A Joyful Heart of Praise
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 149:1-9 | 1 Chronicles 12:19- 14:17 | Romans 1:1-17| Proverbs 19:4-5
Today’s Scripture Focus: Psalm 149:1-9
[Hallelujah!] Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people. (Psalm 149:1, NIV)
Hallelujah! It’s one of those words you can’t help but shout or sing out really loud! You just can’t mumble Hallelujah.
Psalm 149 is one of those glorious Hallelujah psalms. While your translation may say “praise the Lord” at the beginning and end of this Psalm (which is what it means) I always bring it back to the original: “Hallelujah!” It’s a word that you really don’t need to translate. It works in most every language. Hallelujah!
Most of my growing up years, I was in a church where everybody understood the word, Hallelujah! Every Sunday was a celebration of joyful praise and worship. People sang from their hearts and with enthusiasm (even those who could only make a joyful noise—but they weren’t a distraction).
They loved to sing new songs (and even the old ones sounded fresh and new) in the assembly of the saints. Sunday was a celebration and we looked forward to gathering together to praise the Lord. We rejoiced in our Maker; we were glad to worship of our King. Our only instrument was a clunky old piano, but on Sunday it knew how to play “Hallelujah!” I never could understand why we seemed to leave off the first part of verse 3, but we were dancing in our hearts. Why were they singing loudly and with joyful enthusiasm? They understood verses 4-5: “For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. Let the saints rejoice in this honor.”
But not all share this enthusiasm. I have been in many churches and have noticed that some have lost their joy. I’ll never forget the shock I felt as a teenager when I was asked to sing a solo at another church. It was a big church with lots of people. As the worship service began, the organ played and I sang out at the top of my lungs: “A mighty fortress….” All eyes turned toward me. I broke the rules, I actually sang. They only mumbled. They couldn’t help but look at me. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced that same thing many times since.
It’s almost Sunday. It’s almost time to gather with the saints to celebrate the greatness of our God. It’s almost time to sing joyful songs. Get excited, shout, sing, and if they’ll let you, break out the tambourine and dance. Go ahead; take a chance. After all, “the Lord takes delight in his people.” Think about it: “The Lord delights in you.” Isn’t that reason enough to let go of your inhibitions? Come on, let’s sing and dance and shout, “Hallelujah!” Let’s have church!
To You, O King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Hallelujah! Fill my heart with praise today, for you are worthy. I long to celebrate your goodness with my brothers and sisters in the sanctuary this weekend. Help us to worship you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. In Jesus name, Amen.