Explore the Bible Study: His Faithfulness (Hallelujah!)

10:10 AM

There are three words that most everyone in the world recognizes: amen, hallelujah, and Coca Cola©. While most people understand the meaning of amen and Coca Cola, the meaning of the word "hallelujah" isn't as clear. Hallelujah means "praise the Lord (or Jehovah)." LifeWay's Explore the Bible Study: His Faithfulness focuses on Psalm 146 which begins and ends with "hallelujah." So what is so important about this word?

The word has been secularized which can cause us to miss the full impact of Psalm 146:1-10. I provide illustrations of this for the group to discuss including the following:
  • Hallelujah is used in an insurance ad that pictures a young man and a young woman at a Christmas party. The young man is celebrating the fact that he can now buy Obamacare insurance with the caption, “Hallelujah! OMG, she’s hot! Let’s hope she wants to opt into this relationship as much as I do. Now that the website is working, buying health insurance is easy . . . I got insurance (I hope I get her too!)"
  • There is a diet called the “Hallelujah Diet."
  • There is a political cartoon that depicts a man celebrating by saying, “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallayoohooya!!” His wife explains, “Your father’s very excited to see the end of the campaign ads.”
  • There is a popular secular song entitled “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. The group, Pentatonix video recording of the song has had 187,194,488 views on YouTube . When you listen closely to the lyrics, it reveals a view of spirituality that is contrary to the Christian faith. People are moved by the melody, the use of the word hallelujah, and its Bible references, as if this somehow legitimizes the song as “Christian." Leonard Cohen was raised Jewish and embraced Buddhism as an adult.
The study of Psalm 146:1-10 reveals the real and legitimate way we should use the word “hallelujah.” Here are a few ways you can emphasize the importance of the word "hallelujah" or the phrase, "Praise the Lord."
  • Psalms 146-150 (the last five psalms) have been called "the double Hallelujah psalms" because they each begin and end with "Hallelujah."
  • They declare praise to God who reigns forever.
  • In these final psalms, every word is praise.
Since last week's psalm was one of thanksgiving it is important that you explain the difference between the study last week and the study this week.
  • Last week’s psalm (Psalm 136) was a psalm of THANKSGIVING.  We studied and celebrated God’s redeeming, unchanging, and faithful love that endures forever despite our past. You were challenged to express your thanksgiving to the Lord for His faithful love during this past week.
  • Today’s psalm is a psalm of ADORATION. It expresses praise to God for His character. When we realize who our God truly is, we can’t help but say and sing, “Hallelujah" or "Praise the Lord!"
The following outline of Psalm 146:5-9 should lead you to say, sing, or even shout "hallelujah" as you consider all of God's character and works! These are also included in the downloadable teaching helps. I suggest you assign the passages in advance to group members to read. (As you read, place your cursor over each verse in order to see the entire verse):
  1. He is our Help (Psalm 146:5). – The divine name “God of Jacob” emphasizes that God has always been faithful to His people, extending back to the patriarchs. The Lord has never veered from His promises. He has always been their Helper! See: Hebrews 4:14-16
  2. He is our Hope (Psalm 146:5). – God alone can save us, in contrast to the important people of this world, who cannot and would not even if they could. He alone is our hope! See: 1 Peter 1:3-9; Titus 2:11-12
  3. He is our Maker (Psalm 146:6). – God is unlike mortal man, who is frail, who dies, and who passes off the scene (vv. 3-4). God, the Creator, is worthy of the believer's trust. See: Colossians 1:16-22
  4. God is Faithful FOREVER! (Psalm 146:6). – Not only does God save us, but He also remains faithful to us after he has saved us. See: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
  5. He executes justice for the exploited (Psalm 146:6).  See: 2 Peter 2:1-9
  6. He gives food to the hungry (Psalm 146:6). – He is our Provider! See: Matthew 6:31-33
  7. He sets prisoners free (Psalm 146:7). – The prison of sin cannot withstand the power of Christ’s forgiveness. See: John 8:36; Luke 4:18
  8. He gives sight to the blind (Psalm 146:8). –  The greatest blindness of all is blindness to the truth of God disclosed in Scripture. See: John 9:35-41
  9. He lifts up those who are bowed down (Psalm 146:8). –  Many things in life push us around or knock us down, but God cares for us and lifts us up again. See: 1 Peter 5:6-7
  10. He loves the righteous (Psalm 146:8). – "Love" is an attitude rather than an action, as most of the previous items have been. It is mentioned here because it is the source of all the other actions. Why does God act in a trustworthy way toward us, uphold the oppressed, free prisoners, give sight to the blind, and lift up those who are bowed down? The answer is because He loves us. It is not because we have made ourselves righteous. God has made us righteous in Christ, and even that is because He loves us. See: 2 Corinthians 5:21
  11. He watches over us (Psalm 146:9). – There are three examples of defenseless people listed - the alien, the fatherless, and the widow. God watches over them and protects them from the wicked. As believers we are different as were those in that culture who were considered aliens, fatherless, and widows. Jesus prayed for us because He knew we would be viewed differently and be vulnerable. He is watching over us! See: John 17:14-16
  12. He frustrates the way of the wicked (Psalm 146:9). – He will deal with the wicked who carry out the malicious deeds against these helpless and vulnerable. See: Romans 1:18-19
Consider using this video or an audio recording of the song, A New Hallelujah, by Michael W. Smith. Enjoy listening!

"Sometimes our trials momentarily obscure our view of God and threaten to steal away the praise that belongs exclusively to God. We must never allow our praise to be controlled by our circumstance. Instead, we must allow our praise to control how we respond to our circumstances. May we always choose praise!" 
(Holman Old Testament Commentary, Psalms)


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