I already knew it was Hebrew, had to do with praise, and was a root word for “Hallelujah.”
I did some digging, and a few definitions stood out to me.
- To shine, (God’s favor) to flash forth light
- to praise, boast, be boastful
- make into a fool, to act like a mad man
In summary: EXTRAVAGANCE.
Hallelujah is made up of two elements. Halel: an exhortation to praise + the name of God: Yah or Jah.
Apparently, every time we say “Hallelujah,” we are exhorting (influencing, strongly urging) ourselves to praise God. (Jehovah/Yahweh) We aren’t simply extending the praises that exist; we are declaring a verb action to ourselves. Soul, worship God. Body, worship God. Spirit, worship God.
This makes me think it’s OK to worship even when we don’t feel it; in fact, that’s when we need to worship the most. I know sometimes it’s tempting to metaphorically mow the lawn and psyche ourselves up to par for God before we feel presentable for the inner court, but the truth is, we are messy people.
The inner court isn't the destination; it's the journey.
“Hallelujah” isn’t only about giving God the glory He deserves; worship also serves the purpose of aligning our humanity with Holy Presence in order for glory to expand in us.
Performance isn’t the gift God craves; we give our most valuable gift to him by entering into His beautiful place by default. Intimacy is Heaven’s language.
It’s not a lie to engage in “Hallelujah” when we feel like the tabernacle Grinch. Like David when he wrote, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul,” we can exercise authority over our humanity. We can posture our spirit’s heath over our flesh’s cues. Soul, submit to Spirit. Soul, align with truth.
This isn’t a new idea. Jude urged the receivers of his letter to, “build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.”
So of course, worship because He is worthy, but equally important, engage in the Holy Place to live, knowing that worship is the act of practicing one’s identity.
© Brenda Kanagy