25 Songs…?

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About this time last year, we set in motion a plan for our contemporary worship that I had hoped would transform our corporate praise. A year later, I feel pretty confident about its success. Best part is you may have not even noticed. 

Worship and Expression

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If I may be so bold, none of these feel or look comfortable in our modern setting. And it begs the question of why? Has our praise become a whisper, stifled by social norms handed down? To what degree do we abolish modesty while making way for spiritual expression?

Shâbach

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It is a word full of faith and is indeed a robust and loud act of praise. It exists far fewer times than some other words of praise, but is one that calls upon large groups, nations and generations, to issue a shout or a roar and declare the greatness of our God.

Tehillâh

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This word invites us to recognize the beauty and intimacy of spontaneity or worship (even if it is uncomfortable). It doesn’t have to be public. We can commemorate the greatness of our God as we sing a new song to our God in private, too.

Bârak

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Sometimes we are called to praise God in circumstances that are less than desirable – or downright difficult – knowing something good is coming, even though we can’t see it yet. This word is tôwdâh (to-daw’) and it represents a physical expression of an inward emotion: an extension of the hand, a thanksgiving for things that are yet to be received, a sacrifice of praise.

Tôwdâh

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Sometimes we are called to praise God in circumstances that are less than desirable – or downright difficult – knowing something good is coming, even though we can’t see it yet. This word is tôwdâh (to-daw’) and it represents a physical expression of an inward emotion: an extension of the hand, a thanksgiving for things that are yet to be received, a sacrifice of praise.

Zâmar

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In our modern context, it can arguably be said that the word we consider most synonymous with worship is music. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is of course our most common, universal element of corporate worship. Imagine attending a worship service where there was no music… Would you even call it “worship?” 

Hâlal

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This scene is where we find understanding for the second Hebrew word translated into praise: hâlal (haw-lal’). This word is right at home in feasts and celebrations as it means to boast, rave, shine, celebrate, and be clamorously foolish. If this sounds too far from worship, be reminded that this is the primary Hebrew word for praise, and where we derive the biblical word hallelujah.

Yâdâh

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There’s a celebratory and triumphant connotation involved, especially when you see where this term is found in the Psalms. In Psalm 145, for example, King David writes, “All your works praise [yâdâh] you, Lord; your faithful people extol you” (Psalms 145:10 NIV)

Seven Hebrew Words for Praise

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Praise. It is a tricky word… It seems so simple and straightforward on the surface, but when you dig a little deeper or start asking questions about it you find yourself in a pretty significant cavern of uncertainty. Is it music? Is it synonymous with worship? Do we praise with words, song, or actions? What if I don’t like the ‘praise’ music?