Jehovah Hears Our Urgent Cries for Help
HELP was urgently needed. That was evident from the great sadness of face of the king’s cupbearer. Asked what was wrong, the cupbearer voiced his sorrow over the devastated state of Jerusalem and its walls. Then came the question: ‘What are you seeking to secure?’ “At once I prayed to the God of the heavens,” cupbearer Nehemiah later wrote. That was a quick, silent, urgent cry for Jehovah’s help. And the result? Why, Persian king Artaxerxes promptly authorized Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls!—Nehemiah 2:1-6.
Yes, God hears the urgent pleas of those who love him. (Psalm 65:2) So if a trial seems greater than you can bear, you might pray as the psalmist David did in Psalm 70, when he was in immediate need of divine help. The superscription to this psalm shows that its purpose is “to bring to remembrance.” With slight changes, it repeats Psalm 40:13-17. But how can the 70th Psalm Ps 70 help us as Jehovah’s people?
Plea for Prompt Deliverance
David begins with the plea: “O God, to deliver me, O Jehovah, to my assistance do make haste.” (Psalm 70:1) When in distress, we can pray that God quickly come to our assistance. Jehovah does not try us with evil things, and he “knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial.” (2 Peter 2:9; James 1:13) But what if he permits a trial to continue, perhaps to teach us something? Then we can ask him for wisdom to deal with it. If we ask in faith, he grants us wisdom. (James 1:5-8) God also gives us the strength needed to endure our trials. For instance, he ‘sustains us upon a divan of illness.’—Psalm 41:1-3; Hebrews 10:36.
Our inherent sinfulness, as well as constant exposure to temptation and the Devil’s efforts to destroy our relationship with Jehovah, should move us to pray for God’s help each day. (Psalm 51:1-5; Romans 5:12; 12:12) Noteworthy are these words of Jesus’ model prayer: “Do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.” (Matthew 6:13) Yes, we can ask God that he not allow us to succumb when tempted to disobey him and that he prevent Satan, “the wicked one,” from overreaching us. But let us couple our cries for deliverance with steps to avoid situations that would needlessly expose us to temptation and Satan’s snares.—2 Corinthians 2:11.
Those Saying, “Aha!”
We may be sorely tried because foes reproach us for the faith we exercise. If that should happen to you, reflect on David’s words: “May those be ashamed and abashed who are seeking my soul. May those turn back and be humiliated who are taking delight in my calamity. May those go back by reason of their shame who are saying: ‘Aha, aha!’” (Psalm 70:2, 3) David’s enemies wanted to see him dead; they were ‘seeking his soul,’ or life. Instead of trying to retaliate, however, he exercised faith that God would put them to shame. David prayed that his foes might be “ashamed and abashed”—embarrassed, baffled, disconcerted, frustrated in trying to carry out their wicked schemes. Yes, let those seeking his injury and finding delight in his calamity become confused and experience dishonor.
If we had what might be called malicious joy when calamity befell a foe, we would have to render an account to Jehovah for our sin. (Proverbs 17:5; 24:17, 18) However, when enemies reproach God and his people, we can pray that for the sake of his holy name, Jehovah ‘turn them back and cause them to suffer humiliation’ in the sight of the people before whom they seek glory. (Psalm 106:8) Vengeance is God’s, and he can confound and humiliate his foes and ours. (Deuteronomy 32:35) For example, the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler sought to exterminate Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany. How miserably he failed, for many thousands of them now declare the Kingdom message there!
In scornful derision, our enemies may say: “Aha, aha!” Since they taunt God and his people, let those sinners “go back by reason of their shame,” suffering disgrace. While praying for this, let us maintain our integrity and make Jehovah’s heart rejoice, that he may make a reply to Satan and anyone else taunting Him. (Proverbs 27:11) And never should we fear our haughty foes, for “he that is trusting in Jehovah will be protected.” (Proverbs 29:25) Proud Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, who had taken God’s people captive, experienced disgrace and had to admit that ‘the King of the heavens is able to humiliate those walking in pride.’—Daniel 4:37.
“God Be Magnified!”
Though foes may cause us trouble, let us always extol Jehovah along with fellow worshipers. Instead of allowing himself to be so swallowed up by distress that he failed to magnify God, David said: “May those exult and rejoice in you, all of whom are seeking you, and may they say constantly: ‘God be magnified!’—those loving your salvation.” (Psalm 70:4) Jehovah’s people continue to be very joyful because they “exult and rejoice” in him. As his dedicated, baptized Witnesses, they have the great joy resulting from an intimate relationship with him. (Psalm 25:14) Yet, they may be viewed as humble seekers for God. Being believers keeping God’s commandments, they continually seek further knowledge of him and his Word.—Ecclesiastes 3:11; 12:13, 14; Isaiah 54:13.
As Jehovah’s Witnesses proclaim the good news, in effect they constantly say: “God be magnified!” They extol Jehovah, holding him in the highest esteem. Joyfully, they help truth-seekers to learn about God and also to glorify him. Unlike worldly lovers of pleasure, Jehovah’s people ‘love his salvation.’ (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Conscious of their inherent sinfulness, they are deeply grateful for Jehovah God’s loving provision for salvation to eternal life, made possible through the propitiatory sacrifice of his dear Son, Jesus Christ. (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 2:1, 2) Are you magnifying God and showing that you ‘love his salvation’ by practicing true worship to his praise?—John 4:23, 24.
Trust the Provider of Escape
When David expressed himself in this psalm, he felt such a desperate need that he said: “But I am afflicted and poor. O God, do act quickly for me. You are my help and the Provider of escape for me. O Jehovah, do not be too late.” (Psalm 70:5) Afflicted with the trials that beset believers—such tribulations as persecution, temptations, and assaults by Satan—we may seem “poor.” Though we may not be destitute, we seem defenseless against unscrupulous enemies. However, we can be confident that Jehovah can and will rescue us as his faithful servants.—Psalm 9:17-20.
Jehovah is “the Provider of escape” when we need it. Our own shortcomings may have brought us into a trialsome situation. But if ‘our foolishness has distorted our way,’ let our heart not ‘become enraged against Jehovah.’ (Proverbs 19:3) He is not to blame, and he is ready to help us if we pray to him in faith. (Psalm 37:5) What if we are struggling to avoid sin? Then let us be specific about this in prayer, asking for divine help to continue pursuing a righteous course. (Matthew 5:6; Romans 7:21-25) God will answer our heartfelt prayer, and we will prosper spiritually if we submit to the direction of his holy spirit.—Psalm 51:17; Ephesians 4:30.
When in the throes of a test of faith, we may feel that we cannot endure much longer. Since our sinful flesh is weak, it may yearn for speedy rescue. (Mark 14:38) So we may plead: “O Jehovah, do not be too late.” Especially if we are concerned about reproach upon God’s name, we may be moved to pray as did the prophet Daniel: “O Jehovah, do hear. O Jehovah, do forgive. O Jehovah, do pay attention and act. Do not delay, for your own sake, O my God, for your own name has been called . . . upon your people.” (Daniel 9:19) We can have faith that our heavenly Father will not be too late, for the apostle Paul gave this assurance: “Let us . . . approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness, that we may obtain mercy and find undeserved kindness for help at the right time.”—Hebrews 4:16.
Never forget that Jehovah is the Provider of escape. As his servants, it will do us good to remember this and the prayerful sentiments of Psalm 70. At times we may need to pray repeatedly about a matter of deep concern. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) There may seem to be no solution to a particular problem, no way out of our dilemma. But our loving heavenly Father will strengthen us and will not permit us to be tested beyond what we can bear. Therefore, never tire of going before the throne of the King Eternal in heartfelt prayer. (1 Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 4:6, 7, 13; Revelation 15:3) Pray in faith, and trust him implicitly, for Jehovah hears our urgent cries for help.