by Graham Mol
It’s a word that we’ve sung countless times in our worship songs. A word that has become familiar through its frequent use. But do we know what “Hallelujah” actually means?
The term is actually a joining of two Hebrew words: hallelu and Yah. Two put it simply hallelu is a form of hallal (praise, glory, boast) that basically means “you (all) praise” and Yah is a shortening of the LORD (YHWH). Often this is written in our Bible translations as “Praise the LORD!”
We find this phrase in many places in the Bible and once such place is in Psalm 146:
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
2 I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8 the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.
In this psalm “Hallelujah!” is both a shout of praise and affirmation but also a declaration of devotion to the Lord amidst the other things of life that compete for our allegiance.
While others look to a particular person, organisation or charismatic leader to save them from their troubles, when we cry out “Hallelujah” we recognise that our hope is in the Lord our God.
We are reminded of all that He has done: the beauties of His grand creation, His loving care for even the least, the freedom He brings, how He opens our eyes and lifts us up, how He defends the weak from the wicked.
Hope and trust in the Lord is never misplaced. He has not, and will never let us down. He is Sovereign God over all nations for all generations.
So I’d like to encourage you to speak or sing it out. Whether from your lips, or in your heart.
Praise the Lord!