I'm a daughter, granddaughter & niece of pastors. I love God & studying the Bible and want to empower others to do the same.
Hallelujah! My soul, praise the Lord. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing to my God as long as I live. - Psalm 146:1-2
Yah or Jah is short for YAHWEH, or YHWH, a name for God in Hebrew. Twenty-four out of the 150 times Yah or Jah appears in the Hebrew, it is part of a two-word phrase: Hallelu-jah or hallu-yah.
This phrase “hallelu-jah” is a second person imperative masculine plural form of the Hebrew word hillel: an exhortation to “praise” addressed to many people. What that means is, first, it is imperative, meaning a command. This is not a not a question or mild suggestion, or an option for if and when you feel like it. It’s almost an order. It’s a directive. We are commanded to praise God. And Who else should we praise? Who else deserves it? Who else made the earth and all that is in it (Jer. 27:5), and gives to everything life and breath, and in Him we move and live and have our being? (Acts 17:28) Who else named the stars in the sky (Ps. 147:4) and numbered the hairs on our heads? (Luke 12:7) Who else planned all our days before one of them began? (Ps. 139:16) Who else hung on a cross and died to redeem us?
This word command is also second person, like the word “you,” speaking to the reader. It is implying not only that I am not God, and you are not God. Only God is God. But it also implies who should praise Him? You and me. We should praise our Creator, the Lover of our souls.
This word is also, in referring to God, both masculine and plural, meaning God is more than just one: He is Triune—three in one—Father, Son Jesus, and Holy Spirit.
For all this and all the mighty, wonderful things He does for us, we absolutely should praise Yah, as a whole, because He is our triune God and we are commanded/exhorted to, but also because His salvation and mercies are new daily, hourly, whatever addiction or sin or struggle you need saving from.
Hallelujah! How good it is to sing to our God, for praise is pleasant and lovely. -Psalm 147:1
Praise is a heart stance as well as a repeated action. It can be in songs sung aloud (and should be daily) as well as in thought. It is even in how we think. The Word commands us to “in EVERYTHING give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18). We should be praying thanks sporadically all day long, as we see things we are thankful for, and even more so praising the Maker of all things.
I’m thankful that I can praise Him both for the unexpected bonus check in the mail and the things I needed that it buys, and the fun things I don’t need that He allows me to get. I’m thankful for the green light when I’m in a hurry and the red one that prevented me from getting in an accident down the road, whether I knew it or not. I’m thankful for the beauty in nature and in the characteristics of those I love. I’m thankful for every item in my home, the foods that taste so good as well as the growers and pickers of them. When I use the restroom, I’m thankful for the indoor plumbing, the God who created people wise enough to make these technologies I enjoy, the one who keeps them working, and who has created people talented enough to know how to repair them for me when they go awry. I’m thankful for the opportunity to meet these people and that every encounter is a way to witness using my words, actions, and attitudes, or to encourage those who are already believers.
I’m so thankful that I have the ability, and have been commanded and encouraged by God to praise Him, and that it is an act of worship, of fellowship. I’m thankful that it creates a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with my Father. Just as a young couple in love receive oxytocin released in their brains by telling each other how much and for what reasons and in all the ways they love each other, so the same chemical reaction happens in our brains when we speak this way aloud, or in song, or in whispered or unspoken prayers to our Savior. And as yet another return blessing, this chemical makes us feel happier, more trusting of Him, reminds us how good He always has been and will be. The more we praise Him, the more we feel contentment, peace, and even satisfaction in being heard and known and loved and understood in a deeper way than any human relationship ever could. God isn’t demanding we praise Him like an arrogant emperor, aloof and cold and commanding. He does it as a loving Father knowing it will deepen our trust in Him, our love for Him, so that we might taste just a honeyed sip of the deep oceans of love He has for us.
I’m thankful that I can praise my Savior, every day, in so many ways, and each object of blessing is also a reflection of His beautiful character and endless lovingkindness. I can praise Him when I rise for all my memories of yesterday. I can praise Him when I shower for the hot water, and the good-smelling soap, and the running water. I can praise Him for my car and gas and the sky and by singing music while I drive. I can praise Him when I’m waiting in line to pay at a store or at an appointment, for all the workers and people and things around me, for the money to pay for it, for the time off work to go, for the insurance I have, and for the people whose eyes I can help point to seeing His great love. I can thank Him for abstract things, or my favorite things, things I’ve seen, places visited, the smells of nature or foods, the flavors and tastes of things. I can praise God any time I’m bored, or frustrated, scared or anxious, depressed or despairing, and it will actually help combat these feelings and emotions and release positive chemicals in my brain!
I’m thankful that Hallelujah is a command to praise Yahweh. When I do, He is blessed, and I can better see how very abundantly I am blessed, and that everything God commands me to do is for my good, especially praising the Maker of all good things.
For more verses about this, read: Jer. 20:13, 31:7; Ps. 135:1, 113:1, 7:17, 149:1, 150:6, 111:1; Is. 63:7, Ezra 3:11, 2 Chron. 5:13.
Song suggestions: O Praise the Name (Anastasis), Praise Ye the Lord Hallelujah, A Hallelujah Christmas, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
© 2021 Amanda Lorenzo
Bonney Block on July 15, 2021:
This is such a good reminder of things to be thankful for that we so often just take for granted. I don’t think I realized that this word was a strong command. I’m thankful for you!