The Great Hallelujah!

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Reading: Psalm 148:13-14
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
And he has raised up for his people a horn,
the praise of all his faithful servants,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the LORD (NIV).*

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The close of the day — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
Broadly speaking I like modern translations of the Bible over the traditional King James Version, but… But sometimes the old King James just sounds better, or more familiar. Here at the close of Psalm 148 we have a case in point.

The New International Version ends the psalm with these words: Praise the LORD. The King James Version ends the psalm with Praise ye the LORD. But a more literal translation or transliteration of this final phrase is Hallelujah! The footnotes to the New American Standard Bible point out that Hallelu means praise, while JAH is the abbreviated Hebrew name for God, which is often translated Jehovah or more accurately Yahweh.

Whenever you see the phrase praise the LORD, you are actually looking at a translation of the Hebrew word hallelujah!

Hallelujah is entirely absent from the New International Version of the Bible. It has also been scrubbed from most of the other modern translations. To put it bluntly, I miss hallelujah. It has an uplifting ring to it. Hallelujah skips off the tongue like a shooting star. It bursts forth from a thankful heart like fireworks on a summer night.

For the Christian believer Christmas is the great Hallelujah! God has come to the earth and been born as a baby like you and me. This is the beginning of the great redemption story.

The resurrection is the second great Hallelujah! The Son of God was vindicated. His death was not in vain. He conquered death, our greatest foe, and now Jesus reigns on high forever. That calls for a hallelujah! And for good measure, let’s add praise the LORD too!

The one who at his birth was laid in a manger is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. As Handel’s Messiah proclaims, “He shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah!” Let the hallelujahs resound from the earth to the heavens as we join in the song of the angels—the song of the ages.

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

Response: LORD God, I praise you for sending Jesus. I praise you for your great plan of redemption. Jesus, I thank you for carrying my sins to Calvary. I rejoice in your resurrection victory. Hallelujah! Amen.

Your Turn: Do you enjoy Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus? What is your favorite expression of praise to God?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

Volume III of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here. Journey through the Psalms in a year.

Praise God in the Great Congregation

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I will praise the LORD!

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A procession of wild flowers — photo by David Kitz

(Psalm 68:24-27, NIV)*

Your procession, God, has come into view,
    the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.
In front are the singers, after them the musicians;
    with them are the young women playing the timbrels.
Praise God in the great congregation;
    praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel.
There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them,
    there the great throng of Judah’s princes,
    and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali.

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Volume III of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here.

Psalms Alive!

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If you enjoy my daily devotional posts on the Psalms, you may also enjoy Psalms Alive!
Psalms Alive!

Psalms Alive!

How do you connect with God? For three thousand years, God has been connecting with humankind through the prophetic prayer, praise and poetry of the biblical Psalms. Come follow David, the shepherd king, the man after Gods own heart, as we begin a journey to intimacy with God. Discover for yourself what a soul-bonding relationship with God looks like.

As never before, let the psalms come alive for you.

“David Kitz paints pictures with words, taking lessons from Scripture and nature to offer us a three-dimensional, multi-sensory relationship with God.” — Robert L. Briggs, Executive Vice President, American Bible Society

Psalm’s Alive! was inspired by years of the author performing dramatic readings of the Psalms. David still performs Psalms Alive! today.

David also writes weekly blog posts on the Psalms at davidkitz.wordpress.com

237 pages, trade paperback

To purchase from Amazon click here.

To purchase directly from the author click here.

Escape from Death

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I will praise the LORD!

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White roses — photo by David Kitz

(Psalm 68:19-20, NIV)*

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
    who daily bears our burdens.
Our God is a God who saves;
    from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Volume III of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here.

A Little Bit of Heaven

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.
365 Psalm 148b

Reading: Psalm 148:7-12

LORD God,
let your Holy Spirit be active among us.
Help us to love and serve you,
and those around us.
Help me to bring a little bit of heaven—
a little bit of your will to the earth today.

Amen.

Volume III of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here. Journey through the Psalms in a year.

Bringing Heaven to Earth

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Reading: Psalm 148:7-12
Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and women,
old men and children (NIV).*

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Evening calm — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
Psalm 148 began with a call for praise for the LORD from the angels, who are heaven’s messengers, from the heavenly hosts and all the heavenly bodies. In today’s reading, the psalmist expands this call for praise to all the creatures of the earth, the elements of nature, wind, cloud and ocean depths, and finally to all humanity.

There is a logical progression in this call for thunderous praise. The call begins with what is distant, the galaxies and the heavenly beings, and then it descends to the earth, and finally it touches humanity. It becomes personal. We are called to praise God. Will you join the swelling chorus?

John, the beloved, gives us a picture of what heaven’s praise party looks like.

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:11-12).

Our Lord taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9b-10).

Surely, it is the will of God that He be praised and worshipped on earth just as He is around His throne in heaven. The purpose of God’s Kingdom—the Kingdom that Jesus came to establish—is to bring heaven to earth. God did not remain distant. In the person of Jesus, He came to dwell among us. He brought and is presently bringing the will of God to the earth through the Holy Spirit. For that Jesus is to be praised. Let all of creation praise Him—praise Him from the earth, because from it we were formed. As we look forward to his return, let the praise for our Lord ascend from you and me.

Response: LORD God, let your Holy Spirit be active among us. Help us to love and serve you and those around us. Help me to bring a little bit of heaven—a little bit of your will to the earth today. Amen.

Your Turn: How do you picture heaven? What does a little bit of heaven on earth look like to you?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

Volume III of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. Journey through the Psalms in a year. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here.

Constant Praise

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.
Psalm 1483-4

Reading: Psalm 148:1-6

LORD God,
give me a heart that is eager to praise you—
even in hard times—
especially in hard times.
Your constant care for us does not change.
Let my praise for you be just as constant.

Amen.

Volume III of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here. Journey through the Psalms in a year.

Praise Him, All His Angels

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Reading: Psalm 148:1-6
Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for at his command they were created,
and he established them for ever and ever—
he issued a decree that will never pass away (NIV).*

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Petrie Island sunset — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
As we draw to the end of the Book of Psalms, we are slowly building to a crescendo. It’s a crescendo of praise for the LORD. Today’s reading from Psalm 148 represents another stepping stone in that rising crescendo of praise.

The word praise appears nine times in this six-verse portion of the psalm. The psalmist repeatedly calls for all of creation to praise the LORD—to praise him. In today’s reading the call to praise is focused on the heavenly realm. You would think that the angels and the heavenly hosts would need no reminder to praise the LORD, but nevertheless the psalmist calls on them to praise their Creator. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars.

If the angels need a praise prompter, then I know I certainly do. There are days when I have a greater tendency to complain than to praise. If I am feeling a bit out of sorts or experiencing discomfort, it doesn’t take much to trip me into full-blown, grumble mode with a side order of self-pity tacked on for good measure. Praise for the LORD is a distant thought or a faint memory.

But has God changed? Has His mercy been diminished because I have a grumbly tummy or a kink in my neck? Of course not. The LORD is constantly worthy of praise—even in hard times—especially in hard times. In hard times I need to change my focus. I need to lift up my eyes to the heavens. I need to see the big picture rather than be caught up in the trifling details of my life. God is still on His throne even if I burn the toast or spill that glass of milk. Praise has greater significance at such times because it springs from a troubled heart that has shifted to become a thankful overcoming heart.

In the midst of his great suffering, Job made this declaration about his faithfulness to the LORD, Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15a). Will that be your testimony? In all these things, the LORD, our great Creator, remains steadfast and worthy of praise.

Response: LORD God, give me a heart that is eager to praise you—even in hard times—especially in hard times. Your constant care for us does not change. Let my praise for you be just as constant. Amen.

Your Turn: Do you have a greater tendency to grumble or praise? Can you change that tendency?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

Volume III of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here. Journey through the Psalms in a year.

A Greater Revelation

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.
385 Dance off the page 147d

Reading: Psalm 147:19-20

LORD God,
I need a greater revelation of you.
When you show yourself to me,
I am changed.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Invigorate my life.
Help me to know you better.
Speak deeply to my heart.

Amen.

Volume III of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here. Journey through the Psalms in a year.