“Unify my heart to fear your name. I praise you, O Jehovah my God, with all my heart.”—PS. 86:11, 12.
SONG 7 Jehovah, Our Strength
1. What is godly fear, and why is it necessary for those who love Jehovah?
CHRISTIANS love God, and they also fear him. To some, that might seem like a contradiction. However, we are not referring to the type of fear that terrifies you. We are going to discuss a special type of fear. People who have this type of fear are in awe of God and have sincere respect for him. They do not want to displease their heavenly Father because they do not want to harm their friendship with him.—Ps. 111:10; Prov. 8:13.
2. Based on King David’s words recorded at Psalm 86:11, what two things will we discuss?
2 Read Psalm 86:11. As you think about those words, you can tell that faithful King David understood the importance of godly fear. Let us consider how we may apply David’s inspired words. First, we will examine some reasons for holding God’s name in awe. Second, we will discuss how to show that we are in awe of God’s name in our daily life.
WHY DOES JEHOVAH’S NAME INSPIRE AWE?
3. What experience may have helped Moses to remain in awe of God’s name?
3 Think of how Moses felt when he was huddled in a rocky crevice and he saw a vision of Jehovah’s glory passing by. Insight on the Scriptures notes that it “was probably the most awe-inspiring experience of any man prior to the coming of Jesus Christ.” Moses heard the following words, evidently spoken by an angel: “Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and abundant in loyal love and truth, showing loyal love to thousands, pardoning error and transgression and sin.” (Ex. 33:17-23; 34:5-7) Memory of that event possibly came back to Moses when he used the name Jehovah. It is no wonder that Moses later warned God’s people Israel to “fear this glorious and awe-inspiring name.”—Deut. 28:58.
4. Meditating on what qualities can fill us with awe for Jehovah?
4 When we think about the name Jehovah, we do well to meditate on the one who bears that name. We should remember his qualities, such as his power, his wisdom, his justice, and his love. Reflecting on those qualities and others can fill us with awe for him.—Ps. 77:11-15.
5 What do we know about the meaning of God’s name? Many scholars agree that the name Jehovah seems to mean “He Causes to Become.” That meaning reminds us that Jehovah has an unstoppable will, and he can make things happen. How so?
6 Jehovah makes things happen by becoming whatever is needed in order to fulfill his purpose. (Read Exodus 3:13, 14.) We have often been encouraged to contemplate that awe-inspiring aspect of God’s personality. Jehovah can also cause his imperfect human servants to become what is needed in order to serve him and fulfill his purpose. (Read Isaiah 64:8.) In these ways, Jehovah causes his will to be carried out. Nothing can stop him from causing his purposes to be fulfilled.—Isa. 46:10, 11.
7. How can we build our appreciation for our heavenly Father?
7 We can build our appreciation for our heavenly Father by meditating on what he has done and what he has enabled us to do. For instance, when we meditate on the wonders of creation, we are filled with awe at what Jehovah has accomplished, what he has caused to come into existence. (Ps. 8:3, 4) And when we meditate on what Jehovah has caused us to become so that we can do his will, we develop deep respect for him. The name Jehovah really is awe-inspiring! It includes all that our Father is, all that he has done, and all that he will do.—Ps. 89:7, 8.
“I WILL DECLARE THE NAME OF JEHOVAH”
8. What does Deuteronomy 32:2, 3 reveal about Jehovah’s view of his name?
8 Just before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Jehovah taught Moses the words of a song. (Deut. 31:19) Moses, in turn, was to teach the song to the people. (Read Deuteronomy 32:2, 3.) As we meditate on verses 2 and 3, it is clear that Jehovah does not want his name to be hidden, treated as if it were too sacred to pronounce. He wants his name to be known by all his intelligent creation! What a privilege it was for people to hear Moses teach them about Jehovah and His glorious name! What Moses taught them nourished and refreshed them, like gentle rain on vegetation. How can we make sure that our teaching is like that?
9. How can we help to sanctify Jehovah’s name?
9 When we are in the door-to-door work or the public ministry, we can use our Bible to show people God’s personal name, Jehovah. We can offer them beautiful literature, excellent videos, and material on our website that honor Jehovah. At work, at school, or while traveling, we may find opportunities to talk about our beloved God and what he is like. When we tell those we meet about Jehovah’s loving purpose for mankind and the earth, we are giving them a view of Jehovah that may well be completely new to them. As we tell others the truth about our loving Father, we are adding to the sanctifying of God’s name. We are clearing up some of the lies and slander about Jehovah that others may have been taught. We offer people the most nourishing, refreshing teachings available.—Isa. 65:13, 14.
10. When we conduct Bible studies, why do we need to do more than teach God’s requirements and standards?
10 When we conduct Bible studies, we want to help our students come to know and use Jehovah’s name. In addition, we want to help them to see what his name stands for. Will we accomplish that if we simply convey instructions, divine standards, and rules of conduct? A good student may learn about God’s laws, even admire them. But will the student obey Jehovah out of love for him as a Person? Remember, Eve knew God’s law, but she did not truly love the Lawgiver; nor did Adam. (Gen. 3:1-6) So we must do more than teach others about God’s righteous requirements and standards.
11. When teaching about God’s laws and standards, how may we help our students come to love the Lawgiver?
11 Jehovah’s requirements and standards are appealing and beautiful. (Ps. 119:97, 111, 112) But our students may not see them that way unless they see Jehovah’s love behind those laws. So we might ask our students: “Why do you think God asks his servants to do this or to refrain from doing this? What does that tell us about him as a Person?” If we help our students to think about Jehovah and to develop real love for his glorious name, we are more likely to reach their heart. Our students will come to love not only the laws but also the Lawgiver. (Ps. 119:68) They will grow in faith and will be helped to endure fiery tests to come.—1 Cor. 3:12-15.
“WE WILL WALK IN THE NAME OF JEHOVAH”
12. How did David once fail to maintain a unified heart, and with what result?
12 A vital phrase found at Psalm 86:11 is “unify my heart.” King David was inspired to write those words. During his life, he saw how easy it is to allow the heart to become divided. On one occasion, he was on his roof and he saw another man’s wife bathing. At that moment, was David’s heart unified or divided? He knew Jehovah’s standard: “You must not desire your fellow man’s wife.” (Ex. 20:17) Yet, evidently he kept looking. His heart became divided between his desire for the woman, Bath-sheba, and his desire to please Jehovah. Although David had long loved and feared Jehovah, he gave in to his selfish desire. In that instance, David pursued a very bad course. He brought reproach on Jehovah’s name. David also brought terrible harm to innocent people, including his own family.—2 Sam. 11:1-5, 14-17; 12:7-12.
13. How do we know that David’s heart again became unified?
13 Jehovah disciplined David, and he recovered. (2 Sam. 12:13; Ps. 51:2-4, 17) David remembered the trouble and misery that resulted when he let his heart become divided. His words recorded at Psalm 86:11 may also be rendered: “Give me an undivided heart.” Did Jehovah help David make his heart whole, or undivided? Yes, for Jehovah’s Word later refers to David as a man whose “heart was . . . complete with Jehovah his God.”—1 Ki. 11:4; 15:3.
14. What do we need to ask ourselves, and why?
14 David’s example is both encouraging and sobering. His fall into serious sin stands as a warning to God’s servants today. Whether we have recently begun to serve Jehovah or have done so for many years, we need to ask ourselves, ‘Am I resisting Satan’s attempts to divide my heart?’
15. How might godly fear protect us when we are exposed to sensual images?
15 For instance, if you see an image on TV or the Internet that could arouse sensual desires, how do you respond? It might be easy to rationalize that the picture or movie is not exactly pornographic. But might it represent an effort by Satan to divide your heart? (2 Cor. 2:11) That image can be like a little metal wedge that a man uses to split a big log. At first he drives the thin, sharp edge of the wedge into the log. Then as he drives the wedge deeper, the log splits apart. Could suggestive imagery in the media be like the thin part of that wedge? What may start off as small and seemingly harmless can quickly lead a person to commit sins that divide his heart and break his integrity. So refuse to give anything improper entry into your heart! Keep it unified to fear Jehovah’s name!
16. When faced with temptation, what questions should we ask ourselves?
16 Besides seductive imagery, Satan presents us with many other temptations to do wrong. How do we respond? It is easy to rationalize. For example, we might reason: ‘Well, I would not be disfellowshipped for doing this, so it must not be that serious.’ Such reasoning is deeply flawed. We do better to ask ourselves such questions as these: ‘Is Satan trying to use this temptation to divide my heart? If I give in to wrong desires, would I bring reproach on Jehovah’s name? Would this action draw me closer to my God, or might it distance me from him?’ Meditate on such questions. Pray for wisdom to answer them honestly, without self-deception. (Jas. 1:5) Doing so can be a real protection. It can help you to reject temptation firmly, as Jesus did when he said: “Go away, Satan!”—Matt. 4:10.
17. Why is a divided heart of little value? Illustrate.
17 A divided heart is of little value. Imagine that a sports team has members who do not get along with one another. Some want glory only for themselves, a few do not want to play by the rules, and a number treat the coach with contempt. A team like that is unlikely to win a match. In contrast, a team that is united is more likely to have success. Your heart can be like that successful team if your thoughts, desires, and emotions are united in serving Jehovah. Remember, Satan would love to divide your heart. He wants your thoughts, desires, and emotions to be at odds and in conflict with Jehovah’s standards. You, however, need your heart to be whole in order for you to serve Jehovah. (Matt. 22:36-38) Never let Satan divide your heart!
18. In harmony with the words of Micah 4:5, what is your resolve?
18 Pray to Jehovah as did David: “Unify my heart to fear your name.” Make it your aim to live up to that prayer. Each day, be determined that your decisions, from small to great, show that you hold Jehovah’s holy name in profound awe. In so doing, as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you will reflect well on that name. (Prov. 27:11) And all of us will be able to say, along with the prophet Micah: “We will walk in the name of Jehovah our God forever and ever.”—Mic. 4:5.
SONG 41 Please Hear My Prayer
In this article, we will focus on the portion of King David’s prayer recorded at Psalm 86:11, 12. What does it mean to fear the name of Jehovah? What basis do we have for being in awe of that great name? And how can the fear of God be a protection against giving in to temptation?
PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Moses taught God’s people a song that honored Jehovah.
PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Eve did not reject wrong desires. In contrast, we reject images or messages that might encourage wrong desires and bring reproach on God’s name.