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THOUGHTS ON HALLELUJAH

December 28, 2012

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SOME THOUGHTS ON “HALLELUJAH” (PRAISE THE LORD):
(Apologies for the length of this post!) Someone has said there are three words recognized in every language – Hallelujah, Amen and Coca Cola, but sadly the first two holy words are too often trivialized thus obscuring their true meaning (See study on Amen). Spurgeon (CHS) says that “Surely, Hallelujah is not a word to be dragged in the mire–it should be pronounced with solemn awe and sacred joy.” Indeed, Hallelujah is a holy word proclaimed without ceasing by angelic tongues of “flaming fire” (
Heb 1:7-notePs 148:2-note) and by glorified tongues of “the redeemed of the Lord” (Ps 107:2-note), “His bond-servants  who are commanded to “give praise to our God” without ceasing (Rev 19:5-note). How wonderful that our earthly “praise is the most heavenly of our Christian duties. The angels pray not, but they cease not to praise both day and night.” (CHS) Indeed, as Paul writes one great purpose of our “redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Ro 3:24-note) is that we “might bring praise to His glory.” (Eph 1:12-note) Isaiah records that we have been “created for His glory” (Isa 43:7-note) and formed by God to declare His praise (Isa 43:21-note). Even now let us pause and “PRAISE God, from Whom all blessings flow, PRAISE Him, all creatures here below, PRAISE Him above, ye heavenly host, PRAISE Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.” Peter describes us as “a people for God’s Own Possession, so that we may proclaim (make widely known something not otherwise known) the praises of the One Who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1Pe 2:9-note) Beloved, never doubt that your life in Christ has great purpose! Indeed, as we look forward (and upward = Titus 2:13-note, Col 3:1-2-note) to the coming year of our Lord, 2013, may our prayer be “Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, tune our hearts to sing Thy grace, streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of LOUDEST PRAISE (“Holy Hallelujahs”). Teach us some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above; PRAISE the Mount! I’m fixed upon it, Mount of Thy redeeming love.” “O Lord, open (our) lips, that (our) mouth may declare Thy praise.” (Ps 51:15-note) Amen.

HALLELUJAH is a combination of the Hebrew verb Halal meaning to praise and the noun JAH (YAH in Ps 68:4KJV-note) which is short for Jehovah or Yahweh, God’s self revelation to Moses (Ex 3:14-note), translated by the Greek “Ego eimi” (I Am) which is the very Name Jesus repeatedly ascribed to Himself (Jn 8:18-note, Jn 8:24, 28-note, Jn 8:58-note). While HALLELUJAH is found only 4 times in the NT (and 24x in the Psalms in the Gk translation), it’s repetition in Revelation 19 marks the consummation of all human history when the Messiah, the Lamb of God, assumes His righteous reign as “King of kings and Lord of lords,” (Rev 19:16-note) prompting a jubilant “Hallelujah Chorus” with “a loud (mega) voice (phone) from the great multitude in heaven” (which will include US beloved!) who triumphantly sing “HALLELUJAH! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God…. HALLELUJAH!… HALLELUJAH!… HALLELUJAH! For the Lord our God omnipotent reigneth.” (Rev 19:1, 3, 4, 6-note). The certainty of your presence in that heavenly choir of the redeemed might even stir a desire to practice now by singing along with Handel’s Messiah: The Hallelujah Chorus.

WHO SHOULD SING “HALLELUJAH?”? Everything! “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Ps 150:6-note) Indeed, this is only fitting, for the Lord “Himself gives to all life and breath” (Acts 17:25-note). As Spurgeon explains “This is how we live spiritually: we breathe in the air by prayer and we breathe it out by praise! This is the holy respiration of a Christian’s life! Since God gives us breath, let us breathe His praise. His name in Hebrew (YHWH) is composed more of breathings than of letters, to show that all breath comes FROM Him: therefore let it be used FOR Him.” Wiersbe adds that “Breath is the weakest thing we have, but we can devote it to the highest service: Praising the Lord.” So while we still have breath, let us continually “Praise the Name of Jehovah” (Ps 113:1-note). Spurgeon exhorts us by asking “does not all nature around us sing? Indeed, if we are silent, we would be an exception to the universe. Does not the thunder praise Him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? Does not the ocean praise Him as it claps its thousand hands?” The psalmist adds “Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them.” (Ps 69:34-note) Indeed even “fire and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds” praise the Lord (Ps 148:7-8-note). Remember that praise is the natural and even necessary response to fully enjoy the object praised, as when we are watching a sporting event and respond with praise for an excellent performance. We would not enjoy the event nearly as much if we did not have the freedom to express praise. And so to truly enjoy the Lord, we must exercise our freedom and continually sing “praises with joy” (2Chr 29:30-note), “Praising Him for His mighty deeds. Praising Him according to His excellent greatness.” (Ps 150:2-note)

WHEN SHOULD WE SING “HALLELUJAH?” At all times!  Beloved, although we are not “under law, but under grace” (Ro 6:14-note) can I still ask you: “Have you PRAISED Him yet today?” Today is the best day to sing “Hallelu-Jah! Hallelu-Jah! O my soul.” (Ps 146:1-note). The psalmist explains “I will praise Jehovah WHILE I live. I will sing praises to my God WHILE I have my being.” (Ps 146:2-note) Thomas Watson concurs that “The motion of our praise must be like the motion of our pulse, which beats as long as life lasts.” And again the psalmist reminds us that “the Name of Jehovah is to be praised…from the rising of the sun until the going down of the same.” (Ps 113:3KJV-note; Play the beautiful song “Praise Adonai”) Indeed, like the psalmist may we too at day’s (and life’s) end be able to say “Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous ordinances” (Ps 119:164-note). Indeed, as our earthly life ebbs towards its end, may our mouths be more and more filled with the “high praises of God” (Ps 149:6-note). As John Boys notes “the servants of the Lord are to sing His praises in this life to the world’s end and in the next life world without end!” Hallelujah! Little wonder Wesley wrote “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise!” Indeed, Lord, grant us “a thousand tongues,” to “sing praise to Your Name, O Most High” (Ps 9:2-note) “for praise is becoming and appropriate (and beautiful) for those who are upright (in heart). (Ps 33:1-note)

FOR WHAT SHOULD WE SING “HALLELUJAH?” Spurgeon answers “Is not praise composed in a large measure of an attentive observation of God’s mercy? He who notices ’God’s mercy will never be without a mercy to notice. This is the chief material of the garment of praise.” As David said “because Thy lovingkindness (mercy) is better than life, my lips will praise Thee.” (Ps 63:3-Note) May we “Abundantly utter the memory of distinguishing mercies! Discriminating Grace deserves unceasing memorials of praise!” (CHS) And we should praise Him for His goodness and Name: “Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good. Sing praises to His Name, for it is lovely (beautiful).” (Ps 135:3-note) “It is the telling out of the divine goodness which largely constitutes praise: to observe, to remember, to estimate, to prize, and then to speak of the Lord’s gracious gifts: all these are essential. Praise is the open declaration of the gratitude which is felt within.” (CHS) As Samuel Logan Brengle (Famous Salvation Army worker) was losing his vision, he wrote “My old eyes get dimmer. The specialist says the light will fade altogether. So I gird myself for darkness, quote James 1:2-4-note, shout ‘HALLELUJAH!’ and go on.” Are you too experiencing various trials (most of us are!)? Spurgeon reminds us that even in the storm “God is still God and the deeper our trouble, the greater are our possibilities of adoration, for when we are brought to the very lowest, it is in EXTREMIS that we can raise the song in EXCELSIS, out of the DEEPEST depths we can praise the Lord to the very HIGHEST. When we glorify God out of the fires of fiercest tribulation, there is probably more true adoration of Him in that melody than in the loftiest songs of cherubim and seraphim when they enjoy God and sing out His praises in His presence above. It is well to praise the Lord for His mercy when you are in health, but make sure that you do it when you are sick, for then your praise is more likely to be genuine. God gets some of His richest praise amidst dying groans. Praise is God’s due when He takes as well as when He gives, for there is as much love in His taking as in His giving!” James M. Boice adds that “Praise is where all true religious contemplation should end. When all is said, the hearts of those who are truly God’s people beat their last praising God (On his deathbed Oliver Cromwell asked “Is there no one here who will praise the Lord?”). Do we understand all that God is doing in our lives or in the world? Of course not (Dt 29:29-note), but we understand enough about the nature of God to praise Him in spite of the difficulties.” (cf Ge 50:20-note, Ro 8:28-note, Eph 1:11-note)

Along that same line if you are experiencing tribulations which are making it difficult to sing “Hallelujah,” take a moment and ponder the words of the song, “Praise You in this Storm,” remembering that many saints of old have sung most sweetly when their heart was pierced most deeply by thorns of affliction. “You may also destroy your distresses by singing praises to God. I give you this as one of the shortest and surest recipes for comfort—begin to praise God. As we sing praises unto the Lord, we shake off the cares of the world, we rise above its smoke and mists and we get, then, the clearer atmosphere of communion with Him.” (CHS) 

May our Father grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that you might put on “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” and be enabled to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God”, even “to sing praises to our God” like the angelic “Glory to God in the highest (Gloria in Excelsis Deo)” through our Great High Priest, Christ Jesus. Amen. (Eph 3:16-note, Isa 61:3KJV-note, Heb 13:15-note Ps 147:1-note, Lk 2:13-14-note).

Sing “Praise You in this Storm” by Casting Crowns:

Click compilation of Spurgeon’s Quotes on Praise:
http://preceptaustin.org/hallelujah-praise_the_lord.htm#sq

Handel’s Messiah: Hallelujah Chorus

See Related Study on the Universal Word “Amen”

Spurgeon sermon to stimulate praise

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