“Praise the LORD! I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.” (Psalm 111:1)
The English word “hallelujah” is a transliteration of 2 Hebrew words, hallelu and Jah.
The 1st word, hallelu, is the 2nd person imperative of “praise.” The 2nd word, Jah, is the short form of Yahweh – God’s name. So, when we say, “Hallelujah!” we are exhorting everyone to join us in praising Yahweh.
To shout, “hallelujah” is like standing in front of all false gods and boldly saying, “Not you, Molech!” “Not you, Baal!” “Not you, Dagon!” “Not you, Artemis!” “Not you, Zeus!” “But to Jah, and Jah alone, I give praise.”
So, the next time you sing “Hallelujah” pause for a split second between hallelu and Jah and say it like a name. We praise you . . . Jah! You are above all gods Jah! Join me, all you heavenly hosts, and praise Jah!
The psalmist’s declaration is to praise God “with my whole heart.” He holds back nothing and does it with undivided affections. When the psalmist comes into God’s presence, He doesn’t come mumbling praises with a half-heart.
Are your praises whole-hearted? What good is half-hearted praise? Half-hearted devotion is no devotion; half-hearted worship is no devotion. John Calvin translated it “sincere heart.” It is not just 100% of the heart but the heart of integrity. There are no divisions in one’s heart.
The psalmist doesn’t want His praise to be only between him and God; he wants it public. It is much better to praise God in the company of the like-minded. The psalmist is assuming the role of a worship pastor and calling everyone to praise God.