We Can “Rejoice During All Our Days”
“Satisfy us in the morning with your loving-kindness, that we may cry out joyfully and may rejoice during all our days.”—Psalm 90:14.
1. How does Jehovah show that he wants his people to be happy?
JEHOVAH GOD wants his people to be happy. He knows that heartfelt joy is vital for contented, healthy existence. (Proverbs 17:22) Accordingly, as a God of loving-kindness, Jehovah provides guidance that will foster joyous feelings if it is applied in life.
2. Why can genuine Christians be confident about praying for joy?
2 Faced with the stresses of living in an ungodly system of things, Jehovah’s Witnesses, as genuine Christians, can pray for joy. It is a fruit of God’s holy spirit, and he grants that spirit to his faithful dedicated people who ask for it. (Luke 11:13; Galatians 5:22, 23) They can also well express sentiments similar to these, prayerfully uttered by God’s prophet Moses: “Satisfy us in the morning with your loving-kindness, that we may cry out joyfully and may rejoice during all our days.” (Psalm 90:14) Those trusting in Jehovah can be confident that he will answer such earnest petitions.—1 John 5:13-15.
3. If we are to “rejoice during all our days,” what two basic factors must be observed?
3 Yet, in addition to prayer two basic factors must be remembered if we are to “rejoice during all our days.” These were highlighted when God’s people of ancient times were told that maledictions would befall them if they did not “listen to the voice of Jehovah . . . by keeping his commandments,” and if they did not “serve Jehovah . . . with rejoicing and joy of heart.” (Deuteronomy 28:45-47) Hence, if we are to be happy all our life, we must (1) obey Jehovah and (2) serve him joyfully.
4. (a) What does Jehovah provide so that his people may serve him with a joyful heart? (b) What wise sayings may we consider, resulting in what?
4 Jehovah provides both the incentive and the help his people need to serve him with a joyful heart. Moreover, he graciously provides reliable guidelines that promote joy. By way of example, observe how wise sayings embodied in certain portions of the Bible book of Proverbs can produce deep joy. Indeed, if applied in life such counsel can cause us to “rejoice during all our days.”
Joy Within the Family
5. (a) What does Jehovah expect of parents? (b) As regards obedience, what effect can children have within a family?
5 To achieve and maintain family happiness, it is necessary to obey God, to be sensitive to counsel found in his Word. For instance, Jehovah expects parents to do their best in training their children. In this the father is to take the lead, but the mother should share in it actively. (Proverbs 22:6; 31:1) And what of the children? Well, a child “that holds a father in derision and that despises obedience to a mother” certainly will not fare well and will bring grief, not joy, to his or her parents. (Proverbs 30:17; 17:21) On the other hand, wise sons and daughters who obediently accept the discipline given by godly parents and live in harmony with Scriptural principles bring joy and honor to a family.—Proverbs 10:1; 15:20; 23:15, 16.
6, 7. (a) What counsel is given at Proverbs 23:22-25, and what results when it is followed? (b) The counsel to ‘buy truth and not sell it’ means what?
6 Godly parents who raise their children in a way that moves them to pursue a righteous course have reason for real joy. Concerning this we are told in the Scriptures: “Listen to your father who caused your birth, and do not despise your mother just because she has grown old. Buy truth itself and do not sell it—wisdom and discipline and understanding. The father of a righteous one will without fail be joyful; the one becoming father to a wise one will also rejoice in him. Your father and your mother will rejoice, and she that gave birth to you will be joyful.”—Proverbs 23:22-25.
7 A wise child will heed his Christian father’s spiritual instruction and will not ignore what his godly mother says, even though she may have grown old. After all, a responsible adult can still learn something from his or her aged parents. The counsel to ‘buy truth and not sell it’ clearly means sticking to true principles as a guide in life. A righteously disposed child will not give up truth for pleasures, riches or honor. And surely a family in which all members cling to Jehovah will have abiding joy.—Deuteronomy 10:20, 21.
Maintaining Joy Despite Wrongdoers
8, 9. As shown at Proverbs 2:10-14, how can using godly wisdom protect us from wrongdoers?
8 Obedience to Jehovah’s counsel helps us to maintain joy under various circumstances. For example, by using godly wisdom, we can find protection from wrongdoers. The Scriptures state: “When wisdom enters into your heart and knowledge itself becomes pleasant to your very soul, thinking ability itself will keep guard over you, discernment itself will safeguard you, to deliver you from the bad way, from the man speaking perverse things, from those leaving the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, from those who are rejoicing in doing bad, who are joyful in the perverse things of badness.”—Proverbs 2:10-14.
9 Jehovah’s approval rests upon those who cherish true wisdom and let their hearts be influenced by it. They wisely avoid associating with anyone “speaking perverse things,” that is, things contrary to what is true and right. Proper thinking ability and true discernment furnish protection against those who reject godly wisdom, find pleasure in evil deeds and seek to corrupt others.—Compare Proverbs 4:16.
10. How does a bad man’s transgression ensnare him?
10 The wrongdoer may ‘rejoice in doing bad,’ but who has real joy? Another proverb answers: “In the transgression of a bad man there is a snare, but he that is righteous cries out joyfully and is glad.” (Proverbs 29:6) Yes, a bad man’s transgression ensnares him. One sin may lead to another, and woes may come upon him unexpectedly. For example, he may plot the undoing of another, only to have his scheme boomerang on him. In ancient Israel, a false witness might seek the death of an innocent person by testifying against him falsely. But the schemer himself would be put to death if his plot was uncovered.—Deuteronomy 19:16-21.
11. Why can the righteously inclined person ‘cry out joyfully’?
11 How much better the lot of the righteous one! He neither schemes against his neighbor nor practices sin. Hence, he avoids being ensnared by transgression and does not suffer the troubles that attend wrongdoing or the penalty that results from being discovered as a scheming wrongdoer. So the righteously inclined person “cries out joyfully and is glad.” For one thing, he is not plagued by a guilty conscience. Moreover, he enjoys God’s favor, “for the devious person is a detestable thing to Jehovah, but His intimacy is with the upright ones.”—Proverbs 3:32.
Rejoice When a Foe Fares Badly?
12. How should a Christian react if a foe fares badly? Why?
12 Yet, how should a Christian react if a foe happens to fare badly? “When your enemy falls,” says another proverb, “do not rejoice; and when he is caused to stumble, may your heart not be joyful.” Why? “That Jehovah may not see and it be bad in his eyes and he certainly turn back his anger from against him.” (Proverbs 24:17, 18) This rules out what might be termed malicious joy when an enemy meets with some disaster. Since it would be wrong to wish calamity upon an enemy merely for personal satisfaction, an individual who did thus rejoice would have to account to Jehovah for his sin. For that matter, God can read the heart and therefore knows if we are secretly rejoicing over another person’s calamity. So, that wrong spirit, though concealed from fellow humans, is evident to Jehovah, who says: “Vengeance is mine, and retribution.” (Deuteronomy 32:35; Hebrews 10:30) Accordingly, God may punish the gloating one in some way.—Compare Proverbs 17:5.
13. What is the meaning of Proverbs 11:10?
13 On the other hand, we are told: “Because of the goodness of the righteous ones a town is elated, but when the wicked ones perish there is a joyful cry.” (Proverbs 11:10) How is this to be understood? Well, righteous people generally are beloved and they make their neighbors happy. But no one is fond of “wicked ones.” A cruel person brings ostracism upon himself. (Proverbs 11:17) Additionally, when the wicked die they are not mourned by people in general, and certainly there would be no sorrow when Jehovah destroys these wrongdoers. Rather, there would be joy because they had been removed from the scene. Are we conducting ourselves in a way that contributes to the joy or ‘elation’ of others?
The Joyful Heart a Blessing
14. As discussed so far, how does obeying Jehovah enable us to “rejoice during all our days”?
14 Obeying Jehovah enables us to “rejoice during all our days.” As already noted, when divine counsel is applied in life the parent-child relationship is a happy one. Accepting God’s guidance protects us from the bad influence of wrongdoers and makes us joyful. Furthermore, adhering to Jehovah’s instructions keeps us from developing a wrong attitude toward any misfortunes of the wicked, and thus we are able to maintain joy. Yes, by obeying Jehovah God we will have a joyful heart. This in itself is a blessing.
15. Rather than allowing “anxious care” to cause our heart to “bow down” with sadness, what should we do, and why?
15 Wise King Solomon said: “A joyful heart has a good effect on the countenance, but because of the pain of the heart there is a stricken spirit.” (Proverbs 15:13) Indeed, the emotions of joy and sorrow are reflected in a person’s countenance. Of course, there are many anxieties in life and these could make us very sad. “Anxious care in the heart of a man is what will cause it to bow down,” says another proverb, “but the good word is what makes it rejoice.” (Proverbs 12:25) So rather than permitting “anxious care” to cause our hearts to “bow down” with sadness, how wise it is to draw close to Jehovah by meditating on that storehouse of good things, his inspired Word! Surely, this can bring joy back into a sad but righteous heart.
16. (a) How does a good report ‘make the bones fat’? (b) Although ‘a joyful heart is good medicine,’ how should we view constant mirth?
16 Solomon also said: “The brightness of the eyes makes the heart rejoice; a report that is good makes the bones fat.” (Proverbs 15:30) Good news “makes the bones fat,” that is, fills them with marrow. Thus the whole body is invigorated, and a joy-filled heart is reflected when the eyes shine brightly. Whereas mental depression, or a ‘stricken spirit,’ has a bad effect physically, ‘a joyful heart is good medicine.’ (Proverbs 17:22; compare The Amplified Bible.) Obviously, though, a heart should not constantly be given over to senseless mirth, for Solomon “said to laughter: ‘Insanity!’ and to rejoicing: ‘What is this doing?’” (Ecclesiastes 2:2) However, a person certainly is benefited by a heart that rejoices in doing God’s will.
17, 18. (a) Why can a loyal friend be likened to ‘oil and incense that make the heart rejoice’? (b) How has Jesus Christ been a straight-talking heavenly Friend? (c) What personal question is raised?
17 Pointing to something else that results in joy, another proverb says: “Oil and incense are what make the heart rejoice, also the sweetness of one’s companion due to the counsel of the soul.” (Proverbs 27:9) Just as oil is soothing and incense gives pleasure because of its sweet scent, a loyal friend who provides counsel with the aim of being helpful makes the recipient’s heart rejoice. There is sweetness in such friendship, for those who talk in a frank way can help each other to improve, to make corrections and to strengthen themselves in areas of life wherein they are weak. Indeed, having a good friend who thinks and talks straight can be a cause of joy.
18 The glorified Jesus Christ is a straight-talking heavenly Friend who directed messages to the seven congregations mentioned in Revelation, chapters two and three. Commendation was offered when appropriate, but so was admonition. For instance, the congregation at Ephesus no longer had the fervor of Christian love for Jehovah that it had at its beginning. But Jesus sought to rekindle that love. (Revelation 2:1-7) Any Ephesian Christian who prayerfully considered the counsel of this heavenly Friend and took corrective measures could continue serving Jehovah with a joyful heart. Do you personally see where you need to take some remedial steps so as to prove your love for God by improved service to Jehovah?
Rejoicing in “the Holy Work”
19. Why should every person dedicated to Jehovah regularly share the “good news” with others?
19 Another question: Are you wholeheartedly, regularly and joyfully “engaging in the holy work of the good news of God”? (Romans 15:16) No other present-day activity on earth eclipses it. Why, it is a chief reason for the very existence of the Christian congregation! (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) So every person dedicated to Jehovah should be sharing the “good news” with others on a regular basis. And active kingdom proclaimers often have such rewarding experiences and blessings in Jehovah’s service that they are moved to “cry out joyfully.”—Psalm 90:14; Malachi 3:10.
20. Frequently, how have zealous congregation publishers having weighty Scriptural responsibilities increased their joy in Jehovah’s service?
20 Zealous congregation publishers having weighty Scriptural responsibilities frequently increase their joy by improving the quality of their service to Jehovah. Moreover, some Christian families have found real satisfaction in serving where the need for kingdom proclaimers is great. Others have enjoyed full-time witnessing work during certain months of the year, while still others have been able to share regularly in the full-time ministry. With such earnest, wholehearted efforts Jehovah is well pleased.—Mark 12:29, 30.
21. Graduates of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead have what cause for rejoicing?
21 Many Christian men and women have graduated from the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, and they rejoice in expending their energies serving Jehovah in various parts of the earth. They are delighted to be full-time ministers who can help many to learn about Jehovah God and his wonderful purposes. For instance, after spending over two decades as a missionary in tropical West Africa, one of them wrote: “Do I feel that it is time to quit and let the younger ones take over? No, seeing the blessings and the growth of Jehovah’s organization makes me feel as did Caleb, after being preserved for more than forty-five years, through the wilderness sojourn and into the Promised Land. He said: ‘Yet I am today as strong as on the day of Moses’ sending me out. As my power was then, so my power is now.’ (Joshua 14:11) Despite the inconveniences and hardships, these past years have been excellent training and preparation for the future.”
22. What is Bethel service, and how did one privileged woman express herself?
22 Another joyous privilege, open to those who qualify, is serving at Bethel. This involves work directly associated with the publishing of Bible literature and the advancement of kingdom interests. Those thus privileged serve either as part of the Watch Tower Society’s Bethel staffs in New York State, or with such families at branch office locations worldwide. One woman, who began her full-time service in Switzerland in January 1924 and now serves as a member of the Bethel family in the Federal Republic of Germany, wrote: “I wish to thank Jehovah for all his goodness toward me, letting me spend a happy and rich life filled with wonderful opportunities in his service.” Yes, she rejoices in Jehovah’s service.
23. How can you prove Scripturally that those putting God’s service first in life have reason to rejoice?
23 Indeed, those who have put God’s service first in life always have had reason to rejoice. True, their lives have not been totally free of the problems common to humans. But Jehovah has supported them during their trials. (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9) They have fared well because ‘the joy of Jehovah is their stronghold.’ (Nehemiah 8:10) Consider: Moses ‘chose to be ill-treated with the people of God’ and was blessed with grand privileges. (Hebrews 11:23-29) The Moabitess Ruth abandoned her people and her gods, choosing to serve Jehovah, and was rewarded by becoming an ancestress of Jesus Christ. (Ruth 1:14-17; 4:13-17; Matthew 1:1, 5) Because of their concern with true worship and their regularity at the temple, both reverent elderly Simeon and faithful aged Anna had the joy of seeing the infant Jesus there.—Luke 2:25-38.
24. On what basis can we “rejoice during all our days”?
24 So we can be confident that grand privileges and blessings will be our lot if we put Jehovah’s worship and service first in life. (Matthew 6:33) And even if hardships are encountered while doing this, we know that Jehovah “makes all his works cooperate together for the good of those who love God.” (Romans 8:28) May we, therefore, be resolved to obey our heavenly Father and serve him with a joyful heart. Surely, if we have complete love for Jehovah, we have sound reasons to ‘cry out joyfully and rejoice during all our days.’—Psalm 90:14.
Can You Remember?
□ If we are to “rejoice during all our days,” what two basic factors must be remembered?
□ What must parents and children do if there is to be joy within the family?
□ How can Christians maintain joy despite the actions of wrongdoers?
□ How is a joyful heart a blessing?
□ What are some of the joyous privileges in Jehovah’s service, and so what should we be resolved to do?
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For lasting family happiness, parents and children must follow the counsel found in God’s Word
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Unhappiness can be replaced by joy if we faithfully do Jehovah’s will
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Jehovah’s faithful servants of the past and present have had reason to ‘rejoice during all their days’