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הַלְלוּיָהּ (Hallelujah)!

If you have spent anytime inside a church around Christmas time, then you have heard, sang, or repeated Hallelujah. Even in higher learning, you probably were required to study Handel’s 260-page oratorio called the “Messiah.”

In 1741, Handel took just 24 days to compose this classic piece. It was written that Handel hardly ate or slept during that period and was quoted as saying “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself seated on His throne, with His company of Angels.” Handel, who was heavily in debt at the time, would see his composition used for benefits to get debtors out of jail and fund-raisers for hospitals. Handel’s composition was reported to have been based on Revelation 19:6 “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord GOD Omnipotent reigns!” ,Revelation 19:16: “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” and Revelation 11:15 “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

But it was the more recent “Hallelujah” sang by Carrie Underwood and John Legend that got my focus on the word. If you go to Wikipedia, “Hallelujah (/ˌhælɪˈluːjə/ HAL-i-LOO-yə) is an interjection. It is a transliteration of the Hebrew phrase הַלְלוּ יָהּ‎ (Modern Hebrew hallūyāh), which is composed of two elements: הַלְלוּ‎ (second-person imperative masculine plural form of the Hebrew verb hillel: an exhortation to "praise" addressed to several people) and יָהּ‎ (the name of God Yah)”. I love that Hallelujah is expressed in exhortation (define as “an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something”) to “PRAISE GOD” to “several people.”

In James 5:13, we read “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.” I read that verse and I see the fine line that we have made between those two emotions this year. Yet as I reflect on this past twelve months, I realize after 5 years of visiting hospitals or funeral homes, my family has not stepped into either in 2020. Now I say this as recognition to shout from the rooftops, HALLELUJAH!!!! Please know my heart is heavy for so many families devastated by this pandemic and the economic impact it is having on this world, but that is why my Spirit is lead to PRAISE GOD. For we have a GOD who has loved us all since HE created Adam and sent HIS Only SON, a gift wrapped in swaddling clothes to save our eternal soul.

In this time of giving and receiving, we must take the time to be cheerful and “sing the psalms” to praise GOD for being alive, for our health, for having shelter, for babies being born, for having a job, and for being loved so much that GOD gave His only Son to die for our sins.

In reading Psalms 150:1-2, we read “Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!” “According to HIS Excellent Greatness”, that is the foundation of why we must shout HALLELUJAH! Although we are blessed beyond measure, praising GOD is not about how we feel and it shouldn’t be based on our circumstances. Indeed, we must praise Him for HIS greatness. For it is written in Nehemiah 9:6 ““You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before you.” Indeed, HE is to be praised.

In Psalms 103:1-5 we read, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:  Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,  Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,  Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”  If you believe in the ONE TRUE GOD, then you must believe HE is with you and HE will keep you from destruction. To sing Hallelujah is to remember who GOD is to you and to those you love.

We have certainly dealt with a lot this year and have a lot to complain about, but has 2020 been all bad? Look at Shady Brook. This is a church that was nearly declared a dead church just 5 years ago. We were told that if we didn’t change our type of service, change our music, change our look, etc. no young families would attend and we would die of old age. Well, here we are with babies in our nursery and young families growing in our church. I am humbled to say, we have not changed our faith in GOD. Shady Brook, we have every reason to sing Hallelujah this year. We are still here and GOD is with us.

When you step out to work tomorrow, step up to your computer, or step into your vehicle, remember to sing Hallelujah for the ONE who has made this all possible. PRAISE HIM for HIS presence in your life, PRAISE HIM for those closest to you, PRAISE HIM for that beautiful sunset, PRAISE HIM for online church service, PRAISE HIM for that baby wrapped in swaddling clothes.