Hallelujah! Give praise, servants of the Lord; praise the name of the Lord. Let the name of the Lord be praised both now and forever. From the rising of the sun to it’s setting, let the name of the Lord be praised (vv. 1-3).
Musically inclined or not, have you ever pictured yourself in heaven, singing with the angelic choir? You may not be able to carry a tune now, but if you’re a believer, your voice will blend one day with countless millions of others in a glad “hallelujah!”
The word hallelujah comes from two beautiful Hebrew words: hallel, “praise,” and jah, referring to “Yahweh, ” Jehovah. Hallelujah means “praise the Lord.” Taken from the hallel, a collection of songs sung at the great Jewish festivals—Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles—Psalms 113-118 are music for a heavenly choir performance. Our Lord joined in shortly before his death (Mark 14:26).
This psalm begins and ends with an exhilarating call to worship. Praising the Lord is a divine imperative, not an option for the servants of God. You can’t plead a case of laryngitis or skip rehearsal. The command is clear. Praise the Lord— “now and forevermore” from “the rising of the sun to it’s setting” (vv. 2-3).
Only Yahweh—whose name was too sacred even to be uttered aloud by ancient worshippers—is worthy of continual praise. Yet how blithely and flippantly we speak that glorious name. As we moved toward colloquial speech in our prayers, sermons, and lyrics, we need to guard against irreverence and disrespect. We need to speak his sacred name as if we were breathing a prayer.
Am I praising him continually—by every action of my life as well as with my vocal chords? Am I praising him in front of my children as well as in private moments of meditation? It’s time for the angelic choir rehearsal to begin! He’s coming soon!
Beginning now, O Lord, keep me accountable for my praise to you. Let it be unending… beginning now!