“Take Exquisite Delight in Jehovah”
“Take exquisite delight in Jehovah, and he will give you the requests of your heart.”—PSALM 37:4.
1, 2. Who is the Source of true happiness, and how did King David draw attention to this fact?
“HAPPY are those conscious of their spiritual need, . . . happy are the merciful, . . . happy are the peaceable.” Together with six other descriptions of those who are happy, these statements form the striking introduction to Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount, as recorded by Gospel writer Matthew. (Matthew 5:3-11) Jesus’ words give assurance that happiness is within our reach.
2 A sacred song penned by King David of ancient Israel draws attention to the Source of true happiness, Jehovah. “Take exquisite delight in Jehovah,” David said, “and he will give you the requests of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) But what can make knowing Jehovah and the many facets of his personality an “exquisite delight”? How does a consideration of what he has done and will yet do in accomplishing his purpose offer you the prospect of receiving “the requests of your heart”? An in-depth look at Psalm 37, verses 1 to 11, provides the answers.
“Do Not Be Envious”
3, 4. As recorded at Psalm 37:1, what advice does David give, and why is heeding it appropriate today?
3 We are living in “critical times hard to deal with,” and wickedness abounds. We have seen come true the apostle Paul’s words: “Wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.” (2 Timothy 3:1, 13) How easy it is to be affected by the apparent success and prosperity of wicked people! All of that can distract us, causing our spiritual vision to get out of focus. Note how the opening words of Psalm 37 alert us to this potential danger: “Do not show yourself heated up because of the evildoers. Do not be envious of those doing unrighteousness.”
4 The world’s media daily bombard us with a list of injustices. Dishonest businessmen get away with fraud. Criminals exploit the vulnerable. Murderers remain undetected or go unpunished. All such examples of the perversion of justice can provoke anger and disturb our peace of mind. The seeming success of evildoers may even prompt feelings of envy. But will our being upset improve the situation? Does envy of the apparent advantages that the wicked enjoy alter the outcome for them? Most definitely not! And there is really no need for us to become “heated up.” Why not?
5. Why are evildoers likened to grass?
5 The psalmist answers: “For like grass they will speedily wither, and like green new grass they will fade away.” (Psalm 37:2) Green new grass may look pretty, but the blades soon shrivel and die. Likewise with evildoers. Their apparent prosperity is not permanent. When they die, their ill-gotten gains help them no more. Justice finally catches up with everyone. “The wages sin pays is death,” wrote Paul. (Romans 6:23) Evildoers and all who are unrighteous will finally receive their “wages” and no more. What a profitless way of life!—Psalm 37:35, 36; 49:16, 17.
6. What lesson can we draw from Psalm 37:1, 2?
6 Should we, then, allow the fleeting prosperity of evildoers to disturb us? The lesson from the first two verses of Psalm 37 is this: Do not allow their success to cause you to deviate from your chosen course to serve Jehovah. Rather, keep your focus on spiritual blessings and goals.—Proverbs 23:17.
“Trust in Jehovah and Do Good”
7. Why should we trust in Jehovah?
7 “Trust in Jehovah and do good,” the psalmist urges us. (Psalm 37:3a) When we are beset by anxieties or even by doubts, our confidence needs to be firmly placed in Jehovah. He is the One who offers complete spiritual security. “Anyone dwelling in the secret place of the Most High,” wrote Moses, “will procure himself lodging under the very shadow of the Almighty One.” (Psalm 91:1) When unsettled by the increase of lawlessness in this system of things, we need all the more to lean on Jehovah. If we sprain an ankle, we are pleased to have the arm of a friend for support. Likewise, when we endeavor to walk in faithfulness, we need Jehovah’s support.—Isaiah 50:10.
8. How can participation in the Christian ministry help us to avoid being unduly disturbed by the prosperity of the wicked?
8 One antidote to being disturbed by the prosperity of the wicked is to be busy searching out and helping sheeplike ones to come to an accurate knowledge of Jehovah’s purpose. In the face of increasing wickedness, we need to be fully occupied with helping others. “Do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others,” said the apostle Paul, “for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” The greatest “good” we can do is to share with others the glorious good news of God’s Kingdom. Our public preaching truly is “a sacrifice of praise.”—Hebrews 13:15, 16; Galatians 6:10.
9. Explain David’s exhortation to “reside in the earth.”
9 “Reside in the earth,” David continues, “and deal with faithfulness.” (Psalm 37:3b) “The earth” of David’s day was the territory Jehovah had given to Israel, the Promised Land. During Solomon’s reign its boundaries reached from Dan in the north to Beer-sheba in the south. This was Israel’s residence. (1 Kings 4:25) Today, wherever we live on earth, we look forward to the time when the whole planet will become a paradise in the new world of righteousness. In the meantime, we reside in spiritual security.—Isaiah 65:13, 14.
10. What is the result when we “deal with faithfulness”?
10 What will be the result when we “deal with faithfulness”? The inspired proverb reminds us: “A man of faithful acts will get many blessings.” (Proverbs 28:20) Our faithfully persevering in preaching the good news wherever we live and to whomever we can certainly brings rewards from Jehovah. For example, Frank and his wife, Rose, took up a pioneer assignment 40 years ago in a town in northern Scotland. The few who had shown interest in the truth there had drifted away. Undeterred, this pioneer couple set about the work of preaching and making disciples. Now there is a flourishing congregation in that town. This couple’s faithfulness has truly had Jehovah’s blessing. “The greatest blessing,” Frank humbly explains, “is simply that we are still in the truth and are useful to Jehovah.” Yes, when we “deal with faithfulness,” we receive and appreciate many blessings.
“Take Exquisite Delight in Jehovah”
11, 12. (a) How can we “take exquisite delight in Jehovah”? (b) What goal can you set regarding personal study, and with what probable result?
11 To strengthen our relationship with Jehovah and to maintain our trust in him, we must “take exquisite delight in Jehovah.” (Psalm 37:4a) How do we do that? Rather than being preoccupied with our own situation, difficult though it may be, we make Jehovah our concern. One way to do this is to take time to read his Word. (Psalm 1:1, 2) Does your Bible reading bring you delight? It will when you read with the goal of learning more about Jehovah. Why not pause after reading a portion and ask yourself, ‘What did this passage teach me about Jehovah?’ You may find it helpful to have a notebook or some paper handy when you read the Bible. Each time you stop to reflect on the meaning of what you have read, jot down a phrase that reminds you of one of God’s endearing attributes. In another psalm, David sang: “Let the sayings of my mouth and the meditation of my heart become pleasurable before you, O Jehovah my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) This concentrated attention to God’s Word on our part is “pleasurable” to Jehovah and delightful to us.
12 How can we derive happiness from our study and meditation? We can make it our aim to learn as much as we can about Jehovah and his ways. Such publications as The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived and Draw Close to Jehovaha furnish us much that we can reflect on with appreciation. In turn, David assures the righteous, Jehovah “will give you the requests of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4b) It was this kind of confidence that must have prompted the apostle John to pen the words: “This is the confidence that we have toward him, that, no matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us. Further, if we know he hears us respecting whatever we are asking, we know we are to have the things asked since we have asked them of him.”—1 John 5:14, 15.
13. In recent years, what expansion of the Kingdom-preaching work has been observed in many lands?
13 As integrity keepers, our greatest delight is to see the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty. (Proverbs 27:11) Do our hearts not overflow with joy when we learn of the tremendous preaching work carried out by our brothers in lands that used to be under totalitarian or dictatorial rule? We eagerly look forward to seeing what further freedom may develop before the end of this system. Many of Jehovah’s servants living in western countries have a vigorous share in preaching to students, refugees, and others who temporarily reside in the west and enjoy freedom of worship. It is our earnest wish that as these individuals return home, they continue to let the light of truth shine in even apparently impenetrable darkness.—Matthew 5:14-16.
“Roll Upon Jehovah Your Way”
14. What evidence is there that we can rely on Jehovah?
14 What a relief it is to know that our worries and what may seem to us to be oppressive weights can be lifted! How? “Roll upon Jehovah your way, and rely upon him,” says David, adding, “and he himself will act.” (Psalm 37:5) In our congregations, we have ample evidence that Jehovah is a reliable support. (Psalm 55:22) Those in the full-time ministry, whether as pioneers, traveling overseers, missionaries, or volunteers serving at Bethel, can all testify to the reliability of Jehovah’s care. Why not speak to ones you know and ask how Jehovah has helped them? You will undoubtedly hear many experiences showing that even during difficult times, Jehovah’s hand is never short. He always provides life’s necessities.—Psalm 37:25; Matthew 6:25-34.
15. How does the righteousness of God’s people shine forth?
15 When we make Jehovah our confidence and trust in him implicitly, we can experience the psalmist’s further words: “He will certainly bring forth your righteousness as the light itself, and your justice as the midday.” (Psalm 37:6) As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we often find ourselves misrepresented. But Jehovah opens the eyes of honesthearted ones to help them realize that our public ministry is motivated by love for Jehovah and for neighbor. At the same time, our upright conduct, though misrepresented by many, cannot be hidden. Jehovah sustains us through all manner of opposition and persecution. As a result, the righteousness of God’s people shines forth like the sun at midday.—1 Peter 2:12.
“Keep Silent . . . Wait Longingly”
16, 17. In harmony with Psalm 37:7, for what is it now the time, and why?
16 The psalmist’s next words are: “Keep silent before Jehovah and wait longingly for him. Do not show yourself heated up at anyone making his way successful, at the man carrying out his ideas.” (Psalm 37:7) Here David stresses the need for us to wait patiently for Jehovah to act. Although the end of this system has not yet come, this is no cause for complaint. Have we not seen that Jehovah’s mercy and patience are far greater than we at first thought? Can we now show that we too wait patiently as we keep busy preaching the good news before the end comes? (Mark 13:10) Now is the time to avoid rash acts that can rob us of our joy and spiritual security. Now is the time to resist ever more strongly the corrupting influence of Satan’s world. And now is the time to maintain moral purity and never jeopardize our righteous standing with Jehovah. Let us continue to banish immoral thoughts and avoid unseemly acts toward those of the opposite or, indeed, the same sex.—Colossians 3:5.
17 “Let anger alone and leave rage,” David counsels us. “Do not show yourself heated up only to do evil. For evildoers themselves will be cut off, but those hoping in Jehovah are the ones that will possess the earth.” (Psalm 37:8, 9) Yes, we can confidently look forward to the time—now so near—when Jehovah will eradicate from the earth all corruption and those who are responsible for it.
“Just a Little While Longer”
18, 19. What encouragement do you draw from Psalm 37:10?
18 “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be.” (Psalm 37:10) How those words encourage us as we approach the end of this system and the culmination of disastrous independence from Jehovah! Whatever kind of government or authority has been devised by man has failed miserably. And now we are nearing the time for a return to rule by God, true theocracy, the Kingdom of Jehovah in the hands of Jesus Christ. It will take complete control of the world’s affairs and remove all opposers of God’s Kingdom.—Daniel 2:44.
19 In the new world under God’s Kingdom, search as you may, you will not be able to find a “wicked one.” Indeed, anyone who then rebels against Jehovah will quickly be removed. No one who attacks his sovereignty or who refuses to submit to godly authority will be there. All your neighbors will be like-minded in their desire to please Jehovah. What security that will bring—no locks, no bars, nothing that will mar complete trust and happiness!—Isaiah 65:20; Micah 4:4; 2 Peter 3:13.
20, 21. (a) Who are “the meek” of Psalm 37:11, and where do they find an “abundance of peace”? (b) What blessings will be ours if we imitate the Greater David?
20 Then, “the meek ones themselves will possess the earth.” (Psalm 37:11a) But who are these “meek ones”? The word translated “meek” comes from a root word meaning “afflict, humble, humiliate.” Yes, “the meek ones” are those who humbly wait on Jehovah to right all the injustices inflicted upon them. “They will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:11b) Even now we find an abundance of peace in the spiritual paradise associated with the true Christian congregation.
21 Although not yet relieved of afflictions, we support one another and comfort those who are depressed. As a result, true inner contentment is promoted among Jehovah’s people. Brothers appointed as shepherds lovingly minister to our spiritual—and at times even physical—needs, enabling us to endure affliction for righteousness’ sake. (1 Thessalonians 2:7, 11; 1 Peter 5:2, 3) What a valuable possession this peace is! We also have the hope of everlasting life in the peaceful Paradise at hand. May we, then, imitate the Greater David, Christ Jesus, whose zeal for Jehovah motivated him to serve faithfully to the end. (1 Peter 2:21) By doing so, we will continue to be happy, praising the one in whom we take exquisite delight, our God, Jehovah.
a Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Can You Answer?
• What lessons did you learn from Psalm 37:1, 2?
• How can you “take exquisite delight in Jehovah”?
• What evidence is there that we can rely on Jehovah?
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Christians ‘are not envious of those doing unrighteousness’
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“Trust in Jehovah and do good”
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Take exquisite delight in Jehovah by learning as much as you can about him
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“The meek ones themselves will possess the earth”