Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Loud Praise to Christ Our King

This Sunday we will be singing one of my favorite anthems of the early 20th century in worship. I don’t remember when I first sang Carl Mueller’s arrangement of “Come, Christians, Join to Sing”, but I have loved it for decades now … and that starts to make me feel a little old.
I thought of the second phrase in the anthem as I was reading from a worship blog written by worship leader and author Dwayne Moore (who just happens to be one of my college classmates). I haven’t read his book yet, but I hope to purchase it sometime in the near future. On his blog, Moore recently gave a list of Hebrew words translated “praise” in English.

Hallal: “to laud, boast, rave, to celebrate” - It is used approximately one hundred times in the Old Testament.
Yadah: “to worship with extended hands, to throw out the hands” - It is used over ninety times in the Old Testament. (Yad means “hand.”)
Barak: “to bless, to declare God the origin of power for success, prosperity, and fertility” - It is used approximately seventy times in the Old Testament as praise to God.
Tehillah: “to sing or laud” - It is derived from hallal and is generally accepted to mean “the singing of hallals.” It is used over fifty times in the Old Testament.
Zamar: “to pluck the strings of an instrument, to praise with song” - It is used almost exclusively in the Psalms and occurs approximately forty times in the Old Testament.
Todah: “to extend the hands in thanksgiving, a thank-offering” - It is used only a few times when translated “praise” but occurs many other times in connection with thanksgiving.
Shabach (Shebach): “to commend, address in a loud tone, to shout” - This is the exclamatory form of praise in a special sense and is found only about seven times in the Old Testament.

As I read those words, I was struck by how active the verbs are. There is nothing passive here. Yes, there is a time in worship to be quiet and listen; but reverence for God is also expressed in, as Christian Bateman put it, “loud praise to Christ our King.” Shall we be silent when scripture tells us to do otherwise? I don’t think we have that option. That’s enough to think about for now.


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7:07 PM  

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