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What’s Better Than a Hallelujah?

Praise the Lord! Yes, give praise, O servants of the Lord.
Praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord
now and forever.

Psalm 113:1-2 (NLT) 

Amy Grant’s song Better Than a Hallelujah spoke to me again in recent weeks.  The lyrics remind me that the Lord listens to all the ways we call out to Him, like a caring parent simply awaiting our cry for help.  Yet the term “Hallelujah” is what has echoed in my mind—simply translated as “Praise Ye, Yahweh.”

Perhaps this definition is why “Hallelujah” has been tugging at me, gently making a call of its own. You see, much of my talking to God is more about me than Him. When I’m overwhelmed with life or the burdens of living in a fallen world, I ask the Lord for help in handling it all.  Sometimes I feel a lot like the psalmist who penned these words:

I love the Lord because He hears my voice
    and my prayer for mercy. Because He bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!

(Psalm 116:1-2)

Do I love the Lord merely because He listens?  Am I appreciative of Him only when my prayers are answered? How often do I simply say, “Praise You, Lord” without having any other agenda or strings attached?

Psalm 113 is one of the Jewish “Hallel” psalms, and the verses above prompt all “servants of the Lord” to lift our praises to Him.  Indeed, this psalm also reminds us that there are many reasons why the Lord should receive our admiration—now and forever:

For the Lord is high above the nations; His glory is higher than the heavens.

Who can be compared with the Lord our God, who is enthroned on high?
(verses 4-5)

The answer to “Who can be compared with the Lord our God?” should urge me to exclaim, “No one but You—Praise You, Lord!”

Who is there for me each morning? “Praise You, Lord!”

Who watches over my family and friends? “Praise You, Lord!”

Who holds the world and everything in it together? “Praise You, Lord!”

And the list could go on and on.  For this and numerous other reasons, I want my mindset to shift to a “Praise You” attitude:

Praise the Lord! Let all that I am praise the Lord.
I will praise the Lord as long as I live.  I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.

(Psalm 146:1-2)

All this processing led be back to Amy Grant’s lyrics, and I realized she too understands the importance of lifting up a “Hallelujah”:

God loves a lullaby
In a mother’s tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
God loves a drunkard’s cry,
The soldier’s plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

Yes, God loves us reaching out to Him in various ways, and these can be better than a “Hallelujah”—sometimes.

This month, I encourage you to join me in offering more praises to the Lord—just because.  Just because He is who He is.  Just because He deserves it.

Many blessings to you from the team at Sonkist Ministries!


Thought of the Month

 I will praise the Lord,
and may everyone on earth bless His holy name
forever and ever.

Psalm 145:21