Separated to Be Joyful Praisers Worldwide
“Praise Jah, you people! Offer praise, O you servants of Jehovah, praise the name of Jehovah.”—PSALM 113:1.
1, 2. (a) In harmony with Psalm 113:1-3, who is worthy of our enthusiastic praise? (b) What question is it appropriate to ask?
JEHOVAH GOD is the Grand Creator of heaven and earth, our Universal Sovereign for all eternity. He is fully worthy of our enthusiastic praise. This is why Psalm 113:1-3 commands us: “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. From the rising of the sun until its setting Jehovah’s name is to be praised.”
2 As God’s Witnesses, we rejoice to do this. How thrilling it is that Jehovah God will soon cause this joyful song of praise that we are singing today to fill the whole earth! (Psalm 22:27) Is your voice being heard in this great worldwide choir? If so, how happy it must make you to be separated from this disunited, joyless world!
3. (a) What makes Jehovah’s people distinctive, unique? (b) In what ways are we set apart?
3 Our praising Jehovah unitedly surely makes us distinctive, unique. We speak and teach in agreement and use the same methods to declare ‘the abundance of Jehovah’s goodness.’ (Psalm 145:7) Yes, as Jehovah’s dedicated people, we are set apart for the service of our God, Jehovah. God told his ancient dedicated people, Israel, to keep separate from the nations around them and be unsullied by the practices of those nations. (Exodus 34:12-16) He gave his people laws to help them do this. Likewise today, Jehovah has given us his Holy Word, the Bible. Its instruction shows us how we can keep separate from this world. (2 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17) We are not set apart by isolation in monasteries and convents, as are the monks and nuns of Babylon the Great. Following Jesus Christ’s example, we are public praisers of Jehovah.
Imitate Jehovah’s Chief Praiser
4. How did Jesus set the example in praising Jehovah?
4 Jesus never deviated from his purpose to praise Jehovah. And this set him apart from the world. In the synagogues and at the temple in Jerusalem, he praised God’s holy name. Whether on the mountaintop or at the seashore, wherever crowds would gather, Jesus publicly preached Jehovah’s truths. He declared: “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.” (Matthew 11:25) Even when on trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus testified: “For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37) Jesus appreciated the importance of his work. Wherever he was, Jesus bore witness to Jehovah and publicly praised him.
5. To whom does Psalm 22:22 apply, and what should be our attitude?
5 At Psalm 22:22, we find this prophetic statement concerning Jehovah’s Chief Praiser: “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the middle of the congregation I shall praise you.” And at Hebrews 2:11, 12, the apostle Paul applies these verses to the Lord Jesus and to those whom Jehovah God has sanctified for heavenly glory. Like him, they are not ashamed to praise Jehovah’s name in the middle of the congregation. Do we have this same mental attitude when attending our congregation meetings? Our enthusiastic participation in the meetings, both mentally and vocally, praises Jehovah. But does our joyful praise end there?
6. What commission did Jesus give his disciples, and how do lovers of the light glorify God?
6 According to Matthew 5:14-16, the Lord Jesus also commissioned his followers to let their light shine so that others would praise Jehovah. He said: “You are the light of the world. . . . Let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens.” Lovers of the light bring glory to God. Do they do this merely by saying and doing nice, humanitarian things? No, rather they do it by unitedly glorifying Jehovah. Yes, lovers of light dedicate themselves to God and become his joyful praisers. Have you taken this happy step?
Joy From Praising Jehovah
7. Why are Jehovah’s praisers so joyful, and what joy was theirs on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E.?
7 Why are Jehovah’s praisers so joyful? Because joy is a fruit of God’s holy spirit. At Galatians 5:22, it is listed right after love. Jesus’ disciples in the first century manifested this fruit of Jehovah’s spirit. Why, on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., when God poured out his spirit on about 120 of Jesus’ disciples, all of them started to praise Jehovah in different tongues. Reverent Jews who had come to Jerusalem from many nations ‘were bewildered and astonished.’ They exclaimed: “We hear them speaking in our tongues about the magnificent things of God”! (Acts 2:1-11) What was the result of this wonderful multilingual praising of Jehovah? About 3,000 Jews and Jewish proselytes accepted the Kingdom good news concerning the Messiah. They got baptized, received the holy spirit, and eagerly added their voices as joyful praisers of Jehovah. (Acts 2:37-42) What a blessing that was!
8. After Pentecost, what did the Christians do to enhance their joy?
8 The report continues: “Day after day they were in constant attendance at the temple with one accord, and they took their meals in private homes and partook of food with great rejoicing and sincerity of heart, praising God and finding favor with all the people. At the same time Jehovah continued to join to them daily those being saved.” (Acts 2:46, 47) Was it only their associating together and partaking of food that brought them great rejoicing? No, their main joy came from praising Jehovah God day after day. And their joy intensified when they saw thousands respond to their message of salvation. It is the same with us today.
Joyful Praisers in All Nations
9. (a) When and how did God begin to give people of all nations the opportunity to hear his good news? (b) Why was holy spirit poured out on Cornelius and his associates before their baptism?
9 Jehovah did not want the light-bearing activity of his servants to be limited to one nation. Beginning in 36 C.E., therefore, he gave people of all nations the opportunity to hear his good news. At God’s direction, Peter went to the home of a Gentile army officer in Caesarea. There he found Cornelius assembled with his closest friends and family. As they listened intently to Peter’s words, they exercised faith in Jesus in their hearts. How do we know? Because God’s holy spirit came upon those Gentile believers. Normally, the gift of God’s spirit was bestowed only after baptism, but on that occasion Jehovah indicated his approval of these non-Jews before their immersion. If Jehovah had not done that, Peter could not have been sure that God was now accepting Gentiles as His servants and that they qualified for water baptism.—Acts 10:34, 35, 47, 48.
10. How was it foretold from ancient times that people of all nations would praise Jehovah?
10 From ancient times, Jehovah foretold that people of all nations would praise him. He would have joyful praisers in every land. To prove this, the apostle Paul quoted prophecies from the Hebrew Scriptures. He told the international congregation of Christians in Rome: “Welcome one another, just as the Christ also welcomed us, with glory to God in view. For I say that Christ actually became a minister of those who are circumcised in behalf of God’s truthfulness, so as to verify the promises He made to their forefathers, and that the nations might glorify God for his mercy. Just as it is written [at Psalm 18:49]: ‘That is why I will openly acknowledge you among the nations and to your name I will make melody.’ And again he says [at Deuteronomy 32:43]: ‘Be glad, you nations, with his people.’ And again [at Psalm 117:1]: ‘Praise Jehovah, all you nations, and let all the peoples praise him.’”—Romans 15:7-11.
11. How has God helped people of all nations to learn his truths, and what has been the result?
11 People cannot unitedly praise Jehovah unless they rest their hope upon Jesus Christ, the one whom God has appointed to rule over people of all nations. To help them appreciate His truths that lead to eternal life, God has set up an international teaching program. He is giving direction through his faithful slave class. (Matthew 24:45-47) The result? More than five million joyful voices are singing Jehovah’s praises in over 230 lands. And millions more are showing interest in doing the same. Look at how many attended the Memorial in 1996: 12,921,933. Marvelous!
A Great Crowd of Joyful Praisers Foretold
12. What stirring vision did the apostle John experience, and what is the living reality of it all?
12 In vision, the apostle John beheld “a great crowd” out of all nations. (Revelation 7:9) What is the theme of the praises that this great crowd are singing along with God’s anointed remnant? John tells us: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:10) This is being boldly declared in every part of the world. Waving palm branches, so to speak, we unitedly hail God as the Universal Sovereign and joyfully confess before heaven and earth that “we owe” our salvation to him and his Son, the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Oh, what a thrill the apostle John experienced in seeing this stirring vision of the great crowd! And what a thrill we have today in seeing, and even being part of, the living reality of what John saw!
13. What sets Jehovah’s people apart from the world?
13 As Jehovah’s servants, we proudly bear his name. (Isaiah 43:10, 12) Our being Witnesses of Jehovah makes us different from this world. What a joy it is to bear God’s distinctive name and to have the doing of his divine work as our purpose in life! Jehovah’s grand purpose to sanctify his holy name and to vindicate his universal sovereignty by means of the Kingdom has given meaning to our lives. And he has helped us to have a place in his divine purpose regarding his name and Kingdom. This he has done in three ways.
Entrusted With the Truth
14, 15. (a) What is one way that God has helped us to have a place in his divine purpose regarding his name and Kingdom? (b) How is the Kingdom set up in 1914 C.E. different from the one overturned in 607 B.C.E.?
14 First, Jehovah has entrusted his people with the truth. The most exciting revelation is that his Kingdom began ruling in 1914. (Revelation 12:10) This heavenly government is different from the typical kingdom in Jerusalem, where kings in the line of David used to be enthroned. That kingdom was overturned, and beginning in 607 B.C.E., Jerusalem was completely subjected to the rule of Gentile world powers. The new Kingdom that Jehovah set up in 1914 is a heavenly power that will never be subject to anyone but Jehovah, nor will it be brought to ruin. (Daniel 2:44) Also, its rulership is different. How? Revelation 11:15 answers: “Loud voices occurred in heaven, saying: ‘The kingdom of the world did become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever.’”
15 “The kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” exercises authority over the entire world of mankind. This new expression of Jehovah’s sovereignty, which includes his Messianic Son and Jesus’ 144,000 brothers, most of whom are now resurrected to heavenly glory, is not of merely academic interest—something theoretical that students might like to discuss. No, this heavenly Kingdom is a real government. And our happy prospect of living forever in perfection as a result of its rule gives us ample reason to continue rejoicing. Being entrusted with such truths of Jehovah’s Word moves us always to speak well of it. (Psalm 56:10) Are you regularly doing this by telling everyone that God’s Messianic Kingdom is now ruling in the heavens?
Helped by Holy Spirit and a Worldwide Brotherhood
16, 17. What are the second and third ways that God has helped us to have a place in his divine purpose?
16 A second way that God has helped us to have a place in his divine purpose is by giving us his holy spirit, which enables us to produce its beautiful fruitage in our lives and gain his approval. (Galatians 5:22, 23) Furthermore, Paul wrote to anointed Christians: “We received . . . the spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God.” (1 Corinthians 2:12) By our responding to Jehovah’s spirit, all of us can now know and understand the present good things he has kindly given us—his promises, laws, principles, and so forth.—Compare Matthew 13:11.
17 As for the third way that God is helping us, we have our worldwide brotherhood and Jehovah’s delightful organizational arrangement for worship. The apostle Peter spoke of it when he exhorted us to “have love for the whole association of brothers.” (1 Peter 2:17) Our loving, international family of brothers and sisters helps us to serve Jehovah with great joy of heart, as Psalm 100:2 commands: “Serve Jehovah with rejoicing. Come in before him with a joyful cry.” Verse 4 says further: “Come into his gates with thanksgiving, into his courtyards with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.” So whether we are preaching publicly or attending our meetings, we can experience joy. What peace and security we have found in the beautiful courtyards of Jehovah’s spiritual temple!
Joyfully Praise Jehovah!
18. Why can we rejoice in praising Jehovah despite persecution or other problems that beset us?
18 No matter what difficult circumstances, persecution, or other problems may beset us, let us rejoice that we are in Jehovah’s house of worship. (Isaiah 2:2, 3) Remember that joy is a quality of the heart. Our early Christian brothers and sisters were joyful praisers of Jehovah despite the many hardships and losses they experienced. (Hebrews 10:34) Our fellow believers today are just like them.—Matthew 5:10-12.
19. (a) What repeated injunctions stir us to praise Jehovah? (b) Our eternal lives depend on what, and what is our determination?
19 All of us who serve Jehovah delight to obey the Bible’s injunctions to praise him. Repeatedly the book of Revelation punctuates God’s praises with the expression “Praise Jah!” (Revelation 19:1-6) In the six verses of Psalm 150, we are told 13 times to praise Jehovah. This is a universal appeal to all creation to join in joyfully singing Jehovah’s praise. Our eternal life depends on our joining in this great Hallelujah chorus! Yes, the only people who will live forever are those who render unceasing praise to Jehovah. Therefore, we are determined to stick closely to his loyal worldwide congregation as the end draws near. Then, we can hope to see the closing words of Psalm 150 completely fulfilled: “Every breathing thing—let it praise Jah. Praise Jah, you people!”
How Would You Answer?
□ What makes Jehovah’s people distinctive, unique?
□ Why are Jehovah’s servants so joyful?
□ What sets us apart from the world?
□ In what three ways has God helped us to have a place in his divine purpose?
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Wherever he was, Jesus bore witness to Jehovah and publicly praised him