Distressing circumstances can have a terrible impact on us. They can consume our thoughts, sap our strength, and affect our very outlook on life. King David of ancient Israel was beset by many hardships. How did he face them? In a touching psalm, David answers: “With my voice I call to Jehovah for help; with my voice I plead with Jehovah for favor. Before him I pour out my concern; before him I tell about my distress when my spirit fails within me. Then you watch my roadway.” Yes, David humbly prayed to God for help.—Ps. 142:1-3.
During trying times, David humbly prayed to Jehovah for help
In another psalm, David sang: “One thing I have asked from Jehovah—it is what I will look for—that I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, to gaze upon the pleasantness of Jehovah and to look with appreciation upon his temple.” (Ps. 27:4) David was not a Levite, but imagine him standing outside the holy courtyard near the very center of true worship. David’s heart swells with such gratitude that he wants to spend the rest of his days there and thus “gaze upon the pleasantness of Jehovah.”
The word “pleasantness” is associated with the state or quality of being “agreeable or pleasing to the mind, feelings, or senses.” David always looked with appreciation upon God’s arrangement for worship. We might well ask ourselves, ‘Do I feel the way David felt?’
“LOOK WITH APPRECIATION” UPON GOD’S ARRANGEMENT
In our day, Jehovah’s arrangement for approach to him is not centered on a physical structure. Instead, it involves God’s great spiritual temple—the sacred arrangement of true worship.a If we “look with appreciation” upon this arrangement, we too can “gaze upon the pleasantness of Jehovah.”
Consider the copper altar of burnt offering that stood before the entrance of the tabernacle. (Ex. 38:1, 2; 40:6) That altar represented God’s willingness to accept Jesus’ human life as a sacrifice. (Heb. 10:5-10) Think of what that means for us! The apostle Paul wrote: “When we were enemies we became reconciled to God through the death of his Son.” (Rom. 5:10) By exercising faith in the shed blood of Jesus, we can enjoy the favor and trust that come from being God’s friends. As a result, we experience “close friendship with Jehovah.”—Ps. 25:14.
Because we get our “sins blotted out,” we experience ‘seasons of refreshing from Jehovah.’ (Acts 3:19) Our situation is similar to that of a prisoner who regrets his past actions and makes drastic changes as he awaits his execution. Seeing this, a benevolent judge is moved to wipe the man’s record clean—lifting his death sentence. How relieved and elated such a prisoner feels! Like that judge, Jehovah turns toward repentant humans with favor and lifts the condemnation of death.
TAKE DELIGHT IN TRUE WORSHIP
Among the aspects of true worship that David could observe at the house of Jehovah were the gathering of throngs of fellow Israelites, the public reading and explaining of the Law, the burning of incense, and the rendering of sacred service by the priests and Levites. (Ex. 30:34-38; Num. 3:5-8; Deut. 31:9-12) These features of true worship in ancient Israel have modern-day counterparts.
In our day as in the past, “how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1) Tremendous increase has taken place in our worldwide “association of brothers.” (1 Pet. 2:17) God’s Word is read and explained publicly at our meetings. Through his organization, Jehovah has provided a rich program of instruction. There is also abundant spiritual food available in printed form for our use in personal and family study. One member of the Governing Body observed: “Meditating on Jehovah’s Word, reflecting on its meaning, and searching for insight and understanding have filled my waking hours with spiritual riches and contentment.” Yes, ‘knowledge can become pleasant to our soul.’—Prov. 2:10.
Today, the acceptable prayers of God’s servants ascend to Jehovah daily. To Jehovah, such prayers are like the fragrant aroma of sweet-smelling incense. (Ps. 141:2) How agreeable it is to our soul to realize that Jehovah God takes great pleasure in us when we approach him in humble prayer!
Moses prayed: “May the favor of Jehovah our God be upon us; may you prosper the work of our hands.” (Ps. 90:17) As we zealously carry out our ministry, Jehovah blesses our work. (Prov. 10:22) We may have assisted some to learn the truth. Perhaps we have endured in the ministry for many years despite apathy, ill health, emotional pain, or persecution. (1 Thess. 2:2) Nevertheless, have we not beheld “the pleasantness of Jehovah” and realized that our heavenly Father is highly pleased with our efforts?
“Jehovah is my portion, my allotted share, and my cup,” sang David. “You safeguard my inheritance. Pleasant places have been measured out to me.” (Ps. 16:5, 6) David was thankful for his “portion,” that is, for having an approved relationship with Jehovah and the privilege of serving him. Like David, we may suffer hardships, but we have so many spiritual blessings! Let us therefore continue to take delight in true worship and always “look with appreciation” upon Jehovah’s spiritual temple.