Jehovah, the Doer of Wondrous Things
“You are great and are doing wondrous things; you are God, you alone.”—PSALM 86:10.
1, 2. (a) How have man’s inventions affected the world? (b) Where may we find hope of better things?
MODERN man may boast that his inventions are wondrous—electrical devices, telecommunications, video, the automobile, jet travel, and computerized technology. These have turned the world into one neighborhood. But what a neighborhood! Instead of peace, prosperity, and plenty for all, mankind is plagued by murderous wars, crime, terrorism, pollution, diseases, and poverty. And the nuclear weapons scattered around the world, though reduced in number, could still annihilate the human race. Merchants of death, the armaments manufacturers, continue to operate the biggest business on earth. The rich grow richer, and the poor poorer. Can anyone find a way out?
2 Yes! For there is Someone who guarantees deliverance, “one that is higher than the high one,” Jehovah God. (Ecclesiastes 5:8) He inspired the writing of the psalms, which provide much comfort and wise counsel for times of distress. Among them is Psalm 86, which carries the simple superscription: “A prayer of David.” It is a prayer that you can make your own.
Afflicted but Loyal
3. In these times, what encouraging example does David provide for us?
3 David wrote this psalm when under affliction. We today, who are living through “the last days” of Satan’s system, these “critical times hard to deal with,” face similar trials. (2 Timothy 3:1; see also Matthew 24:9-13.) Like us, David suffered anxieties and depression because of the problems bearing in upon him. But he never permitted those trials to weaken his loyal trust in his Creator. He cried out: “Incline, O Jehovah, your ear. Answer me, for I am afflicted and poor. O do guard my soul, for I am loyal. Save your servant—you are my God—that is trusting in you.”—Psalm 86:1, 2.
4. How should we show our confidence?
4 We can be confident, as David was, that “the God of all comfort,” Jehovah, will turn his ear to this earth and listen to our humble prayers. (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4) Trusting implicitly in our God, we can follow David’s advice: “Throw your burden upon Jehovah himself, and he himself will sustain you. Never will he allow the righteous one to totter.”—Psalm 55:22.
Intimacy With Jehovah
5. (a) How have some careful translations reversed the errors of Jewish scribes? (b) In what way do the 85th and 86th psalms magnify Jehovah? (See footnote.)
5 In the 86th Psalm, David uses the expression “O Jehovah” 11 times. How fervent is David’s prayer and how close his intimacy with Jehovah! Later, such intimate use of God’s name became distasteful to Jewish scribes, notably the Sopherim. They nurtured a superstitious fear of misusing the name. Ignoring the fact that man had been created in God’s image, they declined to ascribe to God attributes that humans also display. So in 7 of the 11 occurrences of the divine name in the Hebrew text of this one psalm, they substituted the title ʼAdho-naiʹ (Lord) for the name YHWH (Jehovah). We can be grateful that the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, as well as a number of other careful translations, have restored the divine name to its rightful place in God’s Word. As a result, our relationship to Jehovah is emphasized as it should be.*
6. In what ways can we show that Jehovah’s name is precious to us?
6 The prayer of David continues: “Show me favor, O Jehovah, for to you I keep calling all day long. Make the soul of your servant rejoice, for to you, O Jehovah, I lift up my very soul.” (Psalm 86:3, 4) Note that David kept calling on Jehovah “all day long.” Indeed, he often prayed through the night, as when he was a fugitive in the wilderness. (Psalm 63:6, 7) Similarly today, some Witnesses when threatened with rape or other criminal assault have cried aloud to Jehovah. At times they have been surprised at the happy result.* Jehovah’s name is precious to us, even as it was to “Jesus Christ, son of David,” when he was on earth. Jesus taught his disciples to pray for the sanctification of Jehovah’s name and made known to them what the name stands for.—Matthew 1:1; 6:9; John 17:6, 25, 26.
7. What examples do we have of Jehovah’s lifting up the very soul of his servants, and how should we respond?
7 David lifted up his soul, his entire self, to Jehovah. He encourages us to do likewise, saying at Psalm 37:5: “Roll upon Jehovah your way, and rely upon him, and he himself will act.” Thus our plea to Jehovah for him to make our soul rejoice will not go unanswered. Many integrity-keeping servants of Jehovah continue to find great joy in his service—despite hardships, persecutions, and illnesses. Our brothers in war-torn areas in Africa, such as Angola, Liberia, Mozambique, and Zaire, have continued to place Jehovah’s service first in their lives.* He has truly caused them to rejoice in a bounteous spiritual harvest. As they have endured, so must we. (Romans 5:3-5) And as we endure, we are assured: “The vision is yet for the appointed time, and it keeps panting on to the end . . . It will not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3) With complete confidence and trust in Jehovah, may we also keep “panting on to the end.”
8. What intimacy may we have with Jehovah, and how has he manifested his goodness?
8 David makes the further impassioned plea: “You, O Jehovah, are good and ready to forgive; and the loving-kindness to all those calling upon you is abundant. Do give ear, O Jehovah, to my prayer; and do pay attention to the voice of my entreaties. In the day of my distress I will call upon you, for you will answer me.” (Psalm 86:5-7) “O Jehovah”—again and again we thrill to the intimacy of this expression! It is an intimacy that may constantly be cultivated through prayer. David prayed on another occasion: “The sins of my youth and my revolts O do not remember. According to your loving-kindness do you yourself remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Jehovah.” (Psalm 25:7) Jehovah is the very epitome of goodness—in providing Jesus’ ransom, in showing mercy to repentant sinners, and in showering loving-kindness on his loyal and appreciative Witnesses.—Psalm 100:3-5; Malachi 3:10.
9. What assurance should repentant sinners take to heart?
9 Should we fret over past mistakes? If we are now making straight paths for our feet, we are buoyed up when we recall the apostle Peter’s assurance to repentant ones that “seasons of refreshing” will come from Jehovah. (Acts 3:19) Let us keep close to Jehovah in prayer through our Ransomer, Jesus, who lovingly said: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls.” As loyal Witnesses pray to Jehovah today in Jesus’ precious name, they do indeed find refreshment.—Matthew 11:28, 29; John 15:16.
10. What prominence does the book of Psalms give to Jehovah’s loving-kindness?
10 The book of Psalms refers to Jehovah’s “loving-kindness” over a hundred times. Such loving-kindness is surely abundant! In its first four verses, the 118th Psalm 118:1-4 appeals to God’s servants to thank Jehovah, repeating four times “for his loving-kindness is to time indefinite.” The 136th Psalm 136 emphasizes the endearing quality of “his loving-kindness” 26 times. In whatever ways we err—and as James 3:2 says, “we all stumble many times”—may we be ready to seek Jehovah’s forgiveness, confident of his mercy and loving-kindness. His loving-kindness is an expression of his loyal love toward us. If we loyally continue to do God’s will, he will show his loyal love in strengthening us to cope with every trial.—1 Corinthians 10:13.
11. How may action by elders help to remove guilt feelings?
11 There may be occasions when we are stumbled by others. Emotional or physical abuse during childhood has left some with feelings of guilt or of utter unworthiness. Such a victim may call to Jehovah, confident that he will answer. (Psalm 55:16, 17) A kindly elder may take an interest in helping such a one to accept the fact that it was not the victim’s fault. Thereafter, a periodic friendly phone call by the elder can help that one until he (or she) is able at last to ‘carry the burden.’—Galatians 6:2, 5.
12. How have distresses multiplied, but how may we successfully cope with them?
12 There are many other distressing circumstances that Jehovah’s people have to contend with today. Starting with World War I in 1914, major calamities began to afflict this earth. As foretold by Jesus, they were “a beginning of pangs of distress.” Distresses have multiplied as we have progressed deeper into “the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 24:3, 8) The Devil’s “short period of time” is winding down toward its climactic end. (Revelation 12:12) “Like a roaring lion” in search of prey, that great Adversary is using every available subterfuge to separate us from the flock of God and destroy us. (1 Peter 5:8) But he will not succeed! For, like David, we anchor our trust completely in our one God, Jehovah.
13. How may parents and their children avail themselves of Jehovah’s goodness?
13 Doubtless, David instilled in his son Solomon’s heart the need to rely on Jehovah’s goodness. Thus, Solomon could instruct his own son: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight. Do not become wise in your own eyes. Fear Jehovah and turn away from bad.” (Proverbs 3:5-7) Parents today should likewise teach their little ones how to pray trustingly to Jehovah and how to cope with the assaults of a heartless world—such as peer pressure at school and temptations to commit immorality. Living the truth with your children each day can impress on their young hearts real love for Jehovah and prayerful reliance on him.—Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:18, 19.
Jehovah’s Incomparable Works
14, 15. What are some of Jehovah’s incomparable works?
14 With deep conviction David says: “There is none like you among the gods, O Jehovah, neither are there any works like yours.” (Psalm 86:8) Jehovah’s works are greater, grander, more majestic, than any human could even imagine. As glimpsed by modern science, the created universe—its vastness, its harmony, its magnificence—has proved to be far more stupendous than anything David perceived. Yet, even he was moved to say: “The heavens are declaring the glory of God; and of the work of his hands the expanse is telling.”—Psalm 19:1.
15 Jehovah’s works are wonderfully portrayed, too, in the way that he positioned and prepared the earth, providing for day and night, the seasons, seedtime and harvest, and a multitude of delights for future human enjoyment. And how wonderfully we ourselves are made and equipped, so that we are able to enjoy Jehovah’s works that surround us!—Genesis 2:7-9; 8:22; Psalm 139:14.
16. What is the greatest expression of Jehovah’s goodness, leading to what further incomparable works?
16 After our first parents had disobeyed God, triggering the distresses that plague the earth to this day, Jehovah out of his love performed a wondrous work in sending his Son to earth to proclaim God’s Kingdom and to die as a ransom for mankind. And wonder of wonders! Jehovah then resurrected Christ to become his associate King-elect. (Matthew 20:28; Acts 2:32, 34) From loyal humans God has also chosen “a new creation” that will rule with Christ as a benevolent “new heaven” over “a new earth” society that will include billions of resurrected humans. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:1, 5-7; 1 Corinthians 15:22-26) Jehovah’s works will thus move on to a glorious climax! Truly, we can exclaim: “O Jehovah, . . . how abundant your goodness is, which you have treasured up for those fearing you!”—Psalm 31:17-19.
17. With regard to Jehovah’s works, how is Psalm 86:9 now being fulfilled?
17 Jehovah’s present-day works include what David describes at Psalm 86:9: “All the nations whom you have made will themselves come, and they will bow down before you, O Jehovah, and will give glory to your name.” After calling out from among mankind the remaining ones of his new creation, the “little flock” of Kingdom heirs, Jehovah has proceeded to gather from among “all nations” “a great crowd” of “other sheep,” millions who also exercise faith in Jesus’ shed blood. These he has built into a dynamic organization, the only global society of peace lovers on earth today. Observing this, the heavenly hosts prostrate themselves before Jehovah, declaring: “The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanksgiving and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever.” The great crowd also glorifies Jehovah’s name, serving him “day and night,” with the hope of surviving this world’s end and living forever on a paradise earth.—Luke 12:32; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:16.
18. How has Jehovah demonstrated that he is ‘God alone’?
18 David next calls attention to Jehovah’s Godship, saying: “You are great and are doing wondrous things; you are God, you alone.” (Psalm 86:10) From of old, Jehovah has been demonstrating that he is, indeed, ‘God alone.’ It was a tyrannical Pharaoh of Egypt who defiantly challenged Moses: “Who is Jehovah, so that I should obey his voice to send Israel away? I do not know Jehovah at all.” But he soon got to learn how great Jehovah is! Almighty God humiliated Egypt’s gods and magic-practicing priests by sending catastrophic plagues, slaying Egypt’s firstborn sons, and annihilating Pharaoh and his elite army in the Red Sea. Truly, there is no one like Jehovah among the gods!—Exodus 5:2; 15:11, 12.
19, 20. (a) When will the song of Revelation 15:3, 4 have its grandest expression? (b) How may we even now share in Jehovah’s work?
19 As God alone, Jehovah has proceeded to do wondrous things in preparation for delivering his obedient worshipers from modern Egypt—Satan’s world. He has had his divine judgments proclaimed in all the earth as a witness by means of the most extensive preaching campaign in all history, thus fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy at Matthew 24:14. Shortly, “the end” must come, when Jehovah will demonstrate his greatness on an unprecedented scale by wiping out all wickedness on earth. (Psalm 145:20) Then the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb will reach a crescendo: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity. Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name, because you alone are loyal?”—Revelation 15:3, 4.
20 May we for our part be zealous in talking to others about these magnificent purposes of God. (Compare Acts 2:11.) Jehovah will continue to do great and wondrous things in our day and on into the future, as our next article will describe.
A Bible commentary of 1874 quotes Andrew A. Bonar as saying: “There was much, very much, of God’s peculiar character, his glorious name, brought to view in the close of the last [85th] Psalm 85. This may account for its being followed by another, ‘A Prayer of David,’ almost equally full of the character of Jehovah. The key-note of this [86th] Psalm 86 is Jehovah’s name.”
See page 28 of the June 22, 1984, issue of Awake! published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
For details, see the chart “1992 Service Year Report of Jehovah’s Witnesses Worldwide,” to appear in the January 1, 1993, issue of The Watchtower.
Do You Recall?
◻ Why should we make the prayer of Psalm 86 our own?
◻ How may we find intimacy with Jehovah?
◻ How does Jehovah express his goodness toward us?
◻ What are some of Jehovah’s incomparable works?
◻ How is Jehovah ‘God alone’ as to greatness?
[Picture on page 10]
In the coming “new earth,” the wondrous works of Jehovah will continue to testify to his glory and goodness