“Of Whom Shall I Be in Dread?”
“Though against me war should rise, even then I shall be trusting.”—PSALM 27:3.
HOW DO THE FOLLOWING VERSES HELP YOU TO HAVE COURAGE?
1. What questions will the 27th Psalm help us to answer?
WHY are we doing more in the preaching work even though conditions in the world are getting worse? Why are we happy to use much of our time and energy in the preaching work even though there are serious economic problems in the world? How can we continue to have courage when many people fear the future? King David’s song in Psalm 27 gives us the answers to these questions.
2. How can fear make a person feel? But what can we be sure of?
2 David begins this psalm with the words: “Jehovah is my light and my salvation. Of whom shall I be in fear? Jehovah is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be in dread?” (Psalm 27:1) Dread, or great fear, can make a person feel so weak that he cannot do anything. But a person who trusts in Jehovah has courage and does not feel dread. (1 Peter 3:14) If we make Jehovah our stronghold and trust in him, we can be sure that we “will reside in security and be undisturbed from dread of calamity.” (Proverbs 1:33; 3:25) Why is that?
“JEHOVAH IS MY LIGHT AND MY SALVATION”
3. In what way is Jehovah our light? And what must we do?
3 When the Bible says that “Jehovah is my light,” it means that Jehovah teaches us the truth. (Psalm 27:1) A literal light may show us a danger or something that is in our way, but the light does not remove it. We have to avoid the danger. In a similar way, Jehovah shows us the meaning of what we see happening in the world. He warns us about the dangers of this wicked world. In the Bible, he gives us good advice that always helps us. The psalmist said that God’s commandments made him wiser than his enemies and all his teachers. When we apply Bible principles, we too can become very wise.—Psalm 119:98, 99, 130.
4. (a) Why did David say that Jehovah was his salvation? (b) When will Jehovah save his servants?
4 David’s words at Psalm 27:1 show us that he did not forget how Jehovah had saved him in the past. For example, Jehovah saved him from a lion and from a bear. Jehovah also helped him to defeat the giant Goliath. Later, Jehovah saved David each time King Saul tried to kill him with a spear. (1 Samuel 17:37, 49, 50; 18:11, 12; 19:10) For this reason, David said that Jehovah was his salvation. Jehovah will save his servants, just as he saved David. When will he do that? When “the great tribulation” comes.—Revelation 7:14; 2 Peter 2:9.
REMEMBER EACH TIME JEHOVAH HAS HELPED YOU
5, 6. (a) How do our memories help us to have more courage? (b) Why is it good for us to think about how Jehovah has helped his people in the past?
5 At Psalm 27:2, 3, we can read about an important thing we can do to help us have more courage. (Read.) David remembered the times that Jehovah had saved him. (1 Samuel 17:34-37) Those memories gave him courage, so that he could endure the most difficult situations. Do you remember how Jehovah helped you in the past? Do these memories give you courage? For example, have you prayed a lot about a problem that made you unhappy? Did you later experience how Jehovah gave you the wisdom and strength to endure that problem? Can you remember how Jehovah helped you to solve some problems that made it difficult for you to serve him with joy? Or can you remember how he gave you new opportunities in his service? (1 Corinthians 16:9) How do you feel when you think about those times now? Those memories should continue to convince you that Jehovah can help you to solve or to endure even the most difficult problems and situations.—Romans 5:3-5.
6 What would we do if a powerful government wanted to destroy Jehovah’s Witnesses as an organization? Some people in recent times have tried to do that, but they could not. If we remember how Jehovah has helped his people in the past, we will have the courage to endure whatever may happen in the future.—Daniel 3:28.
OUR LOVE FOR TRUE WORSHIP
7, 8. (a) What did David ask from Jehovah, as we read at Psalm 27:4? (b) What is Jehovah’s great spiritual temple? How do we worship there today?
7 Our love for true worship also helps us to have courage. (Read Psalm 27:4.) In David’s time, “the house of Jehovah” was not the temple. It was the tabernacle, which was a tent. David made sure that everything was prepared so that his son Solomon could build a beautiful temple for Jehovah. Hundreds of years later, Jesus explained that there would be a time when people would not have to go to the temple to worship Jehovah. (John 4:21-23) Jehovah made an arrangement that makes it possible for us to worship him in a way that he accepts. He accepts our worship if we have faith in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. In Hebrews chapters 8 to 10, the apostle Paul said that this arrangement in which we can worship God is a great spiritual temple “not made with hands.” Paul explained that this temple started to exist when Jesus got baptized and offered himself to do Jehovah’s will. This happened in the year 29. (Hebrews 10:10) How do we worship at this temple? By praying to Jehovah “with true hearts in the full assurance of faith,” and by preaching to others about him with courage. We also worship at this temple when we attend meetings and during family worship. (Hebrews 10:22-25) Our love for true worship will help us to continue doing these things in these difficult last days.
8 Around the world, Jehovah’s faithful servants are using more of their time in the ministry, learning new languages, and moving to places where there are few people to preach about the Kingdom. They are showing that they are like the psalmist. He asked Jehovah for just one thing. He wanted “to behold the pleasantness of Jehovah and to look with appreciation upon his temple.” Jehovah’s servants today want him to bless them, and they want to worship him no matter what happens.—Read Psalm 27:6.
TRUST IN GOD’S HELP
9, 10. What does Psalm 27:10 promise?
9 David’s words show us how much he trusted in Jehovah’s help. He said: “In case my own father and my own mother did leave me, even Jehovah himself would take me up.” (Psalm 27:10) Because of what we read in 1 Samuel chapter 22, we know that David’s parents did not abandon him. But today many people have been rejected by their family. Many who have been abandoned by their family have received help from the loving Christian congregation and feel its protection.
10 Jehovah is ready to care for his servants even if others abandon them. So we can be sure that he will care for them when they experience other difficulties. For example, if we are worried about how we will provide what our family needs, we should remember that Jehovah will help us. (Hebrews 13:5, 6) He understands our situation and also knows what we need.
11. What do people think about us as Jehovah’s Witnesses when we show our trust in Jehovah? Give an example.
11 We have the example of Victoria, a Bible student in Liberia. The man she was living with left her and her three children. Even though she had no home and no job, she did not stop studying the Bible, and she later got baptized. Then one day her daughter, who was 13 years old, found a bag full of money. Victoria and her daughter did not even count the money because they did not want to be tempted to keep something that did not belong to them. Instead, they quickly looked for the soldier who had lost the bag. When they found him, he said that if all people were as honest as Jehovah’s Witnesses, the whole world would be a better and more peaceful place. Victoria used her Bible to show the soldier Jehovah’s promise of a new world. The soldier was so impressed by her faith and honesty that he gave Victoria a large amount of the money she had given back to him. People around the world know that Jehovah’s Witnesses are always honest. Because they have complete trust in Jehovah’s ability to care for them, they are honest.
12. Why do we continue to serve Jehovah even though we may lose a job or money? Give an example.
12 Or imagine how Thomas, an unbaptized publisher in Sierra Leone, must have felt. He started working as a teacher, but he did not get paid for almost a year. Thomas needed to have an interview with the administrator of the school to receive the money the school owed him. This administrator was a priest, and he told Thomas that the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses were not accepted at the school. The priest said that Thomas could no longer be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses if he wanted to keep his job. Thomas left that job even though he did not receive any of the money that was owed him. After that, Thomas found another job, repairing radios and mobile phones. Many examples show that if we trust in Jehovah, we should never fear that we will be without what we need. Because Jehovah created everything and has always protected his people, we know that he will care for us.
13. Why are the brothers and sisters in poor countries very busy in the preaching work?
13 Brothers and sisters in many poor countries are very busy in the preaching work. Why? One branch office wrote that many people who accept a Bible study do not have work, so they have more time to study during the day. Brothers and sisters also have more time to preach. People quickly accept that we are living in the last days because they can see the bad conditions around them. In another country, many publishers have more than three Bible studies each. A missionary who has been serving there for over 12 years wrote that many of the brothers and sisters have more time to preach and conduct Bible studies because they have few things to distract them.
14. In what ways can God protect the great crowd?
14 Jehovah has promised to help, protect, and save his people as a group, and we believe that he will keep his promise. (Psalm 37:28; 91:1-3) There will be a great crowd of people who will survive “the great tribulation.” (Revelation 7:9, 14) So God will protect that great crowd by not allowing anyone to destroy all his people during the last days of this system. Another way Jehovah will protect them is by giving them everything they need to endure trials and to keep their friendship with him. And during Armageddon, Jehovah will protect his servants by saving their lives.
“INSTRUCT ME, O JEHOVAH, IN YOUR WAY”
15, 16. How do we benefit when we apply what God teaches us? Give an example.
15 If we want to keep our courage, we need to continue to be taught by God. David said: “Instruct me, O Jehovah, in your way, and lead me in the path of uprightness.” (Psalm 27:11) To be taught by God means that we must carefully listen to what the Bible says and to the guidance we receive from Jehovah’s organization. We must also be quick to apply what we learn. For example, many have applied the wise counsel to simplify their life. They have paid their debts and sold things that they did not need. So when the economy went bad, they had fewer money problems to worry about. Now they do not have to work so hard to keep paying for things that they do not really need. And they are able to do more in the ministry. We should all ask ourselves, ‘Am I quick to apply everything I read in the Bible and in the publications of the faithful and discreet slave, even when it is very difficult for me?’—Matthew 24:45.
16 When we allow Jehovah to teach us and tell us how to live our life, we will not have any reason for fear. A regular pioneer in the United States tried to get a position at his workplace that would help him and his whole family to continue pioneering. But his supervisor told him that he would never get that position because he did not have a college degree. If this happened to you, would you have been sorry that you chose full-time service and did not go to college or to a university? Two weeks later, that supervisor lost his job and another supervisor asked the brother about his goals. The brother told him that he and his wife were full-time ministers of Jehovah’s Witnesses and that they wanted to continue to do that work. But before the brother could say anything else, the supervisor said: “I knew there was something different about you! When my father was on his deathbed, two of your fellow believers came and read the Bible to him every day. I promised myself that if I ever had an opportunity to help one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I would do it.” The next morning, the brother was given the job that the other supervisor did not want to give him. When we put the Kingdom first in our life, Jehovah will keep his promise to give us everything we need.—Matthew 6:33.
WE MUST HAVE FAITH AND HOPE
17. What will help us not to fear the future?
17 David helps us to understand how important it is to have faith and hope. He felt that he would have had no hope if he did not have “faith in seeing the goodness of Jehovah.” (Psalm 27:13) What would our life be like if God did not give us hope and if we did not know the things mentioned in Psalm 27? So in these last days, we need to continue to pray to Jehovah to give us strength and to save us through Armageddon.—Read Psalm 27:14.
SOME EXPRESSIONS EXPLAINED
Tabernacle: A special tent where the Israelites made sacrifices to Jehovah. When they moved from place to place, they carried the tent with them
Spiritual temple: Jehovah’s arrangement that makes it possible for us to worship him in a way that he accepts
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If you remember how Jehovah has helped you in the past, you will have courage
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When we apply what Jehovah teaches us, we have no reason for fear
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David had courage when he remembered how Jehovah had saved him
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When we have economic problems, do we see this as an opportunity to do more in the ministry?