July 12, 2018

If You Have Breath In Your Lungs - Praise The Lord

INTERESTING FACTS : Samuel Huntington, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS; JUDGE; GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT

"It becomes a people publicly to acknowledge the over-ruling hand of Divine Providence and their dependence upon the Supreme Being as their Creator and Merciful Preserver . . . and with becoming humility and sincere repentance to supplicate the pardon that we may obtain forgiveness through the merits and mediation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Daily Reading : PSALM 146 - 150

TEXT : Psa 150:1  Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Psa 150:2  Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Psa 150:3  Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Psa 150:4  Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Psa 150:5  Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Psa 150:6  Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
 
THEME : WORSHIP
 
If you take notice, all of the last five psalms open with "Praise ye the LORD."  Thus, perhaps in an undesigned coincidence with respect to the order of Old Testament Books that we know are not in chronological order, the Book of Psalms closes with abundant "Hallelujahs!" Hallelujah, by definition means - "'Praise ye Jehovah,'" frequently rendered "Praise ye the Lord," [and] stands at the beginning of ten of the psalms (Ps. 106, 111-113, 135, 146 - 150), hence called "hallelujah psalms." From its frequent occurrence it grew into a formula of praise. The Greek form of the word (alleluia) is found in Rev_19:1, Rev_19:3, Rev_19:4, Rev_19:6." [International Bible Encyclopedia].
 
Therefore, "Praise ye the LORD," and "Hallelujah" are the same thing. Interestingly, "Praise ye the LORD," is not translated into our English - "Hallelujah," in the Old Testament . Hallelujah, a transliteration of the Hebrew [words] into English is used frequently in sacred music, Biblical writings etc. Alleluia, on the other hand, the Greek counterpart to the Hebrew Hallelujah, is used four times in the New Testament - all of them in the Book of Revelation. Thus, the Bible closes its canon of sixty - six Books in a similar manner as the Book of Psalms - "Praise to Jah" [or Jehovah, Yahweh, or LORD].
 
Also, of all the languages the Bible is translated into, Hallelujah is one word [in Hebrew it is actually two words] that retains its Hebrew origin throughout. In other words, Hallelujah is the by far, the most popular [Biblical] word used by people of all nations - worldwide! Taking into consideration the Bible has been translated into over two thousand of the world's more than six thousand languages [Wycliffe Translators[1]], this seems fitting. Moreover, given its meaning and the context of how it is used in the Psalms or Revelation, it is remarkable indeed. More than that, it is also noteworthy that when men and women poke fun at Christians, this is one of their favorite choices of words to express a derogatory attitude. That is, unbelievers frequently use - "Praise the LORD," or "Hallelujah," to mock the Christian who often employ the phrase. Perhaps then, the placement of "Praise ye the LORD" [that is, Hallelujah] is not quite as "undesigned" a coincidence as mentioned. Namely, God put in His Book this word - "Hallelujah" [literally - "Praise to Yahweh," or "Praise {ye} the LORD"] to express the glory, honor, power, admiration, awe, love, and in short - the worship, due to Him. In the Western world, Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus is still one of the most recognizable pieces of classical musical. Most people - young and old, know Handel's triumphant oratorio.
 
National Public Radio, in an article entitled - "The Pure Power of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus" stated -  The "Hallelujah Chorus," from George Frederic Handel's Messiah, is such an iconic piece of music — and is so ingrained as a Christm as tradition — that it's easy to take its exuberance and its greatness for granted[2]."
 
Again - "Handel's first biographer, John Mainwaring, wrote in 1760 that this conclusion revealed the composer "rising still higher" than in "that vast effort of genius, the Hallelujah chorus". [Wikipedia; Messiah [Handel][3]
 
Thus, the "genius" of the Hallelujah chorus and Handel was found in the use of God's highest written and spoken accolade - "Praise Ye the LORD."
 
"This beautiful and animated psalm closes the series of the Hallelujah Psalms Ps. 146-150, and appropriately also closes the entire volume. Its author is unknown, but in respect to the object for which it was composed there can be no uncertainty. It was manifestly designed, whoever wrote it, to occupy the very place which it does occupy - to complete the volume devoted to praise. Praise is the suitable ending of the book; praise is what the Spirit of inspiration meant to secure in the heart and on the lips. In the review of the whole there is occasion for praise. In view of all that has been disclosed about God, about his religion, about the manifestations of his mercy and grace to his people, there is occasion for praise. After all that has been experienced, observed, and recorded in this book - all of trial, sorrow, temptation, conflict, disappointment, sickness, bereavement, persecution, war, captivity, bondage, exile, tears, pain, darkness, trouble - there is, as the result of the whole, as there will be at the end of our own troubled and chequered lives, occasion for exultation, praise, triumph - songs, rejoicings, raptures, hallelujahs. This psalm, then, made up wholly of expressions of gratitude and praise, is an appropriate close to the entire Book of Psalms. So may our lives close, when its varied scenes are over, with thanksgivings and praises, as a proper expression in view of the past, and as emblematic of the uninterrupted employment that awaits us in the heavens." [Albert Barnes]
 
Notice in Psalm 150, the re are no exceptions to who or what should give praise to the Almighty God, properly called - Jehovah. Let ALL says the writer, "Praise the LORD. " You should be aware of waht the word "ye" states. This is the plural of "you" in Old English, showing more than one person is mentioned. It is one of the advantages of our King James Bible. That is, it retains the plural form of "you" whenever it uses "ye." With that in mind, no one and no creature or creation of God is exempt from giving Him "Praise."
 
"Praise ye the Lord." Hallelujah! The exhortation is to all things in earth or in heaven. Should they not all declare the glory of him for whose glory they are, and were created? Jehovah, the one God, should be the one object of adoration. To give the least particle of his honour to another is shameful treason; to refuse to render it to him is heartless robbery. "Praise God in his sanctuary." Praise El, or the strong one, in his holy place. See how power is mentioned with holiness in this change of names. Praise begins at home. "In God's own house pronounce his praise." The holy place should be filled with praise, eve n as of old the high-priest filled the sanctum sanctorum with the smoke of sweet-smelling incense. In his church below and in his courts above hallelujahs should be continually presented. In the person of Jesus God finds a holy dwelling or sanctuary, and there he is greatly to be praised. He may also be said to dwell in holiness, for all his ways are right and good; for this we ought to extol him with heart and with voice. Whenever we assemble for holy purposes our main work should be to present praises unto the Lord our God. "Praise him in the firmament of his power." It is a blessed thing that in our God holiness and power are united. Power without righteousness would be oppression, and righteousness without power would be too weak for usefulness; but put the two together in an infinite degree and we have God. What an expanse we have in the boundless firmament of divine power! Let it all be filled with praise. Let the heavens, so great and strong, echo with the praise of the thrice holy Jehovah, while the sanctuaries of earth magnify the Almighty One." [C.H. Spurgeon]
 
You should praise His mighty acts. More than that, He can do such mighty acts because He is Almighty! Almighty implies just what it states - He can do ALL things! Nothing is beyond the reach of His power or domain! Nothing is impossible with Him, opening the door to great encouragement to His children. Your Father is not limited in any way, in any place, at any time. He can do all things. For this reason, He is to be praised for the mighty acts He has done, and for the mighty acts, He will yet do!
 
"Praise him for his mighty acts - See the notes at Psa_145:4 : "One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts." The Hebrew word is the same. The reference is to that which displays the power of God; the things which manifest his omnipotence. Praise him according to his excellent greatness - Hebrew, the multitude of his greatness. Let the praise in elevation correspond with this; let it be such as shall properly express this; let all be employed that will contribute to make this known, or that will be appropriate to this. Hence, the psalmist proceeds to call on all to make use of everything, by instrument and voice, that would in any manner set forth the praise of God." [Albert Barnes]
 
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "IF YOU HAVE BREATH IN YOUR LUNGS - PRAISE THE LORD!"
 
A "trumpet" should be more properly - the shofar. The timbrel [tambourine], the dance, and other stringed instruments when used together are an orchestra designed for the extolling of the One True God - Jeh ovah. Thus, with instruments of all kinds - plucked, struck, stroked, caressed, and arpeggiated together with the dance, all are appropriate for the Christian believer since it is equal to the knowledge of the LORD and what He does for His all His creation.
 
"The sound of the trumpet - שופר  sophar, from its noble, cheering, and majestic sound; for the original has this ideal meaning. With the psaltery - נבל  nebel; the nabla, a hollow stringed instrument; perhaps like the guitar, or the old symphony. And harp - כנור  kinnor, another stringed instrument, played on with the hands or fingers." [Adam Clarke]
 
"Praise him with the timbrel and dance." Associated with the deliverance at the Red Sea, this form of worship set forth the most jubilant and exultant of worship. The hands, and the feet were both employed, and the enti re body moved in sympathy with the members. Are there not periods of life when we feel so glad that we would fain dance for joy? Let not such exhilaration be spent upon common themes, but let the name of God stir us to ecstasy. Let us exult as we cry, -
 
"In the heavenly Lamb thrice happy I am,
 
And my heart it doth dance at the sound of his name."
 
There is enough in our holy faith to create and to justify the utmost degree of rapturous delight. If men are dull in the worship of the Lord our God they are not acting consistently with the character of their religion. "Praise him with stringed instruments and organs." We have here the three kinds of musical instruments: timbrels, which are struck, and strings, and pipes: let all be educated to praise the Lord. Nothing is common and unclean: all may be sanctified to highest uses. Many men, many minds, and these as different as strings and pipes; but there is only one God, and that one God all should worship. The word translated "organs" signifies pipe - a simpler form of wind instrument than the more modern and more elaborate organ. Doubtless many a pious shepherd has poured out gracious pastorals from a reed or oaten pipe, and so has magnified his God." [C.H. Spurgeon]
 
Hence, you are exhorted to praise God with all of His creation. Interesting that the last verse of the entire Book of Psalms ends with "Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD." Then, triumphantly, victoriously, gloriously, exultantly, jubilantly, and elatedly the crescendo climaxes with "Praise ye the LORD!" Hallelujah, the LORD God Omnipotent reigneth! Further, He shall reign, not for a season, but forever and ever!
 
Rev 22:1  And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Rev 22:2  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Rev 22:3  And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: Rev 22:4  And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. Rev 22:5  And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
 
Hence, if you have breath in your lungs - Praise the LORD! For even after there is no more breath, you will still be praising Him - forever!
 
"We are here stirred up to praise God. Praise God for his sanctuary, and the privileges we enjoy by having it among us; praise him because of his power and glory in the firmament. Those who praise the Lord in heaven, behold displays of his power and glory which we cannot now conceive. But the greatest of all his mighty acts is known in his earthly sanctuary. The holiness and the love of our God are more displayed in man's redemption, than in all his other works. Let us praise our God and Saviour for it. We need not care to know what instruments of music are mentioned. Hereby is meant that in serving God we should spare no cost or pains. Praise God with strong faith; praise him with holy love and delight; praise him with entire confidence in Christ; praise him with believing triumph over the powers of darkness; praise him by universal respect to all his commands; praise him by cheerful submission to all his disposals; praise him by rejoicing in his love, and comforting ourselves in his goodness; praise him by promoting the interests of the kingdom of his grace; praise him by lively hope and expectation of the kingdom of his glory. Since we must shortly breathe our last, while we have breath let us praise the Lord; then we shall breathe our last with comfort. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. Such is the very suitable end of a book inspired by the Spirit of God, written for the work of praise; a book which has supplied the songs of the church for more than three thousand years; a book which is quoted more frequently than any other by Christ and his apostles; a book which presents the loftiest ideas of God and his government, which is fitted to every state of human life, which sets forth every state of religious experience, and which bears simple and clear marks of its Divine origin." [Matthew Henry]

  • [1] Wycliffe Bible Translators; http://www.wycliffe.org/About/Statistics.aspx
  • [2] The "Hallelujah Chorus," from George Frideric Handel's Messiah, is such an iconic piece of music — and is so ingrained as a Christmas tradition — that it's easy to take its exuberance and its greatness for granted.
 
That's where Rob Kapilow comes in. The composer-conductor joins Performance Today host Fred Child to look deeper into the structure of Handel's popular little chorus to discover why the music has such a powerful grip on singers and listeners — all the way back to King George II of England, who (legend has it) began the tradition of standing during its performance. Much of the power of the piece, Kapilow says, lies behind the rhythm of the word hallelujah. Handel could have assigned the four syllables of the word to four notes of equal le ngth. But that would be boring — and it wouldn't be Handel, Kapilow says. "What makes Handel great," Kapilow says, "is that first note is lengthened and then we explode at the end. We have this HAAAA-le-lu-jah." Another key to the chorus' power is in what Kapilow calls the "King of Kings" section. "The thing that's so amazing about it," Kapilow says, "is that it's actually based on one of the simplest ideas you could possibly imagine: a single note repeated over and over again; one note per syllable — 'king - of - kings' and 'lord - of - lords.' " NPR; The Pure Power Of Handel's 'Hallelujah Chorus'; December 23, 2008; http://www.npr.org/2008/12/23/98517850/the-pure-power-of-handels-hallelujah-chorus
  • [3] Wikipedia, Messiah [Handel], July 11, 2012 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messiah_(Handel)#cite_ref-L104_136-1
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