Halal Yah!

A devotional on Psalm 111 using the Lexham English Bible, LEB.

1 Praise Yah! I will give thanks to Yahweh with all [my] heart, in [the] assembly of [the] upright and [the] congregation.

Verse 1 calls us, as David frequently does to halal Yah. Do you see the word “hallelujah” embedded there? Isn’t that splendid! Halal is a vigorous term meaning to boast and glory in; to flash forth light or shine (symbolizing God’s favor); to make into a fool or to act like a madman. There are many ways in which we act the fool – we are being invited to act the fool for Yah. Drop your guard, drop your persona, divest yourself of everything you are and just let it go for Jesus.

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In the assembly of those who love him and who he loves, I will thank – yadah – God. This is a literal gesture of hurling or throwing something like a stone or an arrow. It is to revere and worship with extended hands. Throw him your thanks, throw him your confession, throw him his names. Those are powerful weapons you have in your hands. Use them!

This gesture is to be done not only willingly but with all my heart. This entails three areas, first with all of my will. His praise is my primary desire, drive, and motivation. Secondly with all my intellect. This includes all my alertness, focus, planning, initiative, problem-solving, imagination and creativity, learning, comprehension, and memory, and numerous other cognitive processes. Third, I am to employ my emotions. I must let his works move me. Do they awe me, thrill me, scintillate me or am I blind and insensitive to them? Is my heart tender and receptive to what my senses observe or is it calloused and shrouded by the cares of the world?

2 The works of Yahweh [are] great, studied by all [who] delight [in] them.

Work in Progress Icon

God is a working God. He always has been and always will be. He is forever creating, moving, building, tearing down, defending, saving, loving, showing himself strong. His great works are worthy of our study. We are to look into them, to consult them; ask for, require and even demand them; we are to seek them with care and diligence. We are to frequent them. We are to tread there and follow them since we find pleasure in them. We are they that delight in and long for these valuable works. They are our desire, our purpose.

3 [Full of] splendor and majesty [is] his work, and his righteousness endures forever.

The work of his hands is splendid and majestic, it is honorable and glorious. His justice or righteousness is forever and forever because he is the Everlasting Father. Justice or righteousness is his mantle and one of his primary defining features.

4 He has made his wonders {to be remembered}; Yahweh [is] gracious and compassionate.

We need to remember his wonders so that the awe and fear of him propels us forward in a world that seeks to hold us back and dampen our faith. We need to hear of these wonders and to ponder them. Holy Spirit within us will point them out, will draw our remembrance to them, and help us delight in recounting them.

Gracious – channun –  means to show or direct favor; to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior. Compassion – rachum – means to love deeply with tender affection, to fondle; to have pity and mercy.

5 He gives food to those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.

Food – taraph – means something plucked or torn to pieces. It is the same thing we do for our children when we cut up their food so they can ingest it better, otherwise they would starve on their highchair with a hunk of beef sitting in front of them. As we grow in the fear, reverence, terror, and dread of him we see him more clearly and then marvel at his care over us as a helpless child, so loved, so delighted in forever and ever.

LEB 6 He has declared the power of his works for his people, by giving to them [the] inheritance of [the] nations.

KJV 6 He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen.

God, in his sovereignty, is a choosing God. Based on his works, you want to be his friend. “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life,” Isaiah 43:4.

“Rise and thresh, Daughter Zion, for I will give you horns of iron; I will give you hooves of bronze, and you will break to pieces many nations.” You will devote their ill-gotten gains to the Lord, their wealth to the Lord of all the earth,”

Micah 4:13.

It doesn’t bode so well for his enemies. Choose wisely. Halal Yah!!

7 The works of his hands [are] faithfulness and justice; all his precepts [are] reliable.

God consistently wrights works of faithfulness or verity – emeth – meaning firmness, reliability, stability, certainty, establishment. Justice – mishpat – speaks to his rightness in decision-making, in a proper and fitting manner. His mandates are also reliable – aman­ – meaning sure, firm, and confirmed. It paints the picture of a foster parent or a nurse who is faithful and trustworthy to bring you up and establish you, to turn you to the right. This action has a time factor built into it. It is for the long haul. You will not be booted from the system or this new family for bad behavior. They won’t tire of you and decide you are not for them after all. Your nurse is committed to you and your good outcome.

LEB 8 [They are] sustained forever [and] ever, done with faithfulness and uprightness.

KJV 8 They stand fast for ever and ever and are done in truth and uprightness.

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These works stand fast and bear up under the test of time. Our devotionals on Ethan bear that out. This verse reiterates the time factor. God is the Rock of Ages and so his works are faithful through the ages. He holds them up and nothing can shake them! They are done in emeth and uprightness – yashar – meaning that they are straight, upright, correct, pleasing, fitting, and proper.

9 He has sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever; holy and fearful [is] his name.

Redemption is a fantastic word. Peduth means ransom or deliverance. It’s root word means to precede or anticipate. It implies hastening to meet someone, usually for help. It is to confront and go before, to take the lead and forestall an impending gloom. I hate being first in line in a scary situation. I want someone else to go first so I can see what happens and prepare myself accordingly when it’s my time to step up to the plate. Yah has gone before us. Jesus did that for us and took on the full brunt of what I most certainly would not and could not have handled.

This passage again reiterates the forever concept of God’s work – olam olam. It is unending, bottomless. Its vanishing point is concealed in the past and in the future. Holy – qadosh – means set apart, sacred, saint, consecrated, hallowed, clean and purified. That’s what his name is. The very name that we cursorily and flippantly throw out. This name is also fearful – yare – it is dreadful and frightful. His name – shem – means his label as well has his reputation and fame based on his conspicuous position of authority.

LEB 10 The fear of Yahweh [is the] beginning of wisdom; all who do them have a good understanding. His praise endures forever.

The dread of Yah is a good place to start if you want to grow in wisdom – chokmah. Wisdom means skill in war or in administration of the affairs of life. It means shrewdness and prudence. Life is hard and we all need skill in navigating it. We all want that. Well, Yah goes before in the difficult circumstances of life and trains you in wisdom if you surrender yourself to his work. Contemplate and fear the Rock of Ages and you will have nothing else to fear now and forever more.

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A second aspect of praise – tehillah – is introduced here. It means a praise-song – a hymn of adoration and thanksgiving. Tehillah is actually based in the word praise as we originally learned here – halal. All that boasting and shining, all that celebration and mad merry-making can be harnessed into song that we can sing with all our hearts. Great is your faithfulness O God our Father!

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