How good it is to sing praises to our God!
How pleasant it is to honor God with praise! (Psalm 147:1)
Although Hallelujah is written as one word, its Hebrew original comes from two words, which have been merged into one. The first half of the word, from the verb hillel, means to praise, and it is used hundreds of times in the Bible. Praise what? Praise “jah.” “Jah” is a shortened form of the 4-letter Hebrew name for the Lord, YHWH, which is usually pronounced Yahweh. In English we translate this Hebrew word Hallelujah as - Praise the Lord!
Focusing in on Psalms 145-150; a group of psalms in praise of God, is a good way to get a feel for what is means to live and breathe Hallelujah!
Psalm 145- In Praise of the Greatness and the Goodness of God
Psalm 146- Praise for God’s Help
Psalm 147- Praise for God’s Care of Jerusalem
Psalm 148- Praise for God’s Universal Glory
Psalm 149- Praise for God’s Goodness to Israel
Psalm 150- Praise for God’s Surpassing Greatness
This is the grand climax and finale to the whole collection of Psalms. Every instrument in the orchestra, everything with life and breath in the whole creation, joins in a mighty, enthusiastic praise to God.
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
We should not forget that Hebrew worship was not a sedate or dreary event. It included dancing with tambourine and all kinds of instruments, including trumpets and cymbals, singing, hand clapping, and even shouting. For the Hebrews, praising God was the basic expression of being alive.
As believers in the 21st century, we not only have something to sing about, but Someone to praise. So, whether it’s privately or in community, musically, verbally or otherwise, let the praises begin!
What does praising God look and sound like in your life?
What does it mean to be a Hallelujah people?
For what are you praising God for today?
Try reading Psalm 150- silently, aloud, chanted. How does each reading feel to you?