Jehovah’s Word Is Alive
Highlights From Book Two of Psalms
AS Jehovah’s servants, we expect trials and tests to come our way. “All those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted,” wrote the apostle Paul. (2 Timothy 3:12) What will help us to endure trials and persecutions, thereby proving our integrity to God?
The second of the five collections of psalms provides that help. Psalms 42 to 72 show us that if we want to endure trials successfully, we must put our complete confidence in Jehovah and learn to wait on him for deliverance. What a valuable lesson that is for us! The message of Book Two of Psalms, like the rest of God’s Word, is indeed “alive and exerts power” even today.—Hebrews 4:12.
JEHOVAH IS OUR “REFUGE AND STRENGTH”
A Levite is in exile. Saddened that he cannot go to Jehovah’s sanctuary to worship, he consoles himself, saying: “Why are you in despair, O my soul, and why are you boisterous within me? Wait for God.” (Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5) This recurring verse connects the three stanzas of Psalms 42 and 43 into one poem. Psalm 44 is a plea for Judah—a nation in distress, perhaps under the threat of Assyrian invasion in the days of King Hezekiah.
Psalm 45, a song about a kingly wedding, is prophetic of the Messianic King. The following three psalms portray Jehovah as “a refuge and strength,” “a great King over all the earth,” and “a secure height.” (Psalm 46:1; 47:2; 48:3) How beautifully Psalm 49 shows that no man “can by any means redeem even a brother”! (Psalm 49:7) The first eight psalms of the second collection are attributed to the sons of Korah. The ninth, Psalm 50, is a composition of Asaph.
Scriptural Questions Answered:
44:19—What was “the place of jackals”? The psalmist was perhaps referring to a battlefield, where those slain become food for jackals.
45:13, 14a—Who is “the king’s daughter” who “will be brought to the king”? She is the daughter of the “King of eternity,” Jehovah God. (Revelation 15:3) She represents the glorified congregation of 144,000 Christians, whom Jehovah adopts as his children by anointing them with his spirit. (Romans 8:16) This “daughter” of Jehovah, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” will be brought to the bridegroom—the Messianic King.—Revelation 21:2.
45:14b, 15—Whom do “the virgins” represent? They are the “great crowd” of true worshippers, who join and support the anointed remnant. Since they “come out of the great tribulation” alive, they will be on earth when the marriage of the Messianic King is completed in heaven. (Revelation 7:9, 13, 14) On that occasion, they will be filled with “rejoicing and joyfulness.”
45:16—In what way will there come to be sons in place of the king’s forefathers? When Jesus was born on earth, he had earthly forefathers. They will become his sons when he resurrects them from the dead during his Thousand Year Reign. Some of them will come to be among those appointed as “princes in all the earth.”
50:2—Why is Jerusalem called “the perfection of prettiness”? This was not because of the city’s appearance. Rather, it was because Jehovah used it and bestowed splendor upon it by making it the site for his temple and the capital of his anointed kings.
Lessons for Us:
42:1-3. As a hind, or female deer, in a dry region longs for water, the Levite longed for Jehovah. So intense was the man’s sadness over not being able to worship Jehovah at His sanctuary that ‘his tears became his food day and night’—he lost his appetite. Should we not cultivate deep appreciation for worshipping Jehovah in association with fellow believers?
42:4, 5, 11; 43:3-5. If for some reason beyond our control we are temporarily separated from the Christian congregation, the memory of the joys of such association in the past can sustain us. While this may at first intensify the pain of loneliness, it would also remind us that God is our refuge and that we need to wait on him for relief.
46:1-3. Whatever calamity may confront us, we must have unwavering confidence that “God is for us a refuge and strength.”
50:16-19. Anyone speaking deception and practicing vile things has no right to represent God.
“TOWARD GOD WAIT SILENTLY, O MY SOUL”
This group of psalms opens with David’s heartfelt prayer following his sin with Bath-sheba. Psalms 52 to 57 show that Jehovah will deliver those who throw their burden upon him and wait on him for salvation. As expressed in Psalms 58-64, during all his distresses, David makes Jehovah his refuge. He sings: “Indeed toward God wait silently, O my soul, because from him is my hope.”—Psalm 62:5.
Intimacy with our Deliverer should move us to “make melody to the glory of his name.” (Psalm 66:2) Jehovah is praised as a generous provider in Psalm 65, as a God of saving acts in Psalms 67 and 68, and as the Provider of escape in Psalms 70 and 71.
Scriptural Questions Answered:
51:12—With whose “willing spirit” did David ask to be supported? This refers, neither to God’s willingness to help David nor to Jehovah’s holy spirit, but to David’s own spirit—to his mental inclination. He is asking God to impart to him the desire to do what is right.
53:1—How is the person who denies God’s existence “senseless”? The senselessness here does not denote intellectual deficiency. That such a person is morally senseless can be seen from the resulting moral breakdown described at Psalm 53:1-4.
58:3-5—In what way are the wicked like a snake? The lies they tell about others are like a serpent’s venom. They poison the good reputation of their victims. “Like the cobra that stops up its ear,” the wicked do not listen to direction or correction.
58:7—How do the wicked “dissolve as into waters that go their way”? David may have been thinking of the waters of certain torrent valleys in the Promised Land. While a flash flood would swell water levels in such a valley, these waters quickly run off and disappear. David was praying for the speedy disappearance of the wicked.
68:13—How were “the wings of a dove covered with silver and its pinions with yellowish-green gold”? Certain doves of a blue-gray color have an iridescent brightness on some of their feathers. Their plumage takes on a metallic appearance in the golden sunlight. David was perhaps likening the victorious Israelite warriors coming forth from a battle to such a dove—strong of wing and brilliant in appearance. As some scholars suggest, the description may also fit a work of art, a trophy, taken as spoil. In any case, David was alluding to the victories Jehovah gave his people over their enemies.
68:18—Who were the “gifts in the form of men”? These were men from among those taken captive during the conquest of the Promised Land. Such men were later assigned to assist the Levites in their work.—Ezra 8:20.
68:30—What does the request to “rebuke the wild beast of the reeds” mean? Speaking figuratively of the enemies of Jehovah’s people as wild beasts, David asked God to rebuke them, or to keep in check their power to do harm.
69:23—What is the meaning of ‘causing enemy hips to wobble’? The muscles in the hip area are essential for performing strenuous tasks, such as picking up and carrying heavy loads. Unsteady hips suggest a loss of power. David prayed that his foes be deprived of their power.
Lessons for Us:
51:5, 7-10. If we have sinned, we can appeal to Jehovah for forgiveness on account of our inherited sinfulness. We should also pray to him to cleanse us, to restore us, to help us to remove sinful tendencies from our heart, and to give us a steadfast spirit.
51:18. David’s sins threatened the welfare of the entire nation. So he prayed for God’s goodwill toward Zion. When we commit a serious sin, it often brings reproach on Jehovah’s name and on the congregation. We need to pray to God to repair the harm we may have caused.
55:4, 5, 12-14, 16-18. The conspiracy of his own son Absalom and the betrayal of the trusted counselor Ahithophel caused David intense emotional pain. However, that did not diminish David’s confidence in Jehovah. We should not allow emotional strain to weaken our trust in God.
55:22. How do we throw our burden upon Jehovah? We do this (1) by taking a matter of concern to him in prayer, (2) by turning to his Word and organization for guidance and support, and (3) by doing what we reasonably can to relieve the situation.—Proverbs 3:5, 6; 11:14; 15:22; Philippians 4:6, 7.
56:8. Jehovah is aware not only of our situation but also of its emotional impact on us.
62:11. God does not have to depend on any external source of energy. He is the very source of power. ‘Strength belongs to him.’
63:3. God’s “loving-kindness is better than life” because without it, life is meaningless and purposeless. We are wise to cultivate friendship with Jehovah.
63:6. Nighttime—quiet and devoid of distraction—can be an excellent time for meditation.
64:2-4. Harmful gossip can ruin an innocent person’s good name. We should neither listen to such gossip nor spread it.
69:4. For us to keep peace, it may sometimes be wise to “give back” by apologizing, even if we are not convinced that we are in the wrong.
70:1-5. Jehovah hears our urgent pleas for help. (1 Thessalonians 5:17; James 1:13; 2 Peter 2:9) God may allow a trial to continue, yet he will give us wisdom to deal with the situation and the strength to endure it. He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear.—1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 10:36; James 1:5-8.
71:5, 17. David developed courage and strength by making Jehovah his confidence in his youth—even before he confronted the Philistine giant Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:34-37) Young ones do well to lean on Jehovah in all that they do.
“Let His Glory Fill the Whole Earth”
The final song in the second collection of psalms, Psalm 72, is about Solomon’s rulership, foreshadowing conditions that will prevail under the Messiah’s reign. What wonderful blessings are described there—abundant peace, the end of oppression and violence, plenty of grain on the earth! Will we be among those who will enjoy these and other Kingdom blessings? We can be if, like the psalmist, we are content to wait on Jehovah, making him our refuge and strength.
“The prayers of David . . . come to their end” with the words: “Blessed be Jehovah God, Israel’s God, who alone is doing wonderful works. And blessed be his glorious name to time indefinite, and let his glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen.” (Psalm 72:18-20) Let us likewise wholeheartedly bless Jehovah and praise his glorious name.
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Do you know who is pictured by “the king’s daughter”?
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Jerusalem is called “the perfection of prettiness.” Do you know why?