Hallelujah, meaning ‘Praise Yahweh’, is a word we frequently use. But I do wonder, how often do we meditate on the meaning of it? I have been marvelling recently at this word. You see, this is not a popular word in the place I originate from: the Muslim Middle Eastern community. There are many who have not heard this word, and most importantly, its meaning and that’s heartbreaking. They have not yet shared our joy, the joy that overflows when we often sing this word.
I have found in my experiences in prayer and singing worship songs that my heart derives the most joy, the most peace, when I am simply praising God for who He is. Hallelujah, but in many more words. This is something the natural man cannot grasp. Many have grumbled against God and have accused God of pride when wondering why we are to praise him. They miss the point. The praise is for His glory (yes and rightfully so, because He is worthy) but it is actually for our good. C.S Lewis captured the obvious yet easily missed truth beautifully:
But the most obvious fact about praise — whether of God or anything — strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise… – C.S Lewis
Praise, whether in a simple but loaded word like ‘Hallelujah’ or in prolonged heartfelt prayers, are rooted in our joy in the goodness of God and in the love for the person of God. We behold His beauty, we acknowledge our sin, our depravity and the great mercy and unfailing love He still chose to give us. We behold the cross, we behold the joy set before us and out of a heart full of joy and gratitude, we praise.
But we so frequently forget that many are still lost and have no access to this joy, and subsequently, this delightful praise. We often forget, in the busyness of life, that many of God’s children, our own brothers and sisters in the faith, chosen from the foundation of the world have not yet heard and thus have not yet come into the kingdom of God. May we take up an attitude like that of the Apostle Paul when he wrote that:
Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory – 2 Timothy 2:10
May they join us in singing Hallelujah.