Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Word of Worship - Hallelujah

When I was a little boy, I would just make up words (probably to hear the sound of my own voice). Sometimes I'd stumble upon a word that would make my mom's head pop up and fix a disapproving gaze in my direction. With a stern look on her face, she'd say, "Kendall, don't say that word unless you know what it means..." I guess that lesson stuck with me...

It's funny that as grown ups we still use words that we don't even know what they mean. There is a song by Damien Rice called Delicate. It is funny that a song about physical contact between a man and a woman could produce a lyric that changed my view on personal worship. In this song, (which has no other lyric that could used in a worshipful setting), Rice poses the question, "Why do you sing Hallelujah if it means nothin' to ya - Why do you even sing at all?". Why do we sing? Why do we say Hallelujah, if we don't know what it means?

One thing I hope this Blog accomplishes is educating us about Words of Worship, and one of the most often used words in worship is "Hallelujah". A wonderful word to be sure. It is a word that we whisper... a word that we shout... a word that we sing... and a word that we hold in high regard. But if we don't know what it means, then why do we say it?

Hallelujah is a Hebrew word that means "Praise God".  

It comes from these words - Hallel : A Hebrew word that means Praise. It is no considence that this word starts with the letter "H". The letter H is actually derived from a hieroglyphic symbol of a man with his hands raised in celebration. It is incredible that the letters themselves are acting in praise to God!

The second half of the word is Jah or Yah. Yah is a shortened form of the name of God YHWH - which most of us have heard pronounced as Yahweh or Jehovah. YHWH is knowns as the Tetragrammaton. This is the perhaps the most sacred word in the Hebrew language because it is the name of God. There are even some jewish scholars that write it down but do not pronounce YHWH, because it is considered too sacred to be used for common activities.

As you can see, there is such depth and history and worth to this word that we must understand it and give it proper value. We must use it effectivly and with a proper spirit, giving our complete offering to God.

So, when you say "Hallelujah!" make sure you remember what you are saying. You are praising the name of the Lord most High, in the same language that David wrote his Psalms and John wrote in Revelation. Say this word with all your heart, for there is no greater honor.


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