Make Jehovah Your Delight
1. How can we get proper guidance in seeking to pursue a right purpose?
THERE is much in God’s Word, the Bible, to encourage and guide us in identifying our aim and purpose in life with Jehovah and his purpose, with the certainty of a successful outcome. This not only gives us a sure hope for the future, but contributes to our present happiness and peace of mind, despite the sufferings and trials that may be involved. It makes life worth living, in making Jehovah our delight.
2. (a) In what two ways can we identify ourselves with God and his purpose? (b) What illustration helps us in this regard, and how so?
2 There are two main ways in which we can thus identify ourselves. These are (1) by bringing our own personality and conduct into full harmony with Jehovah and his requirements, and (2) by pursuing those objectives and activities that are pleasing to him. We must follow Jesus’ example, and “always do the things pleasing to him [Jehovah],” and must “work the works” of Jehovah while there is opportunity. (John 8:29; 9:4) As an illustration, consider a physician. In the first place, he must be a man of integrity and good principles. His conduct, including his manner and appearance, must be up to the recognized standard of his profession. Additionally, his actual work as a physician, whether in private practice or with a hospital or public institution, must be for the advancement, and in the best interests, of the cause to which he is attached. It often happens that if a person has taken up a responsible position in connection with a certain cause, and is keen to advance it, then that comes first in his life. Since the same priority should be given to the sacred cause of which Jehovah himself is the Promoter, we will consider that aspect first.
3. (a) How will God’s kingdom prove to be the most worthy cause? (b) From what center does the Kingdom operate, in David’s day and ours?
3 The Scriptures clearly show that the righteous cause that God is promoting is his kingdom. It is by far the most worthy cause of all, and will bring about the vindication and sanctification of his name, Jehovah. Christ Jesus, by God’s appointment, is the king of that kingdom. His enthronement took place in heaven in 1914 C.E. The foretold waiting period had expired, and then was fulfilled the prophecy at Psalm 110:2: “The rod of your strength Jehovah will send out of Zion, saying: ‘Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.”’ What a delightful moment that must have been to the king and all the holy angels with him! (Matt. 25:31) Similar to the expression at Psalm 2:6, Zion is where the king is enthroned, and is the center of operations. To David, of course, this meant the literal city of Zion, or Jerusalem, where he reigned for 33 years. (1 Ki. 2:11) He was the writer of these psalms, and they had a literal fulfillment during his kingship, when all the land promised to his forefather Abraham came under his rule. In the major fulfillment, however, the Greater David is Christ Jesus, David’s permanent heir. He reigns in the heavenly “Mount Zion,” and standing there with him are the 144,000 who make up the Christian congregation. As already mentioned, there is a remnant of this congregation still on earth, forming the Zion class, and in whom we can see the modern fulfillment of the many grand promises and prophecies featuring Zion. We have considered a few of these, and now wish to pay attention to others that throw much light on the immediate outworking of Jehovah’s purpose, and show how we can identify ourselves with it.—Rev. 14:1.
MY DELIGHT IS IN HER
4. What is the primary objective of God’s anointed king, following what warning?
4 Psalm 110, similar to Psalm 2, tells in a striking way the primary objective of God’s anointed king. For long enough now Jehovah’s enemies have greatly reproached his name. In defiance, they are “massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one.” The time has come for those enemies to be subdued. “Jehovah himself at your [Christ Jesus’] right hand will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger. He will execute judgment among the nations; he will cause a fullness of dead bodies.” However, before this final execution, a final appeal and warning is given to all opposers to subject themselves to Jehovah, and to “kiss the son [in fealty], that He [Jehovah] may not become incensed and you may not perish from the way, for his anger flares up easily [when the time limit is reached].”—Ps. 2:2, 12; 110:5, 6.
5. How do Jehovah’s witnesses view their commission, and why so?
5 Jehovah’s witnesses count it a great privilege and a delight to share in this work. For one thing, it openly identifies them as being on Jehovah’s side, and against his enemies. It is evidence that, like God’s Son, they love righteousness and hate lawlessness. (Heb. 1:9) Furthermore, it attracts favorable attention on the part of those who “are sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done” in Christendom and all of Satan’s system of things. (Ezek. 9:4) The work is not easy, but we will see how Jehovah has built up, fortified and equipped his servants for it. For long enough Jehovah’s enemies have oppressed Zion and her children, but now her harsh ‘military service has been fulfilled, and her error has been paid off.”—Isa. 40:1, 2.
6. What encouraging vision was given to Isaiah, prompting what participation?
6 See now, how that early on in Isaiah’s prophecy we find a most encouraging vision of the Zion, the “heavenly Jerusalem,” enjoying God’s favor. She is referred to as “the mountain of the house of Jehovah . . . firmly established above the top of the mountains.” With what result? “And many peoples will certainly go and say: “Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem.” What a delightful vision! Would you not like to join that happy crowd going up to Jehovah’s house (his spiritual temple), and invite others to go along with you?—Isa. 2:1-3.
7. (a) How does Isaiah 51:3 give an inviting picture? (b) What rousing call does Zion hear, and how does she respond? (c) In what way, and to what extent, can you share in this response?
7 Turning toward the end of Isaiah’s book, we read many prophecies where repeatedly Zion’s role is depicted in the most glowing terms. “For Jehovah will certainly comfort Zion. He will for certain comfort all her devastated places, and he will make her wilderness like Eden and her desert plain like the garden of Jehovah. Exultation and rejoicing themselves will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.” (Isa. 51:3) An inviting picture of Zion once again productive and prosperous, and this is certainly true of God’s dedicated people today. You are invited to share in this, and in the exultation and rejoicing experienced by Jehovah’s witnesses. In the next chapter, the prophecy speaks excitedly of the stirring message: “Wake up, wake up, put on your strength, O Zion! Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city!” She hears the “good news of something better, the one publishing salvation, the one saying to Zion: ‘Your God has become king!”’ With what response? “Listen! Your own watchmen have raised their voice. In unison they keep crying out joyfully; for it will be eye into eye that they will see when Jehovah gathers back Zion.” Today’s “watchmen,” the older men of the anointed Christian congregation, on the lookout, are likewise united in “telling you all the counsel of God,” explaining the precious truths of God’s Word and their present-day application. Why not follow the fine lead given by these older men, and share with them in ‘crying out joyfully’ the good news of God’s kingdom now established? The work of declaring the Kingdom message is not limited to within the city walls, just to those already in God’s organization. The prophecy continues: “Jehovah has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth must see the salvation of our God.”—Isa. 52:1, 7-10; Acts 20:27; Matt. 24:14.
8. (a) How does Jehovah address Zion at Isaiah 54:1-8, promising her what? (b) What further promises does this lead to?
8 In Isaiah, chapter 54, further encouragement is given to Zion, though from a different angle. Jehovah addresses Zion as her “husbandly owner,” and tells what the restoration of his favor will mean to her remnant on earth. “Cry out joyfully, you barren woman that did not give birth! . . . for the sons of the desolated one are more numerous than the sons of the woman with a husbandly owner. . . . For to the right and to the left you will break forth, and your own offspring will take possession even of nations, and they will inhabit even the desolated cities.” The reason for this dramatic change is then given: “For your Grand Maker is your husbandly owner, Jehovah of armies being his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Repurchaser. . . . For a little moment I left you entirely, but with great mercies I shall collect you together. With a flood of indignation I concealed my face from you for but a moment, but with loving-kindness to time indefinite I will have mercy upon you.” This grand reversal of conditions is the thrilling experience of the anointed remnant today, who are seeing the ever-increasing numbers of “other sheep” flocking into the theocratic organization. They are sharing in the promise given: “And all your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant.” This instruction, from Jehovah’s Word and through his organization, leads to another fine promise: “Any weapon whatever that will be formed against you will have no success, and any tongue at all that will rise up against you in the judgment you will condemn.”—Isa. 54:1-8, 13, 17; see also Isaiah 49:14-21.
9. Though not a spiritual Israelite, what privilege can you have as a ‘foreigner’?
9 Are you enjoying the benefit of these good things? You can, for they are not limited to the spiritual Israelites, whose “citizenship exists in the heavens,” in the heavenly Zion. Why not identify yourself with the “foreigners,” by fulfilling the conditions mentioned concerning them at Isaiah 56:6, 7: “And the foreigners that have joined themselves to Jehovah to minister to him and to love the name of Jehovah, in order to become servants to him . . . I will also bring them to my holy mountain and make them rejoice inside my house of prayer. . . . For my own house will be called even a house of prayer for all the peoples.”—Phil. 3:20.
10. (a) What is Zion’s rightful place, and how is it depicted? (b) How are the many resulting blessings described?
10 As we read on, the prospect for Zion becomes more inviting. After giving the assurance: “My spirit that is upon you and my words that I have put in your mouth—they will not be removed . . . from now on even to time indefinite,” then Jehovah gives a clarion call to Zion. It is the call that she has longed to hear, the realization of which far exceeds her anticipations. Listen as it rings in her ears: “Arise, O woman, shed forth light, for your light has come and upon you the very glory of Jehovah has shone forth. For, look! darkness itself will cover the earth, and thick gloom the national groups; but upon you Jehovah will shine forth, and upon you his own glory will be seen. And nations will certainly go to your light, and kings to the brightness of your shining forth.” At last Zion takes her rightful place as the duly appointed ‘administration to gather all things together again in the Christ.’ (Eph. 1:10) Yes, here they come! “Raise your eyes all around and see! They have all of them been collected together; they have come to you.” Besides personnel, other resources come in abundance: “At that time you will see and certainly become radiant . . . because to you the wealthiness of the sea will direct itself; the very resources of the nations will come to you.” Again “foreigners” are mentioned, who “will actually build your walls” and “will be your farmers and your vinedressers.” Greatly improved theocratic conditions are brought into the visible earthly organization that represents Zion: “Instead of the copper I shall bring in gold, and instead of the iron I shall bring in silver, . . . and I will appoint peace as your overseers and righteousness as your task assigners.” The increase is made certain: “The little one himself will become a thousand, and the small one a mighty nation. I myself, Jehovah, shall speed it up in its own time.”—Isa. 59:21; 60:1-5, 10, 17, 22; 61:5.
11. (a) Isaiah then tells of what grand climax? (b) In what way are Jehovah’s witnesses experiencing these good things?
11 And now comes the climax! “And the nations will certainly see your righteousness, O woman, and all kings your glory. And you will actually be called by a new name, which the very mouth of Jehovah will designate. . . . No more will you be said to be a woman left entirely; and your own land will no more be said to be desolate; but you yourself will be called My Delight Is in Her [Hephzibah], and your land Owned as a Wife. For Jehovah will have taken delight in you, and your own land will be owned as a wife.” (Isa. 62:2-4) This new name signifies a closer and deeper relationship with Jehovah. For him to take such a delight in his people is indeed wonderful. This is no mere wishful thinking. Although it is almost too good to be true, Jehovah’s witnesses are actually experiencing all these fine things. They are saying as was foretold: “When Jehovah gathered back the captive ones of Zion, we became like those who were dreaming. At that time our mouth came to be filled with laughter, and our tongue with a joyful cry. At that time they proceeded to say among the nations: ‘Jehovah has done a great thing in what he has done with them.’ Jehovah has done a great thing in what he has done with us. We have become joyful.” They give all the credit to Jehovah, and, as foretold, pray to him for continued success: “This has come to be from Jehovah himself; it is wonderful in our eyes. This is the day that Jehovah has made; we will be joyful and rejoice in it. Ah, now, Jehovah, do save, please! Ah, now, Jehovah, do grant success, please!”—Ps. 126:1-3; 118:23-25.
12. The scriptures considered should arouse what desire, and how should the response be made?
12 After reviewing these scriptures, what stronger inducement could you have for identifying yourself with heavenly Zion, and helping to advance its sacred Kingdom cause? The time is short, the work is urgent, but you are not being conscripted. When Zion’s king is told to “go subduing in the midst of your enemies,” note what immediately follows: “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.” (Ps. 110:2, 3) It is truly a delight to be numbered with this people as a willing volunteer. Is that your desire?
YOUR HEART’S DESIRE GRANTED
13. How did David express his heart’s longing, and with what intensity of feeling?
13 King David had a great desire. He set his heart on it as a longed-for delight. This is how he expressed himself about it: “One thing I have asked from Jehovah—it is what I shall look for, that I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, to behold the pleasantness of Jehovah and to look with appreciation upon his temple.” (Ps. 27:4) Other versions render the last expression: “to inquire in his temple,” but David desired more than this. The Hebrew verb, baqar, basically, means to slit; to divide. It took on the meaning of scrutinizing.a The psalmist uses it in the sense of seeing with pleasure or delight. For an example of contemplating, how do sea gulls regard a field that is being cultivated? If near the sea, there is often an excited crowd of these birds closely following the plow, regardless of a noisy tractor. The air is filled with their wings and sharp cries. Those birds surely “look with appreciation” on every worm and grub that is made to appear.
14. Should all true Christians have a similar desire, and with what assurance of it being granted?
14 David showed the same eager spirit. Being of the tribe of Judah, he could never render priestly or Levitical service at the temple. In fact, it was not even built during his reign, though it seems that the tent housing the Ark was at times called a temple. (1 Sam. 1:9) However, he always rejoiced to join with others when they were saying: “To the house of Jehovah let us go.” (Ps. 122:1) You, too, can have and manifest the same eager spirit of devotion. Jehovah will grant your desire. He has made it possible for you to join with the “great crowd,” who have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. That is why they are before the throne of God; and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple.”—Rev. 7:9, 14, 15.
15. Why do Jehovah’s witnesses invite you to share with them?
15 Jehovah’s Theocratic organization is the center of pure worship; that is proved by devoted service. You are invited to identify yourself with that organization, as seen in Jehovah’s witnesses. In a practical way you will be helped to see and to appreciate the “pleasantness of Jehovah.” You will be encouraged to learn how to make him your delight. Dwelling in his spiritual house all the days of your life, making it your spiritual home, you will share and rejoice in the strong confidence manifest by all theocratic servants of Jehovah. You will say as David said: “And now my head will be high above my enemies all around me; and I will sacrifice at his tent sacrifices of joyful shouting; I will sing and make melody to Jehovah.”—Ps. 27:6; Heb. 13:15.
16. (a) What guidance and warning does Isaiah give respecting our delight in the sabbath? (b) How does Christendom fail in this regard?
16 In this same connection, notice the excellent guidance given in Isaiah’s prophecy regarding our delight, leading to a triumphant outcome. Isaiah says: “If in view of the sabbath you will turn back your foot as regards doing your own delights on my holy day, and will actually call the sabbath an exquisite delight, a holy day of Jehovah, one being glorified, and will actually glorify it rather than doing your own ways, rather than finding what delights you and speaking a word; you will in that case find your exquisite delight in Jehovah, and I will make you ride upon the high places of the earth; and I will cause you to eat from the hereditary possession of Jacob your forefather, for the mouth of Jehovah itself has spoken it.” (Isa. 58:13, 14) Christendom, like unfaithful Israel of old, reckons to observe the sabbath, though paying little attention to it these days. In this, and all other respects, Christendom’s adherents delight in their own ways. There is no true spirit of love and devotion to Jehovah. In many cases they do not even believe in a personal God. Neither is there real neighbor love. The great majority just find pleasure in their own ways, maybe “having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.” Paul adds: “From these turn away.” (2 Tim. 3:5) Christendom forms the leading part of “Babylon the Great,” and the command rings out clear and strong: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.”
17. Those quitting “Babylon” should flee where, and why quickly?
17 Yes, turn away from Babylon the Great, the enemy city, the world empire of false religion, and flee to Zion for refuge. Lose no time, for shortly Jehovah will “do what is his delight upon Babylon.” (Isa. 48:14) She has already suffered a fall, and will shortly experience her destruction. (Rev. 18:2, 21) Now is the time to take positive action, for “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will prove to be the escaped ones, just as Jehovah has said, and in among the survivors, whom Jehovah is calling.”—Joel 2:32.
18. How should we show our delight in true sabbath keeping, resulting in what blessing?
18 Observe the true sabbath of Jehovah. Do not dedicate just one day in seven, but dedicate yourself, your whole life, in delighting to do God’s will, as Jesus did. Enter into God’s rest, not trusting in your own works, but in the all-sufficient redemptive work of Christ Jesus. Like Jesus, absorb God’s Word into your inward parts, reading in an undertone day and night. As a result, you will be “like a tree planted by streams of water,” ever fruitful and ever green, and ‘everything you do will succeed.’—Heb. 4:10; Gal. 3:10-14; Ps. 1:1-3; 40:8.
19. What request should we make to Jehovah, and with what assurance?
19 Do not leave your heart’s desires unexpressed. In faith, make definite request, as David did: “Instruct me, O Jehovah, in your way, and lead me in the path of uprightness on account of my foes.” In harmony with your prayer, bring your whole life into full conformity with the Creator’s grand purpose. You will not be disappointed or frustrated. It will not end in heartache. “Take exquisite delight in Jehovah, and he will give you the requests of your heart.”—Ps. 27:11; 37:4; see also Philippians 4:6, 7.
a See page 144, column 2, of Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros by Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner.