Nothing is more frustrating than to wish to communicate with someone but you can’t speak the same language. It’s true of marriage as well as the traveler who wishes he had learned French instead of playing sports.

I first encountered that frustration years ago when I was invited to speak at a rather large church in Paris. Arriving at the church before the scheduled service, I was met with smiles and greetings in French which I didn’t understand. Then I was directed to follow the greeter to the pastor’s office where more warm greetings were voiced which I also didn’t understand. “Excuse me, but do you speak English?” I hesitantly asked. The pastor shook his head. “Parlez-vous francais?” he asked. “No, I’m sorry,” I said.

He smiled, and I smiled. Then we looked at the floor, and then again looking at each other realized that until an interpreter arrived, we simply could not communicate. Then, remembering that the word hallelujah is a universal word understood by all who love God’s Word, I looked at the pastor and warmly said, “Hallelujah!” This, he understood. “Hallelujah!” He responded.

Suddenly, two people who could not speak each other’s language could communicate spiritually, and a warmth and understanding which transcended the ability to communicate verbally warmly knit their hearts together.

Some words were coined for use only by the children of God, and such is the word hallelujah! Actually, the word is Hebrew, a compound of two words hallal and jah. The first word, hallal, means “to praise,” and the word jah is the word for God, the same word which gives us the word Jehovah.

Simply put, the word means “praise be to God” or “praise the Lord.” This was the same word which captured the attention of George Frederick Handel, who wrote The Messiah, one of the greatest of all masterpieces, known and loved the world over. “And He shall reign forever and ever” wrote Handel, and the words crescendo in “Hallelujah, hallelujah.” It is no wonder that Handel, who had barricaded himself into his room and practically neither ate nor slept as he wrote, later told a friend, “It seemed as if heaven came down and filled my soul.” It is understandable that the world does not grasp the meaning nor significance of the word hallelujah, for only those who have been redeemed can praise God for what He has done in bringing salvation to mankind.

Actually, the word was not commonly used by the writers of Scripture. In the Old Testament it is found only in the book of Psalms. The 111th and the 112th psalms both begin with that word hallelujah, which is translated in English “Praise the LORD.” The same word also begins and ends Psalms 146-150.

The word hallelujah is found in only one chapter of the New Testament, Revelation 19, where the redeemed of all ages are in the presence of God, and a great multitude from every nation and people unite their voices like a loud peal of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God” (Revelation 19:1-2). Then the multitude concludes by saying, “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns” (Revelation 19:6).

A final thought. The 107th Psalm admonishes, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy” (Psalm 107:2, KJV). There are two ways in which God’s children praise Him: through our worship and through our lives. May both cry out, “Hallelujah to the King of kings and Lord of lords, who shall reign forever and ever!” Of His kingdom there shall be no end.

Resource Reading: Revelation 19

Text: Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Revelation 19:6-7

GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – July 19, 2017