Today: [Psalm 148-149] The Hallelujah Psalms, Continued: The Hallel and the New Song. Psalms 148-149 continue for us the Hallelujah Psalms. Psalm 148 gives a universal application of the Hallel to every avenue of life and creation. Psalm 149 speaks of the “new song” defining what it is and where it is appropriate to incorporate it into our lives. Psalm 149 also emphasizes praise as a form of spiritual warfare that keeps the enemy at bay and brings judgment upon the prince of the world that seeks to assault us and rob us of God’s blessing.
[Psa 148:1-14 KJV] 1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. 2 Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. 3 Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. 4 Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that [be] above the heavens. 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. 6 He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. 7 Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: 8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word: 9 Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: 10 Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: 11 Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: 12 Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory [is] above the earth and heaven. 14 He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; [even] of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD.
Psalm 148-149 continue the and constitute the 3rd and 4th “Hallelujah” psalms – so named because they begin and end with the Hebrew word Hallelujah. It would be good to digress and consider this word that brackets the last 5 psalms.
Hallelujah is a compound word including a verb and an abbreviation of the name of God. The ending JAH is an abbreviation of what is known as the Tetragrammaton – the name of God that is loosely translated in English as Yahweh but in Hebrew is actually unspeakable, being made up of 4 consonants YHWH. The “hallel” part of the word comes from a root used in Job 31:26 and Isa. 13:10 with a threefold meaning to “flash, forth, light”. In that sense a modern, New Testament expression of the Hallel would be the equivalent as saying “come Lord Jesus!”
There is an identical verb to the Hallel used elsewhere in the Old Testament (Proverbs 27:21) to describe a crucible where silver and gold are rendered molten and white hot in order to draw off the dross. Therefore the Hallel also evokes the image of something (your human spirit) that contains the fire of God and the passionate praise of God. It is another way of saying then “I am full of the fire of God – and He is coming forth in My life!”
There is still another use of the verb Hallel to describe insane and irrational behavior (Ecc. 1:17; and Ecc. 10:13). In both uses they are used to define a process that starts with speaking nonsense. In that regard the Hallel then points directly to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the speaking in other tongues, or glossolalia. The process of praise then involves a decoupling of your rationale mind and giving in to spontaneous and ecstatic utterances of passionate, white hot praise because of the God who is a fire from His loins up and His loins down lives on the inside of you. You are praising God in the Hallel because you are full of God and as the prophet said “it is a fire in my bones and I could not keep still!”
[Psa 149:1-9 KJV] 1 Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his praise in the congregation of saints. 2 Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. 3 Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. 4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. 5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. 6 [Let] the high [praises] of God [be] in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; 7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, [and] punishments upon the people; 8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.
As Psalms 146 was followed by 147 – an exhortation to song, even so Psalm 149 following 148 is likewise an exhortation to Psalm. Remember that these last 5 psalms were named by ancient editors after the 5 books of the Torah or Pentateuch. Psalm 149 then would correspond to the book of Numbers.
Verse 1 of our chapter contains 3 admonitions:
1. Praise the Lord
2. Praise the Lord in the New Song
3. Sing Praises to Him in Company with other Believers.
The new song is not a scripted song. It has no written lyric or established score. It is spontaneous and ecstatic in nature. In the days of the Charismatic renewal this was a very common occurrence during worship times in renewals congregations. We can revive this practice by singing in tongues and allowing the Lord to give us phrases and chord progressions on our instruments that are harmonious and repetitive in nature. There are many referencese to the New Song throughout the scriptures:
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD.
Sing to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
O sing to the LORD a new song, For He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.
Sing to the LORD a new song, Sing His praise from the end of the earth! You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it You islands, and those who dwell on them.
I will sing a new song to You, O God; Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.
Verse 2 tells us to rejoice in “Him”. What is the cause of our rejoicing? One minister told the story of believing God for a large sum of money. After a time the money came in and the man was so excited he was jumping up and down and shouting. In the midst of his celebration the voice of God spoke: “Are you rejoicing because you have the money or because you don’t have to trust Me for it anymore?” There is something to be said about “rejoicing in Him” regardless of what is going on in our life and circumstance. God and the Spirit of God in your life is its own reward. If there is nothing but pressure and difficulty around you – there is still reason to worship and to praise God in your life. Let us then be joyful in our king as the verse says.
Verses 1-3 exhort us to praise. Verse 4 gives us the response or the reason why. We praise Him because He takes pleasure in His people. Sometimes we have a concept of an austere God sitting on a throne and frowning down upon mankind. This is contrary to what the verse says. God takes pleasure in His people. Our demeanor toward God is a reflection of our understanding (or misunderstanding) of His demeanor toward us. God is not indifferent toward us. He is not so transcendent that He does not take notice of us and find pleasure in His people. He finds pleasure in us and it is fitting that we find pleasure, and joy and happiness in Him and in His Spirit.
Verse 5 speaks of singing aloud on our beds. This tells us that song and praise to God is not a liturgical response only suited for a religious setting. We are to praise God. Not out of forced grace but because our lives are so blessed and benefited by our connection to Him that we make room for Him in every activity even singing aloud in our beds because we are just that grateful for who He is and what He continues to do for us on a daily basis. This is the God of “life and life more abundantly”. This is corresponding metric of blessing that we can understand God wants us to know and experience not just as belief but experience day by day of His goodness.
Verse 6-7 tell us that praise, specifically “high praise” is a form of spiritual warfare. There are spiritual beings we are in proximity to that consider themselves our enemies. There are demons roaming our streets that look for every opportunity to provoke our flesh and rob us of our joy and God’s blessing. We are to live our lives with the high praises of God on our lips just as we would with a sword on our hip. Praise pains the enemy. When you are in true praise and high praise – vengeance of worked against the enemy of your soul. Where there is no praise there is vulnerability to the assault of the wicked one. Does your life denote praise to God? Is praise and worship and singing to God a descriptor of the environment you carry out your day in? Let us consider repenting in this area if need be and see what an upgrade from heaven we will experience as we incorporate praise in the character of our lives.
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