"Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord while I live;
I will sing praises to my God
Thus begins the "Hallelujah Psalms" which will carry us to the end of the book of Psalms. Hallelujah is interchangeable with Praise the Lord. In the King James, it declares for one and all, "Praise ye the Lord," before it demands it for himself, "Praise the Lord O my soul!" "And his soul answers, 'While I live, while I am, while I shall be." (Adam Clarke)
Matthew Henry points out that the word Hallelujah is "a word which puts much of God's praise into a little compass; in it we praise Him by His name Jah, the contraction of Jehovah." We don't know if this was written by David or Haggai or Zechariah after the Captivity and the rebuilding of the second temple. It matters not in that we are invited to join in.
Spurgeon says, "We are now among the Hallelujahs. The rest of our journey lies through the Delectable Mountains. All is praise to the end of the book. He would be the leader of the choir which he had summoned. It is a poor business if we solely exhort others, and do not stir up our own soul....Come heart, mind, thought! Come my whole being, my soul, my all, be on flame with joyful adoration...O for a sanctified heart."
"The ancient Britons, in the year 420, obtained a victory over the army of the Picts and Saxons, near Mold in Flintshire. The Britons, unarmed while they were under attack, the two commanders, Gideon like ordered their little army to shout Alleluia three times over the sound of the enemy, being struck with terror, ran away in the greatest confusion. A stone monument to perpetuate the remembrance of the Alleluia victory, I believe, remains to this day...in a field near Mold." (Charles Buck, 1771-1812)
"While I live"
"I will not live here for ever. This mortal life will find a finis in death, but while it lasts I will laud to the Lord, my God." (Spurgeon)
"Mr. John Janeway on his deathbed cried out thus--'Come help me with praises, yet all is too little. Come, help me, all ye mighty and glorious angels, who are so well skilled in the heavenly work of praise! Praise all ye creatures upon the earth; let every thing that hath being help me praise God. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise is now my work, and I shall be engaged in this sweet work now and for ever. Bring the Bible; turn to David's Psalms, and let us sing a Psalm of praise...I will sing with you as long as my breath does last, and when I have none, I shall do it better."
"The motion of our praise must be like the motion of our pulse, which beats as long as life lasts."
"'While I have my being;' an enthusiastic pre-engagement of eternity."
The look at this Psalms comes at a time when we are saying goodbye to a dear friend, the matriarch, the grandmother of my sons-in-laws. She is in her nineties and has had such an incredible memory, much, much better than mine. She can remember the names of all her classmates from kindergarten on, their walks to school or riding the horse, the challenges that her family faced farming, the moves they went through, her work in the war effort as a Rosie the Riveter. She recalls every friend and family member that has blessed her life. Every snatch of conversation was stored in her mind and brought out to enjoy later. I've never met anyone with such a memory. Yet, the chapter of her life is closing like a thick book. She made her heart ready by doing what was needed in this life to prepare for the next. Her pacemaker is keeping her heart beating, but perhaps she is already listening to the heavenly choir just beyond the veil.
I have a new image of the Marriage supper of the Lamb. Instead of that long banquet table set for all the saints, perhaps there are round tables, more intimate for conversation for the dear friends and family who are gathered. Wandering troubadours go from table to table bringing with them their music of praise. Perhaps it is the angels, but all would join in with praise that is irresistible. Perhaps like a magnet, the singers collect more and more as those present join in the song going from table to table until perhaps no one is left sitting. Hmm. Anyway, that is the thought that woke me this morning.
"Eye hath not seen
and ear has not heard,
and which have not entered
the heart of man,
All that God has prepared
for those who love Him."
(Isaiah 64:4; 65:17 & I Corinthians 2:9)