“Who Is Like Jehovah Our God?”
“Who is like Jehovah our God, him who is making his dwelling on high?” —PSALM 113:5.
1, 2. (a) How do Jehovah’s Witnesses view God and the Bible? (b) What questions merit consideration?
JEHOVAH’S praisers are blessed indeed. What a privilege it is to be in this happy throng! As his Witnesses, we accept the counsel, laws, teachings, promises, and prophecies of God’s Word, the Bible. We are glad to learn from the Scriptures and be “taught by Jehovah.”—John 6:45.
2 Because of their deep reverence for God, Jehovah’s Witnesses can ask: “Who is like Jehovah our God?” (Psalm 113:5) Those words of the psalmist imply faith. But why do the Witnesses have such faith in God? And what reasons have they for praising Jehovah?
Faith and Praise Appropriate
3. What are the Hallel Psalms, and why are they so named?
3 Faith in Jehovah is warranted because he is the unique God. This is emphasized in Psalms 113, 114, and Ps 115, part of the six Hallel Psalms. According to the rabbinic School of Hillel, Psalms 113 and 114 were sung during the Jewish Passover meal after the second cup of wine was poured and the significance of the observance was explained. Psalms 115 through 118 were sung after the fourth cup of wine. (Compare Matthew 26:30.) They are termed “Hallel Psalms” because they repeatedly use the exclamation Hallelujah!—“Praise Jah!”
4. What is the meaning of the term “Hallelujah,” and how often does it appear in the Bible?
4 “Hallelujah!” is a transliteration of a Hebrew expression appearing 24 times in the Psalms. Elsewhere in the Bible, a Greek form of it appears four times in regard to joy experienced over the destruction of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, and the rejoicing associated with Jehovah God’s beginning to rule as King. (Revelation 19:1-6) As we now examine three of the Hallel Psalms, we might well imagine ourselves singing these songs to Jehovah’s praise.
5 Psalm 113 answers the question, Why praise Jehovah? It opens with the command: “Praise Jah, you people! Offer praise, O you servants of Jehovah, praise the name of Jehovah. May Jehovah’s name become blessed from now on and to time indefinite.” (Psalm 113:1, 2) “Hallelujah!” Yes, “Praise Jah!” That command applies especially to God’s people in this “time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4) From now on and forevermore, Jehovah’s name shall be exalted earth wide. His Witnesses now declare that Jehovah is God, Christ is King, and the Kingdom has been established in heaven. Satan the Devil and his organization cannot prevent this praising of Jehovah.
6. How is Jehovah being praised ‘from sunrise to sunset’?
6 The song of praise will go forth until Jehovah causes it to fill the earth. “From the rising of the sun until its setting Jehovah’s name is to be praised.” (Psalm 113:3) This means more than daily worship by some earthly creatures. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, covering all the earth. Everywhere the sun shines, Jehovah’s name will soon be praised by all people freed from bondage to false religion and Satan’s organization. In fact, this song that will never end is now sung by anointed Witnesses of Jehovah and those who will be earthly children of his King, Jesus Christ. What a privilege they have as singers of Jehovah’s praises!
Jehovah Is Incomparable
7. What two aspects of Jehovah’s supremacy are noted at Psalm 113:4?
7 The psalmist adds: “Jehovah has become high above all the nations; his glory is above the heavens.” (Psalm 113:4) This takes note of two aspects of God’s supremacy: (1) To Jehovah, the Supreme One, “high above all the nations,” they are as a drop from a bucket and as mere dust on the scales; (Isaiah 40:15; Daniel 7:18) (2) his glory is far greater than that of the physical heavens, for the angels do his sovereign will.—Psalm 19:1, 2; 103:20, 21.
8. Why and how does Jehovah condescend to take notice of matters in heaven and on earth?
8 Moved by God’s loftiness, the psalmist said: “Who is like Jehovah our God, him who is making his dwelling on high? He is condescending to look on heaven and earth.” (Psalm 113:5, 6) God is so exalted that he must condescend to take notice of matters in heaven and on earth. Though Jehovah is not inferior to anyone or in subjection to others, he shows humility in exercising mercy and compassion toward lowly sinners. Providing his Son, Jesus Christ, as “a propitiatory sacrifice” for anointed Christians and for the world of mankind is an expression of Jehovah’s humility.—1 John 2:1, 2.
Jehovah Is Compassionate
9, 10. How does God ‘exalt the poor one, to make him sit with nobles’?
9 Stressing God’s compassion, the psalmist adds that Jehovah is “raising up the lowly one from the very dust; he exalts the poor one from the ashpit itself, to make him sit with nobles, with the nobles of his people. He is causing the barren woman to dwell in a house as a joyful mother of sons. Praise Jah, you people!” (Psalm 113:7-9) Jehovah’s people have faith that he can deliver upright needy ones, change their state, and satisfy their proper needs and desires. ‘The High and Lofty One revives the spirit of the lowly ones and the heart of those being crushed.’—Isaiah 57:15.
10 How does Jehovah ‘exalt the poor one, to make him sit with nobles’? When it is God’s will, he puts his servants in positions of glory equal to that of nobles. He did so in the case of Joseph, who became Egypt’s food administrator. (Genesis 41:37-49) In Israel, sitting with the nobles, or men of authority among Jehovah’s people, was a privilege to be cherished. Like Christian elders today, such men had God’s aid and blessing.
11. Why may it be said that Psalm 113:7-9 especially applies to Jehovah’s people of modern times?
11 What about ‘making the barren woman a joyful mother’? God gave barren Hannah a son—Samuel, whom she devoted to His service. (1 Samuel 1:20-28) More significantly, beginning with Jesus and with the outpouring of holy spirit upon his disciples at Pentecost 33 C.E., God’s symbolic woman, heavenly Zion, started to bring forth spiritual children. (Isaiah 54:1-10, 13; Acts 2:1-4) And just as God restored the Jews to their homeland after exile in Babylon, in 1919 he freed the anointed remnant of “the Israel of God” from Babylonish captivity and has so greatly blessed them spiritually that the words of Psalm 113:7-9 apply to them. (Galatians 6:16) As loyal Witnesses of Jehovah, the remnant of spiritual Israel and their associates with earthly hopes are heartily responding to the final words of Psalm 113: “Praise Jah, you people!”
Proof of Jehovah’s Uniqueness
12. How does Psalm 114 show Jehovah’s uniqueness?
12 Psalm 114 shows Jehovah’s uniqueness by citing unique events involving the Israelites. Sang the psalmist: “When Israel went forth from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people speaking unintelligibly, Judah became his holy place, Israel his grand dominion.” (Psalm 114:1, 2) God delivered Israel from slavery to the Egyptians, whose language was strange to their ears. The deliverance of Jehovah’s people, called Judah and Israel in poetic parallelism, shows that God can deliver all his servants today.
13. How does Psalm 114:3-6 show Jehovah’s supremacy and apply to ancient Israel’s experiences?
13 Jehovah’s sovereignty over all creation is evident in the words: “The sea itself saw and took to flight; as for the Jordan, it began to turn back. The mountains themselves skipped about like rams, the hills like lambs. What was the matter with you, O sea, that you took to flight, O Jordan, that you began to turn back? O mountains, that you went skipping about like rams; O hills, like lambs?” (Psalm 114:3-6) The Red Sea “took to flight” when God opened a path through it for his people. Israel then saw Jehovah’s great hand in action against the Egyptians who died in the returning waters. (Exodus 14:21-31) In a similar display of divine power, the Jordan River “began to turn back,” allowing the Israelites to cross into Canaan. (Joshua 3:14-16) ‘The mountains skipped about like rams’ as Mount Sinai smoked and trembled when the Law covenant was instituted. (Exodus 19:7-18) With the climax of his song in view, the psalmist put matters in question form, perhaps suggesting that the inanimate sea, river, mountains, and hills were awestruck by these displays of Jehovah’s power.
14. What was done by Jehovah’s power at Meribah and Kadesh, and how should this affect his modern-day servants?
14 Still alluding to Jehovah’s power, the psalmist sang: “Because of the Lord be in severe pains, O earth, because of the God of Jacob, who is changing the rock into a reedy pool of water, a flinty rock into a spring of water.” (Psalm 114:7, 8) In a figurative way, the psalmist thus indicates that mankind should stand in awe of Jehovah, the Lord and Universal Ruler of all the earth. He was “the God of Jacob,” or Israel, as he is of spiritual Israelites and their earthly companions. At Meribah and Kadesh in the wilderness, Jehovah showed his power by miraculously supplying Israel with water, “changing the rock into a reedy pool of water, a flinty rock into a spring.” (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:1-11) Such reminders of Jehovah’s awesome power and tender care give his Witnesses sound reasons for unquestioning faith in him.
Unlike Idol Gods
15. How may Psalm 115 have been sung?
15 Psalm 115 urges us to praise and trust Jehovah. It ascribes blessing and aid to him and proves that idols are useless. This psalm may have been sung antiphonally. That is, one voice might sing: “You that fear Jehovah, trust in Jehovah.” The congregation may have replied: “He is their help and their shield.”—Psalm 115:11.
16. What contrast can be drawn between Jehovah and the idols of the nations?
16 Glory should go not to us but to the name of Jehovah, the God of loving-kindness, or loyal love, and trueness. (Psalm 115:1) Enemies may mockingly ask: “Where . . . is their God?” But Jehovah’s people can reply: ‘Our God is in heaven and does everything he delights to do.’ (Ps 115 Verses 2, 3) The nations’ idols can do nothing, however, for they are man-made statues of silver and gold. Despite their mouths, eyes, and ears, they are speechless, blind, and deaf. They have noses but cannot smell, feet but are unable to walk, and throats but can utter no sound. Those making impotent idols as well as those trusting in them will become equally lifeless.—Ps 115 Verses 4-8.
17. Since the dead cannot praise Jehovah, what should we do, and with what prospects?
17 Exhortation is next given to trust in Jehovah as the Helper and the protective Shield of Israel, of Aaron’s priestly house, and of all who fear God. (Psalm 115:9-11) As those fearing Jehovah, we have a profound reverence for God and a wholesome dread of displeasing him. We also have faith that “the Maker of heaven and earth” blesses his loyal worshipers. (Ps 115 Verses 12-15) The heavens are the place of his throne, but God made the earth the eternal home of loyal and obedient mankind. Since the silent, unconscious dead cannot praise Jehovah, we, the living, should do so in total devotion and loyalty. (Ecclesiastes 9:5) Only those who praise Jehovah will enjoy eternal life and be able to “bless Jah” forever, speaking well of him “to time indefinite.” Let us therefore stand loyally with those heeding the exhortation: “Praise Jah, you people!”—Psalm 115:16-18.
Jehovah’s Wonderful Qualities
18, 19. In what ways do Jehovah’s qualities distinguish him from false gods?
18 Unlike lifeless idols, Jehovah is the living God, displaying wonderful qualities. He is the epitome of love and is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness.” (Exodus 34:6; 1 John 4:8) How he differs from the cruel Canaanite god Molech, to whom children were sacrificed! It is suggested that this god’s image had a man’s form and a bull’s head. The idol reportedly was heated red hot, and children were cast into its outstretched arms, falling into the flaming furnace below. But Jehovah is so loving and merciful that the idea of such human sacrifices never even came “up into [his] heart.”—Jeremiah 7:31.
19 Jehovah’s principal qualities also include perfect justice, infinite wisdom, and almighty power. (Deuteronomy 32:4; Job 12:13; Isaiah 40:26) What about mythological deities? Instead of practicing justice, Babylonian gods and goddesses were vindictive. Egyptian deities were not paragons of wisdom but were depicted as having human weaknesses. That is not surprising, since false gods and goddesses have been products of “empty-headed” humans who claim to be wise. (Romans 1:21-23) Grecian deities supposedly conspired against one another. For instance, in the myths, Zeus abused his power by dethroning his father, Cronus, who had deposed his own father, Uranus. What a blessing it is to serve and praise Jehovah, the living and true God, who displays perfect love, justice, wisdom, and power!
Jehovah Worthy of Eternal Praise
20. What reasons did King David give for praising Jehovah’s name?
20 As the Hallel Psalms show, Jehovah deserves eternal praise. Similarly, when David and fellow Israelites contributed for temple construction, he said before the congregation: “Blessed may you be, O Jehovah the God of Israel our father, from time indefinite even to time indefinite. Yours, O Jehovah, are the greatness and the mightiness and the beauty and the excellency and the dignity; for everything in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Jehovah, the One also lifting yourself up as head over all. The riches and the glory are on account of you, and you are dominating everything; and in your hand there are power and mightiness, and in your hand is ability to make great and to give strength to all. And now, O our God, we are thanking you and praising your beauteous name.”—1 Chronicles 29:10-13.
21. Revelation 19:1-6 gives what evidence of Jehovah’s being praised by the heavenly hosts?
21 Jehovah will also be blessed and praised eternally in the heavens. The apostle John heard “a great crowd in heaven” say: “Praise Jah, you people! The salvation and the glory and the power belong to our God, because his judgments are true and righteous. For he has executed judgment upon the great harlot [Babylon the Great] who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has avenged the blood of his slaves at her hand.” Again they said: “Praise Jah, you people!” So did “the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures.” A voice from the throne said: “Be praising our God, all you his slaves, who fear him, the small ones and the great.” Then John added: “I heard what was as a voice of a great crowd and as a sound of many waters and as a sound of heavy thunders. They said: ‘Praise Jah, you people, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king.’”—Revelation 19:1-6.
22. How will Jehovah be praised in his promised new world?
22 How fitting it is that heavenly hosts praise Jehovah! In his new world now near, resurrected loyal ones will join survivors of this system’s end in praising Jah. Towering mountains will lift their heads in songs of praise to God. Verdant hills and fruitful trees will sing his praises. Why, every creature that lives and breathes will praise Jehovah’s name in the great Hallelujah chorus! (Psalm 148) Will your voice be heard in that joyous throng? It will be if you loyally serve Jah with his people. That should be your purpose in life, for who is like Jehovah our God?
How Would You Answer?
□ Why praise Jehovah God?
□ In what ways is Jehovah incomparable?
□ What evidence is there that Jehovah is compassionate?
□ How does Jehovah differ from lifeless idols and false deities?
□ Why can we say that Jehovah will receive eternal praise in heaven and on earth?
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The Hallel Psalms were sung during the Passover meal