your motive is clear and strong, you are ready to praise Jehovah enthusiastically.
16 Now, even before considering what you will say, consider how you will act. If that Israelite girl of Elisha’s day had been habitually rude, disrespectful, or dishonest, do you think that her Syrian captors would have listened to her words about Jehovah’s prophet? Probably not. Similarly, people are more likely to listen to you if they see that you are respectful, honest, and well behaved. (Romans 2:21) Consider an example.
17 An 11-year-old girl in Portugal faced pressure in school to celebrate holidays that were in violation of her Bible-trained conscience. She respectfully explained to her teacher why she must refuse, but the teacher ridiculed her. As time passed, the teacher tried again and again to shame her, making fun of her religion. However, the young girl remained respectful. Years later, that young sister was serving as a regular pioneer, a full-time minister. At a convention, she watched people being baptized and recognized one of them. It was her former teacher! After a tearful embrace, the older woman told the younger that she had never forgotten her student’s respectful conduct. A Witness had called on her, and the teacher had spoken about her former student’s behavior. As a result, a Bible study was started, and this woman embraced Bible truth. Yes, your conduct can be a very powerful way to praise Jehovah!
18 Do you at times find it hard to start conversations in school about your faith? You are not alone in feeling that way. However, you can make it more likely that others will ask you about your faith. For example, if it is legal and permissible to do so, why not bring Bible-based publications with you and read them during lunchtime or other periods when it is allowable to do so? Your fellow students may ask you about what you are reading. By answering them and telling them what you find interesting about the article or book in your hands, you may find that a good conversation is under way before you know it. Remember to ask questions, finding out what your fellow students believe. Listen respectfully, sharing what you have learned from the Bible. As the experiences on page 29 show, many young people are praising God in school. This brings them great joy and helps many to come to know Jehovah.
19 The door-to-door ministry is a most effective way to praise Jehovah. If you are not yet taking part, why not set it as a goal? If you are taking part, are there further goals that you may set for yourself? For example, rather than saying essentially the same thing at each door, look for ways to improve, asking your parents and other experienced ones for pointers. Learn how to use the Bible more, to make effective return visits, and to start a Bible study. (1 Timothy 4:15) The more you praise Jehovah in such ways, the more effective you will become, and the more you will enjoy your ministry.
When Should You Begin Praising Jehovah?
20 Of the three questions in this discussion, the answer to this last one is the simplest. Notice the Bible’s direct answer: “Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1) Yes, the time to start praising Jehovah is now. It is all too easy to say: “I am too young to praise Jehovah. I am inexperienced. I should wait until I am older.” You would not be the first to feel that way. Young Jeremiah, for instance, told Jehovah: “Alas, O Sovereign Lord Jehovah! Here I actually do not know how to speak, for I am but a boy.” Jehovah reassured him that there was no reason to fear. (Jeremiah 1:6, 7) Likewise, we have nothing to fear when we praise Jehovah. There is no harm that might come to us that Jehovah cannot completely undo.—Psalm 118:6.
21 We urge you young ones, then: Do not hesitate to praise Jehovah! Now while you are young is the best time to join in the most important work being done on earth today. When you do, you become part of something wonderful—the universal family of those praising Jehovah. Jehovah is delighted that this family includes you. Note these inspired words that the psalmist addressed to Jehovah: “Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force. In the splendors of holiness, from the womb of the dawn, you have your company of young men just like dewdrops.”—Psalm 110:3.
22 Dewdrops glistening in the morning light present a beautiful picture, do they not? They are refreshing, bright, and virtually beyond counting for multitude. That is how Jehovah sees you young ones who are faithfully praising him in these critical times. Clearly, your choice to praise Jehovah makes his heart rejoice. (Proverbs 27:11) By all means, then, you young ones, praise Jehovah!
How Would You Answer?
• What are some important reasons for praising Jehovah?
• What Bible examples show that young people can be very effective in praising Jehovah?
• How can young people praise Jehovah today?
• When should young ones begin praising Jehovah, and why?
1, 2. (a) Many young people are aware of what sort of restrictions? (b) Why do young ones not need to resent the restrictions that their parents place upon them?
3. Jehovah invites young ones to have what privilege, and what questions will we now consider?
4, 5. (a) According to the 148th Psalm, we are in what wondrous situation? (b) How can creations that neither speak nor reason still praise Jehovah?
6, 7. (a) The 148th Psalm describes what intelligent creatures as praising Jehovah? (b) Why might we be moved to praise Jehovah? Illustrate.
8, 9. For what reasons does Jehovah want us to praise him?
10. Why do we feel impelled to praise our God?
11. What Bible examples show that young people can be very effective in praising Jehovah?
12, 13. (a) What did Jesus do in the temple shortly before his death, with what effect on the people there? (b) How did Jesus feel about the praise uttered by young boys?
14. How do the gifts young ones possess lend themselves to praising God?
15. To praise Jehovah effectively, what motive is needed?
16, 17. What role does conduct play in praising Jehovah? Illustrate.
18. What might a young person do if he is hesitant to strike up conversations about the Bible and Jehovah God?
19. How can young people become more effective in the door-to-door ministry?
20. Why is there no need for youths to feel that they are too young to praise Jehovah?
21, 22. Why are young praisers of Jehovah likened to dewdrops, and why is that comparison encouraging?
[Pictures on page 25]
If your friend had an outstanding skill, would you not mention this to others?
[Picture on page 27]
Fellow students may be interested in your beliefs
[Picture on page 28]
If you want to improve in your ministry, ask a more experienced Witness for pointers