PRAISE THE LORD!
Anita Clark – PastorGrace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas
The book of Psalms is the praise book of Israel. The Psalms were functional songs that served as a crucial function of making connection between the worshipers and God. They were sung in the Synagogue and in the Temple of Israel.
What do we mean by the word “praise”? The most common Hebrew word for “praise” is the Hebrew word “hallah” pronounced “haw-lal,’ which means in the Hebrew “to boast, brag, rave about God, even to the point of looking foolish or loud.” Very few people get this excited about the Lord in our day. They shout and scream very loud for their favorite team at a football game or other place. They are called “fans.” Not many people get this excited about God and His works.
In Psalms 63: 1-7 we see how King David praised the Lord. “O God thou art my God: early will I seek Thee: my soul thristeth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is: to see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary. Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee. Thus will I bless Thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in Thy name. My soul shall be satisfied with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips: When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches. Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.” What a precious passage of Scripture!
There is another Hebrew word that shows worship of God. It is the Hebrew word “Ya-dah.” It means, “ to worship with extended hands.” Psalms 28:2 says, “Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto Thee, when I lift up my hands toward Thy Holy oracle.” In Psalms 134:1-2, it says, “Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the LORD.” Inside the Temple where the ark set, and the presence of God was being manifest, the priests were showing love, and praise by raising their hands to the LORD. Lamentations 3:41 says “ Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.” Psalms 43:2 says, “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the LORD.” The praise of Israel was boisterous.
In II Chronicles 20:1-21 King Jehoshaphat of Judah was threatened by the Moabites and the Ammonites, which were enemies. In verse 3 Jehoshaphat feared and sought the LORD. In verse 6 he prayed to the LORD, “O LORD God of our fathers ... in Thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?” Then, a prophet named Jahaziel spoke up, (Vs. 14-17) encouraging Jehoshaphat to: “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (Vs. 17) “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle; set yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD with you,...To morrow go out against them for the LORD will be with you.”
In verse 19, “And the Levites of the children of the Kohathites...stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with aloud voice on high.” Then Jehoshaphat (Vs.21-22) “stood and said...Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established:” In Vs. 21 He appointed singers unto the LORD...He told them, “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endureth for ever.” (Vs. 22) “And when they began to sing and to praise the LORD, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.” After the battle was won, there were great spoils, and Vs.27 tells us “Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies.”
The word “hawla” used in his admonition to the people to “Praise the LORD” - is a Hebrew word which means “to hold out the hands, to revere and worship with extended hands.” Apostle Paul said in I Timothy 2:8 “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting.”
In Nehemiah 8:6, The people taken away to Babylon were allowed to go back to their homeland, Israel. This was such a glorious time for them. Ezra was a priest who returned and began worship of the LORD God again in the land of Israel. (Read the book of Ezra & Nehemiah) This verse in Nehemiah says, “And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God and all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands and they bowed their heads, and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” How full of PRAISE they were. This was such a glorious time for the Jews.
We need to learn to worship the Lord with all our being. I Corinthians 6:19-20 states, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Timothy 2:1-6 says, “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplication, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” Jesus Christ in the Pattern prayer also called “The Lord’s Prayer” showed how to begin the prayer by saying, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” These are words full of praise to the Father God. As we come before the Lord in prayer the first thing we should always do is to praise and worship Him. So, number one is “Praise the Lord.” The second thing is “Supplication” - petitions- asking the Lord for His help for us and others. The third is “Intercession” for others, asking for deliverance. The fourth is ending with “Praising and giving of thanks, and worship.” In the beginning and the ending let PRAISE of our Lord come forth. The early church gave much praise, much worship, seeing much movement of the Holy Spirit, and the Truth of the Word coming forth. There was no formality! What has changed?
In closing I want to give information concerning the words in the Bible which mean “praise” to God. There are eight words. 1. Hallah - The word “hallelujah” comes from this word. This word means: to be clear, praise, shine, boast, celebrate. 2. Yadah, which means “the extended hand, to throw out the hand, worship with extended hands.” 3. Towdah which means “an extension of the hand in adoration, showing acceptance, and used for thanking God for things not yet received, as well as already at hand.” 4. Tehillah which means “laudation, singing a hymn or to be loud.” Psalms 22:3, says, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” 5. Shebach which means “to shout, to address in a loud tone.” 6. Barak which means “ to kneel down, to bless God as an act of adoration.” 7. Zamar which means “to pluck the strings of an instrument, to sing, to praise with joyful expression of music.”
Psalms 150:1-6 - says, “Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: Praise him in the firmament of His power. Praise Him for His mighty acts: Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with the sound of a trumpet: Praise Him with the psaltery and harp. Praise Him with the timbrel and dance: Praise Him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise Him upon the loud cymbals: Praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let everything that hath breath Praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord!