Do You Love Jehovah’s Reminders Exceedingly?
“My soul has kept your reminders, and I love them exceedingly.”—PSALM 119:167.
1. Where do we especially find repeated references to Jehovah’s reminders?
JEHOVAH wants his people to be happy. To enjoy true happiness, of course, we must walk in God’s law and observe his orders. To that end, he gives us reminders. These are repeatedly mentioned in the Scriptures, especially in Psalm 119, possibly composed by Judah’s young Prince Hezekiah. This beautiful song begins with the words: “Happy are the ones faultless in their way, the ones walking in the law of Jehovah. Happy are those observing his reminders; with all the heart they keep searching for him.”—Psalm 119:1, 2.
2. How are God’s reminders related to happiness?
2 We ‘walk in the law of Jehovah’ by taking in accurate knowledge of his Word and by applying it in life. Since we are imperfect, however, we need reminders. The Hebrew word rendered “reminders” indicates that God calls his law, orders, regulations, commandments, and statutes back to our minds. (Matthew 10:18-20) We will remain happy only if we continue to observe such reminders, for they help us to avoid spiritual pitfalls that result in calamity and sorrow.
Cleave to Jehovah’s Reminders
3. On the basis of Psalm 119:60, 61, what confidence do we have?
3 God’s reminders were dear to the psalmist who sang: “I hurried up, and I did not delay to keep your commandments. The very ropes of the wicked ones surrounded me. Your law I did not forget.” (Psalm 119:60, 61) Jehovah’s reminders help us to endure persecution because we are confident that our heavenly Father can cut the ropes of restraint that enemies tie about us. In due time, he frees us from such obstacles so that we can carry out the Kingdom-preaching work.—Mark 13:10.
4. How should we respond to God’s reminders?
4 At times, we are corrected by Jehovah’s reminders. May we always appreciate such correction, even as the psalmist did. He prayerfully said to God: “Your reminders are what I am fond of . . . I have loved your reminders.” (Psalm 119:24, 119) We have more of God’s reminders than the psalmist had. The hundreds of quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures that appear in the Greek Scriptures remind us not only of Jehovah’s instructions to his people under the Law but also of his purposes concerning the Christian congregation. When God sees fit to remind us of things having to do with his laws, we are grateful for such direction. And by ‘cleaving to Jehovah’s reminders,’ we avoid sinful enticements that displease our Creator and rob us of happiness.—Psalm 119:31.
5. How can we come to love Jehovah’s reminders exceedingly?
5 How much should we love Jehovah’s reminders? “My soul has kept your reminders, and I love them exceedingly,” sang the psalmist. (Psalm 119:167) We will come to love Jehovah’s reminders exceedingly if we view and accept them as the admonition of a Father who really cares about us. (1 Peter 5:6, 7) We need his reminders, and our love for them will grow as we see how they benefit us.
Why We Need God’s Reminders
6. What is one reason why we need Jehovah’s reminders, and what will help us to recall them?
6 One reason why we need Jehovah’s reminders is that we are forgetful. Says The World Book Encyclopedia: “In general, people forget more and more as time passes. . . . You probably have had the experience of being unable to think of a name or some other piece of information that was on the tip of your tongue. . . . Such temporary loss of memory, which occurs frequently, is called retrieval failure. Scientists compare it to trying to find a misplaced object in a cluttered room. . . . A good way to ensure remembering a piece of information is to study it long after you think you know it perfectly.” Diligent study and repetition will help us to recall God’s reminders and comply with them for our own good.
7. Why are God’s reminders needed today more than ever before?
7 We need Jehovah’s reminders today more than ever before because wickedness has reached the greatest proportions in human history. If we pay attention to God’s reminders, we gain the insight needed to avoid being lured into the world’s wicked ways. “More insight than all my teachers I have come to have,” said the psalmist, “because your reminders are a concern to me. With more understanding than older men I behave, because I have observed your own orders. From every bad path I have restrained my feet, for the purpose that I may keep your word.” (Psalm 119:99-101) By observing God’s reminders, we will keep off “every bad path” and will avoid becoming like the masses of mankind, who are “in darkness mentally, and alienated from the life that belongs to God.”—Ephesians 4:17-19.
8. How can we become better equipped to meet tests of faith successfully?
8 God’s reminders are also needed because they strengthen us to endure our many trials in this “time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4) Without such reminders we would become ‘forgetful hearers.’ (James 1:25) But diligent personal and congregational study of the Scriptures with the help of publications from “the faithful and discreet slave” will assist us to meet tests of faith successfully. (Matthew 24:45-47) Such spiritual provisions enable us to see what we must do to please Jehovah when we find ourselves in trying circumstances.
The Vital Role of Our Meetings
9. Who are the “gifts in men,” and how do they help fellow believers?
9 Our need for God’s reminders is met in part at Christian meetings, where instruction is provided by appointed brothers. The apostle Paul wrote that when Jesus “ascended on high he carried away captives; he gave gifts in men.” Paul added: “[Christ] gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, for ministerial work, for the building up of the body of the Christ.” (Ephesians 4:8, 11, 12) How grateful we can be that these “gifts in men”—the appointed elders—direct our attention to Jehovah’s reminders when we meet together for worship!
10. What is the main point of Hebrews 10:24, 25?
10 Gratitude for divine provisions will move us to be present at our five congregation meetings each week. The need to assemble together regularly was stressed by Paul. He wrote: “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.”—Hebrews 10:24, 25.
11. How does each of our weekly meetings benefit us?
11 Do you appreciate what our meetings do for us? The weekly Watchtower Study strengthens our faith, helps us to comply with Jehovah’s reminders, and fortifies us against “the spirit of the world.” (1 Corinthians 2:12; Acts 15:31) At the Public Meeting, speakers present instruction from God’s Word, including Jehovah’s reminders and Jesus’ wonderful “sayings of everlasting life.” (John 6:68; 7:46; Matthew 5:1–7:29) Our teaching skills are honed at the Theocratic Ministry School. The Service Meeting is invaluable in helping us to improve our presentation of the good news from house to house, on return visits, at home Bible studies, and in other avenues of our ministry. A smaller group at the Congregation Book Study affords us greater opportunity to make expressions that often involve God’s reminders.
12, 13. How have God’s people in one Asian land manifested appreciation for Christian meetings?
12 Regular presence at congregation meetings serves to remind us of God’s commandments and helps to keep us spiritually strong in the face of warfare, economic hardship, and other tests of our faith. The importance of the meetings was keenly felt by some 70 Christians in one Asian land who were displaced from their homes and compelled to live in the deep forest. Determined to continue meeting together regularly, they returned to their war-ravaged town, dismantled what remained of the Kingdom Hall, and rebuilt it in the jungle.
13 After enduring years of warfare in another part of the same country, Jehovah’s people are still serving zealously. One of the elders in that area was asked: “What has been most helpful in keeping the brothers together?” His reply? “In 19 years, we have never missed a meeting. Sometimes because of bombing or other difficulties, some of the brothers could not get to the meeting place, but we never canceled a meeting.” These dear brothers and sisters certainly appreciate the importance of ‘not forsaking the gathering of themselves together.’
14. What can we learn from the custom of elderly Anna?
14 The 84-year-old widow Anna “was never missing from the temple.” As a result, she was present when the infant Jesus was brought there shortly after his birth. (Luke 2:36-38) Do you make it a point not to miss meetings? Are you trying your best to be on hand for every session of our assemblies and conventions? The spiritually beneficial instruction received at these gatherings gives us clear evidence that our heavenly Father cares for his people. (Isaiah 40:11) Such occasions also promote joy, and our presence demonstrates our appreciation for Jehovah’s reminders.—Nehemiah 8:5-8, 12.
Set Apart by Jehovah’s Reminders
15, 16. How does observing Jehovah’s reminders affect our conduct?
15 Observing God’s reminders helps to set us apart from this wicked world. For instance, heeding God’s reminders prevents us from engaging in sexual immorality. (Deuteronomy 5:18; Proverbs 6:29-35; Hebrews 13:4) Temptation to lie, to be dishonest, or to steal can be successfully suppressed by complying with divine reminders. (Exodus 20:15, 16; Leviticus 19:11; Proverbs 30:7-9; Ephesians 4:25, 28; Hebrews 13:18) Observing Jehovah’s reminders also restrains us from taking vengeance, holding a grudge, or slandering anyone.—Leviticus 19:16, 18; Psalm 15:1, 3.
16 By heeding God’s reminders, we remain sanctified, or set apart, for his service. And how important it is to be separate from this world! In prayer to Jehovah on the last night of his earthly life, Jesus made this plea for his followers: “I have given your word to them, but the world has hated them, because they are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world. I request you, not to take them out of the world, but to watch over them because of the wicked one. They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world. Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:14-17) Let us continue to cherish God’s Word, which sets us apart for his sacred service.
17. What could happen if we ignored God’s reminders, so what should we do?
17 As Jehovah’s servants, we want to remain acceptable for his service. If we were to ignore God’s reminders, however, we could be overcome by this world’s spirit, promoted in much of its speech, literature, entertainment, and conduct. And we certainly do not want to become lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, unthankful, disloyal, fierce, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God—to name only a few of the traits manifested by those alienated from God. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Since we are living deep in the last days of this wicked system of things, let us keep praying for divine help so that we can continue to observe Jehovah’s reminders and thus ‘keep on guard according to his word.’—Psalm 119:9.
18. Observing God’s reminders will cause us to take what positive steps?
18 The reminders of Jehovah do more than alert us to things we must not do. Observing his reminders will cause us to take positive action, moving us to trust Jehovah implicitly and to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5; Psalm 4:5; Proverbs 3:5, 6; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30) God’s reminders also motivate us to love our neighbor. (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39) Especially do we display love of God and neighbor by doing the divine will and sharing with others the life-giving “knowledge of God.”—Proverbs 2:1-5.
Observing Jehovah’s Reminders Means Life!
19. How can we show others that it is practical and beneficial to heed Jehovah’s reminders?
19 If we observe Jehovah’s reminders and help others to do so, we will save ourselves and those who listen to us. (1 Timothy 4:16) How can we show others that heeding Jehovah’s reminders really is practical and beneficial? By applying Bible principles in our own life. Those “rightly disposed for everlasting life” will thus have evidence that the course set out in God’s Word is really the best one to pursue. (Acts 13:48) They will also see that ‘God is really among us’ and will be moved to join us in the worship of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah.—1 Corinthians 14:24, 25.
20, 21. God’s reminders and his spirit will enable us to do what?
20 By continuing to study the Scriptures, applying what we learn, and taking full advantage of Jehovah’s spiritual provisions, we will come to love his reminders exceedingly. If heeded, these reminders will help us to put on “the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.” (Ephesians 4:20-24) Jehovah’s reminders and his holy spirit will enable us to display love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control—qualities so unlike the traits of the world that is lying in Satan’s power! (Galatians 5:22, 23; 1 John 5:19) Therefore, we can be grateful when we are reminded of Jehovah’s requirements during our personal Bible study, by appointed elders, and at our meetings, assemblies, and conventions.
21 Because we observe Jehovah’s reminders, we are able to rejoice even when suffering for righteousness’ sake. (Luke 6:22, 23) We look to God to save us out of the most threatening situations. That is especially important now that all nations are being gathered for “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon.—Revelation 16:14-16.
22. What should be our determination regarding the reminders of Jehovah?
22 If we are to receive the undeserved gift of everlasting life, we must love Jehovah’s reminders exceedingly and observe them wholeheartedly. May we therefore have the spirit of the psalmist who sang: “The righteousness of your reminders is to time indefinite. Make me understand, that I may keep living.” (Psalm 119:144) And may we display the determination evident in the psalmist’s words: “I have called upon you [Jehovah]. O save me! And I will keep your reminders.” (Psalm 119:146) Yes, by word and deed, let us prove that we really do love Jehovah’s reminders exceedingly.
5. How can we come to love Jehovah’s reminders exceedingly?