Praise (Part 2)

Last week I talked about a wonderful Spirit-filled service I attended over 45 years ago, and how the memories of that service still affect me.  In this blog, I wish to discuss seven Hebrew words that describe worship expressions, taken from the books of Psalms and Isaiah.  Then, I’m going to demonstrate why genuine worship services have to be conducted decently and in order for all in attendance to receive from the Lord.

The Psalms (Hebrew hymn book) and the Prophet Isaiah, reveal seven forms of praise that I believe we need to incorporate in today’s worship segments of our services.  They won’t always manifest, but we certainly need to be open to these worship expressions.  They come to us through the use of seven Hebrew words:

  HALLAH — “Our praise word, “Hallelujah” comes from this root word.  Literally interpreted, it means, “Praise the Lord.”  “Praise the Lord!  Praise God in  His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse” (Psalm 150:1).

YADAH — refers to “the extended hand, to throw out the hand, or to lift the hand.”  “So I will bless You  as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name” (Psalm 63:4)

TOWDAH — This word is closely connected with YADAH, but in a more specific way.  It is based on praising God for “things not yet received.”  It is a faith proclamation. “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Psalm 50:14).

SHABACH — means “to shout, to address in a loud tone, to command, to triumph.”  “O clap your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy” (Psalm 47:1).

BARAK — means “to kneel down, to bless God in an act of adoration.”  “Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Psalm 95:6).

ZAMAR — means “to pluck the strings of an instrument; largely involves the expression of music through musical instruments.”  “Awake, my glory!  Awake, harp and lyre!  I will awaken the dawn” (Psalm 57:8).  

TEHILLAH — involves the “singing of ‘hallah’s,’ to sing loud OR to sing hymns of the Spirit or praise.”  This is what happened at Eastside Assembly, Springfield, Missouri in 1974.  “To grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes.  The oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting, so they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3).  


Having said all of the above, now let me offer a teaching that comes out of mutual respect and accountability.  Yes, we should learn how to worship God according to Biblical patterns.  Yes, we should quit looking around and allowing others to deter us from “pressing in.”   Yes, we should be considerate of others’ personal space and private devotion.  Yes, we should quit judging others because we may not be comfortable with their mode or “loudness” during worship.  And they should not judge us for lesser expressions.  


Our God is a God of order.  His Spirit operates beautifully and powerfully when His house remains in order.  When a given service is not moving forward to our liking, we don’t have “to work it up,”  And we must never draw attention to ourselves.  Every service has a design from the throne, and the Lord’s purpose is that all present receive accordingly.  By the way, when I returned on Sunday evening at Eastside Assembly, the tone of that service was quiet, sweet and unassuming.  That didn’t make it a less “spiritual” service.

Corporate worship by divine mandate necessitates that all benefit from the “now” movement of the Spirit.

Let me explain.

I have led services and attended services where a small group of people, while supposedly “being Spirit-led,” remained uncommonly loud and oblivious to their surroundings.  The service, as it was, was put on hold until they quieted down.  All attention was directed their way.  Spiritual pride and attention-seeking entered into the mix, and the service became unsettled.  This is never God’s plan.  My friend, I’m not talking about quenching the Spirit, I’m talking about accommodating the Spirit’s desire for any given service.  Wise pastors do not allow attention-seeking individuals to lead the way at the expense of “the whole.”  Every incident has to be handled wisely and on its own merit.  If additional time/attention is necessary, God will give specific direction to the pastor or whoever’s leading the service.

Now, once again, travel back with me to that morning service at Eastside Assembly.  It went God’s way because the ENTIRE church moved according to what the Holy Spirit was doing.  That woman was one in a crowd that was moving in/with the Spirit.  The atmosphere was Spirit-energized and Spirit-empowered, and no confusion existed.  She not once called attention to herself, as most everyone in the service was caught up in the “spirit of the moment.”

Erroneous teaching on the part of well-meaning pastors suggests that what God wants always overrides what people want.  And that’s true!  However, the Lord is never the author of confusion.  

My prayer for Hope Community is that God will stir the hearts of our people and draw us into a corporate anticipation of His manifested presence in our services.  The prophet Zechariah said it best:  “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord” (4:16).  Oh, Lord, send Your power!  I welcome the day when individuals stirred by the Spirit’s touch, get up from their seat and kneel before the altar during the corporate service.  The altar, historically and theologically, is “the place of death.”  Sin dies where the blood spills.  And burdens are lifted at Calvary.  

“Lord, remind us that You live in our praise; and that regardless of our personality type, personal preference or preconceived ideas about what church should look like, we are part of the whole, not islands unto ourselves.” 

So, on your way to church next Sunday, wholeheartedly prepare your heart to press in and receive from the Lord.  Let nothing deter you from praising the Lord! But remember, stay in sync with God’s overall design for that service.  In truth, worship services should be an extension of our on-going, private, daily worship times  throughout the week.  Let’s refer to those times as “rehearsals for Sunday!”



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