OUR YEARTEXT FOR 2022: “Those seeking Jehovah will lack nothing good.”—PS. 34:10.
SONG 4 “Jehovah Is My Shepherd”
1. What difficult situation did David find himself in?
DAVID was running for his life. Saul, the powerful king of Israel, was determined to put him to death. When David needed provisions, he stopped at the city of Nob, where he made a modest request for five loaves of bread. (1 Sam. 21:1, 3) Later, he and his men found refuge in a cave. (1 Sam. 22:1) How did David come to be in this situation?
2. How did Saul put himself in a dangerous position? (1 Samuel 23:16, 17)
2 Saul was insanely jealous of David’s popularity and military victories. Saul also knew that his own disobedience had led to Jehovah’s rejecting him as king of Israel and that Jehovah had selected David for the throne. (Read 1 Samuel 23:16, 17.) Still, as king of Israel, Saul had a large army and many supporters, so David had to flee for his life. Did Saul really think that he could fight against God’s expressed purpose for David? (Isa. 55:11) The Bible does not say, but we can be sure of one thing: Saul was putting himself in a dangerous position. Those who fight against God always lose!
3. How did David feel despite his circumstances?
3 David was not an ambitious man. He did not choose to become the king of Israel. Jehovah assigned that role to him. (1 Sam. 16:1, 12, 13) Saul came to view David as a mortal enemy. But David did not blame Jehovah for the danger he was in; nor did he complain about having a limited food supply and a cave for shelter. On the contrary, it might have been while he was hiding in that very cave that he composed the beautiful song of praise that includes the words of our theme text: “Those seeking Jehovah will lack nothing good.”—Ps. 34:10.
4. What questions will we consider, and why are they important?
4 Today many of Jehovah’s servants have experienced a shortage of food and other necessities of life.b This has been especially true during the recent pandemic. And with the “great tribulation” looming, we can expect to face even more difficult times. (Matt. 24:21) With those facts in mind, let us answer four questions: In what way did David “lack nothing good”? Why must we learn to be content? Why can we be confident that Jehovah will care for us? And how can we prepare now for the future?
“I WILL LACK NOTHING”
5-6. How does Psalm 23:1-6 help us understand what David meant when he said that God’s servants would “lack nothing good”?
5 What did David mean when he said that Jehovah’s servants would “lack nothing good”? We can get an idea by considering the similar wording found in the 23rd Psalm. (Read Psalm 23:1-6.) David introduces that psalm with the words: “Jehovah is my Shepherd. I will lack nothing.” In the rest of the psalm, David mentions things that are truly of lasting value—the abundant spiritual blessings he enjoys by accepting Jehovah as his Shepherd. Jehovah leads him “in the paths of righteousness,” and He loyally supports David in good times and in bad times. David acknowledges that his life in Jehovah’s “grassy pastures” will not be trouble free. At times, he may get discouraged, as if walking “in the valley of deep shadow,” and he will have enemies. But with Jehovah as his Shepherd, David will “fear no harm.”
6 So here we have the answer to our question: In what way did David “lack nothing good”? Spiritually speaking, he had everything he needed. His happiness was not dependent on material things. David was satisfied with what Jehovah provided. What mattered most to him was the blessing and the protection of his God.
7. According to Luke 21:20-24, what challenging situation did the first-century Judean Christians face?
7 From David’s words we can see how important it is for us to have a proper view of material things. We can certainly enjoy whatever material possessions we have, but we should not make them the focus of our life. That was a vital truth that first-century Christians living in Judea came to understand. (Read Luke 21:20-24.) Jesus had warned them that the time would come when the city of Jerusalem would be “surrounded by encamped armies.” When that occurred, they needed to “begin fleeing to the mountains.” Their flight would lead to their salvation, but it would come at a high cost. Some years ago, The Watchtower put it this way: “They left fields and homes, not even gathering their possessions from their houses. Confident of the protection and support of Jehovah, they put his worship ahead of everything else that might seem important.”
8. What sobering lesson can we learn from what happened to the first-century Christians living in Judea?
8 What sobering lesson can we learn from what happened to the first-century Christians living in Judea? The Watchtower just mentioned said: “There may be tests ahead as to how we view material things; are they the most important thing, or is the salvation that will come for all on God’s side more important? Yes, our fleeing may involve some hardships and deprivations. We will have to be ready to do whatever it takes, as did our first-century counterparts who fled from Judea.”c
9. What encouragement do you derive from the apostle Paul’s counsel to the Hebrews?
9 Can you imagine how difficult it was for those Christians to leave almost everything they had and start over? It took faith on their part to rely on Jehovah for their basic needs. But they were not without help. Five years before the Romans surrounded Jerusalem, the apostle Paul gave the Hebrews some valuable advice: “Let your way of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things. For he has said: ‘I will never leave you, and I will never abandon you.’ So that we may be of good courage and say: ‘Jehovah is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Heb. 13:5, 6) No doubt those who took to heart Paul’s advice before the Roman invasion found it easier to adapt to what might have been a modest lifestyle in their new home. They were certain that Jehovah would care for their basic needs. Paul’s words assure us that we can have the same confidence.
“WE WILL BE CONTENT WITH THESE THINGS”
10. What “secret” does Paul share with us?
10 Paul gave similar counsel to Timothy and, by extension, to us. He wrote: “So, having food and clothing, we will be content with these things.” (1 Tim. 6:8) Does this mean that we cannot enjoy a fine meal, have a decent place to live, or purchase new clothing from time to time? That is not the point Paul is making. Paul is saying that we should be content with whatever we have materially. (Phil. 4:12) That was Paul’s “secret.” Our most precious possession is our relationship with our God, not any material thing that we own.—Hab. 3:17, 18.
11. What lesson about contentment do we learn from Moses’ words to the Israelites?
11 There may be a difference between our view and Jehovah’s view of what we need. Consider what Moses told the Israelites after they had spent 40 years in the wilderness: “Jehovah your God has blessed you in all that you have done. He is fully aware of your walking through this great wilderness. These 40 years Jehovah your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.” (Deut. 2:7) During those 40 years, Jehovah provided the Israelites with manna to eat. Their clothes—the very clothes with which they had left Egypt—never wore out. (Deut. 8:3, 4) Although some might have viewed these as modest provisions, Moses reminded the Israelites that they had everything they needed. Jehovah will be pleased if we can learn to be content—to appreciate even the simple provisions he makes available, viewing them as a blessing and giving thanks for them.
BE CONFIDENT THAT JEHOVAH WILL CARE FOR YOU
12. What shows that David’s confidence was in Jehovah, not in himself?
12 David knew that Jehovah is loyal and cares deeply for those who love Him. Even though his life was in danger when he composed the 34th Psalm, with eyes of faith, David saw “the angel of Jehovah” camping “all around” him. (Ps. 34:7) Perhaps David was comparing Jehovah’s angel to a soldier camping in the field, always on the alert for the enemy. Although he himself was a mighty man of war and Jehovah had promised him the kingship, David did not rely on his ability to sling a stone or to wield a sword to defeat the enemy. (1 Sam. 16:13; 24:12) David put his trust in God, confident that Jehovah’s angel ‘rescues those fearing Him.’ Of course, we do not expect to receive miraculous protection today. But we know that no one who puts his trust in Jehovah will suffer everlasting harm.
13. When Gog of Magog attacks, why will we appear to be vulnerable, but what reason for confidence will we have? (See cover picture.)
13 In the near future, our trust in Jehovah’s ability to protect us will be put to the test. When Gog of Magog, a coalition of nations, attacks God’s people, our lives will appear to be in danger. We will need to be convinced that Jehovah can and will deliver us. To the nations, we will seem like defenseless sheep with no one to protect us. (Ezek. 38:10-12) We will be unarmed, untrained in warfare. The nations will see us as easy targets. They will not see what we see with our eyes of faith—a host of angels camped all around God’s people, ready to defend us. How could the nations see them? They have no spiritual vision. What a surprise is in store for them when the heavenly armies come to our aid!—Rev. 19:11, 14, 15.
PREPARE NOW FOR THE FUTURE
14. What steps can we take now to prepare for the future?
14 What can we do now to prepare for the future? First of all, we need to have a proper view of material things, realizing that one day we will have to part with what we have. We also need to be content and to find our greatest joy in our relationship with Jehovah. The better we get to know our God, the more convinced we will be of his ability to protect us when Gog of Magog attacks.
15. What early experiences taught David that Jehovah would never disappoint him?
15 Consider what else helped David and can help us to prepare for trials. David said: “Taste and see that Jehovah is good; happy is the man who takes refuge in him.” (Ps. 34:8) Those words explain why David knew that he could count on Jehovah’s support. David often relied on Jehovah, and his God never disappointed him. When young, David faced the Philistine giant Goliath and told that formidable warrior: “This very day Jehovah will surrender you into my hand.” (1 Sam. 17:46) Later, David was in the service of a king, Saul, who tried a number of times to murder him. But “Jehovah was with” David. (1 Sam. 18:12) Because David had experienced Jehovah’s help in the past, David knew he could count on Him during his present trials.
16. In what practical ways can we “taste” Jehovah’s goodness?
16 The more we look to Jehovah for guidance now, the more confident we will be in his ability to deliver us in the future. It takes faith and a willingness to rely on Jehovah to ask our employer for time off so that we can attend an assembly or a convention or to ask for an adjusted work schedule so that we can attend all our meetings and spend more time in the ministry. Suppose our employer refuses our request and we lose our job. Do we have faith that Jehovah will never leave us or abandon us and that he will always supply our basic needs? (Heb. 13:5) Many who are in full-time service can relate experiences that show how Jehovah came to their aid when they needed him most. Jehovah is faithful.
17. What is the yeartext for 2022, and why is it appropriate?
17 With Jehovah on our side, we have no reason to fear the days ahead. Our God will never forsake us as long as we put his interests first in our lives. To remind us of the need to prepare now for the difficult days ahead and to trust that Jehovah will never forsake us, the Governing Body has chosen Psalm 34:10 as our yeartext for 2022: “Those seeking Jehovah will lack nothing good.”
SONG 38 He Will Make You Strong
a Our yeartext for 2022 is taken from Psalm 34:10: “Those seeking Jehovah will lack nothing good.” Many of Jehovah’s faithful servants have very little materially. How can it be said that they “lack nothing good”? And how can understanding the meaning of this verse help us to prepare for the difficult times to come?
d PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Even while hiding in a cave to escape from King Saul, David was appreciative of Jehovah’s provisions.
e PICTURE DESCRIPTION: After the Israelites left Egypt, Jehovah provided them with manna to eat and kept their clothes from wearing out.