Hallelujah! – a sermon on Psalm 146 by Rev. Colin Pretorius.
Just yesterday someone said to me that for some people it’s perhaps a good thing to wear a mask in church so that the sound of their singing voices can be a bit muffled. And for some of us with poor singing voices that’s perhaps true. But I’ve also heard that when we were not able to meet together as a church, some of you who don’t sing so openly at church really belted out the songs at home. Friends, what the Word of God calls us to do, is to lift up our voices to Him, not because we are so musically inclined, not because we have such great voices, not because we can keep a tune, but because our hearts are bursting with gratitude and joy. We’re also not just called to praise God in song, but to praise Him in and with every aspect of our lives.
Perhaps you’ve heard people use the term “the frozen chosen” to describe Reformed believers. People use that term because sometimes Reformed people are seen as not being very expressive in their praise of God both in their worship services and in the way they live out their faith. And you know, sometime the people of God – not just Reformed people, mind you! – can be a bit stiff when it comes to praising Him, their hearts can be a bit cold, perhaps even a bit frosty. But friends, our God, our gracious God has chosen us to be His. If the light of the love of God has shone upon us, if it has kindled a fire in our hearts, how can any believer be one of the Frozen Chosen! Our magnificent God deserves all praise, all praise from warm and receptive hearts. And that praise shouldn’t just be part of our Sunday worship services, it has to be part of our everyday lives!
This morning we’re going to look at the first of the last 5 psalms in the book of Psalms. This wonderful book is like a bright canvas for it vividly depicts what our worship – our all-of-life worship – should look like. In the first parts of the book we have psalms of comfort, of praise and of lament, but underlying them all is the praise of the creator God. And when we get to the last five psalms, we see that they are very much songs of praise. They all begin and they all end with the word “hallelujah” which is made up from two words: “hallel” which in Hebrew means praise and “yah”, which is an abbreviation for the Lord’s name, Yahweh (or Yehovah). So literally we could translate this as “Praise you the Lord” or perhaps more loosely as “Let us praise the Lord”. And while we don’t know who wrote these “hallel” psalms or when they were written, that’s really not important. For you see, no matter who wrote them or when they were written, these psalms are a true blessing to us because they teach us how and when and why and where we should praise our God. These “Praise the Lord!” songs are a fitting conclusion to this hymnbook of Israel, because they remind us that our lives ought to begin and end with the praise of the Lord. And as we turn to Psalm 146 we see that it calls on us to Praise the Lord, and it gives us reasons to do so:
• Praise the Lord (1-2);
• Praise the Lord because we can trust Him (3-4);
• Praise the Lord because He is the Creator of the universe (5-6);
• Praise the Lord because He is a loving God (7-10).