Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah!

When I was just a boy, singing was a very important part of the worship. If there was a song being led, we sang. My whole family sang. It didn't matter what our voices sounded like. It did not matter that we had no musical training. We sang because it was our way of praising and thanking our worthy God. It amazes me when I am in the worship and I see Christian people who will not sing.

One of the songs I quickly learned was "Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah." I liked the song, especially the words, "Praise His name young men and maidens, aged men, and children small." I thought the author was including me and it made me feel like my singing mattered. In the old Songs for the Church songbook it was number 148. Later on I figured out that the song was from Psalm 148, and that the words came straight from the Bible. So the author new exactly what he was talking about.

"Hallelujah" is a very special word. It is a transliterated word from an original Hebrew two-word phrase. The first part, hallelu, is the second person imperative masculine plural form of the Hebrew verb hallal, which means, "Joyous praise." The second part comes from "YHWH", a Hebrew name for God, rendered in English as "Yahweh." I have also heard some include that the "el" in the middle of the word is short for "Elohim." Elohim is the third word in the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 1:1), and another name for God. This word was so sacred to the Jews that they would not say it aloud. It expressed to them all the concepts of the divine, triune God. So some might say that "Hallelujah" is "Praise to God, the Lord." Hallelujah must not be understated. This is a joyful word of praise to God!

Just before Henry "Red" Mitchell left us this week, he tried to lead "Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah" from his bed. He wasn't finished praising Jehovah. His hallelujahs were still going strong. I believe that this song is not just another song in our song books. It was given to us by the Holy Spirit. It is an eternal and divine hymn of praise to God. "Red" has crossed over now to the land where the hallelujahs roll. He can sing this song and never get tired. He can sing this song with greater joy and meaning than he ever did in his earthly lifetime.

As a people of God, we have much for which to be thankful. We need to be a people of praise. Henry Mitchell taught us the importance of praise for the Lord. It is a lesson we must never forget. If we will sing to God, if we will praise his name with all of our hearts, it will change our lives. I promise.

"He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the Lord!" ~ Psalm 148:14

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