“Will Jehovah cast us off forever? […]
Or has his anger caused his mercy to cease?”
These questions are meant to be rhetorical but God’s word clearly gives us the answer:
Jehovah God is not cold-hearted and wrathful to the point of being unforgiving.
It is normal to be haunted by a guilty conscience and wonder if God will forgive us when we have failed Him.
But He has provided the means to forgiveness through the sacrifice of His son (1 Thess. 1:10).
God promises to not stay resentful toward sinners who return to Him (Jer. 3:12).
He even goes beyond that and offers to comfort us (Is. 12:1).
So if our faith begins to falter because we fear Jehovah has cast us aside, let us remember all that He has done for us in the past and patiently treasure it as evidence of His unrelenting love (Ps. 77:11).
”He will have pity on the lowly and the poor, […] And their blood will be precious in his eyes.”
In a time when gun violence and terrorist attacks are tragically commonplace, it is comforting to remember how valuable human life is to Jehovah God.
He does not see loss of life as this week’s statistics or another news headline.
Not only does God know when someone dies, he cares for those affected on an individual level (Matt. 10:29-31; 1 Pet. 5:7).
Why is human life so valuable?
Genesis chapter one verse twenty-seven explains that we are created in God’s image.
We are capable of displaying such noble qualities as selflessness, loyalty, reason and faith.
We are capable of creating new things and of caring for species other than our own.
Human life is so valuable that God redeemed us from death through the sacrifice of His son (John 3:16).
Adding to the sanctity of life is the fact that it streams directly from Jehovah Himself (Ps. 36:9).
What a comfort it is, then, to meditate on God’s plans for us to inherit “the real life” in which violence will be no more (1 Tim. 6:19; Rev. 21:4).
“Because your loyal love is better than life,
My own lips will glorify you.”
What is “loyal love”?
The glossary in the New World 2013 translation defines it as:
“[…] Rendered from the Hebrew word cheʹsedh, referring to love motivated by commitment, integrity, loyalty, and deep attachment. It is often used in connection with God’s love for humans […].”
How is Loyal Love different from God’s love toward humankind as a whole?
It is “kindness that lovingly attaches itself to an object until its purpose in connection with that object is realized. […] It is an act that preserves or promotes life. It is intervention on behalf of someone suffering misfortune or distress. It is demonstration of friendship or piety.”
(“Loving Kindness of God.” Watchtower Online Library. Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Web. 11 July 2016).
The marginal reference in Psalm 63:3 takes us to Psalm 30:5:
Because being under his anger is only for a moment,
But being in his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may come in the evening, but in the morning, there is a joyful cry.
Jehovah God is a compassionate Father who knows we are prone to sin and error.
He actively seeks out His servant who has derailed from a course of righteousness, proving his loyalty and kindness toward him.
God understands we are imperfect but He also knows we can change for the better.
So He does not give up hope in His servants and He does not abandon them.
If one feels he has failed God and returns to Him, he can continue to glorify God on account of His loyal love.
“For you have rescued me from death
And prevented my feet from stumbling,
So that I may walk before God in the light of the living.”
When I am experiencing particularly stressful situations and I do not see a clear solution, I may come to lose all hope that anything will ever improve.
There were times when the Psalmist David felt that he was “wandering,” but he was conscious that God kept His eye on him (Ps. 56:8).
He knew he was not truly alone.
“Of this I am confident: God is on my side” (Ps. 56:9).
The knowledge that Jehovah God stood by him in all his trials fostered a thankful attitude in David that in turn infused in him a serious sense of compromise toward God.
“I am bound by my vows to you, O God; I will offer you expressions of thanksgiving,” (Ps. 56:12).
This kept him going even under circumstances that could have made him lose heart.
Likewise, when I feel that I am at my wit’s end, remembering that God is keeping a watchful eye over me can keep me from stumbling even into a spiritual or emotional death.
Meditating on the vows I have made to God can keep me from giving up.
Instead of being afraid, I will trust in Jehovah (Ps. 56:3).
“As for the one who follows a set course,
I will cause him to see salvation by God.”
Jehovah God values those who have made a covenant or vow to serve Him and strive to fulfill it (Ps. 50:5,14b).
But He knows it will not always be easy; that is why he asks us to rely on Him.
“Call on me in the time of distress. I will rescue you, and you will glorify me” (Ps. 50:15).
Jehovah says He cannot remain silent before our suffering and will act as Judge before us (Ps. 50:3,6).
Therefore we can reach out to Him with the confidence that He cares about us.
When we praise Him with a thankful attitude, we demonstrate that we rely on His strength and not our own (Ps. 50:14a,23a).
Only then can we ‘see His salvation,’ recognizing His works through the eyes of faith.
“O Jehovah, do not withhold your mercy from me.
May your loyal love and your truth constantly safeguard me.”
David, our Biblical poet, felt his ‘errors loom over his head; like a heavy burden, they were too much for him to bear,’ (Ps. 38:4).
For this reason, he ‘walked around sad all day long,’ (Ps. 38:6).
He could say nothing in his own defense (Ps. 38:14).
Still, he relied on Jehovah’s forgiveness, and prayed:
“Turn your harsh gaze away from me so that I may cheer up
Before I pass away and I am gone,” (Ps. 39:13).
Although David felt abandoned by his family and friends, burdened by his own mistakes and the weight of Jehovah’s discipline, he waited on Jehovah.
He knew that with Jehovah’s forgiveness, he could overcome his depression and once again experience the joy of serving Him.
Did his patience pay off?
“You answered me, O Jehovah my God,” (Ps. 38:15).
Jehovah answers our pleas for peace of mind when we seek refuge in the truth of His word and by giving us the strength to carry on (Ps. 138:3; John 17:17).
“But when I stumbled, they rejoiced and gathered together; […]
They tore me to pieces and did not keep silent.”
Gossip can have tragic consequences and in the best of cases, it ruins people’s reputations.
Anyone who has ever been a victim of gossip can perhaps relate to feeling like they are being ‘torn to pieces.’
It is important to be brave and steer conversations away from speaking negatively about others, especially when intimate details do not directly involve both listeners.
Worse than gossip is the feeling that others are rejoicing at one’s pain.
This can be disheartening and is far from Christian love as outlined in the Scriptures.
What a comfort it is to know that one can pray to Jehovah: “Do not stay far from me, Awake and rise to my defense, […] Judge me according to your righteousness […]; Do not let them gloat over me,” (Ps. 35:22-24).
Jehovah is ready to impart peace to those who serve Him and praise His name (Ps. 35:27, 28).
“This is why every loyal one will pray to you
While you may yet be found.”
Who does God consider to be a “loyal one”?
The previous verse is referring to someone who confesses their sins to God and whom God pardons (Psalm 32:5).
Since we are all imperfect sinners, to remain close to Him I must first recognize and value the extent of His mercy and kindness toward me.
If I trust in Jehovah, He will ‘surround me with His loyal love’ and, despite my errors, I will be able to rejoice joyfully among the righteous (Psalm 32:10,11).
In effect, it is possible for God to consider us, mere sinners, as being “upright in heart,” so long as we do not try to deceive Him.
And when we recognize the immense value of this, we may even find happiness (Psalm 32:1,2).
“Though I walk in the valley of deep shadow,
I fear no harm,
For you are with me […]”
There are periods in life which may be likened to dark valleys.
Perhaps we are depressed or experiencing high levels of anxiety.
In another Psalm, David wrote:
“Turn your face to me and show me favor,
For I am alone and helpless.
The distresses of my heart have multiplied;
Free me from my anguish,” (Ps. 25:16, 17).
How, then, does Jehovah God present himself at my side when I feel alone and anxious?
In the next verse, the writer prays: “Pardon all my sins,” making a connection between the sins and his affliction (Ps. 25:18).
One of the ways Jehovah draws close is by forgiving.
But in order to appreciate His pardon I must have the right motives.
“For the sake of your name,
Forgive my error,
though it is great,” (Ps. 25:11).
True repentance involves recognizing that the most important thing at stake is not how I feel, but Jehovah’s name with everything it represents, including mercy.
To have that point of view, I must first cultivate a healthy fear of God and humility to let myself accept His guidance (Ps. 25:12).
At that point, I will no longer fear alone or anxious because God’s “rod and staff” will have reassured me, making the darkness bearable (Ps. 23:4).
“You wrongdoers try to frustrate the plans of the lowly one,
But Jehovah is his refuge.”
Should we find that we will not be able to reach the goals we have set for ourselves in God’s service, we should not become discouraged.
Circumstances change and no one has full control over their own situation.
Not only are we susceptible to our own sinful inclinations, but we may find ourselves to be victims of the wrongdoings of others (Rom. 3:23).
While these factors may have a negative impact in our service to God, they do not impede our being loyal to Him.
Therefore we should continue serving God zealously alongside His congregation to our fullest capacity, because He will continue being our Protector, giving us all we need to be happy (Ps. 37:28; Ps. 145:16; Heb. 6:10-12).