Reminders and Orders of the God of a New System
“I have kept your orders and your reminders, for all my ways are in front of you.”—PSALM 119:168.
1. In what ways do reminders serve to make Jehovah’s people happy?
GOD’S righteous new system is at hand! Jehovah’s Witnesses, who love his righteous law, need to get reminders from his Word and through his organization at vital times. Because they observe such divine reminders, they are happy. Such reminders move them to search for him, with happiness resulting. The English translation of the Hebrew word ‘edothʹ as “reminders” instead of “testimonies” (martyriʹa, according to the Greek Septuagint Version) is stronger and more purposeful. It indicates that Jehovah, as occasion requires, calls back to our minds what his law, his orders, his regulations, his commandments and statutes are. Thus he does not let us forget these entirely. If we do not get irritated at such reminders, we become happy because of observing them.
2. What basis did the writer of Psalm 119 have for highlighting so many reminders?
2 If writing at the latest in the fifth century before our Common Era, the psalmist would have at his disposal all the Hebrew Scriptures from Genesis to Malachi. The fifth book is called Deuteronomy (Greek Septuagint Version, as seen above), which name means “Second Law.” Evidently the contents of this book were considered to be, for the most part, an explanation of the Law (covenant) that Jehovah made with Israel through the mediatorship of the prophet Moses. So Deuteronomy should contain reminders, but all the other books of the Bible likewise contain God’s reminders to us.
3. (a) Of what do the quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures remind us? (b) How can our happiness be greater than even that enjoyed by the psalmist?
3 The hundreds of quotations made from the Hebrew Scriptures in the Christian Greek Scriptures serve as reminders not only of what Jehovah taught his people under the Law but also of his magnificent purposes concerning the Christian congregation and the redeemed human race. The disciples today of Jesus Christ, the Greater Moses, have more reminders from Jehovah God than the psalmist had, and by faithfully observing them they should have greater happiness than the psalmist had. In searching for His reminders by Bible study, they are really searching for Jehovah with all their heart.
4. Rather than being irritated by God’s reminders, what is the right attitude in imitation of the psalmist?
4 That which gives us good advice and keeps us from sharing the fate of the wicked is something to be appreciated. The psalmist felt that way about God’s reminders. (Psalm 119:24, 119, 167) Jehovah’s Witnesses of today likewise are not irritated because God sees good to remind them of things having to do with his law either in their Bible study or by means of his organization. They loyally choose to stick to his reminders. “I have cleaved to your reminders. O Jehovah, do not put me to shame.”—Psalm 119:31.
5. (a) Reminders from God’s Word and his organization serve what purpose? (b) How can we personally show the high regard for Jehovah’s reminders that the psalmist had?
5 God does not furnish his reminders to put his Witnesses to shame, but by them he guards them against a shameful course. They want their seat of affection to lean to things that are really profitable for all time to come; so they join the psalmist in praying: “Incline my heart to your reminders, and not to profits.” (Psalm 119:36) Little wonder that we do not want to lose possession of these lastingly beneficial things by letting up on Bible study or on regularly meeting with Jehovah’s dedicated people. (Psalm 119:111) Love of their God with all their soul prompts them to this course. Even though it may mean severe correction for them, Jehovah’s Witnesses rejoice that Jehovah is leading them in the way of his reminders, so as to keep them from going astray and being lost forever: “In the way of your reminders I have exulted, just as over all other valuable things.”—Psalm 119:14.
6. How have Jehovah’s Witnesses endeavored to be honest with themselves before God?
6 Although they have been severely criticized and even renounced by many for having made mistakes, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been honest with themselves before their God. They want to go in the way that his book of reminders points out to them. Their modern history shows that they have acted just as the psalmist of old did: “I have considered my ways, that I may turn back my feet to your reminders.” (Psalm 119:59) Only by doing this could they pray to God to keep them alive to continue doing his appointed work despite their bloodthirsty enemies. (Psalm 119:88) Confessing that they are God’s slaves because of their dedication of themselves to him through Christ and that they need to get the true sense of what he has set down in his written Word, they say: “I am your servant. Make me understand, that I may know your reminders.”—Psalm 119:125.
7. What are their reasons for being thankful, and what have they prayed?
7 The things that God has disclosed in his Word since the end of World War I in 1918 are wonderful to them, so that they want to do what these disclosures point out to them. (Psalm 119:129) Jehovah has been perfectly justified in bringing his reminders to our notice and in laying them upon us as commandments. We are glad to acknowledge this prayerfully in the words of the psalmist: “You have commanded your reminders in righteousness and in exceeding faithfulness.” (Psalm 119:138) Thanks for such a loyal God!
8. In what way is eternal life dependent on understanding and keeping God’s reminders?
8 Today Jehovah’s Witnesses well understand that their gaining eternal life in God’s righteous new system of things depends upon their getting the sense of what he has to call to their attention and then their intelligently obeying. (Psalm 119:144) In a hostile world they have had to pray for the divine Hearer of prayer to save them out of the most threatening situations, especially in these days when all nations are being gathered for “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon. (Revelation 16:13-16) Most appropriate is the prayer: “I have called upon you. O save me! And I will keep your reminders.”—Psalm 119:146.
9. What assurance do we have that divine reminders will continue to be at our disposal?
9 Although all the written reminders of Jehovah God were founded 1,900 years ago with the completing of the Bible of 66 books, they are available today and will continue to be at our disposal into the indefinite future. Psalm 119:152, as addressed to God, proves to be true: “Long ago I have known some of your reminders, for to time indefinite you have founded them.” In view of the knowledge of some of the reminders of Jehovah, the magazine Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence began to be published in July of 1879. Today, after 105 years of publication, this magazine continues to be circulated, and that on a worldwide scale in 102 languages. Even if enemies of Jehovah’s Witnesses may be permitted to stop the magazine, they will never be able to put an end to the Holy Bible containing Jehovah’s reminders that rest upon an eternal, or indefinitely lasting, foundation.
Carrying Out the Orders of Our Superior
10. What prominence does Psalm 119 give to God’s “orders”?
10 After the psalmist applauds in his opening two verses the happiness of those walking in the law of Jehovah and observing his reminders, he goes on to say: “Really they have practiced no unrighteousness. In his ways they have walked. You yourself have commandingly given your orders to be carefully kept.” (Psalm 119:3, 4) In this psalm the composer uses the word “orders” 21 times, thus keeping them in mind.
11. (a) Why was the psalmist careful about his conduct as indicated at Psalm 119:168? (b) What is the thrust behind the word “orders”?
11 The psalmist tells us how he felt and what he did about those divine “orders.” In this way he served as a dependable example to us today. He appreciated that this course of life was under God’s observation and that he had to be careful how he conducted himself under Jehovah’s Law covenant. For good reason he said: “I have kept your orders and your reminders, for all my ways are in front of you.” (Psalm 119:168) Reminders are a stimulus to the memory, but orders are directives issued by a superior to a subordinate. They set out what is to be done and how it is to be done by the servant, slave, employee or soldier in a dutiful way. Orders are things stronger than precepts; and the Hebrew word thus translated, namely, piqudimʹ, means “appointments; charges.” Did these divine orders seem burdensome or distasteful to the psalmist, especially if keeping them caused one to be falsely accused or misrepresented? Let us listen to him: “O see that I have loved your own orders. O Jehovah, according to your loving-kindness preserve me alive.”—Psalm 119:159, 169.
12, 13. (a) How did the standard set by the psalmist enable God’s servants to endure trials during and after World War I? (b) Though they were ‘smeared with falsehood,’ whose orders did the remnant obey?
12 What a fine standard the psalmist set for true Christians associated with Jehovah’s visible organization in the midst of this lawless, loveless world! Living up to it has proved rewarding. In their environment filled with enemies of their God, they feel just as the psalmist did, like an “alien resident.” (Psalm 119:19, 54) Yet they feel that nothing matches God’s regulations for proper living. They had a narrow escape during World War I of 1914-18. During those war-mad years the enemies reached high up into the personnel of Jehovah’s visible organization to hasten the destruction of his people, even to the point of wrongly imprisoning the president and other highly responsible men at the headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. The experience was like what Psalm 119:69 describes: “The presumptuous have smeared me with falsehood. As for me, with all my heart I shall observe your orders.” The Most High God, their Superior, must be obeyed rather than obeying men down here on God’s footstool.
13 Yes, at the climax of World War I, with such outward seeming success against keepers of God’s orders, the enemies felt that they were about to exterminate his obedient dedicated people. So these could say: “In a little while they would have exterminated me in the earth; but I myself did not leave your orders.” (Psalm 119:87) The Supreme One of the universe foiled the dastardly plot of the presumptuous enemies.
14. In what sense could the remnant express the words of Psalm 119:45?
14 After their deliverance following the war, they felt the need to search for God’s orders as never before in order to learn what he purposed for them to do in the unexpected peace period. They could utter the words of Psalm 119:45: “And I will walk about in a roomy place, for I have searched even for your orders.”
Now and Into the Future
15. (a) What view expressed in Psalm 119 have God’s people made their own? (b) On what have they concentrated since 1919?
15 With the widening out of their Kingdom work to the very ends of the earth, their enemies have multiplied. But this does not frighten them into putting God’s instructions out of mind. Resolutely they persist. (Psalm 119:93, 94) Because of not being forgetful hearers of God’s Word, including his positive orders, but having become doers of his work, what can they now say without braggadocio, giving credit to Jehovah? This: “With more understanding than older men I behave, because I have observed your own orders.” (Psalm 119:100, 104) So from the postwar year of 1919 onward, they have not concerned themselves with the plans and arrangements of the nations. They have undeviatingly proclaimed the Kingdom of God by Christ as the one and only hope of mankind, instead of the League of Nations and its current successor, the United Nations. What “understanding”!
16. Though we are pressured to do wrong, of what are we convinced?
16 When God’s Word tells us who live in this era of the United Nations not to love this world and its things, it tells us the divine orders for us. We must and do consider them to be right; and they are! We take our stand with Psalm 119:128: “That is why I have considered all orders regarding all things to be right; every false path I have hated.” Due to our uncompromising stand we may be looked down upon by worldlings, but God’s rating of us is what counts, and so we do not want his directives to slip our minds.—Psalm 119:141.
17. What are the prospects ahead, and how will divine protection be found when opposers close in on Jehovah’s people?
17 In spite of the intensified preaching of God’s Kingdom by Christ as the sole hope of the world of mankind for now more than 60 years, the schemers and planners of world affairs pay no heed. Now the wiping out of the whole human family by warfare with nuclear weapons threatens. Not merely this, but antireligious hatred embitters more and more human hearts. After all forms of false religion are destroyed, God’s enemies will have to deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses. When the irreligious opposers of God’s Kingdom close in upon the surviving witnesses of Jehovah, these will as never before need superhuman help. They will have to be covered with the protective shadow of an almighty hand, God’s hand. They will have a basis for appealing for that divine hand to come to their aid, just as stated in Psalm 119:173: “May your hand serve to help me, because your orders I have chosen.” Under those most challenging circumstances, Jehovah’s hand will not prove too short in reaching ability so that it cannot save God-fearing observers of his orders.—Isaiah 50:2.
18. (a) Why will one’s being in the right company have a bearing upon survival through the end of this system of things? (b) Knowing the outcome for those who fear Jehovah, we will constantly concern ourselves with what?
18 As we near the catastrophic end of this lawless, loveless system of things and the end of the separating of the people of the nations, as when a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats, in the company of whom do we want to be found? In the company of the goatlike ones who will be cut off everlastingly from all existence or in the company of sheeplike lovers of Jehovah God? (Matthew 25:31-46) It is none too soon to choose the right partners. It is now the time to make the choice of the psalmist, who said of the Supreme Being: “A partner I am of all those who do fear you, and of those keeping your orders.” (Psalm 119:63) We know what will be the portion of those who fear Jehovah God, and we want to participate with them in this soul-satisfying portion, to Jehovah’s own joy. Because we love him, we are deeply and constantly concerned with pleasing him by doing what he requires of us. The psalmist well expresses our determination, saying: “With your orders I will concern myself, and I will look to your paths.”—Psalm 119:15.
19. What wonderful work is being carried on now?
19 Since the close of a world war, the first of its kind, in 1918, the Most High God has carried on a wonderful work amid an opposing world. It is the work of having his Witnesses preach “this good news of the kingdom . . . in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations,” in view of the approaching “end” of this millenniums-old system of things. (Matthew 24:14) We want to have a part with him in his works. We want to do his will, and so we ask him to make us do his will. Our heartfelt prayer is still that of Psalm 119:27: “Make me understand the way of your own orders, that I may concern myself with your wonderful works.”
20. Which one of God’s most wonderful works is yet to be performed, and what will those preserved alive say about God’s orders?
20 One of God’s most wonderful works, yet to be performed, will be that of preserving his faithful and loyal witnesses through the coming end of this system of things into the New Order. (2 Peter 3:13) It will be righteous on his part to safeguard them clear through the death of this mortally diseased system of things. He will respond to this inspired prayer on their part: “Look! I have longed for your orders. In your righteousness preserve me alive.” (Psalm 119:40) Let that be your prayer. Then, after the greatest tribulation of all world history and being safely within the portals of the new and righteous system of things, you will be sincerely moved to say: “To time indefinite I shall not forget your orders, because by them you have preserved me alive.”—Psalm 119:93.
A Memory Aid
□ What “reminders” from God are available to you?
□ How can you benefit from God’s reminders?
□ What are Jehovah’s “orders”?
□ Why should you want to carry them out?
[Pictures on page 22]
God’s servants today have more “reminders” from which to benefit
[Picture on page 24]
Have you chosen to be ‘a partner of “the sheep” keeping God’s orders’?