“Teach Me to Do Your Will”
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.”—PS. 143:10.
KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
What incidents in David’s life show that he was concerned about how Jehovah viewed matters?
What helped David to discern God’s will?
What will help us to remain in Jehovah’s favor?
WHEN traveling, have you ever used a computerized mapping system that allowed you to get an aerial view of your destination? Seeing things from that vantage point may have helped you to determine the best route to take. Applying a similar principle can help us when we are making important decisions. Seeing things from the Creator’s elevated perspective will enable us to ‘walk in the way’ Jehovah approves.—Isa. 30:21.
2 Throughout most of his life, King David of ancient Israel set an outstanding example of taking God’s will into account. Let us review certain incidents in David’s life with a view to learning from the conduct of a man whose heart proved to be complete with Jehovah God.—1 Ki. 11:4.
DAVID HELD JEHOVAH’S NAME IN HIGH ESTEEM
3 Consider the occasion when David confronted the Philistine champion Goliath. What moved young David to challenge a fully armed giant who was about nine and a half feet (2.9 m) tall? (1 Sam. 17:4, ftn.) Was it David’s courage? Was it his faith in God? Both qualities played a vital role in his act of valor. However, respect for Jehovah and for his great name especially motivated David to take a stand against that towering giant. Indignantly, David asked: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he has to taunt the battle lines of the living God?”—1 Sam. 17:26.
4 Confronting Goliath, young David declared: “You are coming to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I am coming to you with the name of Jehovah of armies, the God of the battle lines of Israel, whom you have taunted.” (1 Sam. 17:45) Relying on the true God, David brought down the Philistine champion with a single slingstone. Not only on that occasion but throughout his life, David trusted in Jehovah and held the divine name in the highest esteem. Indeed, David urged fellow Israelites to ‘boast in Jehovah’s holy name.’—Read 1 Chronicles 16:8-10.
5 Are you proud to have Jehovah as your God? (Jer. 9:24) How do you react when neighbors, colleagues, classmates, or relatives speak ill of Jehovah and make fun of his Witnesses? Do you speak up when Jehovah’s name is being reproached, trusting in his support? True, there is “a time to keep quiet,” but we must not be ashamed of being Witnesses of Jehovah and followers of Jesus. (Eccl. 3:1, 7; Mark 8:38) Although we should be tactful and courteous in dealing with people who are not favorably disposed, let us not be like those Israelites who “became terrified and were greatly afraid” when they heard Goliath’s taunting words. (1 Sam. 17:11) Instead, let us act decisively in order to sanctify Jehovah God’s name. Our desire is to help people to come to know Jehovah as the God he really is. To that end, we use his written Word in an effort to help others to see the importance of drawing close to God.—Jas. 4:8.
6 David’s encounter with Goliath teaches us another vital lesson. When David came running to the battle line, he asked: “What will be done to the man that strikes down that Philistine over there and actually turns away reproach from upon Israel?” In reply, the people restated what they had said earlier: “The man who strikes [Goliath] down, the king will enrich him with great riches, and his own daughter he will give him.” (1 Sam. 17:25-27) But gaining a material reward was not David’s chief concern. He had a higher objective. David wanted to glorify the true God. (Read 1 Samuel 17:46, 47.) What about us? Is it our chief concern to make a name for ourselves by amassing riches and becoming prominent in the world? Surely we want to be like David, who sang: “O magnify Jehovah with me, you people, and let us exalt his name together.” (Ps. 34:3) May we therefore trust in God, putting his name ahead of our own.—Matt. 6:9.
7 David’s courageous stand against Goliath required complete confidence in Jehovah. Young David had strong faith. One way that he had built his faith was by relying on God when working as a shepherd. (1 Sam. 17:34-37) We too need strong faith in order to continue in the ministry, especially when we encounter people who are not favorably disposed. We can cultivate such faith by relying on God in our day-to-day activities. For instance, we can strike up conversations about Bible truth with people who happen to sit next to us when we use public transportation. And why should we hold back from talking to people we meet on the street while we are engaging in the house-to-house ministry?—Acts 20:20, 21.
DAVID WAITED ON JEHOVAH
8 Another example of David’s willingness to trust in Jehovah involved Saul—Israel’s first king. Three times jealous Saul tried to pin David to the wall with a spear, but David moved out of the way each time, refusing to retaliate. Finally, he fled from Saul. (1 Sam. 18:7-11; 19:10) Then Saul took 3,000 chosen men out of all Israel and went looking for David in the wilderness. (1 Sam. 24:2) Eventually, Saul unknowingly went into the very cave where David and his men were. David could have used this opportunity to eliminate the king who threatened his life. After all, it was God’s will for David to replace Saul as king of Israel. (1 Sam. 16:1, 13) Indeed, if David had listened to the advice of his men, the king would have been killed. But David said: “It is unthinkable, on my part, from Jehovah’s standpoint, that I should do this thing to my lord, the anointed of Jehovah.” (Read 1 Samuel 24:4-7.) Saul was still God’s anointed king. David did not want to rob Saul of the kingship, since Jehovah had not yet removed him. By only cutting off the skirt of Saul’s sleeveless coat, David showed that he had no intention of harming Saul.—1 Sam. 24:11.
9 David again showed respect for God’s anointed when he last saw the king. At that time, David and Abishai arrived at a place where Saul was camping and found him asleep. Although Abishai concluded that God had surrendered this enemy into David’s hand and offered to pin Saul to the earth with a spear, David did not permit this. (1 Sam. 26:8-11) Because David kept seeking God’s guidance, he did not waver in his determination to act in accord with Jehovah’s will despite the urgings of Abishai.
10 We too may face a challenging situation in which our associates try to pressure us into following their human reasoning instead of supporting us in doing Jehovah’s will. Like Abishai, some may even encourage us to take action without considering God’s will in connection with a particular matter. To stand firm, we need to have clearly in mind Jehovah’s view of the matter and to be determined to stick to his ways.
11 David prayed to Jehovah God: “Teach me to do your will.” (Read Psalm 143:5, 8, 10.) Rather than relying on his own ideas or giving in to another person’s urgings, David was eager to be taught by God. He ‘meditated on all of Jehovah’s activity and willingly kept himself concerned with the work of God’s own hands.’ We ourselves can discern God’s will by delving into the Scriptures and meditating on the many Biblical accounts of Jehovah’s dealings with humans.
DAVID APPRECIATED THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE LAW
12 David’s appreciation for the principles reflected in the Law and his desire to live by them are also worthy of imitation. Consider what happened when David expressed his craving for “a drink of the water from the cistern of Bethlehem.” Three of David’s men forced their way into the city—then occupied by the Philistines—and brought back the water. However, “David did not consent to drink it, but poured it out to Jehovah.” Why? David explained: “It is unthinkable on my part, as regards my God, to do this! Is it the blood of these men that I should drink at the risk of their souls? For it was at the risk of their souls that they brought it.”—1 Chron. 11:15-19.
13 David knew from the Law that blood should be poured out to Jehovah and not eaten. He also understood why this should be done. David knew that “the soul of the flesh is in the blood.” However, this was water, not blood. Why did David refuse to drink it? He appreciated the principle behind the legal requirement. To David, the water was as precious as the blood of the three men. Therefore, it was unthinkable for him to drink the water. Instead of drinking it, he concluded that he should pour it out on the ground.—Lev. 17:11; Deut. 12:23, 24.
14 David tried to be completely absorbed in God’s law. He sang: “To do your will, O my God, I have delighted, and your law is within my inward parts.” (Ps. 40:8) David studied God’s law and meditated deeply on it. He trusted in the wisdom of Jehovah’s commandments. As a result, David was anxious to observe not only the letter but also the spirit of the Mosaic Law. When we study the Bible, we are wise to meditate on what we read and store it in our heart so that we can determine what pleases Jehovah in a particular case.
15 David’s son Solomon was greatly favored by Jehovah God. In time, however, Solomon failed to show respect for God’s Law. He did not heed Jehovah’s command that an Israelite king should “not multiply wives for himself.” (Deut. 17:17) In fact, Solomon married many foreign women. When he grew old, “his wives themselves had inclined his heart to follow other gods.” Regardless of how he may have reasoned, “Solomon began to do what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah, and he did not follow Jehovah fully like David his father.” (1 Ki. 11:1-6) How important it is that we conform to the laws and principles found in God’s Word! For instance, this is vital when contemplating marriage.
16 If unbelievers make romantic advances toward us, does our response reflect a viewpoint like that of David or one like Solomon’s? True worshippers are told to marry “only in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:39) If a Christian chooses to get married, he or she should marry a fellow believer. And if we discern the spirit of this Scriptural requirement, we will not only refrain from marrying an unbeliever but also refrain from entertaining any romantic advances from such an individual.
17 Consider, too, how David’s example of earnestly seeking God’s guidance can help us to resist the temptation to view pornographic images. Read the following scriptures, think about the principles they contain, and endeavor to discern Jehovah’s will in this matter. (Read Psalm 119:37; Matthew 5:28, 29; Colossians 3:5.) Meditating on his elevated standards equips us to keep free from the snare of pornography.
HAVE GOD’S VIEW IN MIND AT ALL TIMES
18 Although David was exemplary in many ways, he committed several serious sins. (2 Sam. 11:2-4, 14, 15, 22-27; 1 Chron. 21:1, 7) Over the course of his life, however, David proved repentant when he sinned. He walked before God “with integrity of heart.” (1 Ki. 9:4) Why can we say that? Because David tried to act in accord with Jehovah’s will.
19 Despite our imperfection, we can remain in Jehovah’s favor. With that objective in mind, let us study God’s Word diligently, meditate deeply on what we learn from it, and act decisively on what we store in our heart. In effect, we will then be praying to Jehovah like the psalmist who made this humble request: “Teach me to do your will.”
1, 2. How can taking God’s will into account benefit us, and what can we expect to learn in this regard from King David?
3, 4. (a) What moved David to stand up to Goliath? (b) How did David view God’s name?
5. What situation might you face that may be comparable to Goliath’s taunt?
6. What did David want to accomplish by his encounter with Goliath, and what should be our chief concern?
7. How can we cultivate the strong faith needed as we encounter people who may not be favorably disposed?
8, 9. In dealing with King Saul, how did David show that he kept Jehovah’s will in mind?
10. What challenging situation might we personally face, and what will help us to stand firm?
11. What did you learn from David about keeping God’s will uppermost in your mind?
12, 13. Why did David pour out the water that three of his men brought to him?
14. What helped David to have Jehovah’s view on matters?
15. In what way did Solomon fail to show respect for God’s Law?
16. How will discerning the spirit of the command to marry “only in the Lord” affect those who hope to get married?
17. What can help us to avoid becoming ensnared by pornography?
18, 19. (a) Although he was imperfect, what helped David remain in God’s favor? (b) What is your determination?
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What prevented David from taking Saul’s life when he had an opportunity to do so?
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What can we learn from David’s refusal to drink the water that his men brought to him?