The Mission of Hallelujah

Yael Eckstein  |  January 15, 2023

Woman lifting her hands up in praise while standing in a yellow flower field.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

[Hallelujah] Praise the LORD! — Psalm 150:6

We start out every week with an inspirational lesson from the beloved Psalms. For centuries, these ancient poems of King David and others have been the foundation for Jewish and Christian worship. Enjoy!

Does God need our praise? I know. It’s a silly question. Of course, God doesn’t need us to sing His praises. Everyone knows that God doesn’t need anything.

But the truth is that there’s one thing that God needs us for. And if there’s only one thing that we can provide for God that He can’t have without us, it’s probably something we should think about. So what is it? Well, it’s pretty simple. God needs us to have faith in Him and to spread knowledge of Him to the rest of the world.

You see, God created human beings with freedom to think and choose for themselves. Because He gave us this freedom, the one thing He doesn’t do is force us to have faith in Him. We need to choose it. And once we have faith, the one thing God needs from us is to teach everyone else about who He is.

The Mission of Hallelujah

And that’s where the mission of the word Hallelujah comes in. Hallelujah is the first and last word of Psalm 150, meaning that Hallelujah is the final word of entire Book of Psalms. We read, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. [Hallelujah] Praise the LORD!”

We all know the word Hallelujah. We say it when we experience the greatness of God. We hear good news or experience His hand in our lives and out of our mouths comes that word of praise, “Hallelujah!”

But have you ever thought about what the word means? It’s actually a compound word, made up of two Hebrew words, Hallelu and Yah. Yah, of course, is one of God’s names. Hallelu means “praise.”

But it doesn’t mean “praise” as a noun, as in “I will give praise.” It’s the verb “to praise” in the second person plural. In other words, Hallelujah means “Praise God,” speaking to a group of people.

Think about that. When we experience God in some remarkable way, by saying Hallelujah we are calling on multiple others to praise God with us. Hallelujah means that we are not satisfied with praising God ourselves, we’re not even supposed to simply tell one more person. The mission of Hallelujah means that we are supposed to spread our praise of God to lots of people.

What a perfect way for David to end the Book of Psalms. It’s as though David is saying to us, “After reading my book of praises to God, now it’s your turn.” With that final Hallelujah, David is calling upon us to spread the knowledge of God to the whole world.

Your Turn:

Let’s heed the mission of Hallelujah. Next time you have reason to praise God, think of multiple people you can call to tell them about it. Make this your Hallelujah habit!

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.