Sing Praise: All Times, All Seasons

Sing Praise: All Times, All Seasons April 10, 2024

A grateful child wants to sing praise.


Many of us might recall going to sleep with “hallelujah” echoing in our minds. Perhaps we had been singing Easter hymns or Christmas songs, listening to Handel’s sublime Hallelujah Chorus, or joining a choir or congregation singing hymns of joyful praise to God. Our memory is singing a triumphant song of praise to the God we love—part of a tradition as old and as continual as our worship of and gratitude to Him. To sing praise is our privilege and our blessing.

Hallel indicates praise; Jah brings us Jahweh, the Old Testament name for God: literally Hallelujah says “praise Jehovah.” Hallel songs and psalms are sung to praise God at traditional holidays and festivals. Growing up in a devout Jewish home, Jesus would have heard and sung them throughout His life. He and His disciples likely closed their Last Supper with one as they left for Gethsemane.

Praise at Passover

The Lord takes care of His people; and they sing praise to Him for it. The Passover has been a particular praise time. As the Jewish people were about to be released from their Egyptian bondage, God told them  to “strike” the blood of a perfect lamb or young goat on the upper door and side posts of their homes. As He would “pass through” and claim the first-born persons and beasts in Egypt, He would “pass over” these homes. They were to “keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.” They have, and the hallel psalms and songs have always been chanted and sung.

To sing praise was integral to Passover from the beginning. After the closing of the parted Red Sea, Moses and his people sang a song beginning,

 I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and . . . my father’s God, and I will exalt  him. (Exodus 15, 1-2)

Miriam, Moses’s sister, led all the women—playing timbrels, dancing, and singing: “Sing  ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.”

Praise with Patience and Courage

 The scriptures are filled with saints and prophets who have delighted to sing praise to the Lord in innumerable ways and circumstances.

Like many Important journeys, the Jaredites’ voyage to their promised land was not smooth or secure. As Elder L. Todd Budge quoted, “They were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them.” But in their  tossing  barges, the Jaredites “did sing praises unto the Lord . . . and [they] did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease  to praise the Lord” (Ether 6: 6,9).

On another epic journey across the same waters, Nephi, when finally freed after four days  standing tightly bound on the deck of a blistering hot ship, quickly responded, “I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long” (1 Nephi 18:16).

Abraham felt to sing praise continually. An internet  Christian writer pondered,

[He] praised God . . . I wonder if every time he looked up and saw a star, if he was reminded to open his mouth and give glory to God. He mixed the promise with faith and thanked God for His faithfulness.

Another internet writer mentioned that after Abraham had been promised a son, He kept praising God for 25 years before Isaac was conceived—and kept it up afterward, of course.

Deborah and Barak sang together publicly after Israel’s delivery from bondage to the Canaanites:

Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel . . .
I, even I, will sing unto the Lord;
I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel. (Judges 5: 2-3). 

Hallel Psalms 

King David, psalmist extraordinaire, specifically  devoted Psalms 113-118 and 136 as Hallel psalms, to sing praise to God at every feast or festival every year. Even today, in some places bakers preparing the unleavened bread for the Passover feast sing Hallel psalms as they make it.

Psalm 114 tells of Israel leaving Egypt, including the sea that “fleddest.” Psalm 136 also mentions Passover:

To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn; for his mercy endureth forever.
And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever.

The other Hallel psalms are more general in their praises, but just as enthusiastic. Psalm 113 is exuberant: “From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised./The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.” Then it becomes tender: “[He] humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in earth!/ He raiseth up the poor out of the dust.”

 Psalm 115 compares God “in the heavens” to idols who “see not” and “hear not.” Psalm 116 is the song of one who has struggled and suffered, but the Lord has “delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears.” Psalm 117 is only two short verses, but very inclusive:

O praise the Lord, all ye nations:
praise him, all ye people.

For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord
endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord

Psalm 118 includes the words we know well: “The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.”

Hallel Song for Today

Joachim Neander (1650-1680) blessed us with “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” sung by Christians all over the world today. Consider the third verse:

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy way and defend thee.
Surely his goodness and mercy shall ever attend thee.
Ponder anew What the almighty can do,
Who with his love doth befriend thee.”

 May we continue to ponder and praise, with deep gratitude for His perfect love.

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