Jehovah’s Word Is Alive
Highlights From Book Five of Psalms
THE rich may say: “Our sons are like little plants grown up in their youth, our daughters like corners carved in palace style, our garners full, . . . our flocks multiplying by thousands.” Moreover, the wealthy may exclaim: “Happy is the people for whom it is just like that!” In contrast, however, the psalmist says: “Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!” (Psalm 144:12-15) How could it be otherwise? Jehovah is the happy God, and happiness is the lot of those worshipping him. (1 Timothy 1:11) This truth is made evident in the final collection of divinely inspired songs, consisting of Psalms 107 to 150.
Book Five of Psalms also highlights Jehovah’s superlative qualities, including his loving-kindness, trueness, and goodness. The more insight we gain into God’s personality, the more inclined we are to love and fear him. This, in turn, contributes to our happiness. What a valuable message we find in Book Five of Psalms!—Hebrews 4:12.
HAPPY BECAUSE OF JEHOVAH’S LOVING-KINDNESS
“O let people give thanks to Jehovah for his loving-kindness and for his wonderful works to the sons of men,” sing the exiled Jews returning from Babylonian captivity. (Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31) Praising God, David sings: “Your trueness [is] up to the skies.” (Psalm 108:4) In the following melody, he prays: “Help me, O Jehovah my God; save me according to your loving-kindness.” (Psalm 109:18, 19, 26) Psalm 110 is prophetic of the Messiah’s rulership. “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom,” states Psalm 111:10. According to the next psalm, “happy is the man in fear of Jehovah.”—Psalm 112:1.
Psalms 113 to 118 are called the Hallel Psalms, so termed because they repeatedly use the expression “Hallelujah,” or “Praise Jah!” According to the Mishnah—a third-century work that put into writing the earlier oral tradition—these songs were sung at the Passover and the three annual festivals of the Jews. The longest of all psalms and chapters in the Bible, Psalm 119 magnifies Jehovah’s revealed word, or message.
Scriptural Questions Answered:
109:23—What did David mean when he said: “Like a shadow when it declines, I am obliged to go away”? David was poetically saying that he felt that his death was very near.—Psalm 102:11.
110:1, 2—What did “[David’s] Lord,” Jesus Christ, do while sitting at God’s right hand? Following his resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven and waited at God’s right hand until 1914 to begin ruling as King. During that time, Jesus ruled over his anointed followers, guiding them in their preaching and disciple-making work as well as preparing them to rule with him in his Kingdom.—Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 22:28-30.
110:4—To what has Jehovah ‘sworn without feeling regret’? This oath is the covenant that Jehovah made with Jesus Christ to serve as King and High Priest.—Luke 22:29.
113:3—In what way is Jehovah’s name to be praised “from the rising of the sun until its setting”? This involves more than a group of individuals worshipping God every day. From the sun’s rising in the east to its setting in the west, the rays of the sun illuminate the entire globe. Likewise, Jehovah is to be praised earth wide. This cannot be accomplished without an organized effort. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have the cherished privilege to praise God and share zealously in the Kingdom proclamation work.
116:15—How ‘precious in Jehovah’s eyes is the death of his loyal ones’? Jehovah’s worshippers are so precious to him that he considers their death as a body, or a group, too costly to permit. If Jehovah were to allow that to happen, it would be as if his enemies were more powerful than he is. Moreover, no one would be left on the earth as a foundation for the new world.
119:71—What could be good about suffering affliction? Hardship can teach us to rely more fully on Jehovah, to pray to him more earnestly, and to be more diligent in studying the Bible and applying what it says. Moreover, our response to affliction can reveal personality flaws that can be corrected. Suffering will not make us bitter if we allow it to refine us.
119:96—What is meant by ‘an end to all perfection’? The psalmist is speaking about perfection from a human viewpoint. He likely had in mind that man’s concept of perfection is limited. In contrast, God’s commandment has no such limit. Its guidance applies to all aspects of life. “To all perfection I see a limit,” reads the New International Version, “but your commands are boundless.”
119:164—What is significant about praising God “seven times in the day”? The number seven often denotes completeness. Therefore, the psalmist is stating that Jehovah is deserving of all praise.
Lessons for Us:
107:27-31. The wisdom of the world will ‘prove confused’ when Armageddon strikes. (Revelation 16:14, 16) It cannot save anyone from destruction. Only those who look to Jehovah for salvation will live to “give thanks to [him] for his loving-kindness.”
109:30, 31; 110:5. The sword-wielding right hand of a soldier normally lacks the protection of the shield, which was held on the left. Metaphorically, Jehovah is “at the right hand” of his servants, to fight for them. Thus he gives them protection and help—a fine reason for us to “laud [him] very much”!
113:4-9. Jehovah is so high that he has to condescend even “to look on heaven.” Yet, he is compassionate to the lowly one, the poor one, and the barren woman. The Sovereign Lord Jehovah is humble and wants his worshippers to be that way too.—James 4:6.
114:3-7. Learning about the wonderful works that Jehovah performed in behalf of his people at the Red Sea, at the Jordan River, and at Mount Sinai ought to affect us deeply. Mankind, represented by “earth,” should be in awe—figuratively “in severe pains”—because of the Lord.
119:97-101. Gaining wisdom, insight, and understanding from God’s Word protects us from spiritual harm.
119:105. God’s Word is a lamp to our foot in that it can help us to deal with current problems. It also figuratively lights up our roadway, since it foretells God’s purpose for the future.
HAPPY DESPITE ADVERSITIES
How can we face trialsome circumstances and survive adversities? Psalms 120 to 134 give a clear answer to this question. We survive hardship and maintain our joy by looking to Jehovah for help. These psalms, called Songs of the Ascents, were probably sung as the Israelites traveled up to Jerusalem for the observance of their annual festivals.
Psalms 135 and 136 portray Jehovah as the Doer of whatever pleases him, in sharp contrast with helpless idols. The 136th Psalm is composed for responsive singing, the last part of each verse being sung in response to the first. The next psalm relates the heartbroken condition of the Jews in Babylon who wanted to worship Jehovah in Zion. Psalms 138 to 145 are of David. He wants to ‘laud Jehovah with all his heart.’ Why? “Because in a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made,” he says. (Psalm 138:1; 139:14) In the following five psalms, David prays for protection from bad men, for righteous reproofs, for deliverance from persecutors, and for guidance in conduct. He highlights the happiness of Jehovah’s people. (Psalm 144:15) After reviewing God’s greatness and goodness, David declares: “The praise of Jehovah my mouth will speak; and let all flesh bless his holy name to time indefinite, even forever.”—Psalm 145:21.
Scriptural Questions Answered:
122:3—How was Jerusalem a city “joined together in oneness”? As was usually the case in cities of ancient times, houses in Jerusalem were built close together. The city was compact and therefore easy to defend. Moreover, the physical proximity of homes made it possible for city dwellers to rely upon one another for assistance and protection. This suggests the spiritual unity of the 12 tribes of Israel when they came together for worship.
123:2—What is the point of the illustration about the eyes of servants? Servants and maidservants look toward the hand of a master or a mistress for two reasons: to determine his or her wishes and to receive protection and life’s necessities. Similarly, we look to Jehovah in order to discern his will and to gain his favor.
131:1-3—How did David ‘soothe and quiet his soul like a weanling upon his mother’? As a weaned child learns to find solace and satisfaction in his mother’s arms, David learned to soothe and calm his soul “like a weanling upon his mother.” How? By not being haughty at heart and lofty in eyes and by not going after things that were too great for him. Rather than seeking prominence, David usually recognized his limitations and manifested humility. We are wise to imitate his attitude, particularly when reaching out for privileges in the congregation.
Lessons for Us:
120:1, 2, 6, 7. Slanderous and cutting speech can cause unbearable distress to others. Keeping our tongue in check is one way to show that we “stand for peace.”
120:3, 4. If we have to put up with someone having a “tricky tongue,” we can take comfort in knowing that Jehovah will set matters straight in his due time. Slanderers will suffer calamity at the hands of “a mighty man.” They will surely be recipients of Jehovah’s fiery judgment symbolized by “burning coals of the broom trees.”
127:1, 2. In all our endeavors, we should look to Jehovah for guidance.
133:1-3. The unity of Jehovah’s people is soothing, wholesome, and refreshing. We should not disrupt it by engaging in faultfinding, quarreling, or complaining.
137:1, 5, 6. Exiled worshippers of Jehovah felt attached to Zion, which had represented God’s organization. What about us? Have we formed a loyal attachment to the organization that Jehovah is using today?
138:2. Jehovah ‘magnifies his saying even above all his name’ in that the fulfillment of all that he has promised in his name will far exceed whatever expectations we may have. Truly, grand prospects lie ahead of us.
139:1-6, 15, 16. Jehovah knows our activities, our thoughts, and our words even before we speak them. He knows us from when the embryo was formed, before each body part became distinct. God’s knowledge of us as individuals is “too wonderful” to fathom. How comforting it is to know that Jehovah not only sees a trialsome situation we may be facing but also understands its effect on us!
139:7-12. No place that we might go to is too remote for God to strengthen us.
139:17, 18. Has knowledge of Jehovah become pleasurable to us? (Proverbs 2:10) If so, we have found an inexhaustible fountain of delight. Jehovah’s thoughts “are more than even the grains of sand.” There will always be more to learn about him.
139:23, 24. We should want Jehovah to examine our inner person for ‘painful ways’—improper thoughts, desires, and inclinations—and to help us root them out.
143:4-7. How can we endure even severe hardships? The psalmist gives us the key: Meditate on Jehovah’s activity, keep ourselves concerned with his doings, and pray to him for help.
“Praise Jah, You People!”
Each of the first four collections of psalms ends with an expression of praise to Jehovah. (Psalm 41:13; 72:19, 20; 89:52; 106:48) The final collection is no exception. Psalm 150:6 states: “Every breathing thing—let it praise Jah. Praise Jah, you people!” That will indeed become a reality in God’s new world.
As we look forward to that blessed time, we have ample reason to glorify the true God and praise his name. When we think of the happiness we experience because we know Jehovah and enjoy a good relationship with him, are we not moved to praise him with a grateful heart?
[Picture on page 15]
Jehovah’s wonderful works are awe-inspiring
[Picture on page 16]
Jehovah’s thoughts “are more than even the grains of sand”